American Cottage Architecture

American Cottage Architecture

Classic American cottage architecture and American heritage cottage plans.

Craftsman Style

¶ We mean what we say when we pay this cottage design the high compliment of calling it American, and we think our readers will sustain us in the application of the very comprehensive term. Simple in form, convenient and economical in arrangement, tasteful yet unassuming in detail, we know of no title so expressive of its deserts as the one we have given it. Although it possesses no trait preventive of its recognition as an important country residence in any part of the Union, we conceive that it would be a decidedly acceptable home to the well-to-do resident of the Western prairie.

¶ The umbrage afforded the windows by the canopies and balconies, while enhancing the boldness of the architecture design, contributes greatly to the comfort of the rooms by protecting the glass from the noon-day summer sun, even in the Northern and Western States. On the other hand, the disposition of the fireplaces is such as is best calculated to insure good draught in chimneys, and the retention of a greater proportion of the heat generated within the building. The draught of unprotected flues is seriously impeded by the stagnation of the air, cooling on its upward passage, while that of protected flues suffers little from this cause; and when we take into account the addition to the warmth of the house, gained by keeping the flues at a distance from the outer walls, their ad- vantages in an economical view become at once apparent. Not only does the increased draught of the chimney admit of the fires being kept up with ease, but the heat radiated by the flues, be that much or little, (and it is generally more than they are given credit for), has its influence on the temperature of the rooms through which they pass.

American Cottage
American Cottage

Cottage Rooms

¶ From the front piazza F, picture 36, the passage of 6 feet wide is entered, which gives access to all the rooms; an outside entrance is also given in the end of the building through the stair hall. A, 16 by 20 feet, is designed for a parlor; B, 16 by 16 feet, is a living room; C, 16 by 2O feet, a dining room; D, 16 by 16 feet, a kitchen; and E, a pantry, affording also a passage from dining room to kitchen. We may remark here, that a veranda extending the full length of parlor and dining room would be a very beneficial addition to this design, both for use and appearance. In accordance with the apparent demand for such an improvement, we have shown it in the perspective. The divisions of the bedroom plan, picture 37, are similar to those on the first floor, with the addition of closets on each side of the chimney fronts in all the bedrooms, H, - I being a wardrobe.

Cottage Floor Plans
Cottage Floor Plans

Cottage Construction

¶ The great abundance of wood in some portions of our country, the facility with which it is transported from a timber region to a prairie, and the ease with which it is adapted to building, will be reason enough for using it for that purpose for generations to come. The design before us is intended to be constructed of wood, the boarding being planed, grooved, and put on in the horizontal manner, the studding not being more than 16 inches apart; boards of the width of 6 inches, planed and grooved, to be put on as at A, picture 9, can be procured at many of the lumber mills for $25 per thousand feet, and we have not the least doubt that in the immediate vicinity of well-timbered districts they can be obtained much cheaper. The foundation walls should be of stone, or if that material cannot be had, hard-burnt brick; but the use of the latter necessarily adds seriously to the cost of the structure.

¶ This design might with advantage be constructed of brick, that is, in case the outlay was not too closely limited. We have such a decided preference for any course calculated to give permanency to building in general and our own designs in particular, that it is only when all chance for a more durable structure is out of the question that we yield to the substitution of wood. Although we acknowledge our admiration of the handsome new wooden houses that are scattered over the face of the country, we cannot help expressing our regret that a few years will render them unsightly and untenantable, while well-treated stone or brick buildings of the same age will scarcely show perceptible marks of disfigurement or decay. In speaking therefore of wooden houses, we speak of them as a thing of necessity, and not to be chosen when a better alternative offers.

¶ The windows should have rising sashes, with weights; two in the dining room and two in the parlor, extending to the floor, (on the assumption that the veranda before suggested will be extended along the flank.) The chimneys should of course be brick; very handsome moulded cappings of terracotta, which is an excellent and cheap substitute for stone, can be procured at slight expense, where mouldings are required.


¶ An excellent and substantial house may be built after this plan for $2800, (1861 price) in any part of Pennsylvania, - the stories being 10 and 9 feet in the clear respectively; the exterior painted a warm, drab color, slightly tinged with blue, and the roof covered with white pine shingles, about 5 inches or one-third their length to the weather.

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