Truncated Roof Cottage Plan
A unique home cottage plan in which the roof is truncated.
¶ One thing should never be lost sight of in the selection of any distinct and striking style of building: this is, that its peculiarity and piquancy must either be modified to suit a quiet landscape, or, if retained, then a situation should be chosen in which the style will form an accordant feature in the scene. But, as in many cases the site and the character of the surrounding scenery are "fixed facts", it then becomes the duty and business of the architect to make such modifications in the details of the style chosen as are necessary to establish harmony between the natural and artificial features of the landscape. Herein is the peculiar sensitiveness of the artist displayed.
¶ The builder may erect permanent edifices, but the skill and perception of the artist alone can determine beforehand whether his labors shall mar or beautify the scenery, of which they are henceforth to be a part. The design before us is highly suggestive on this point. It is picturesque, yet subdued and chastened in picturesqueness, and much less bold and rude than it might have been with propriety, if placed in the midst of wild forest or mountain scenery.
¶ And by what means is this taming down accomplished? Simply by truncating the gables of the roof a process against which the radical constructionist is prone to exclaim in no moderate terms, but which we defend, on the ground that the artist, like the poet, is entitled to his license. From these remarks, it will be readily inferred that this design, essentially bold and striking, has been subjected to such modification as was deemed requisite to bring it into keeping with comparatively quiet, natural scenery.
¶ A very neat and effective piazza A is at once the main central feature (picture 53) and front entrance. Entering from this, we find ourselves in a passage of moderate dimensions, from which we may enter at pleasure the snug little living room C, 8 by 14 feet, ascend the main stairs at G, or initiate ourselves into the very model of a cottage parlor, designated by B, 14 by 15 feet.
¶ D is the dining room, 14 by 18 feet, with an excellent closet H; E, the kitchen, 10 feet square, having a private stairway; and F, a lean-to for a wood shed, or appendage to the kitchen. In case the water for household use is to be procured from a well, it would be very convenient indeed to have the pump beneath this or an adjoining shelter. A very serviceable veranda, approached from the passage G, is worthy of note, and it would, no doubt, be desirable, in most cases, to have an entrance door from this to the dining room.
¶ Inspecting the second floor, picture 54, we find M, the landing of the principal stairs, affords access to the rooms J, K, L, M, 0, while P and Q are reached from the private stairs. Bed-rooms may be fitted up in the space afforded by the pitch of the roof. These could best be reached by placing a small stairway in the room K.
¶ We have thought, while preparing this design, that its arrangementS, although in conformity with the requirements of almost any small, thrifty family, are such as might be frequently sought after for a country parsonage. In the event of its adoption as the home of a minister, the dining room would necessarily become a sort of living room; the little living room C would be transformed into a library or study; and the parlor B used only for the entertainment of select company. This is all founded on the assumption, either that the minister has no family, or that one of the bedrooms on the second floor P might be used as a nursery, should such a convenience be found requisite.
¶ It is evident that this cottage may be constructed of brick, stone, or wood, without detriment to its architectural expression. We may here indicate a method of construction which, under certain circumstances, presents a very agreeable appearance: we mean, to use very light-colored bricks in the outer facing, - as near what are called salmon-bricks as may be ventured without endangering the durability of the walls. Now, in view of the comparative importance of the roof as a feature of the composition, the prominence of the verandas and cornices, and the smallness of the masses of wall exhibited, it will be perceived that, with relation to the effect of the building as a whole, the walls become a subordinate part, and will be found, particularly if surrounded by as full an apportionment of foliage as such a cottage should have, to present but little of that trying harshness manifested in the preponderance of huge brick masses.
¶ Where this mode is adopted, a very neat quality of workmanship is required in laying the brick; the lighter shades of pressed bricks would of all be the most suitable to the proposed quality of the work. Slate should be preferred for roofing this cottage, but shingles could be very satisfactorily used, with considerably less expenditure.
¶ Judging from the cost of similar designs executed under our especial notice, we would place the cost of the cottage before us at $3800, if common bricks were exclusively used; if pressed bricks were used for facing, $4000 (1861 price), - the roof in both cases being slate, laid in varied patterns, and a cellar six feet deep being excavated under the whole house.
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