Southern Plantation House & Home Plans
¶ We offer this as a systematic arrangement of the accommodations required for the family of a Southern planter, clothed with some pretensions to architectural style: to be brief, it is intended to be a practical yet pleasing embodiment of the mode of life practiced among the opulent and intelligent people of the Southern States. With due deference to those who have endeavored to inaugurate a better state of things, we remark that we have been forcibly struck, in traveling through the South, with the apparent indifference to orderly arrangement manifested in the distribution of the domestic rooms and offices.
¶ There are of course exceptions to this, where attempts have been made to improve on the old-fashioned random practices, with various degrees of success. But much remains to be done, and, as is usual in the development of any growing system, every step taken and every new ray of light received, seems to unfold a continually expanding range of improvement, and not only to exhibit in their true light the faults and deficiencies in the present condition of things, but also in a measure to foreshadow future progress, inspiring respect for what has already been attempted, and hopeful encouragement in view of what may yet be accomplished.
¶ We give this design and plans the title "Plantation Home", because it is eminently adapted to the peculiarities of plantation style life; and we call attention to it, both on account of its individual value and the hints which it affords to the planter who is in quest of a building plan.
¶ Its appointments are suggestive of the convenience, comfort, and luxury to be enjoyed within a comparatively moderate compass.
¶ As will be perceived by pictures of the ground plans of the mansion, picture 77, the design consists of a center building with two wings, the latter embracing the inferior offices. Every Southerner will assent to the propriety of this arrangement; the warmth of the climate and the mode of service alike demand that all cookery, washing, and, in short, everything requiring the constant use of fire, must be detached from the rooms designed for social intercourse. The entrance hall C, approached from the carriage way, is 10 feet wide; this carriage-way, after leaving the hall steps, leads back to the out-buildings, for the accommodation of horses, carriages, etc.
¶ A, 12 feet diameter, is the library or office of the planter; one angle of this having a fireplace, the remaining ones are fitted up with book-shelves, making the plan of the room a regular octagon. In many cases it would no doubt be found best to make this a reception-room; it is favorably situated for this, communicating, as it does, with the entrance hall and drawing room B. The latter apartlnent is 18 by 24 feet, entered by folding doors from the main hall, and partially surrounded by a veranda of 10 feet in width; D is a sitting-room, 18 by 18 feet; and E, a bedroom, 12 by 18 feet.
¶ The dining room E is 18 by 20 feet - (this might be extended from 5 to 10 feet farther in the direction of its length without disadvantage to the appearance of the building) - and cornmunicates with the drawing room, hall, and rear veranda M, on which there is a flight of private stairs for the use of the servants. The kitchen K, 16 by 16 feet, and the store room L, 10 by 10 feet, are located in a separate building, with a passage I between, for the delivery at the store room of articles of domestic consumption. Over K and L, attained by a small flight of stairs on the two-story veranda, are servants' bedrooms.
¶ A ten-pin alley G, 10 by 30 feet, and a smoking-room II, 12 by 16 feet, are placed near the carriage-way, opposite the main entrance. These rooms are rather suggestive than practical; no one will fail to perceive that they would be greatly benefited by increased dimensions, and that this increase could be readily made without detriment to external proportions. Over the smoking-room (the ten-pin alley being only one story in height) a room may be fitted up for the porter and coachman. The carriage-house is seen just beyond in the picture, which, by the way, is a reverse view from the plan.
¶ On the second floor, picture 78, we have W, the main hall from which we directly enter the bedrooms M, 0, P, R, S, and also reach the veranda T. Thus the servants coming up the back stairs on the veranda, can enter any bedroom without passing through another, a desideratum in all first class houses.
Plantation Home Construction Plans
¶ Although this Plantation style design was prepared with a view to being erected of wood, it may with equal propriety and much more architectural fitness be built of brick and stucco, the cornice and verandas in either case being wood. The roof has pitch enough to admit of either slate or shingles. Unless situated upon a considerable eminence, the elevation of the principal floor should be materially increased.
¶ Built as we have indicated, this design would cost, at Philadelphia rates, about $10,500 (1861 prices); for the latitude of Tennessee, from the best information we can obtain of the relative cost of building, about 20 to 25 per cent. should be added.
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