Italian Country Home

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A typical Italian country home plan.

Craftsman Style

¶ The frequent recurrence in this work of designs in the Italian style will no doubt lead our readers to conclude that we are exceedingly partial to that mode of building. Such a conclusion would be eminently just. And we think the designs presented will do much to imbue the minds of our readers with the same prejudices in its favor.

Italian Country House
Italian Country House

¶ The scene before us, picture 118, is a very quiet, unostentatious one; the architecture and its surroundings exhibit some spirit, but the tone of both is subdued to an unusual degree. There are many minds who prefer this expression of forced serenity to rule over all demonstrations of animation. The life must be visible and striving to burst forth, but the subduing influence more prominent and powerful; as in a moral subject we sometimes see strongly delineated the evidences of passion, but over all this discover the prevailing element in character called self-government, the influence of which bears heavily on every action and assumes a degree of supremacy under almost every circumstance.


¶ The divisions of the principal floor, picture 119, are easily understood by inspection. K is a drive for carriages, from which the main hall A is entered. This hall is 10 feet wide, and contains a fine flight of stairs. An improvement on the front entrance, omitted by oversight in the engraving would be what the old carpenters call an "entry piece", with light doors, to form a vestibule: pilasters bearing an archway, irrespective of the filling of doors and side lights, thrown across a hall or passage, always received the name entry piece.

Country Home Layout
Country Home Layout

¶ One of these might be placed to good advantage near the foot of the stairs, the archway in this case being elliptical. The drawing room B, of irregular plan, is equal in area to a room of 17 by 22 feet. Adjoining it is a semicircular conservatory D, (omitted in the view, picture 118,) entered by either of the windows, which are extended to the floor. The library C is 14 by 18 feet, and is provided with angular book closets, which may be fitted up with walnut dressings and glazed doors, so that, except a center-table and the necessary chairs and carpet, but little furniture will be required.

¶ The sitting room E is 12 by 22 feet, and communicates through lengthened windows with the veranda J. The dining room F is 18 by 21 feet, and has a butler's pantry G connected to the kitchen by a small slide door. Passing from the hall or dining room to the kitchen H, we find on the left a flight of private stairs leading to the lobby P and bathroom N, on second floor. The kitchen is 16 by 17 feet, and has a rear door. A manifest improvement here would be the addition of an out-kitchen or wash-house: no home can be called complete except such domestic operations as cannot be postponed for fair weather can all be carried on under shelter. A veranda I forms a very useful and agreeable shelter to the rear entrance of main hall.

¶ On the second floor, picture 120, L is the main hall. Five apartments, respectively marked M, afford an unusual amount of bedroom accommodation. All these rooms are provided with closets; these may be omitted, should the proprietor prefer movable wardrobes. A very appropriate style of wardrobe for these rooms is shown on plate 6, of furniture designs. O is a bedroom, which any housekeeper will readily find use for.


¶ This house should be built of brick. If fine material is used for facings, and the work laid secret-bond throughout, painting may be resorted to with very good results. The mortar-joints in this case should not be tucked, but struck flush, so as to present an even surface when finished.

¶ The drive, cornices, verandas, and ventilator will be wood, and should be painted and sanded to correspond with the body of the building. The umbrage over the windows is designed to be supported on wooden brackets, the covering itself being tin. The roof of the building throughout may be tin or a shingle roof, as found most expedient.

¶ Stone heads and sills for the openings, and stone water-table should be procured for this design, if possible. Whatever color these may be - and we should prefer some one of the qualities already named, being careful to avoid cold, gray tints - harmony should be preserved by imitating it in painting the walls with the allowance of a few shades of difference in the strength of tint. With the darker qualities of stone, the walls should be kept lighter than the dressings, and vice versa.

Cost Estimate

¶ Built as above described, the material being of good quality and the workmanship well executed, the cost of this house will not vary much from $7000 (1861 price).

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