Here is a custom home floor plan that I really like the looks of. There are houses like this here and there in my hometown and I’ve always admired them. This description of a five-room cottage house is from 1915.
A cobblestone trim with shingle siding gives this five room cottage house a distinguished appearance.
An interesting effect is produced by giving different angles and pitches to the roof, which effect is extended out over the front steps by the level top of the pergola. It is not often that a roof is designed commencing with a level, then stepping up to square pitch.
The rubble stone wall piers and chimney all help to produce an unusual front. The manner of shingling the sides of the house is different from the ordinary, but it helps to carry out the architectural effect as intended.
This manner of siding houses uses just about as many shingles as it does to space them evenly, but it gets away from the ordinary way of laying shingles and It makes a distinction between the sides of the house and the roof. The joints are broken the same and the covering is just as thick and valuable, the only difference is in the appearance.
The windows are built on the multiple window plan, but they are so arranged as to produce the casement window appearance. Because of the double sash, any window may be opened at the top or bottom in the usual way. They may be screened, curtained and shaded according to the best custom so that the women have no objections to offer. This probably accounts for the use of so many windows built in this way. Woodworking factories make box frames any size and to contain as many windows as the plan calls for. There are weight boxes between each two windows, so the sashes are hung by sash weights in the usual way. The idea is new in-house lighting.
Twenty or thirty years ago the fad was to make windows narrow. Some of them were mere slits in the wall. Sometimes the wall was beveled away outside to admit slanting rays of light into the darkened rooms. But people soon tired of such dungeons, and the fashion pendulum seems to have swung clear over in the other direction and the style now demands as much light and sunshine as possible.
Years ago windows were fitted with outside blinds. It was customary for the women to go around each morning and close the blinds to keep the sun from fading the carpets. Because of the advantages of polished or varnished hardwood floors and numerous rugs, housekeepers are not so much afraid of fading colors. Also, manufacturers have learned how to use better dyes, but in all probability the chief reason is better education in regard to health.
The world progresses slowly, but it is evident that the different subjects taught in schools are broadening the minds of pupils so that as they grow up the old ignorant notions of the danger lurking in the sunshine and some other back numbers are laughed out of existence. The improved microscopes which have helped to broaden the study of bacteriology have done more to eradicate disease and to install sensible ideas, many of which have really become fashions, than all the preaching of old-time doctors.
A study of this cottage house plan shows more window surface than a more expensive house built years ago. When the window shades are rolled up to the top the house is as light as a new office building. There are no dark corners for the harboring of dirt and bacteria.
The plan shows that the front of the cottage is given up entirely to comfort. There is a living room 22 by 14 feet, with a sun parlor loggia 11 feet by 7 feet 0, inches arranged in such a manner that both rooms are comfortable in winter as well as in summer.
The large cobblestone chimney is built especially to provide a fireplace for one end of the fine living room. The cobblestone finish may be reproduced in the living room or not, as the owner wishes.
Cobblestone for inside finish has never become very popular. However, if the stones used are carefully selected for color, the finished chimney and fireplaces may be made very attractive. The stones that are polished by rain, snow and sunshine acquire colors soft in tone and they may be selected to blend together harmoniously to build up a work of art. This part of the decoration belongs to the owner. The stone mason will place the cobblestone in any position required, but the superintendence of the owner will be necessary to bring about the desired result.
The sliding door which connects the dining room with the parlor has a rather wide opening. Wide doorways are used in very small houses. In fact, it would almost appear that the widest doors are fitted into the smallest houses. Wide doors are a necessity to accommodate modern furniture. Tho big upholstered chairs and davenports require more than an ordinary doorway to pass them through.
There is an extension built out from the dining room to accommodate a built-in buffet or sideboard. This extension is a study because of the manner in which the built-in, cabinet work is made. Such designs show the care with which modern houses are put together. Several odd-shaped windows built into this extension are intended to admit plenty of light to the dining room and to merge with the built-in cabinet work in such a way as to create envy among the neighbors.
The two bedrooms and the bathroom are connected by a short hallway with doors opening both into the dining room and kitchen. The kitchen, pantry, cellar-way and back porch, of this little cottage house, are very compact and conveniently arranged for doing the housework. In a cottage, more attention usually is paid to the cellar than in houses, which is one reason for designing a good stairway to go down to the basement. The basement in a cottage house often is used for different kinds of storage, and there are a good many trips made down and up in the course of a work day.
At a hundred years old, I still consider this custom home floor plan to be quite nice.