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HOW TO BUILD A BUNGALOW
THE term "Bungalow" in the process of transplantation from the banks of the Ganges to the shores of Saranac Lake and other summer abiding places, has lost its significance in a large measure; the American bungalow being nothing more or less than a summer residence of extreme simplicity, of economic construction and intended for more or less primitive living. In too many instances the summer residence, in spite of the every appeal from the woods, the streams and the rocks for simplicity, is but an illy-designed suburban house taken bodily, in many instances, from architectural pattern books.
In response to many requests The Craftsman presents herewith various drawings in which it is intended to give a solution of the problem. The exterior presents a combination of materials easily obtainable in any locality, which may be put together by any man having the slightest knowledge of mason-work and carpentry. The building is constructed in the usual manner of the balloon framed houses, covered with sheathing tarred paper, over which are placed large pine, cedar, or red-wood shingles, as are most available in the locality in which the building is situated. It is purposed to stain these shingles a dull burnt sienna color, and the roof in a color technically known as silver-stain. This sienna color, in a very short time, comes to look like an autumn oak leaf; and this, together with the rough stone of the large chimney, tends to tie the building to its surroundings and to give it the seeming of a growth rather than of a creation. It is a curious fact that the principles laid down by the late lamented Frederick Law Olmsted, relative to the coloration of buildings with regard to their surroundings,—principles so capable of demonstration and so obvious,—should meet with so little recognition; and that, instead of structures which seem to grow from the plain or the forest and become a part of the landscape, we have otherwise admirable architectural efforts that affront the sensitive eye; crying aloud in white lead and yellow ochre the blindness of the owner to even the A B C of decorative fitness. The large and spacious veranda, the simple forms of the roof, and the short distances between joints (eight feet, six inches) tend to give the construction an air of genuine homeliness: a quality in design much to be sought for and not always attained. It is, however, a subject for congratulation that the country side is no longer affronted with lean, narrow, two-story houses surmounted by mansard roofs, and situated on farms of anywhere from seventy-five to two hundred acres; the designers of these monstrosities seeming to have forgotten that the mansard roof was the result of the endeavor to evade the building laws of Paris, and equally seeming to be unconscious of the fact that the building laws on the average farm are not quite so stringent.
The interior is as simple as the outside, and while presenting no particular novelty of plan or construction, is deemed worthy of consideration. In order that the sylvan note may be retained equally as in the outside, the interior, as far as its color is concerned, aspires to harmonize with the dull but rich tones of autumnal oak leaves. This quality, which is only too often neglected, should be strongly insisted upon in all structures of this nature, as it is not easy of accomplishment to be in touch with Nature and at the same time to live in an environment of white and gold, accented with Louis XV. furniture.
The large general living room, with an ample fire-place and the bookcase for the few necessary volumes of summer reading, together with the other features indicated by the perspective drawing, gives it a certain distinction that is oftentimes lacking in erections of this class. The walls of this room are sheathed and covered with burlap of a dull olive yellow, while the exposed construction of the ceiling is stained a wet mossy green color, by a mixture, which, while inappropriate to side walls, seems on the ceiling, where it may not be handled, to serve the purpose better than anything else. Water color tempered with glycerine,—the glycerine never drying as oils would do,—in this instance serves the purpose very much better and gives to the color incorporated in it a suggestion of the woodland to be obtained in no other manner. The floor is of hard maple, and will receive a dark shade of brown, considerably lower in value than any other color in the room. The balance of the woodwork throughout the house is preferably of cypress; but should contingencies require, it may be of hemlock. The visible stone-work of the fire-place (if it can be obtained), will be of limestone that has weathered by exposure a sufficient length of time to give it that characteristic spongy look found in the strippings of limestone quarries. This treatment, if used with raked-out joints, is extremely effective and will harmonize admirably with the simplicity of the plans of the house, and, at the same time, give a strong masculine note. From the height of the top of the door to the underside of the ceiling extends a frieze in stencil, of conventional objects relating to primitive life, done in the same straightforward manner as the balance of the structure. In this decoration the slightest attempt at anything beyond pure symbolism would result in disaster, as the building is essentially primitive in its general design, and equally so should be the decoration. This arrangement, together with window hangings of extreme simplicity, such as a figured creton in varying shades of pale yellow accented with dull red, should satisfactorily complete the room.
The dining-alcove, opening from this apartment, being a continuation of the living room, is treated in the same manner. The permanent fittings of the alcove consist of a primitive sideboard and a convenient and unobtrusive serving shelf.
The alcove, separated from the living room by the arch and two posts, as indicated in the drawing, is so arranged that it may be used either as a portion of the living room, or as a provision for guests, as a bedchamber. It is provided with a couch, which may serve as a bed, a chest of drawers, a pier glass and a writing desk; the pier glass facing the large fireplace in the living room and reflecting the same. The kitchen, and its accompanying offices, are, as this bungalow is intended for summer occupation only, semi-detached and only connected by means of a covered way, from which, except in inclement weather, the glass and sash are removed. For obvious reasons the cellarage for the kitchen is omitted and such storage as is desired is provided for on the ground floor. The bed rooms are moderately spacious and easy of ventilation. The treatment of the bed room, as far as material and color are concerned, is identical with that of the living room: viz., burlap side walls and stained construction of the ceiling; the former of olive green; the latter of moss green.
The sanitary arrangements of the bungalow consist of a single bath room on the second story, supplied with a tub and an earth closet, together with a lavatory on the ground floor; and the provisions for water are made by the wind-mill shown.
In connection with these drawings is a scheme which, for the usual site in which this bungalow would be built, seems adequate, proper, and tending to unite the structure to its surroundings without the usual abrupt transition from handicraft to Nature.
THE BUNGALOW'S FURNITURE
If, after having been built with great respect for harmony and appropriateness, the bungalow should be filled with the usual collection of badly designed and inadequate furniture, the ensemble would be distressing, and the thought involved in the structure of the building thrown away. The term furniture implies, per se, movable portions of the building, and, as such, should be conceived by the designer. Otherwise, nine times out of ten, an unpleasant sense of incongruity prevails. The importance of unity between the furniture and the structure, in spite of the fact that every writer on the topic has insisted upon it, in the majority of instances is further from realization than it was in the Stone Age, when, by force of circumstances, harmony of manners, methods and materials was a necessity. It is not intended by this to suggest that we should return to that period, but to emphasize the fact that necessity involves simplicity and that simplicity is the key note of harmony. This furniture, while adapted with much precision to its various functions, is of almost primitive directness. It is done in oak with a pale olive Craftsman finish, and thus becomes an integral part of the bungalow.
Whatever hardware is used in connection with this furniture is of wrought-iron, in the "Russian finish," which falls into place very readily in the general scheme.
Great care has been taken in furnishing this bungalow to omit every article that is not absolutely essential to the comfort or the convenience of the occupants, it not being intended to make the building in a small way a cheap museum to be indifferently managed by an amateur curator, as is usually the case in urban residences and frequently happens in the summer cottage, to the great disturbance of the simple life.
A FOREST BUNGALOW
WORDS themselves, like the thoughts of which they are the winged messengers, modify their meaning, as they pass from mouth to mouth. Formerly, the name Bungalow, when pronounced, reflected in the minds of those who heard it pic-tures of the East Indies. And to those who were unable to represent to themselves the suburbs of Bombay or Calcutta, the dictionaries offered the following definition:
"Bungalow,—a house or cottage of a single story, with a tiled or thatched roof."
Such definition is no longer adequate. The idea of the convenient little habitation has developed and extended during its passage to new countries. The single story and thatch, or tiles, are no longer the essentials of the Bungalow. Camps or cottages passing under this name, and in which the primitive type native to British India is wholly obscured, accent the Atlantic coast, the Adirondack forests, and the shores of the Saint Lawrence. A structure of the later, more advanced type, as may be learned by reference to the accompanying illustrations, is now offered by The Craftsman, in response to the demands of the vacation period.
The Bungalow here presented in elevation, is designed to be set low, with the first floor at a level not exceeding eight inches above the surrounding grade.
The building is supported by rough piers of masonry extending below the frost line; while the pillars upholding the roof are tree trunks, still covered with their bark.
The structural timber employed is hemlock or spruce, rough from the mill; the frame being covered with matched boards, surfaced on the inner side. This boarding may be overlaid on the outer side with building paper, in order to assure additional warmth, and the walls are lastly covered with split shingles, laid wide to the weather and left to acquire a natural stain. The large area of the roof with its dormers, is also covered by shingles; in this instance of the ordinary kind; brush-coated to a deep moss-green.
The batten doors can easily be made upon the site; the flooring of the veranda is of two-inch plank; the chimney is built of boulders gathered from the locality, with field stones used as binders to strengthen the masonry.
The space of the first floor is apportioned into a living room, a bed room and a kitchen.
The first of these rooms has dimensions of fourteen feet, six inches by twenty-four feet; one end being occupied by a fire-place large enough to contain a four foot log. The hearth is formed of large flat stones set in a bed of earth, and the floor of the room is laid in matched pine boards, six inches in width. The studding of the side walls is left exposed with the intervening panels either stained to a warm brown, or hung with burlap, as desired. The ceiling is not covered: the exposed floor-joists of the second story thus giving it a beamed effect.
A cross-section at the rear of the building contains, at the right: a bedroom, ten by fifteen feet in size, with dependent closet; next, an ample space is devoted to the staircase which opens into the living room; while the large square remaining at the left of the rear cross-section, forms a well-ventilated, convenient kitchen, provided with a built-in cupboard, a sink with drain-board, and a second cupboard or closet made by utilizing the space beneath the stairs.
The second floor contains three bedrooms, with storage room under the eaves at the rear of the building: this extension of space being in itself a proof that the Bungalow, in its later development, is a habitation much more convenient and agreeable than existed in its primitive form.
THE CALIFORNIA BUNGALOW: A STYLE OF ARCHITECTURE WHICH EXPRESSES THE INDIVIDUALITY AND FREEDOM CHARACTERISTIC OF OUR WESTERN COAST
WE have the pleasure of publishing in this issue of THE CRAFTSMAN some of the best examples that have come to us of the new American architecture, which as yet can hardly be considered a style so much as a series of individual plans adapted to climatic conditions and to the needs of daily living, and in harmony with the natural environment and contour of the landscape. In a country like our own, where all these requirements vary so widely, any one style would be altogether inadequate, but the new architecture that is so rapidly and steadily developing in America is rather a general expression of that spirit of individuality and freedom which is especially characteristic of this country. In the north and east, for example, a style of building is required which would be absolutely out of harmony with the life and surroundings to be found in the south and west, and in California,—especially in the southern part of the state,—conditions prevail which are found hardly anywhere else on the continent. For fully eight months in the year the constant sunshine, unbroken by clouds or storms and relieved only by an occasional fog drifting in from the ocean, permits a life that is practically all out-of-doors, or, at all events, maintains such a friendly relation with out-of-doors that the house seems more in the nature of a temporary shelter and resting place than a building designed to be lived in all the time and to afford constant protection from the elements.
The country out there is one of great restful spaces, with wide plains and low, rolling hills which lead up gradually to the stupendous mountain walls of the Sierra Nevada and the lesser but still imposing peaks of the Coast Range and the Sierra Madre. There are no thickets of slim saplings and green undergrowth, no little creeks and springs, and none of the somewhat aggressive picturesqueness found at every hand in the east; only huge grain fields, orchards and vineyards and wide stretches of sun-dried grass, scorched to a warm, tawny brown during the long rainless season that follows the brief winter of green grass and wild flowers. The colors, too, are different. Our watery, gray-blue skies and the blue haze of the distance is replaced by burning sapphire overhead and an atmosphere so filled with the golden dust haze that all distance disappears in a mist of warm rosy violet.
In a country with the contour and coloring of Southern California there can be no style of architecture so harmonious as that founded directly upon the old Mission buildings, and no material that blends so beautifully with the colors about it as some modification of the old adobe or sun-dried brick, covered with creamy plaster. The old Mission padres knew what they were about, and in nothing that remains of their work is this knowledge more convincingly shown than in the plans of the old Mission buildings which were the forerunners of the modern adobe houses. Even the adobe walls, which were formerly erected for defence against hostile Indians outside the Mission grounds and the protection not only of the monks but of the Mission Indians who sought refuge within the enclosures, are now modified into garden walls which afford complete seclusion, if desired, by giving a garden close, filled with green grass and tropical foliage, which is almost a part of the house.
Messrs. Myron Hunt and Elmer Grey, the architects who designed the houses shown here, are pioneers in the development of the new American architecture. They both brought to their work in Southern California the energy and progressive spirit of the Middle West and the training of finished architects. Mr. Hunt went to Los Angeles from Chicago and Mr. Grey from Milwaukee, both in search of the improved health that is to be found in the mild and equable climate of Southern California, and in going out there both found the ideal conditions for the full development of a very unusual gift for designing simple and beautiful buildings, which are also remarkable examples of direct thought based on the fundamental principle of response to need. As Mr. Grey says:
Excerpted from CRAFSTMAN BUNGALOWS by Gustav Stickley. Copyright © 1988 Dover Publications, Inc.. Excerpted by permission of Dover Publications, Inc..
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