Victorian Dwellings for Village and Country (1885)

Victorian Dwellings for Village and Country (1885)

by S. B. Reed

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Reprint of rare catalog includes floor plans and elevations for 35 different residences, from a one-story seaside summer cottage ($700) to a five-story villa with over 15 rooms, furnace, gas, and "speaking tubes" ($10,000). Invaluable to preservationists, home restorers and anyone intrigued by social and economic aspects of late-Victorian life. 149 illustrations.


Reprint of rare catalog includes floor plans and elevations for 35 different residences, from a one-story seaside summer cottage ($700) to a five-story villa with over 15 rooms, furnace, gas, and "speaking tubes" ($10,000). Invaluable to preservationists, home restorers and anyone intrigued by social and economic aspects of late-Victorian life. 149 illustrations.

Editorial Reviews

In an effort to solicit business, American architects of the Victorian era published catalogs of their residential designs. Specifying construction materials, anticipated costs, plumbing, fixtures, and finishing details, these volumes offered a diversity of plans that embraced a range of styles and prices. This reprint, originally published in 1885, is one such archive. Included are floor plans and elevations for 35 different residences. Of interest to students of architecture and home restorers. No index. Annotation c. by Book News, Inc., Portland, Or.

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Victorian Dwellings for Village and Country

By S. B. Reed

Dover Publications, Inc.

Copyright © 1999 Dover Publications, Inc.
All rights reserved.
ISBN: 978-0-486-15834-1





A NEAT one-story dwelling, originally designed as a Sea Side Summer Cottage. It is given the first place in this volume because of its low cost and adaptability to the wants of the larger number with limited means desiring and seeking houses of their own. Any man of average intelligence having industrious and frugal habits may possess and enjoy such a home at once, and realize a sense of independence and self respect quite unknown to the ordinary tenant. Instinctively walks, flower beds, shrubbery and grape vines are added to beautify and increase the value of such property, so that when the cottage is out-grown it will bring its cost to aid in the erection or purchase of a larger dwelling.

The plan on the opposite page shows the interior arrangement. The front entrance opens to a vestibule or small hall, and from it the two principal rooms, parlor and living room, are entered. At the rear is the bed room. A cellar with brick walls and outside entrance is built under the main part, giving ample space for a work room, fuel, etc. The foundations show two feet above grade, allowing space for suitable window openings. In all frame buildings for this climate, double siding is necessary to insure comfort within. Proprietors of estates desiring low-priced cottages for gatemen, gardeners or other help, will also be interested in this plan.





THIS is a cosy cottage suitable for a small family. Although the outlines are in every respect the most simple, the treatment of the openings and gables is such as make the whole attractive. It contains three rooms on the first floor, with open attic above, and cellar below. The front porch is embraced within the square of the building under the main roof and leads to the small hall which is lighted by a small window of colored glass. The two principal rooms are entered from the front hall, and a rear entrance is provided for the rear. The bed room is in the more retired portion. A stairway leads from the kitchen or living room to the attic. The attic is floored, and if desired may be divided into three bed rooms. The whole width of the building is eigteen feet and may be set on an ordinary twenty-five foot lot and leave passage ways at either side. The foundations extend three feet above grade, which is raised one foot above the natural land by use of the loose earth taken from the cellar excavation ; this insures dryness of the outside walks and gives desirable elevation to the whole for appearance. The estimate on opposite page shows the materials used in the construction, and their cost.




COSTING $1,000.

THIS is a one and a half story cottage of six rooms designed for a corner plot. It has plain outlines with the addition of a projecting or overhanging front pediment, and shingled sides ; altogether giving an appearance in harmony with rural surroundings. The hall is entered from a porch at the side, and adjoins the parlor and living room. The bed room has an outlook to the front. The stairs in the hall lead to the second story, where there are three chambers. A cellar under the whole with stairs under the main flight from the kitchen provides ample space for fuel, stores, etc. The estimate on opposite page indicates the general character of the building. Observe that the timber is thoroughly seasoned and inclosed with sheathing and paper, and then shingled, so that the sides have three coverings, insuring protection from both outward cold in winter and heat in summer. A liberal amount is allowed for painting, which for good effects should not in any case be slighted.




COSTING $1,100.

THIS is a cottage with five rooms with the necessary halls, closets, and cellar, quite sufficient for a small family. The main floor dimensions are sixteen by twenty-four, with side vestibule five by seven feet square. The height of the first story is nine feet, and of the second story eight feet. The foundations are six and one-half feet high. The entire outside of the frame work is sheathed with matched boarding, rosin-sized sheathing felt, and clapboarded to the height of the first story with shingles above, except in front, which is paneled as indicated. The sashes have small lights in dull tints in upper parts. The chimney is located near the center of the building, both for convenience and the saving of heat. The cellar walls show three feet above ground and admit of good sized windows for lighting and ventilation. The outside entrance to the cellar is under the vestibule. When located in sandy soils this cellar may be partitioned as shown in the first story, adding two finished rooms to the capacity of the house, which would serve acceptably as dining room and kitchen. The temperature of such basement rooms is less variable, because protected from the sun in summer, and from frost in winter.




COSTING $1,200.

THIS plan was intended for a low priced village house, with front of sufficient elevation to conform somewhat with adjoining street dwellings in line with it. In the preparation of plans, consideration should always be given to the neighboring conditions with which they are ever after to be related. Our dwellings, even if small, should contribute to good taste and inspire respect. There is no comfort in feeling that what we do is at variance with refined sentiment. In the front of this cottage there are marked features of variety to make it interesting. There is a hall, five rooms and an attic shown on the plans. The front bed room extends over the porch, enlarging it to double the size shown. A cellar with brick walls is built under the main part, with stairs under the main flight, and two front windows. A pump and sink are set in the kitchen. In painting the outside, three colors should be used to give proper finish and effect.




COSTING $1,200.

IN some respects this plan is similar to the Altoona (design IV). It ! is larger, and consequently, more roomy. The main stairs are placed in the center between two good sized rooms in the first story. The cellar stairs are placed under the upper flight and lead to a cellar extending under the entire building, with outside door under the upper entrance. In some instances parties have finished off the front part of the cellar as a kitchen and put in a dumb waiter connecting with the living room, which served nicely in relieving the principal rooms of heavy work. Such a kitchen costs little when space is already provided, and the convenience of being on a level with the cellar where fuel and stores are kept, pays for the expense ; besides, basement rooms are less affected by outward temperature, and are therefore better adapted for kitchen work. A small genteel family would find this cottage very convenient and pleasant.




COSTING $1,500.

THIS is a genteel cottage of seven rooms with the usual requirement of halls and closets. The main part is full two-story. In appearance this cottage is sufficiently trim and neat to satisfy persons of the most refined tastes. It is suited to either village or country location, and can be set on a twenty-five foot lot, leaving five feet for walks. The general dimensions are such that thirteen foot materials can be used all through in construction. The cellar is equal in size with the first floor, and its walls show three feet above ground. The excavations for the cellar are made to the depth of two and one-half feet, and the earth raised one foot around the building. Unless the grounds are already very high, the earth taken from such excavations should always be used in grading around the buildings, so as to shed off all water from the grounds and walks.




COSTING $1 500.

THIS is a very desirable cottage of eight rooms with the usual halls and closets. It is well calculated to make a comfortable home for a genteel family of six persons. Several houses have been built from this plan within a short distance of this city. In some instances when desired to occupy but a single lot, the kitchen is placed in the rear instead of at the side as shown in the elevation. In either case the cost is the same. Where sufficient ground is allowed it is preferable to have the kitchen at the side. The cellar is under the main part only, with piers supporting the extension. The outside painting is in olive green and Indian reds, in varying shades; sashes, coach black ; doors, bronze green with ebony mouldings. This cottage is recommended to consideration as an economical home suited to almost any situation. Its character and appearance are such that if placed near a more pretentious structure it would not detract from it.




COSTING $2,000.

THE purpose in preparing this plan was to accommodate two small families, and at the same time provide for its future use as a single house. It will be seen that there are two front doors, one opening to the clear hall connecting with the rooms of the first story, the other opening to the stair hall leading to the second story. These halls do not communicate with each other except through the passage to the cellar stairs from each hall. (The door between halls is an error in the engraving.) It is suggested that such an arrangement would suit parties of limited means who see their way to owning such a home in the near future, but build now partly on credit, and who would at first find sufficient accommodation in the first story. A tenant occupying the second story at a fair rental would be made to pay the interest on the entire investment. In this way the owner saves his own rent to apply in paying off his indebtedness, and is finally able to occupy the whole house himself. Then by removing the partitions dividing the halls he would convert the two into a pleasant modern hall and reception room for his own use, when he would be in possession of the whole.




COSTING $2,000.

THIS is a modern cottage of seven rooms, a large reception hall, work kitchen, bath room and closets. In this plan there are no waste spaces. The interior is divided in the simplest manner for convenience. The three principal rooms of the first story open directly from the main hall. The four chambers and bath room of the second story are reached through the five doors surrounding the top landing of the main stairs. The outlines are compact, and the exterior dressings are of tasteful design. The front veranda and the balcony above are pleasing features. The balcony floor is tinned and has a covering of slat work to prevent injury. One or both of the front chambers may have doors opening to the balcony as desired. A cellar with brick walls under the whole building gives ample space for fuel, etc. A portable furnace placed in this cellar, with suitable pipes and registers, would be the most desirable arrangement for warming the principal rooms.



Desion XI

COSTING $2.000 and $2,300.

A BLOCK of four houses of seven rooms each. One house at the right is of brick, the other three of frame. There is economy in the block system for buildings of this class. Saving in first cost, as well as in future repairs. They are much more comfortable than single houses, because less affected by extremes of outward temperature.




IT rarely happens that two persons desire to build exactly alike. There is no reason why they should do so, unless several similar buildings are to be erected at one and the same time, when a duplication of parts saves greatly in time and expense. Varying circumstances and tastes usually suggest some special change in any chosen plan.

Before building it is best to examine and study developed and tested plans and learn what has been accomplished for a given sum. Generally some plan will be found embracing quite nearly the arrangement and accommodation desired. With the help of such a plan as a basis to start from, it will be an easy matter to point out needed changes and direct the preparation of special plans to suit. Should the plan found be satisfactory as it is, without change, much study and time will be saved.

In any case do not blunder by contracting for the erection of buildings without first consulting with an experienced architect, and having definite plans, detail drawings and specifications made, so that all parties shall fully understand every particular before venturing to be bound by contract. Much misunderstanding, worry and money may be saved by taking this advice at the outset. Experiences in building come too late to serve in first attempts for a home, and a second is rarely permitted the same individual unless of a speculative turn.

During my own many years' experience as an architect, in the projection of buildings in nearly every State of this country, for all sorts of people of every variety of temperament and degree of intelligence, not one of my clients has ever been thereby involved in a law suit, and but one has preferred a settlement by arbitration. This good fortune is due entirely to perfect understanding and agreement between all parties at the start.

Be frank with your architect; otherwise, you can never obtain the best results of his service. Do not lead him to believe that a certain sum is your limit, meanwhile reserving from him the fact that you intend spending a much larger amount on your building. You may be sure that the architect will gauge his work and plan for as much in dimensions, arrangement and finish as is possible on the basis of the sum named. If afterwards he is compelled to mutilate his perfected plans by enlargements and additions until the larger amount is reached, the whole must be discreditable and unsatisfactory to all concerned. Reviewing such an experience, the architect often reflects upon what better he could and would have done if he had known the real purpose at first. A perfect plan designed to cost five thousand dollars is not improved by spending eight thousand upon it. If the larger sum is to be expended, have the plans designed accordingly.




COSTING $2,200.

THIS is a desirable cottage of seven rooms adapted to village or country. It covers a space of thirty feet square, and is modern in style and finish, with outlines sufficiently broken to give a pleasing variety.

The interior is convenient, with sufficient accommodations for an average sized family. The main hall is entered from the front veranda, and from it the principal rooms of the first story are reached. The main stairs lead to a square in the second story, where four doors lead to as many rooms. The cellar is full-sized with stairs leading directly to it from the kitchen. If desired this cellar may be divided along the line of the central girder and the portion at the left side floored and finished as a basement for kitchen work. In such case the room above would serve as a dining room, when a dumb waiter should be placed in the pantry to make the arrangement complete. Such basements are desirable for many reasons where the soil is sandy and dryness is assured. The sum mentioned is sufficient to build and complete plainly.




COSTING $2,500.

THIS cottage is especially suited to the open country. The spreading roofs with wide projections of eaves and the shady verandas afford grateful protection from sun heat, and suggest an adaptation to either the Middle or the Southern States. The exterior covering is doubled. The frame being first sheathed over with matched boarding, and secondly clap-boarded and shingled, as indicated in the elevations. The roofs are shingled on lath. The interior arrangement is in some respects novel. The principal hall is in a front central projection, so arranged as not to interfere with the front windows of the principal rooms, and obviates separating those rooms by the usual central hall. There is a decided advantage in having those two rooms connect, either through sliding doors or a portier. This is an economical structure, as may be inferred from the estimate on the opposite page.


Excerpted from Victorian Dwellings for Village and Country by S. B. Reed. Copyright © 1999 Dover Publications, Inc.. Excerpted by permission of Dover Publications, Inc..
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
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