The Most Popular Homes of the Twenties

The Most Popular Homes of the Twenties

by William A. Radford, Daniel D. Reiff

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Based on a rare 1925 catalog, this showcase of one of the most beloved eras of American architecture features floor plans, construction details, and photos of twenty-six homes. Styles range from English cottages and Spanish bungalows to Dutch colonials, New England farmhouses, and Italianate designs.
More than 250 illustrations, and 21 color plates, complement the text, which contains detailed descriptions of exteriors and interiors. Supplementary articles explain how to convert porches into living space, install plumbing, and build garages. Other home-improvement suggestions offer tips on landscaping gardens and designing interior woodwork. Daniel D. Reiff, an authority on antique house-plan books, offers an informative introduction that places these authentic views of early-twentieth-century American architecture into a wider context.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780486156439
Publisher: Dover Publications
Publication date: 02/20/2013
Series: Dover Architecture
Sold by: Barnes & Noble
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 176
File size: 46 MB
Note: This product may take a few minutes to download.

About the Author

William A. Radford is also the author of the Dover book Architectural Details and Measured Drawings of Houses of the Twenties.

Read an Excerpt

The Most Popular Homes of the Twenties

By William A. Radford

Dover Publications, Inc.

Copyright © 2009 Daniel Reiff
All rights reserved.
ISBN: 978-0-486-15643-9


The Alpena

This English Cottage Style Home, in Brick and Stucco, is the Product of a High Standard of Planning and Construction

HERE is an English cottage style house in which quality is the dominating characteristic. It is one of a group, built in Des Moines, Iowa, which were planned with the thought that those who are in the market for small homes of five or six rooms desire and appreciate the same high type of construction which is most generally associated with the larger and more costly dwellings. How well this ideal was carried out is graphically pictured in the illustrations on this and the two following pages.

A pleasing combination of brick and stucco is used for the exterior while the roof is appropriately covered with shingles laid wide to weather. The lines of the house are harmonious and the one story sunroom at the left is balanced by the pergola over the driveway at the opposite side. A decorative touch is added by the use of flower boxes at the windows and small trees at either side of the entrance. This entrance is simple but effective and is perfectly fitted to the house to which it gives access.

The interior shows the same careful planning and construction throughout that is found in large and costly houses. On the first floor there are three major rooms, a sunroom and a breakfast room. This floor is divided by a central hall. At the left is the large living room with a neat brick fireplace at one end, flanked by built-in book-cases. French doors open into the sun room which is almost completely enclosed with glass on three sides.

Across the hall is found another cheerful room. The dining room is well lighted by windows on two sides. It is directly connected with the kitchen at the rear. This latter room is all that the modern housekeeper could ask in cleaniness and convenience. White tile is freely used and the white enamel sink is surrounded with handy built-in cupboards, both above and below.

Just off this kitchen is a breakfast room of the approved Pullman type and near the door into the hallway are found the rear entrance and basement stairs. At the front of the hall a stairway leads to the second floor. This floor is divided into two large bedrooms with ample closets and a bathroom. Both bedrooms have windows on two sides and adequate space for all necessary furniture. A linen closet is included in the bathroom plan.


The Amarillo A Bungalow in the Spanish Style

New Note in Residence Architecture Struck by Adaptations of Spanish Pioneer Models, With High Chapel-Roof Interiors

For Perspective in Full Colors, see page 21.

"DON'T you think the modern renaissance of the Spanish type of residence worth featuring?" asks not one home builder, but many. We do. The color sketch on page 21 and the photo below, with the following floor plans, is as smart a home as ever graced a building site. It is,—well, rather exotic. It owes its American being to the Spanish pioneers who reproduced in the New World the typical architecture of old Spain. Like Spain, too, we have extremes of temperature which vary from the boasted California climate to the more rigorous New England winter, and the bungalow is of a kind of construction which can be both cool in summer and warm in winter.

The exterior is of a vari-colored stucco, against which the brightly colored awnings stand in bright contrast. The warm red of the roof tiles and the grass-defined flags of the walk and driveway are two other effective color touches. Reference to the detailed plans following shows a Chapel Roofed Living Room—

The living room, entered from the terrace entry has the popular style of chapel ceiling, extending upward to the roof. It is a very well proportioned room, and the presence of colored electric light bulbs inside the wood cornice enables different colors to be thrown against the ceiling. In fact, the whole character of the room may be changed by judicious manipulation of these indirect lights, controlled as they are by a switch near the door. The French doors opening on the front terrace look out upon a semi-patio; the enclosed patio typical of real Spanish homes seems not to be preferred in American adaptations.

There is a dining room, with terrace; a kitchen, small, but so compact it is of great convenience; three bedrooms and a bathroom.


The Albion A Pleasing Western Style Colonial

Either in Winter Colors or Summer Landscaping, This 6-Room, Sun-Parlor, and 2-Bath Home Wins on the Three Essentials—Economy Convenience and Good Looks

For Perspective in Full Colors, see page 22

EQUALLY pretty in winter or in summer is the verdict on The Albion. We consider it so good, both exteriorly and interiorly, that we have felt justified in devoting to it six pages: Page 22 in full colors, this page, and the four pages of plans following. These are shown in exact scale, enabling you to reconstruct this splendid home to meet the requirements of any intending home builders in your locality.

The pleasing outward appeal of this house is due to the intelligent use of comparatively simple structural details. The interior arrangement is no less admirable, the porch giving into a roomy reception hall, with a handsome Colonial staircase, and closet at the end for outdoor wraps. To the left of the hall opens the living room, 23 feet long by 13 feet 3 inches wide, and with a well proportioned fireplace. Observe the clear wall spaces which lend themselves to the proper backgrounding of the home furnishings; and how the sun parlor, reached through its double French doors, helps give a most agreeable impression of airiness and comfort.

Crossing the hall again and going through double French doors we are in the dining room. This is 13 feet 3 inches by 14 feet, and will display any dining room furniture to good advantage. Double French doors lead out to the porch, and give a very pleasing prospect, as dining room doors and windows should. At the rear of the dining room we find the breakfast nook, for morning meal or children's lunch or before bedtime snack. The built-in china closet close by saves steps. Now we are in the kitchen, with everything truly arranged to make work a joy; well-placed range, refrigerator and sink with ample shelving; pantry, and rear entry.

Upstairs is a master's bedroom with bath; also two more bedrooms, and hall bathroom.

Building the Garage

Precautions Necessary in the Design and Construction of the One or Two-Car Residence Lot Garage, or the Garage Semi-Detached or Integral with the House

A TYPICAL construction development of the first 20 years of this twentieth century is the one or two-car garage. The advent of the automobile has caused a shifting of viewpoints, brought a new set of values and uses into our lives. The unsanitary barn or unsightly woodshed is gone from the back lot and the vicinity of most of our city residence and business sections. But the garage which takes its place possesses an inherent danger, unless properly constructed, that far offsets any gain in sanitation or comfort advantage.

If the garage is not properly constructed it is a menace to life and property. A garage should first of all have an incombustible floor. The choice is wide for any type of masonry or wooden wall. If an integral or semi-detached structure, one with the general design of the house, there must be a garage structure of unpierced partitions and ceilings that will meet the 1-hour fire test; the outside walls likewise must be fire-resistant, as well as the outside windows and the garage doors, in order to prevent flames from breaking out and spreading through windows or to the exterior woodwork above. The word "must" here is no legal or ordinance "must;" simply a step dictated by the ordinary standards of safe and sound and profitable construction.

Many materials are acceptable for such garage wall construction from the standpoint of meeting the standard 1-hour fire test recommended by the National Board of Fire Underwriters. Brick, hollow tile, concrete block, or gypsum block 4 inches thick, or reinforced concrete 3 inches thick. The walls may also be constructed of wooden studs, space about 16 inches center to center, with metal lath attached outside and inside. The outer lath could be plastered and back

plastered with Portland cement stucco; the inner lath plastered with ¾-inch Portland cement or gypsum plaster.

Assuming that this would be an integral, or semi-detached garage, the interior partitions separating the garage from the rest of the dwelling, ¾-inch Portland cement or gypsum plaster on metal lath, on both sides of studs spaced 16 inches apart, is satisfactory.

The combined floor and ceiling directly above the integral or semi-detached garage should be unpierced and have a fire resistance of one hour. Ceilings or roofs of reinforced concrete, or some other type of incombustible construction that meets the fire test. are best and most reliable. A good inexpensive overhead construction is obtained by using 2-inch or thicker floor joists, spacing them not more than 16 inches center to center, with proper bridging. The ceiling could be of heavy metal lath weighing not less than 3 pounds per square yard, and Portland cement or gypsum plaster not less than ¾-inch thick. The metal lath to be attached to the joists by 6-penny nails driven nearly home, with the heads turned over against the lath, which in turn is to be bent down G inches along the walls on all sides and securely attached to them. The flooring above the ceiling to be double, of 7/8-inch rough and finished floor boards, with a layer of asbestos or other high grade floor felt between.

Where a garage is located beneath a dwelling all outside doors and windows, with their frames and sash, should be of standard fireproof construction, glazed with wire glass. It is important that these have metal frames.

The opening from a dwelling into a garage should be restricted to a single doorway, protected by some standard swinging-self-closing fire door, with approved fire resistive hardware and frame without glass. If the doorway connects directly with a cellar or basement on the same or lower level, in which there is any furnace, boiler, gas fixture or any kind of nonelectrical heating device, the door sill should be raised about a foot above the garage floor level, or the doorway should lead into a vestibule which connects with the cellar or basement by a second door.

The reason for this is to prevent the fumes of gasoline which may leak or be spilled upon the floor from reaching a furnace fire or gas light which may be located in the lower part of the building. It is well known that gasoline vapors are heavier than air, and accumulate on a floor like water. They naturally will flow to any lower level. Should they come in contact with fire of any kind—even a spark —there will be ignition and a flash back to the starting point, causing an explosion.

If we consider the garage which is to be situated at some distance from the house, and not connected directly with it in any way, it is natural that many of the structural considerations governing the semi-detached or integral type of garage, considered above, do not apply. With the isolated one or two-car garage the fireproof door and windows are optional; personal likes or dislikes may dictate whether the structure is to be of wood frame. or brick, or of any of the favored types of stucco or concrete walls. But the design is important; it should tie up with that of the house.

Within, its concrete floor should be laid so as to drain naturally, and prevent dangerous accumulations of water, oil or grease. There could be a pit, also, to permit working underneath the car as occasion required, and covered at other times by boards that fitted snugly over the aperture in the floor. There should be a sink, with warm water available from the house. In fact, if it is at all practicable, steam or hot water heat piping could also be laid from the house to the garage, making it more comfortable in winter. Connecting to the electric lighting system in the house is both a safety measure and a great help.

In a one or two-car garage a glove-fit is foolish and uneconomical. A spare foot or two saves both nerves and fenders, to say nothing of time.

A shelf of the proper width and height for a workbench will be appreciated by the motorist and a small cabinet for the storage of extra casings and other equipment is a convenience which can be built readily.


The Alberhill

A Dutch Colonial of Rare Comfort

A CERTAIN homelike quality is found in a well designed Dutch Colonial house that appeals to many persons. This type of house is quiet and dignified. It allows the owner to give his individual taste full sway in furnishing and decorating.

The service arrangement of the first floor is very good. Here the architects have worked out a scheme that will delight the housewife. At one side of the kitchen is the entry with refrigerator iced from the entry, but with its front in the kitchen, to save steps. On the opposite side of the kitchen is arranged the pantry and the breakfast alcove. Steps to and from the dining room have been reduced to a minimum.

A built-in ironing board is provided in the kitchen.

Plenty of cupboard space is provided in both the kitchen and pantry.

A toilet room connects with the rear entry, so it is accessible from the service portion and from the living room.

Four bed rooms, two baths and very generous closets are well laid out on the second floor. The baths are together and are over the first floor toilet room, giving economical plumbing.

A servants' room and bath, and generous storage space are provided on the third floor.


The Atwood

Dutch Colonial Design Provides Residence of Substantial Beauty with Floor Plans which Insure Efficient Use of Space

For Perspective in Full Colors see page 39

HOMES of the Dutch Colonial type owe much of their popularity to the fact that their general shape allows a most efficient planning of the rooms in a home of moderate size.

The Atwood offers six major rooms of unusually generous proportions and a sun parlor. The dimensions of the home, without considering the sun porch, are 38 by 24½ feet, which will go nicely on a corner. This design is one which is exceptionally attractive in a setting of trees, as shown in the illustration.

A glance at the floor plans, on the opposite page, will show that the attractive entrance leads into a reception hall which houses the stairs. A hall stairway can be made one of the most attractive features of a home with proper design.

The living room, to the left of the reception hall, is one of graceful proportions and well designed lighting. The location of the fireplace will make for attractive grouping of furniture and the doors to the sun parlor will add much additional space to the room when they are open.

The dining room is of adequate size, made larger by the recess provided for the buffet. The kitchen has a large, well-planned pantry. The lavatory on the first floor is a useful feature.

The large bedroom on the second floor, with its fireplace and the dressing and clothes closet in one end of the room, is one of the attractive features of the home. The two additional bedrooms, one with a lavatory and both with closets, have lighting and ventilation from two sides and are of adequate size.

Working plans to scale with cross sections are presented on the four pages following.


Excerpted from The Most Popular Homes of the Twenties by William A. Radford. Copyright © 2009 Daniel Reiff. 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.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

Table of Contents


Title Page,
Copyright Page,
Introduction to the Dover Edition,
Our Front Cover Home - The Adrian,
The Alpena - This English Cottage Style Home, in Brick and Stucco, is the Product of a High Standard of Planning and Construction,
The Amarillo A Bungalow in the Spanish Style - New Note in Residence Architecture Struck by Adaptations of Spanish Pioneer Models, With High Chapel-Roof Interiors,
The Albion A Pleasing Western Style Colonial - Either in Winter Colors or Summer Landscaping, This 6-Room, Sun-Parlor, and 2-Bath Home Wins on the Three Essentials—Economy Convenience and Good Looks,
The Alberhill - A Dutch Colonial of Rare Comfort,
The Atwood - Dutch Colonial Design Provides Residence of Substantial Beauty with Floor Plans which Insure Efficient Use of Space,
The Argyle - Five-room Colonial Bungalow Makes Beautiful Home—Alternate Floor Plan Using Space Saving Beds Cuts Out 410 Square Feet,
The Attica - Shingle Residence of Italian Lines Gives a Pleasing Impression of Hospitality and Happy Home Life,
The Auburn - A Shingled English Cottage; the Shingles Rounded at the Eaves in Thatch Effect are the finishing touch for this Pretty Home,
The Ajax An Electrical Home Efficient - Charming White Colonial Bungalow is Example of How Careful Planning of Electrical Equipment Increases Comfort,
The Ainsworth - A Modern Home of English Type,
The Altamonte - This Five-Room House Follows the Spanish Style with High Arched Ceilings and Arched Doorways,
The Akron - Brick and Timbered Stucco and a Roof of Tile Combine to Make a Pleasant Exterior for this Seven Room Home,
The Abbeville - Architectural Excellence Applied to a Home of Moderate Size,
The Alton - A Pennsylvania Dutch Design With Overhanging Roof and Massive Porch Columns Features This Low Cost Six-Room Home,
The Amboy - A Home of English Georgian Design,
The Adams - Plans for English Type Home Provide for Stucco on Hollow Clay Tile or Metal Lath Over Frame Construction,
The Alma - Charming Home of Dutch Colonial Design Gives Seven Well Arranged Rooms in Space 32 x 39 Feet,
The Altavista - Italian Architecture and Stucco Beautify This Home,
The Alcorn - An Attractive, Well-Planned Home of Spanish Design,
The Allendale - A Country Estate Residence. Farms and Smaller Country Places Provide a Fitting Setting for the Type of Home Originated by Dutch Colonists,
The Antioch - An Attractive New England Farm House Design Notable for the Convenience of the Room Arrangement and Generous Porches,
The Alliance - Straight Gable Colonial Design Is Liked by Everyone and Delivers Most House for the Money Invested,
The Acme - A Dutch Colonial Demonstration House Which Is Said To Be "The Prettiest House in Galesburg",
The Algona - A Pennsylvania Farmhouse Type of Home,
The Advance - A Hillside Home in Hollywood,
The Abbott - A House That Will Need No Repairs,
The Azalea, an Italian Villa - Residence in Which Spaciousness and Beauty of Detail are Perfectly Blended,
The Allenhurst - A Well Designed Small House,

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