Plans for a Country Villa - Circa 1875

The Old House Web

Editor's note: We've recently gained access to a number of issues ofManufacturer and Builder, a magazine published in New York city from 1869 to1894 by Western and Company. Over the coming months, as time permits, we'll bereprinting a variety of stories from the magazine. Here's our first installment- a house plan from the magazine's January 1875 issue.


IN accompanying design we supply a want towhich little or no attention has hitherto been paid;namely, in producing a design especially adapted tothe thousands of beautiful sites along the Hudson, where the house is situated on the river side of thestreet, or between the street and river, wherein it isdesirable not only to secure two fronts, but to have theriver elevation striking and effective, with spaciousprospect, veranda and balcony, and a cheerful exposureto the several rooms.

This design needs but to be examined to be appreciated, and we think it must (in the general distribution of the accommodations and conveniences, and theunique beauty and completeness of its interior and exterior,) be acknowledged a marked achievement in suburban cottage architecture.

The entrance is by a neat and artistic porch, whichis divided from the front veranda by a gothic arch;this veranda communicates also with parlor and hall.The hall possesses a spaciousness seldom attained withthe economy of actual space devoted thereto. The reception room, parlor, and dining rooms, communicatealso with the river terrace and veranda, through longwindows; long windows also communicate with theseveral rooms of the second story with balcony, etc.

The staircase is an admirably arranged feature, beingconvenient, effective, and is so retired as to render aservants stairs unnecessary. Under the principalflight, is the stair to the kitchen, which is situatedunder the dining room; under the butlers pantry is akitchen pantry with dumbwaiter, etc.; the rest of thebasement is devoted to general cellarage.

The plan of the second floor is seldom equalled in thepleasant access to, and convenience of the rooms. It will be noticed that they are all provided with spaciousclosets, which rather beautify than mar the effect ofthe rooms.. In the attic a fine storage is afforded, anda number of pleasant bedrooms may there be finishedoff. In locating the house, the dining room should beon the south side; this, in some cases would necessitatereversing the plan.

For the accommodation of our patrons, we have madearrangements with the architect to provide the worklug drawings and detailed specifications of this design,for the small sum of $50,. (one fifth of the price actuallypaid the architect for the original drawings.) Thiswould secure any one adopting the design againstblunders, extras, and after regrets, and undoubtedlysave the owner ten times the above amount.

The following is a general specification of the workand materials:

Masons WorkThe plans are drawn upon a scale of sixteenfeet to the inch; the perspective to the scale of eight feet tothe inch. The height of the basement is 5 feet in the clear; ofthe first story, 10 feet 6 inches; of the second story, 10 feet.The attic beams are laid on the plate. The dimensions markedon the several rooms are in the clear. The rise of the raftersis 17 inches to the foot. The ground to be excavated for thecellar underneath the entire building; the walls laid with stoneup to the grade level, and from thence with hardburnt bricks;the stone walls to he 16 inches thick, and the brick walls 8 inches thick; the piers of brick 8x8 inches. The chimneys tobe built as per plans, with range in the kitchen under the dining room, and grates elsewhere. All exterior brickwork to befinished for painting. All the brick and stone work laid solidin good lime and sand mortar. The joints well and perfectlyfilled, and the flues of the chimneys neatly pargetted. Timesleepers to the kitchen and pantry floors bedded in the cement;the bottom of the cellar cemented throughout. Bluestone lintels and sills to all cellar and basement windows, and a bluestone sill to kitchen fireplace, and a brownstone lintel to thesame. All the lathing and plastering throughout the first andsecond stories to be scratched brown and hard finished. Thecellar ceiling and the kitchen and pantry throughout two coatsand sand skim finish. Neat plaster cornices and centerpieces throughout the first story and in second story halll. Acistern 5 feet in diameter by 5 feet deep, paved and laid up with4 inches of brick, and arched with 5 inches of the same, andcemented throughout; the cistern to be properly connectedwith tin conductors by 4 inch glazed drain tile.

Carpenter's Work and MaterialsThe timber throughout ofwhite hemlock, pine, or spruce, of the following dimensions:sills, 4x6 inches; posts, 4x6 inches; girls, 4x6 inches; first andsecond tier beams, 2x9 inches; third tier beams, 2x8 inches;rafters, 2x5 inches, 2 feet apart; all the ceiling beams 16 inchesfrom centers; sleepers in basement, 4x4 inches, chestnut, bedded in cement; carriage beams and headers double thickness;partition sills and plates, 4x4 inches; partition studs and railing joists, 2x4 inches and 3x4 inches, 16 inches from centers;portico sills, 3x6 inches; floor joists, 2x6 inches; rafters of pine,2x5 inches. The roofs of porticoes, balconies, projections, etc.,sheathed with millworked pine sheathing, planed side down;all the main roofs and sides of building sheathed with roughhemlock boards, laid close and well nailed. The roof to becovered with roofing slate, put on over tarred paper. The sidesof the building to be covered over rough sheathing with sheathing felt and 6inch bevelled clapboards; all above the top bandwith vertical battoned siding, and the intermediate panels withdiagonal sheathing.All the portico roofs to be covered with leaded roofing tin,I. C. brand. Tin to be used around chimneys and in allother places required. All valleys lined with zinc, and ridgesflashed with the same. A scuttle in the roof of proper size topass through, cased and hung complete. The requisite numberof tin conductors to be set up on building to convey the waterfrom the gutters to the drain to cistern. The finish outside asshown in the perspective; the corner boards and bands 1 1/4inches thick and 5 and 6 inches wide. All verge boards 2 inchesthick, all sawed tracery 1 inch thick, ml gutters formed withgutter molding.

The floors throughout to be laid with 1inch pine flooring.The stairs to be built as per plans, with black walnut newel,rail, and balusters. The stairs to attic to be over the principalflight; those to basement underneath the principal flight. Thewindows all to be double hung with weights and pulleys, andprovided with suitable fastenings; all windows excepting thoseof cellar to be provided with outside blinds. All the principaldoors 1 1/2 inches thick, double faced with raised moldings,hinged on loose jointed acorn butts, and provided with mortise locks. All other doors with rim locks of suitable size, and hinged on butts of kind above specified. The architravesaround the doors and windows on time inside will be, for thefirst floor, 7 3/4 inches wide; second floor and basement, 7 incheswide; panel backs on first floor. Base boards on first floor 6inches, and molding with necking; second floor, 5 inches, withmolding and necking ; basement to be wainscoted. Kitchenpantry provided with shelving, and dumbwaiter communicating with butlers pantry; the butlers pantry provided with sinkand closet. All second story closets provided with suitableshelving and clothes hooks. The bathtub cased up with blackwalnut. The kitchen to have pump and sink, with drain toconnect with drain from bath; the pump to draw water fromthe filtering cistern. Door strips to all doors of hard wood;borders around all hearths; hard wood knobs behind all doorswhere required to protect the plastering. Marble mantels onfirst floor, and slate on second. A bell knob at front door withwire connecting with bell in kitchen. All the bell and lock furniture to be white porcelain. A speaking-tube from secondstory hall and from dining room to kitchen, with porcelainmouthpiece and whistle attached.

The outside painting to be in two colors, with two coats; thefirst story grained, the basement also grained, elsewhere indelicate tints. The outside colors should depend upon the surroundings of the site. Total cost, $5,000.

About the Author
The Old House Web

Search Improvement Project