« السابقةمتابعة »
consideration, this is really a most cogent argument for its careful study. For the 'less the accommodation it is possible to give, the more important it is that what is given shall be so carefully apportioned that the house may approach as far as possible to the ideal. Although we all probably hope and strive for some change in one or other of the restricting conditions, for the time being it is needful to remember that a certain limited rent will only pay for a certain limited space. Except by a very careful study of the life which that space is to shelter, it is not possible to design the house so as to properly fit and accommodate that life. And it is only by making the house fit the life of its occupants that a right and economical use of the space can be obtained. The available room must be most liberally given where it will be most thoroughly and continuously used. When mankind first took to living in houses these consisted of one room ; perhaps the most important fact to be remembered in designing cottages is that the cottager still lives during the day-time
in one room, which for the sake of clearness is best Living-room. called the living-room. In the vast majority of cases
the housewife has neither time nor energy to keep more than one room in constant use, and, during the greater part of the
year, the cost of a second fire effectually prevents another room from being occupied. This living-room, then, will be the most thoroughly used and in all ways the chief room of the house ; here the bulk of the domestic work will be done, meals will be prepared and eaten, and children will play, while the whole family will often spend long evenings there together. The first consideration in planning any cottage should be to provide a roomy, convenient, and comfortable living-room, having a sunny aspect and a cheerful outlook. In it there should be space to breathe freely, room to move freely, convenience for work, and comfort for rest. It must contain the cooking stove, some good cupboards, and a working dresser in a light and convenient place. No box 11 or 12 feet square should be provided for this purpose. Such a place cannot be healthy when occupied by a whole family, nor can it be other than inconvenient and uncomfortable.t In a very small room neither door nor window will be kept open except in very hot weather, because there can be no avoiding the direct draught. It is very important to plan a livingroom so that the doors or stairs may not destroy the comfort, or even the sense of comfort. They should be kept away from the fire, and, above all, should not open across either the fire or the window. By far the most comfortable arrangement is to have the outer door set inwards a little, in a shallow porch, leaving a window-recess on the same wall ; if the room is a fair length, say not less than 15 feet, the door can then be wide open, and yet the light side of the room be free from draught. The common arrangement of an inside porch with the inner door opening at right angles to the outer one, directs the draught straight across the window to the fire, and largely destroys the sense of comfort in the room, while cutting it off more effectually from the fresh air. The chimney extracts a very large volume of air continuously from the room, and this must be made good
from outside. The more easily this air can come in the less keen will be the draught. It is not sufficiently realized that what has to be done is not to exclude cold air, which is impossible in a room with a fire, but to admit it in the way which will give the best ventilation with
the least discomfort. In planning the room the furniFurniture. ture should always be arranged and drawn in, to make
sure that provision has been made for work and rest, for meals and play. Many a room is ruined because the dresser, the table, and the settle, have not been tried in on the plan.
Windows facing the street are much less depressing if Bay Windows.
slightly bayed to invite a peep up and down as well as
across ; a projection of a few inches in the centre, with some advantage taken of the thickness of the wall to set back the sides, will suffice to add very much to the outlook.*
With regard to windows, doors, cupboards, and all Fittings. other fittings, it should not be forgotten that when a
quantity is required, as is usually the case in housing schemes, no extra cost is entailed by having them well designed, and of good proportions. Money is often spent in bad ornament, which but detracts from the appearance of the buildings; but an elegant mould or shaping costs no more than a vulgar one, and a well proportioned door or mantel is as easily made as one ill-proportioned. That nothing can be spent on the ornamentation of artisans' cottages is no excuse whatever for their being ugly. Plain and simple they must be, but a plain and simple building well designed may be very far from ugly.
After the living-room, the sleeping-rooms must be reBedrooms. garded as next in importance, for these will be occupied
all the night. Of these it is only needful to say that they should be as large as can be provided, and as well ventilated as possible. There should be plenty of windows, easily opened, and everything possible done to encourage the opening of them. If the rooms can be arranged so that there shall be a comfortable corner between fire and window, where a quiet hour with book or pen can be spent, this is very desirable. For there is no real reason why the accommodation of the small house should not be increased by a more general use of the bedrooms for these purposes.
A small larder with direct light and ventilation should Larder. be provided for every cottage, the window of which
should not be exposed to the heat of the sun. A cupboard in the living-room, even when ventilated, is hardly a fit place in which to keep food.+
A scullery, to relieve the living-room from the more Scullery. dirty work, should be the next consideration. This
must have a glazed, well-drained sink, under an opening window. If the washing is to be done in each cottage, there must be a copper or set-pot and space for a small mangle to stand. When it can be arranged, a little cooking-stove, just large enough to be used in hot weather, will be a boon. But it is not well to put the main cooking-stove in the scullery, for the result will inevitably be
* See Plates VI. and VIII.
† See Plates VI. and VIII.
that, for the greater part of the year, the family will live with the fire, in the tiny scullery, and the more airy living-room will be left vacant, and will, in fact, become a parlor.
However desirable a parlor may be, it cannot be said Parlor. to be necessary to health or family life ; nor can it be
compared in importance with those rooms and offices which we have been considering. There can be no possible doubt that until any cottage has been provided with a living-room large enough to be healthy, comfortable, and convenient, it is worse than folly to take space from that living room, where it will be used every day and every hour, to form a parlor, where it will only be used once or twice a week.
If this is true of the parlor, how much more true is it of the passage ? To cut a piece three feet wide off the end of a small room, for the very doubtful advantage of having two doors between the inmates and the fresh air, or to obtain the occasional convenience it may be for a visitor or member of the family to be able to pass in or out without being observed, is surely an extreme instance of valu. able room and air space sacrificed to thoughtless custom and foolish pride.* Any one who has known what it is to occupy a large airy house-place will not readily sacrifice its advantages for either a need. less parlor or a useless passage. For the question is not whether it is an advantage to have either a passage or parlor in addition to a decent living-room, but whether it is worth while to have either at the sacrifice of the living-room. A desire to imitate the middleclass house is at the bottom of the modern tendency to cut the cottage up into a series of minute compartments.
In small houses, such as we are considering, the 500 or Stairs and
so cubic feet of air space which are usually shut up in Landing
a staircase and landing, would be much more useful if thrown open to the living-room. That there is any advantage at all, either to that room or to the bedrooms, in having this “buffer state" of stagnant air between them, seems extremely doubtful ; while there can be no doubt at all of the immense gain of having an extra 500 feet of air in a room which contains, perhaps, only 1,400 feet altogether, and many rooms contain less. The space should in any case have ventilation, and direct light is, of course, desirable. The extra height which would be obtained by throwing stairs and landing open to the living-room would greatly help in keeping that room well ventilated, as also would the possibility of having a window open so far from the occupied parts of the room.
To complete the self-contained cottage, there must be Coals, etc. found some place for coals, some small receptacle for
ashes and rubbish, to be emptied every few days, and a water-closet or properly fitted earth-closet. A porch opening from the scullery provides a suitable place for these, so that, while within the main building, they may still be entirely in the outside air. The facility afforded for inspection, and the general tendency which even the less enthusiastic have to keep clean the outside which shows, would prove valuable advantages of this plan.t
* Compare Plate V. with Plates VI, and VIII.
+ See Plates VI, and VIII.