So, find the best man practicing in the vicinity where your future home is to be located and cast your burdens on his drafting board. Give him ample information as to what suits your fancy and conforms to your family needs. Then he can proceed with the preliminary sketches. From these eventually will come the plan of action to be followed by the various artisans who will do the work. But house plans, whether for new construction, remodeling or renovating, do not spring from the drafting board complete and final overnight. They are based on more preliminary effort than most people without building experience realize.
This is particularly true of the country home. In cities and suburbs, building plots are more or less standardized units in a checker-board with two controlling factors, so many feet of street frontage and such and such depth. Local building ordinances sharply limit the type and size of structure. The country offers much greater latitude. Such matters as topography, location of existing trees, and points of the compass with relation to the main rooms of the house play important roles.
We well remember a dismal example of what can happen when these controlling factors are ignored. The owner was an opinionated man with a passion for economy. House building was to him no mystery. It was just foundations, side walls, roof, stairways, interior partitions and, of course, plumbing, heating and so forth. His house was “going to cost just so much and people who paid architects’ fees for plans had more money than brains.” Besides, he had seen a sketch and floor plans of a house in a magazine that were good enough for him. He knew a builder who could follow them and what more did one need?
[Illustration: A REALLY EARLY AMERICAN INTERIOR. THE GREAT FIREPLACE OF THE WAYSIDE INN, SUDBURY, MASS.
The little matter of relating the structure to the site concerned him not at all, nor did it enter his head that a house could face anywhere except towards the road. As for the contractor, it was not for him to reason why, but to build. So they went to work and a house entirely made up of good things done in the wrong way was the result. An outcropping of rock meant expensive blasting, so the magazine-pictured house was set firmly down almost on the roots of a fine row of old pine trees by the roadside. Through these the wind howled mournfully at night and by day their shade made the main rooms of the ground floor distinctly gloomy.