If You're Going to Live in the Country eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 196 pages of information about If You're Going to Live in the Country.
in a house painter to smear on a daub of blue for his coat, a bit of yellow for his hair, white for his collar, and just anything for the background.  At worst, though, this futuristic result can be taken to the attic, turned face to the wall and forgotten; but a botched house won’t let you forget.  You have to live in it along with your mistakes, day after day and, possibly, year after year.  When and if you finally call in an architect and have them remedied or obviated, the cost will be considerably in excess of what his total fee would have been in the beginning.

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?


Henry Ford]

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.

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If You're Going to Live in the Country from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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