'Cottage Residence' Loaded with options
Perhaps anticipating one of today's hottest housing trends, this "cottage residence" featured in the Sept. 1875 issue of Builder and Manufacturer magazine offered owners the option of a downstairs bedroom.
Complete with a water closet and dressing closet (where the sink and optional bathtub were located) the 10x12-foot bedroom was tucked away at the rear of the house and, according to the architect, could be used "as a library, study, nursery or sewing room" if the home owner preferred to have all the bedrooms upstairs.
Flex Rooms More than a Century Ago
The fledgling flex room also could be omitted completely since the second story of the house did not extend over that space, and the second floor area reserved for a "linen room" could instead be used for a bathroom.
According to the architect, A. S. Hait of Riverhead, N.Y., the 2,000+ square-foot house was designed for a 40x58-foot lot and was "suited to localities where land is not so much an item as convenience."
The estimated cost of building the house was $2,000 to $4,000 (roughly $41,800 to $83,700 today), and the architect noted that omitting the bay windows and external ornamentation and slightly reducing the size of the living room and dining room could yield considerable savings.
A Nod Toward Curb Appeal
However, anticipating the value that today's buyers place on "curb appeal," the author noted that "ornaments are to a house what lace is to a lady's dress - strip them off, and we are guilty of a breach of fashion. Money spent for external ornaments for a house is not, as some people think, money thrown away; on the contrary, houses tastefully ornamented give better satisfaction and find a readier market when one wishes to sell."
Plans courtesy of:
Cornell University Library, Making of America Digital Collection
The Manufacturer and Builder magazine. Volume 7, Issue 9, Sept. 1875, pp. 212-213