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Attractive Small House at Low Cost

by Charles R. Waite, Keith's Magazine 1912

1912 Dutch ColonialThere is always a demand for houses that, while suitable to occupy a large lot in a somewhat restricted suburb, will not cost more than $5,000. Such a house as that shown in the accompanying illustrations might, if erected under contract, cost nearly $6,000, yet it was actually built, some two years ago, for $4,573. This was made possible by the fact that it was built by day-labor, and that the owner not only bought all his ma-
terials direct, but superintended much of the construction work himself.

This house is constructed in the usual manner, with a substantial frame. The exterior walls are sheathed with spruce, or hemlock, boarding, over which the shingles are applied. The side walls are stained a dark brown, and the roof a moss green, colors that contrast pleasingly with the white sashes and cypress trim.
The first floor is about three feet above the grade of the lots. This not only gives a better position to the house, but saves the cost of excavating a full depth cellar. The foundation walls, in this case, were made of local stone, and the effect is very pleasing.

Interior with stone fireplaceThe cellar, which has a height, of seven feet, is provided with a concrete floor, is whitewashed throughout, and ample provisions are made for laundry, servant's toilet, vegetable cellar, and a cold-storage room for other provisions. There are also bins for coal and wood and a hot-water heater to supply the nine radiators distributed through the house.

The house is built nearly square, with a front porch that is ten feet wide, and a rear porch six and one-half feet in width. The second storey projects over the porch, and even extends one foot over the walls below, which tends to reduce the possibility of the unattractive box-like appearance which it might otherwise possess.

From the front porch the door opens upon a small vestibule which leads directly to the living room. Here the woodwork is stained a dark brown and waxed and, like all other rooms on the first and second floor, it has a hardwood floor.. The great attraction of the living room, however, is the generous fireplace, which is made of uncut rubble stones. To produce the desired effect, the chimney was made large enough to serve the heater and the kitchen range as well as the fireplace, and as this was so located that it protruded nearly two feet into the living room, it formed a most unique natural mantle. By the side of the fireplace a high-backed settle was placed, which makes an ideal cozy corner for a cool night.

1912 Keith's Dutch Colonial Floor Plan

The dining room, which opens from the living room through a wide doorway, is made very cheery by its lightly-tinted wall and white enamel paint. The deep alcove at the rear of the room is utilized as a convenient place" for the sideboard. The second floor contains four good-sized bedrooms, or, as is done in this case, one of the rooms may be used as a studio, or "den." There is a good bath, with tiled floor and wall, to the height of five feet, and plenty of eloset room, the large closet in the real- being fitted with moth-proof cedar drawers. There is a finished maid's room andean unfinished attic on the floor above.

The walls and ceilings of all the rooms, except in the living room where the beams are exposed, are plastered with two coats, and sand-finished and tinted. The further treatment of the walls, of course, may be left to' individual taste, as there'would be little difference between the cost of wallpaper and oil paints, while the slight extra expense due to the use of the latter would be readily offset by the increased durability.

The following table shows the detailed cost of the house:

The Cost.

Foundation, labor and material

Chimney, labor and material

Flue lining for chimney
Stone fireplace, labor and material
Lumber, including framing, sheathing, floors and mill work

Shingles, 16-in. for sides; 18-in. for roof


Carpentering work

Plastering, labor and material


Painting and staining, labor and material


Heating plant, including nine radiators

Hardware and trimming

Wall paper, labor and material

Cellar floor, labor and material

Electrical work, including fixtures

Incidentals, including cost of plans ($25.00)




















Source: Waite, Charles R. Attractive Small House at Low Cost. Keith's Magazine on Home Building, January 1912.

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