Attic Architecture

Attic photo credit

a cottage, costing $250

This plan was designed for a simple cottage, with sufficient accommodations for beginners in housekeeping with limited means. It is arranged as the wing of a larger house to be erected in the future, as indicated in the dotted sketch adjoining the ground-plan.

(unfortunately, the floorplans for this house were smeared, but there are floorplans in the book—emc)

estimate, cost of materials and labor:

1,000 bricks, laid, at $12 per m $12.00
124 yards plastering, at 20¢ per yard $24.80
686 feet of timber, at $15 per m
2 sills, 4x8 in. 16 ft. long. 9 beams, 8x6 in. 16 ft. long.
2 sills, 4x6 in. 18 ft. long. 1 girder, 4x6 in. 18 ft. long.
4 posts, 4x6 in. 10 ft. long. 14 ceiling boards, 2x4 in. 16 ft. long.
75 wall-strips, 2x4x18,,at 11¢ each $8.25
98 siding, 9½ inches, at 25¢ each $24.60
cornice materials $6.00
50 shingling lath, at-5¢. each $2.50
6 shingling planks, at 20¢. each
12 bunches shingles. at $1.25 per bunch $15.00
36 flooring, 9½ in., at 25¢ $9.00
7 windows, complete, at $8 $42.00
4 doors, complete, at $5 $20.00
2 stoops and closets, complete $20.00
nails, $4; painting, $14; carting, $5 $28.00
carpenter’s labor, not included above $20.00
incidentals $12.21
total cost $250.00
houseplans for everybody, 1878, p. 9-12

$2,000–$2,500 home

This house is small in area, but by judicious arrangement some of the rooms are made to serve more purposes than is usually the case. The ordinary dining-room has serious drawbacks as a living and working room, but a scheme is here suggested by which the largest room may be converted into either a dining or sitting room, with conveniences that make it livable and attractive for both purposes.

The alcove at the front, with its closets large enough to take in the sewing-machine and work, with glass panel, and shelves above for dishes, may be curtained off from the main room, giving privacy from the front porch when desirable, and making unnecessary the tidying up of the alcove when meals are being served.

The main room, with its bay end, is large enough for general use, and the table will do as well for a reading and working table as if it did not serve as the “board” at meal-times. With the rear alcove, in which the sideboard is, curtained off, no one would suspect the presence of dishes, or realize the economy of space obtained.

The large, light pantry serves to connect the rear alcove with the kitchen, which is at the farther end of the house, and as unobtrusive as possible, being cut off by two doors from the living part of the house.

Following the same line of economy and double use of space, the hall is made at once into reception-room and library, and the essential stairway may be curtained off to give a more cosey effect. The open fireplace is backed up to the central chimney, which has in it the heater and range flues, making the simplest possible construction. The connecting stair from the kitchen coming out on the second landing makes a private stair for the servant, and offers an unseen connection between the living-room and the upper floors.

The side door on the landing at the top of the cellar stairs, and almost on a level with the ground, furnishes easy communication with the cellar from the outside, and a children’s entrance convenient to the back-hall closet, without going through either the front hall or the kitchen.

The second floor extends over the front porch, — a thing, perhaps, undesirable if your house must face north, or if in a very cold section, but quite proper, when well constructed, in moderate climates.

The bathroom, which is large and furnished with a good closet, is directly over the pantry and kitchen plumbing, making the shortest and simplest pipe system. The rooms are of good shape, although not large, and there is no waste room at all.

approximate estimates itemized

Lumber, carpentry, and millwork $1150 to $1400
Excavating, foundations, and mason work $435 to $550
Plumbing, heater, range, and metal work $265 to $335
painting, glazing, and hardware $150 to $200
$2,000 to $2,485
Model Houses For Little Money, published 1898, p. 15-27

First Story Second Story
Pparlor, 14 by 16 feet with bay PCprincipal chamber 14 x 16 feet
DRdining-room, 13 x 20 feet Cchamber 20 x 12 feet
SRsitting room, 14x15 feet Cchamber 10 x 12 feet
Kkitchen, 14 x14 feet Cchamber 12 x 14 feet
Hhall, 6 feet wide BRbath-room
Vvestibule Bboudoir
godey’s lady’s book, july through december, 1877, p. 91

convenient kitchen. - closets in the bedrooms

This house was finished at a cost of less than $1,600. This included, besides the house itself, a woodshed, well, and cistern. There is a cellar under the hall and parlor. The building has a brick foundation.

convenient houses with fifty plans for the housekeeper, 1889, p. 145-146

an octagonal cottage

woodward’s cottages and farmhouses, 1867, p. 16-17

a farm-house

This design is for a farm-house of an irregular exterior form, covered by a roof without valleys, except those by the dormer window.

woodward’s cottages and farmhouses, 1867, p. 38

cottage with conservatory attached

Here is here a compact, convenient cottage, having a conservatory attached for those who love to gratify their taste for flowers. Each room has a cross draft, and can be abundantly ventilated in warm weather. A passage between the kitchen and dining-room cuts off the smell of cooking, and the doors from the kitchen are double, with spring-hinges, and without locks or other fastenings; they are opened with the foot, and close immediately after passing.

woodward’s cottages and farmhouses, 1867, p. 52-53

clustered cottage or apartment building


The description of one-fourth of the cluster is of course equally applicable to the other portion. The first floor has two rooms for each tenant, and a veranda 8 feet wide. The living-room b is 12 by 14 feet; he sitting-room is 16 by 17 feet exclusive of the recessed window. From the living-room a flight of boxed winding stairs leads to the second floor, illustrated by fig. 160, where two small yet comfortable sleeping-rooms d and e are found, each provided with fire-places and suitable closets.


Economy being the leading principle in the erection of such a cluster, it is obvious that whatever materials could be found to answer the purpose, at moderate prices, would usually be preferred without much regard to the results which ultimately follow the use of an inferior article. Prudence dictates the use of solid materials, brick or stone for the walls, although wood is in good keeping with the style of building.


With proper economy, this design can be erected, in the vicinity of philadelphia, for about $3000. We have no doubt that in a well-timbered country it can be built of wood, with cellar walls of stone, for $500 less than the above.

first floor
second floor
sloan’s homestead architecture, 1861, p. 272-274

residence and office

First Story Second Story
Vvestibule PCprincipal chamber, 16 by 18 feet
Hhall, 5 feet wide Cchamber 14 x 16 feet
Pparlor, 15 by 31 feet SRsitting-roam, 12 by 25 feet
DRdining-room. 12 by 15 feet 6 inches Bbath-room
Kkitchen, 10 feet 9 inches by 18 feet 6 inches
godey’s lady’s book, january through june, 1874, p. 570


a small stable

This design for a small stable has accommodation for two horses and a cow, besides a separate apartment for carriages, and another smaller room for harnesses, etc.

woodward cottages and farmhouses, 1867, p. 48-50

ice house

Ice should be cut with a saw, not with an axe, into blocks of regular size, so that they will pack into the ice house solidly and without leaving spaces between them. If cut in this manner, ice will keep perfectly well, if not more than three inches in thickness; but a thickness of six inches at least is preferable. It should be cut and packed in cold, freezing weather, and if, as it is packed, a pailful of water is thrown over each layer to fill the spaces between the blocks, and exclude the air, it will keep very much better than otherwise. For a day or two before the house is filled, it is well to throw it open in order that the ground beneath it may freeze, and it may be left open for a few days after it is filled, if the weather continues cold. The ice house should be finally closed during cold, dry weather. There are some general principles to be observed in the proper construction of any kind of ice house, and all else is of secondary importance. There must be perfect drainage, and no admission of air beneath, ample ventilation and perfect dryness above, and sufficient non-conducting material for packing below, above, and around the ice, by which its low temperature may be preserved. The best packing consists of sawdust, either of pine or hard-wood, spent tan, charcoal powder, or what is known as “braize,” from charcoal pits or store houses, and oat, wheat, or buckwheat chaff, or marsh hay.

barn plans and outbuildings, published 1898, p. 140-143

a piggery

woodward cottages and farmhouses, 1867, p. 80

a barn

woodward cottages and farmhouses, 1867, p. 96


Below are pictures of funiture groups. A discussion of furniture of the time (1861) and the descriptions of the furniture pictured below can be found on pages 311-555 of sloan’s homestead archeticture.