Exterior House Design
General Principles of House Design. The external and internal designs form the most important considerations after convenience in planning, and should possess an air of restfulness in keeping with the essential objects of the home. The exteriors of some of the old farmhouses, which are fast disappearing, possess those attractive qualities of repose and simplicity which have provided motifs for many of the best modern houses, but the narrowness of the sites in the neighbourhood of towns, especially near the metropolis, owing to the value of the road frontage, often renders it very difficult to produce a satisfactory exterior on such lines.
An architect's best preparation for this class of design is the sketching and measuring of old farmhouses in and around English villages, where gradual growth has brought about effective grouping, combined with simplicity of detail and color.
The most prevalent fault in modern architecture is the striving after picturesqueness for its own sake, which generally results in choosing to crowd the building with miniature features which are supposed to give scale, but of which the net result is often a toylike structure, with a fussy and strained effect, which is an outrage on good taste. It is perhaps a question whether any design of intentional prettiness has ever equalled the accidental grouping that is sometimes found in old houses, whose history clearly shows that there was no deliberate intention to produce the total result.
One leading principle in this class of design is that the building should have the long and low effect which is so much admired in the old farmhouses, and is so different from the ugly, cubical, boxlike structure which was the fashion in the period of early Victorian Houses.
The internal height of the rooms is a very important matter, and it is a good rule to follow to make them as low as you dare. It is best, however, to consider exterior design in relation to the various parts of the building, including the colors, such as walls, windows, doorways, roofs, turrets and chimneys ; but a pleasing result is sometimes produced by keeping down some parts of the design to the height of one story.
Next: Exterior Wall Ideas.