Monday, August 30, 2010

1830's cottage north of Boston, Part 1

A family with a small c. 1830 story-and-a-half house asked me for advice - how to expand their home in keeping with its character.
We talked about their needs, the house constraints, the land. I suggested that a variation of "big house, little house, back house, barn" might be work. (The old jump rope rhyme refers to the massing of early New England farms. There is a book of that name describing the phenomenon.)
Back on my drafting board - after I had drawn up a sketch for the family and their contractor which reflected our discussion - I played a bit with the form. Here's what came out of it:

The floor plan provided to me was at 1/8" = 1'-0", very
small. However I later
 measured the house. The plan is accurate. See my post in May, 2013, for the elevations. I am happy to discuss the date of the house, if asked.

The first floor plan and a sketch of the house is here. The red line shows the outline of the original c. 1830 house plan.

The second drawing shows the original floor plan with - in red - the length of the side used as a radius for a circle.

The third drawing shows that a circle whose radius is the length of the
wall touches the 4 corners of the main house.The rectangle of the house
is determined by the circle. An arc using the same radius defines the
length of the wing, but not quite the width. The interior arcs of the
daisy wheel also define the small front entry. The 6 points of the 'daisy wheel' are shown, only 2 of the 6 'daisy petals' are drawn.

The house is simply built, perhaps by a farmer, not a joiner. Whoever he was, whatever education he had in construction, he knew circle geometry and used it to layout this house.