Preliminary To Our Designs

We have discussed with tolerable fullness, the chief subjects connected with farm buildings—sufficiently so, we trust, to make ourselves understood as desiring to combine utility with commendable ornament in all that pertains to them. The object has been, thus far, to give hints, rather than models, in description. But as the point to which we have endeavored to arrive will be but imperfectly understood without illustration, we shall submit a few plans of houses and outbuildings, as carrying out more fully our ideas.

We are quite aware that different forms or fashions of detail and finish, to both outside and inside work, prevail among builders in different sections of the United States. Some of these fashions are the result of climate, some of conventional taste, and some of 70 education. With them we are not disposed to quarrel. In many cases they are immaterial to the main objects of the work, and so long as they please the taste or partialities of those adopting them, are of little consequence. There are, however, certain matters of principle, both in general construction and in the detail of finish, which should not be disregarded; and these, in the designs submitted, and in the explanations which follow, will be fully discussed, each in its place. The particular form or style of work we have not directed, because, as before remarked, we are no professional builder, and of course free from the dogmas which are too apt to be inculcated in the professional schools and workshops. We give a wide berth, and a free toleration in all such matters, and are not disposed to raise a hornet's nest about our ears by interfering in matters where every tyro of the drafting board and work-bench assumes to be, and probably may be, our superior. All minor subjects we are free to leave to the skill and ingenuity of the builder—who, fortunately for the country, is found in almost every village and hamlet of the land.

Modes and styles of finish, both inside and outside of buildings, change; and that so frequently, that what is laid down as the reigning fashion to-day, may be superseded by another fashion of to-morrow—immaterial in themselves, only, and not affecting the shape, arrangement, and accommodation of the building itself, which in these, must ever maintain their relation with the use for which it is intended. The northern dwelling, with its dependencies and appointments, requires 71 a more compact, snug, and connected arrangement than that of the south; while one in the middle states may assume a style of arrangement between them both, each fitted for their own climate and country, and in equally good taste. The designs we are about to submit are intended to be such as may be modified to any section of the country, although some of them are made for extremes of north and south, and are so distinguished. Another object we have had in view is, to give to every farmer and country dweller of moderate means the opportunity of possessing a cheap work which would guide him in the general objects which he wishes to accomplish in building, that he may have his own notions on the subject, and not be subject to the caprice and government of such as profess to exclusive knowledge in all that appertains to such subjects, and in which, it need not be offensive to say, that although clever in their way, they are sometimes apt to be mistaken.

Therefore, without assuming to instruct the professional builder, our plans will be submitted, not without the hope that he even, may find in them something worthy of consideration; and we offer them to the owner and future occupant of the buildings themselves, as models which he may adopt, with the confidence that they will answer all his reasonable purposes.

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