The Daftsman House: A Recipe

By Fra Thomas, the Daftsman (Drawings by the author)

Daftsman Front Elevation

The Daftsman House is the fad of the hour, and for those who change their houses as often and as easily as their furs, nothing could be better; it is an uncommonly good style to change.

It is, moreover, very easy to make. Take any well considered plan, and knock out all the partitions until the Dining-Room has become so completely the Living-Room, the Reception Hall, the Study, the Den, the Vestibule and the Stair Hall that it is no longer possible to tell ”t’other from which” without referring to the plan.

Daftsman Side Elevation

Some Daftsmen combine the Dining-Room and Kitchen, having a Sink Nook, a Range Nook, and a Dining-Nook (for this is a very nooksome style), but this is not so “classy” as the typical plan in our illustration, in which you enter at once into what appears to the uninitiated to be one fair-sized room with a fireplace mysteriously concealed behind clumsy seats. But the elect know that there are seven different apartments in that space: The Reception Nook in which you first set foot; a few steps to the right, beyond a low rough finished “made-up” beam, a Den Nook; at the left a Stair Nook; beyond, the Living-Nook; at its left the Ingle Nook. All Daftsman houses have at least one Ingle Nook, and if you have nothing more than a kerosene stove, surround it with heavy settles and call it an Ingle.

Daftsman House Plan

A few steps farther on, beneath another 7/8 inch board beam, you enter the Dining-Nook and the Study Nook.

If Mrs. Daftsman will have a pantry, combine it, as shown here, with the Back Entry, China Closet, General Passage, Cellar Way, and Refrigerator Nook; but a genuine Daftsman will ask for nothing better than a Daftsman sideboard, an affair of vast strap-hinges and 3-inch plank, with a few shelves and a cupboard, under a semi-translucent window.

Upstairs the Daftsman pursues the opposite principle, and adds partition to partition until the rooms are so tiny that the doors must swing out into the small, dark hall, and six inches to spare between the foot of the cot bed and the wall is cause for rejoicing; although, as most of the room is down under the eaves, only the family cat can walk about in it anyway.

To design the exterior is even easier than to arrange the plan. The Porch must be filled with vast stumpy columns; the rule is, “The Smaller the House, the Larger the Posts.” The door is made of 3-inch planks with two or more large, black strap-hinges, preferably iron, but occasionally of painted tin, tacked on with large-headed tacks. It should be pierced with two or four minute bits of opaque glass. Between the columns are coffin-like flower boxes, filled with dead plants.

The plan, which is long and thin, should be roofed the wrong way straddling across the widest stretch, a gable with wide-spread eaves nearly touching the ground. This furnishes the modest gloom appropriate to an Ingle Nook, and “places” your house at once.

Daftsman Furniture

The main chimney must be a vast cairn of stones heaped about an 8x8 in. flue, but the kitchen chimney may be any sort of stucco toothpick. Care must be taken to avoid symmetry and never to “centre” windows over each other. The windows are hinged to swing out, as this is more convenient for flies and fills up the space on the narrow porches so that piazza furniture is unnecessary. The clock can be quickly knocked together from the remnants of 2x4 studding and 3-inch plank, with a small nickel alarm clock set on a cross bar. As a finishing touch, hang where you will run into it a little lantern of sharp edged copper.

Source: Thomas, Fra. "The Daftsman House: A Recipe." Country Life in America Vol. 20 No. 2 (May, 15th 1911): 36.

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