Wednesday, December 06, 2006

From Whence We Came: 1926 Plan Book

Over on the American Bungalow Bulletin Board not too long ago was a link to a bungalow site called Antique Home that has a GREAT Collection of old house-plan books. I looked through, and sure enough the 1926 Standard Homes Company catalog is there. This is a catalog I know well, since it was in the "Mother Lode" of materials I found in the attic when clearing out Foxcroft. Our house is based on the 1926 Standard Homes model The Monte Cristo.

What surprised me in looking at the Antique Home site is that the Standard Homes Plan Service Inc. is STILL in business! I sent them an email saying that our home was based on one of theirs, and that I had their 1926 planbook, as well as three letters from company president, A.G. Johnson, to the original builder. I received a reply from Leigh Cameron, A.G. Johnson's granddaughter, and the third generation in the family business. They have moved the headquarters from Washington D.C. to Fuquay-Varina, North Carolina.

Here is a composite picture I made comparing the Monte Cristo to Foxcroft:

Here are Bess' notes to the local architect she gave her plans to with changes:
Here is Bess' description of how she wants the house changed from the example to what was actually built:

"Increase the pitch of the roof making the attic higher. Have it high enough so two or three rooms could be finished off later if desired. I want window at the east (front) as shown in the picture, then would like one on the north and one on the south. The roof pictured is not high enough for these last two but when you increase the pitch, I think they can be put in. Saw a house this style not long ago that had them. Want them all so they will open, with weights like those down stairs."

"Use pretty brown and tan brick instead of the cobblestones. Make the two pillars brick, as high up as that brick trim shown in the picture. I don't care for the openings at each side of the steps at the floor level. Wide low steps as shown on the picture. Have a small window at both the north as south side in foundation for ventilation. Floor of wood, painted like house."


"Fireplace chimney to built of brick similar to that used on the porch, and thick enough on the outside so it won't be discolored by the fire as some I have seen. Constructed to meet the most rigorous fire insurance requirements"

As long time readers know, 78 years later we are finally folowing through on Bess' plan for second floor, by having "two or three rooms could be finished off later if desired".


Chris and Mandy said...

That's fantastic to have all the history of your house right there at your fingertips. I'd imagine it must make it all so much more personal, like you're bearing the torch.

StuccoHouse said...

Very neat to have those notes like you do.

Jimbo said...

kHey, Fuquay-Varina isn't far from Durham...lemme know if you need me to pay a visit!

Mike said...

Chris and Mandy: Yes I do feel as though I am bearing the torch, it is grarifying, but carries the responsibility of doing things right, and documenting.

Stucco: Having the documentation has helped immensely to solve problems.

Jimmy: How's Joyce doing? I figured it was close to you all! Merry Christmas from the girls.