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Riddell’s Cottage Number 12

Cottage Number 12 from John Riddell’s “Architectural Designs for Model Country Residences,” published in Philadelphia in 1861.

Tens of thousands of houses in America were built following the plans published in architectural plan books in the 19th and early 20th century. It is likely there are versions of this design in many towns and cities.

This house was to be built of brick with a roughcast (stucco) exterior finish. The text includes notes on construction and finishes, indicating that all the interior trim was to be painted (“the tints being selected by the owner”) and only the newel, handrail, and balusters on the stair were to be finished with varnish. Principal rooms were to have plaster cornices and ceiling centerpieces with marble mantels in the parlor and dining room.

The published floor plans for Cottage Number 12

These books can be helpful to restorers. The odds of finding the actual design for your own house are low but the color renderings, plans, and construction notes provide information about what was typical of the period. This can help determine what is appropriate for your house, especially if historic features are missing or badly damaged.

Other approaches to answering such questions are covered in Chapters 2 and 3 of “Restoring Your Historic House, The Comprehensive Guide for Homeowners.”

The 720 page award-winning and best selling hardcover book is available in bookstores and from online retailers.

Signed and personalized copies are available directly from the author in the shop on this page, Shop – Your Historic House.

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