Evolution of Housing and Floor Plans Since the 1600s

by Moya K. Mason

For a summary of this information, please see: Housing: Then, Now, and Future

Introduction

Housing has definitely changed since the 1600s, but in some ways it has stayed the same. Sometimes the more things change, the more they stay the same. To forecast what will happen to housing in the next 300 years is a difficult task because we just don't know how technology, culture, and social relationships will evolve, and, as a result, change our homes and how we use them. One thing is certain, with more and more farmland being usurped by suburbia, there is going to come a time when we as a society will have to say that enough is enough.

By 1960, already three million acres of high quality Californian farmland was lost to urban areas. One third of the prime agricultural land was gone by 1980, and predictions for the year 2020 show that more than fourteen million acres of the southern state's highest quality farmland will have disappeared. The best farmland is not randomly distributed, and is often associated with cities: much of the agricultural land in California has already vanished beneath suburbs like Orange County in the Los Angeles Basin, and the Santa Clara Valley, south of San Francisco. Seventy percent of the Santa Clara Valley was listed as prime agricultural land by 1949, but much of it is now lost to the San Francisco suburb of San Mateo. The people of San Mateo found the farmland very desirable for housing developments and offered farmers as much as $15,000 an acre for their land. How many could resist the money? Who can blame them? However, if these trends continue, California will be unable to feed her own population, nor the rest of the United States. It also won't be able to export food to the rest of the world, and that means us.

The rapid loss of agricultural lands is prevalent throughout the world and clearly shows that crops cannot compete with the sprawl that is characteristic of cities. These sprawling areas are now beginning to grow together and are forming megalopoli like the Boston-Washington corridor. We have reshaped our planet so drastically that most of us live far away from our source of food, allowing increased amounts of preservatives and pesticides to be used to allow products travel time over great distances. Urban centers have forgotten their existence is dependent on the rural areas that surround them, and have illusions they are self- sufficient. In reality, cities rely on faraway places for their food, fuel, and water, which often comes from distant reservoirs. In addition, the continued increase in population rates is adversely affecting the carrying capacity of the planet, making aspects of food production much more worrisome and problematic.

The other certainty is that the population will continue to skyrocket and there just won't be the space for everyone to have large lot sizes for their homes.

Notes

Page 4: There are many things that changed the homes we live in over the last three hundred years. As Ward says, "spaces in the Canadian home have changed over time, and family and social relationships have shaped, and been shaped by these changing spaces." Ward

Page 6: "Over time the changing size, shape, technology, and location of the home have created widely different opportunities for family and personal privacy. Along with major shifts in household composition and family size, these changes have gradually altered the conditions of everyday domestic life." Ward

Page 6: "...the gradual decline in family size and the general rise of living standards have been central. Both have profound implications for housing and family life, as well as for the many ties between them." Ward

Seventeenth - Eighteenth Century

The first North American homes were very small, one room structures that were based on the European building techniques brought by settlers and eventually adapted to the building materials, climatic conditions, and topography of the new World.

Page 50: "By the latter half of the seventeenth century the Massachusetts Bay colonists had developed a unique house type, based on the traditional heavy hewn or sown frame construction of English houses, but adapted to the New England climate." Roth

Page 50: "The saltbox house type of the 17th century began as a two-storey, two-room house with a central chimney and stairs. All were originally built of wood, and spaced along curved and bending roads. Brick quickly became the preferred building material, many of which still survive - those built for the landed gentry. Most settlers were poor and lived in small wooden houses. Even when they began making profits in their enterprises, they often folded the money back into the businesses rather than into their residences." Roth

Page 73: Early Georgian Architecture, 1690-1750 -- The Georgian normally had "two important front rooms flanking the hall, and two lesser rooms behind. The hall, in fact, and the division into more specialized rooms reflects the increasingly greater formality in social structure, and the degree of separation and insulation that was derived between the owners and their managers and servants." And the beginning of a separation between private and public spaces in homes." Roth

Page 105: 1700s - "In between the one-room houses of ordinary people and the porched houses of the great families were the two-rooms-to-a-floor, two-storey houses which we most commonly associate with the colonial period. Some regional differences existed. In the South these houses commonly went up only a storey and a half. In New England the kitchen and storage room were sometimes added on the back to create the saltbox profile. This two-cell house obviously was an improvement over a single-cell dwelling: it could be twice as large. But the blend of the two house type makes it difficult to identify a sharp social division between the residents of one type of house and those of the other. For one thing, the size of the rooms did not increase in the larger houses. Room dimensions in New England, for example, remained around eighteen by twenty feet even when the overall size of the house doubled. The large-house people did not seem to envision grander activities for themselves which required larger spaces and would warrant the more elaborate framing required to make bigger rooms." Bushman

Page 106: "Among 144 houses from the period before 1725 still remain from the Massachusetts Bay colony, 82 began as single-cell houses, all but a tiny handful of which were subsequently expanded." Bushman

Page 110: "The houses of ordinary people in the eighteenth century differed little in basic plan from housing in the seventeenth century. The hall-parlor, double-cell house continued as the standard for the ordinary well-off farmer, and the single-cell, two-storey, or storey-and-a-half house persisted in large numbers until 1800 and beyond for the bottom half of society. Many even had porch-tower houses constructed." Bushman

"An analysis of the records from 1760 to 1830 in Kent County, Delaware, a prosperous agricultural region, shows that 67 percent of the described houses had less than 450 square feet on the ground floor, which, when the chimney stack is included, would be the size of the largest of the single-cell dwellings. Another 22 percent lived in houses from 450 to 600 square feet, space large enough for two rooms - though small ones - on the ground floor." Bushman

"In Halifax County, in Virginia's poor Southside, 80 percent of the houses in 1785 contained less than 400 square feet on the ground floor...Unpainted small houses, with tiny window openings and unfinished interiors, in a mix of single - and double-cell plans, were abundant everywhere in 1800 and in most areas predominated." Bushman

Page 113: "Everywhere along the American coast in the eighteenth century, people of the greatest wealth and influence on city and country erected spacious, beautifully decorated Georgian houses." Bushman

Page 113: "Through the middle years of the eighteenth century older houses everywhere were added to and vigorously remodeled. In the eighteenth century, in the new gentry houses, improvement led to new-style parlors, enhanced entertainment spaces with beds removed." Bushman

Page 122: "In New England, seventeenth-century rooms ranged from seventy-two to eighty-two inches in height; in the eighteenth century, room height rose to eighty-two to ninety inches, a foot or more higher on average." Bushman

Page 122: "In the seventeenth-century hall, rudimentary needs for heat and light focused use; in the eighteenth-century, technological improvements facilitated another pattern entirely." Bushman

Page 8: "The one-room dwelling is the oldest house type in Canada. It long predates the coming of Europeans...it was the first shelter built by the earliest European migrants, and it persisted on every frontier from the early seventeenth to the late twentieth centuries. It flourishes in our cities today as the studio apartment." Ward

Page 8: Canada - "The Maison Mourier is probably the oldest example, a one-room dwelling built in 1690 and measuring sixteen by twenty feet." Ward

Page 9: Canada - "By the end of the French regime in 1760 most farmhouses...were small, one-storey, one- or two-room wooden dwellings put up their occupants." Ward

Page 9: Canada -- "The premises of every one seem to be a house from 18 to 25 feet long and as many in breadth without porch or partition but the outer door opening immediately into the sole room." Ward

Page 143: In the eighteenth century, "North American architecture was much more restrained, not only because the society was largely puritan but also because the contemporary north-European architecture from which it derived was itself entering a period of rational understatement. In the north-eastern states, the pattern was late 17th century English or Dutch architecture, though often translated into timber forms. Capen House, Topsfield, Massachusetts --1683) is representative of many such timber-framed, weather-boarded and single-clad small houses. Larger houses might be built in brick and one of the best examples is Westover in Charles City County, Va. --1730), a fine formal building with two storeys and a hipped roof with dormers, equal in both design and craftsmanship to the English Georgian houses it resembles. Farther south, the north-European style had to be adapted to the sub-tropical climate. Drayton Hall in South Carolina --1738) is basically English Georgian but with the addition of a double-height portico for use as a verandah in hot weather. Farther south still, the Parlange at Pointe Coupee, La. --1750), a two-storey open gallery runs all around the house giving access and direct ventilation to the rooms." Risebero

Page 130: "Throughout the centuries, bedrooms have served as more than sleeping spaces. Seventeenth-century New England parents slept in a room called "parlor," alongside tea-tables, chairs, pieces of tapestry, and silver - all the household's best items. Eighteenth-century parents' bedrooms, while more focused on the bed and the sleeping function of the room, still included sets of upholstered chairs, couches, and tables for receiving a visit or for supporting the formal rituals attached to birth and death, as such rituals were set in the bedroom. Nineteenth-century bedrooms were often furnished with manufactured suites of furniture that included washing and dressing equipment, clothes storage pieces, and daybeds - all for functions in addition to sleeping in bed. Was there ever a time when the bedroom was just for sleeping?" Schlereth

Nineteenth Century

1800s -- Page 288: "The rectangular street layouts, and the narrow but deep building lots prevalent in most American cities admirably suited the application of the townhouse concept. With the mounting pressure for effective land utilization, townhouses became narrower and deeper over time - two 25 feet lots were divided into three." Schoenauer

Page 252: "By the middle of the nineteenth century, floor plans of all the houses in the architectural books, with rare exceptions, included parlors. Over the course of the nineteenth century a number of vernacular house forms emerged to serve the purposes of the respectable middle class. The best documented form is the I house, which appeared in virtually every section of the country as a residence for prosperous farmers. The I house was a simple variation of the older hall-and-parlor house, with two rooms side by side on the first floor and two chambers --or more) above. The difference in the nineteenth century was that many of the I house plans inserted a passage and stair between the two first-floor rooms, providing an entrance hall and enabling the owners to treat one of the rooms off the hall as a parlor. In the cities, small row houses went up in great numbers in the first half of the century, virtually all with parlors, many with dining rooms behind, and some with stair passages. Even the plans of two-bay urban row houses where the door entered in directly into the front room called that room the parlor." Bushman

Victorian Era -- Page 81: "By the 1830s, a few parents began setting aside one room as a nursery for their young children. The nursery was usually located at the back of the house on the second or third floor - as far away from the normal activity of adults as possible. This arrangement protected the children from too much exposure to adult activities and adults from nursery noise...Gradually, as houses became increasingly large in the late nineteenth century, parents sometimes reserved a second room for children, called either a day nursery - as opposed to the night nursery used for sleeping) or a playroom. The nineteenth-century playroom was usually a large, virtually empty space located near the top of the house, which provided children with space for active play." Calvert

Page 81: "In many comfortable middle-class homes after the Civil War era, the nursery was a secluded, self-contained unit. All of the young children of the family slept, bathed, dressed, played, and sometimes ate there, under the supervision of their nurse." Calvert

Page 120: "In rural houses of the mid-nineteenth century, there were often one or more bedrooms on the ground floor of the house, linked to the reception rooms. A detached cottage design with a main-floor bedroom was published by pattern-book author Gervase Wheeler in 1855. Intended for a suburban or country location, it had a square body, with a one- or two-story wing at the rear. A ground-floor center hall plan placed a parlor at the front; a sitting room across from it; a dining room at the rear, communicating with the kitchen in the wing; and, in the corner of the ground floor, a bedroom. This bedroom was linked to the dining room through an entry fitted with built-in drawers and a "wardrobe," and to the parlor by another door." Cromley

Page 121: "A volume published by the Cooperative Building Plan Association of New York in 1866 provided builders with plans for low-cost houses. One of the plans called for a ground-floor bedroom, plus several more bedrooms on the second or chamber floor. The bedroom on the main floor opened into both the kitchen and the entrance hall. Another plan showed a double --or two-family) house, in which the lower unit had a room called "bedroom or sitting room" opening into both the dining room and the hall, and a second bedroom opening into both the parlor and the hall." Cromley

Page 121: "The link between prominent social rooms on the ground floor and a sleeping room is reminiscent of seventeenth- and eighteenth-century practices at all class levels. Then the parents slept in a ground-floor parlor or chamber, and children and servants shared attic and outbuilding sleeping spaces. However, by 1850 this relation marks a difference in class. At the high-cost end of published house designs, the preferred location of all chambers was on a separate "chamber floor" clearly segregated from the social zone of the house; the urban middle-class and well-to-do households in both country and city had grown away from the ground-floor sleeping room." Cromley

Page 31: "The dramatic changes between the Victorian decades and the early twentieth century were reflected in still other ways by residential interiors. Social and cultural historian Karen Halttunen has identified this as a shift from nineteenth-century interiors, designed to mold character, to twentieth-century interiors created as expressions of personality. The American home of the 1850-90 period was viewed by contemporary prescriptive literature as a retreat from the demands of the workplace and as a moral haven for the proper nurturing of children and the transmission of traditional cultural values." Volz

Early 20th century -- Page 34: "As urbanization and the corresponding middle-class move to the look-alike houses of the suburbs brought an increased degree of impersonality, the need to "personalize" residential interiors grew." Volz

Page 35: "An example of this transition from interiors that shaped character to interiors that expressed personality can be found in the residential library. Before the second quarter of the nineteenth century, residential libraries were limited to upper-class homes. By 1830, machine-made paper had reduced the price of books so that they began to be published in series referred to as "libraries," bringing a wide range of literary material within reach of middle-class households. With the middle-class now able to participate in home education for the first time, the home library as it was to participate in the Victorian era, was a room reserved for this new activity." Volz

Page 35: "By the turn of the century, as the education of children increasingly moved out of the home and into the public school system, the library evolved into a room or part of the house, depending on the size of the residence, which was set apart solely for the enjoyment of books. Bungalows, the most popular suburban house form of the first decades of the twentieth century, usually incorporated a nook with built-in bookcases or, in larger houses, a separate room as a library. The home library is an excellent example of a room which evolved to reflect the shift from the nineteenth-century interior, designed to mold character, to the twentieth-century interior's focus on personality and personal fulfillment." Volz

Page 34: Early 1800s -- "The average urban row house was narrow, usually only 15 to 20 feet across, extending back for 30-40 feet." Wright

Page 36: Early 1800s -- "Lot sizes were fixed in some cities, such as New York." Wright

Page 96: Victorian suburbs, 1870s -- "Several million American households put their savings and dreams into a new suburban home. The great migration began in the 1870s and gathered momentum as the century wore on." Wright

Page 98: Victorian suburbs, 1870s - "Each set on a spacious property." Wright

Page 99: Late 1800s -- "Subdivisions of small or moderate-sized lots near transit lines, were intended to attract the families of salesmen, schoolteachers, clerks, and carpenters." Wright

Page 27: "From the late 18th century to the early 19th century, most dwellings for the families of urban skilled workers were small houses of one or two stories. By 1800, the row house had become the established and predominate form for residential building in Providence, Baltimore, Annapolis, Philadelphia, and most other cities." Wright

Page 10: "The Anglican missionary Edward Wix recalled a house he visited on the Isle of Valen in 1835, the dimensions of which were only 12 feet by 10 feet and I found living in it a man and his wife - the master and mistress of the house - two married daughters with their husbands and children, accounting, in all, to fifteen souls." Ward

"The British traveler John Howison noted the slightly sturdier dwellings of frontier Upper Canada when passing through the province in 1820. The usual log and plank house, he observed, measured sixteen by eighteen feet and contained only one room." Ward

Page 14: Mid 1800s - "The amount of space in urban dwellings began to increase. The average size of Montreal homes increased from 4.6 to 5.7 rooms during the last forty years of the nineteenth century. A survey of Montreal's low-income housing in 1937 revealed that of over 4000 homes inspected, one quarter still had no more than three rooms." Ward

Page 16: There were some large homes, as well, in the 1800s, some ranging "between 2200 and 2800 square feet, about the size of a good-sized suburban home today." Ward

Page 81: "As with most other rooms, the bedroom was largely an invention of the late 18th and early 19th centuries. Until then all but the most privileged colonists lived in one or two rooms and beds stood throughout their homes. The absence of bedrooms persisted well into the 19th century in both French and British Canada, town and countryside alike." Ward

Page 147: "From the late nineteenth century on, as the suburban home receded ever farther from the front of the lot, lawns usurped most of the vacant spaces left behind. Front lawns had few social uses for household members, apart perhaps from children's games. Much too exposed to public view, they seldom invited outdoor leisure." Ward

Page 148: "Even when lot sizes began to grow after the turn of the century, the spaces behind urban and suburban homes remained crowded with garages and shed, leaving room for little more than a small vegetable plot and a few blades of grass." Ward

Twentieth Century

Page 84: "But the 19th and 20th century tendency as to seclude bedrooms further by isolating them from one another and grouping them at a distance from other parts of the home. In many cases this meant locating the sleeping area upstairs, in others, placing entrances to bedrooms in a hallway rather than a living or dining room." Ward

Page 86: "The important thing to note is that, once set apart from the rest of the Canadian home, the bedroom was usually accessible only to family members." Ward

Early 20th century - Page 166: "Bungalow implied a one-story or story and a half dwelling of between 600 and 800 square feet. Bedrooms were only bunk spaces. The kitchen, fitted like a ship's galley, accommodated a single person." Wright

Page 172: "In most new houses of the early twentieth century, square footage was drastically reduced to compensate for the increased expenses of plumbing, heating, and other technological improvements. By 1910 it was rare to have single-purpose rooms such as libraries, pantries, sewing rooms, and spare bedrooms, which had comprised the Victorians' sense of family uniqueness and complex domestic life. In a moderately priced two-story house there were usually only three downstairs rooms: living room, dining room, and kitchen. On the second floor, bedrooms were only alcoves for sleep and privacy, no longer receiving rooms for one's friends and children. Housing studies also related the reduced square footage to the decline in domestic production of goods. There was no longer a need for places to store away quilts, home-canned vegetables, and dowry linens for future use." People were no longer seen as producers, but consumers." Wright

Page 352: "The trends of the well-to-do to move from attached urban dwellings to detached homes in the outskirts of cities continued after World War I. With the great increase of private car ownership, suburbs became more accessible, and the opulent detached residences built in communities like Oyster Bay or Lake Forest acquired a social distinction previously held only by urban mansions of the well-to-do." Schoenauer

"Bungalows had no basements, no attics." Schoenauer

Page 415: "Unprecedented expansion of suburbia in North American was due to:

"Bungalows in the 1940s had lots measuring 60 by 100 feet." Schoenauer

Page 27: "Music rooms, reception rooms, conservatories, sitting rooms, and butler's pantries were dropped from all but the most elaborate houses of the period 1910-30. A small bedroom or two for servants, a common feature of larger homes of the second half of the nineteenth century, is found in relatively few plans for early-twentieth-century houses. For example, in its 1908-1940 mail-order home series, Sears offered only four house plans with servants' quarters, one from 1912, two from 1913, and, in 1918, "The Magnolia, the grandest house Sears ever offered" ...it also featured a number of "modern" twentieth-century additions to the house plan, including a sun room, two bathrooms and a downstairs lavatory, a breakfast nook opening off the kitchen for informal dining, a den or family room, and a sleeping porch." Volz

"All of these floor-plan additions can be related directly to changes in the American lifestyle: occupational, ideological, technological, and economic. For example, the breakfast nook as part of the kitchen was related to less formal dining habits requiring fewer servants, along with the new importance of the kitchen and its appliances, as the housewife increasingly became the principal cook." Volz

Early 20th century -- Page 29: "Sleeping porches were advocated by reformers such as Gustav Stickley as a healthy way to maintain a connection with the outdoors. This desire for an indoor space which incorporated the outdoors was also responsible for the popularity of the sun room located usually on the side of the house, sun rooms and closely related loggias and side porches also helped to replace the large Victorian front porch. As automobiles became the transportation of choice, the noise they generated caused the decline of the front porch as an outdoor living area. Eventually, by mid-twentieth century, porches had moved completely around to the back of the house, where outdoor patios and carports became popular." Volz

Page 31: "The living room, which had evolved from the Victorian living or stair hall, replaced both the parlor and the entrance hall; now the visitor entered directly into the life of the family." Volz

Page 36: "Changes in the placement of furniture and, to some degree, the floor plan of the early-twentieth-century house were a direct result of the domestic amenities which were becoming widespread after 1900. Throughout much of the nineteenth century, chairs were placed around a center table as needed to take advantage of the comparatively dim light from a central gas or oil fixture. Task lighting was provided by oil lamps, which required constant maintenance, or rubber hoses carried gas from the central fixture to a not-too-distant gas portable lamp. Once electricity was introduced at the end of the nineteenth century, older homes were retrofitted with surface-mounted wiring. Often, portable task lamps were powered via electric cords plugged into the sockets of a central hanging electrical fixture. As electricity became more widely available, it was the preferred light source in new houses, and concealed wiring, baseboard outlets, and wall switches, all dictated the way furniture was arranged. Lamps were placed on tables beside sofas or between chairs around the perimeter of the room instead of the furniture's being grouped around a central oil or gas fixture. With the advent of this new power source, the dark corners of the house of preceding generations were a thing of the past." Volz

Page 36: "The second amenity which altered floor plans and furniture arrangement was central heating. Forced-air heating systems were availability only to the very wealthy in the later years of the nineteenth century, with coal or wood-burning fireplaces or stoves still serving most homeowners' needs. Because these heat sources could warm only limited areas and were activated only when a room was in use, doors and portiere curtains were necessary to help contain the heat. The effort required to light, feed, and maintain a single-room heat source meant that, practically speaking, rooms had to be used by several people for different concurrent activities. When central heating was developed, radiators or, with a forced-air heating system, floor and wall registers, kept the entire house heated relatively uniformly. But the exposed floor or wall components required by these types of systems meant that rugs and furniture had to be placed, as today, to prevent blocking the heat source. And, even though the new central heating systems made fireplaces and mantels obsolete, these traditional architectural elements, long associated with the concept of "home," were retained in twentieth-century floor plans as the ceremonial focal point of major rooms." Volz

"By the early 1900s, many people were buying precut houses through catalogues or through Sears retail stores, which offered them from 1907-1940." Roth

Page 63: "By the decade beginning in 1910, most authors of furnishing advice, with the exception of those whose readership was well-to-do and able to continue having both a drawing room and a sitting room, promoted the idea of the "living room" in preference to a parlor. By 1920, the term living room had completely replaced parlor in the national periodical of the furniture trade, the Grand Rapids Furniture Record. Sets of model rooms displayed in furniture stores no longer included parlors, either. The modern living room was intended to be less overtly and enthusiastically artificial than the parlor, both in the social life taking place there and in its mirroring décor." Grier

Page 64: "The living room - a return to a multipurpose space - evolved partly from the fact that families had less room in newly built apartments, old houses that were split into two or more residences, and new single-family houses, particularly by the 1920s. The typical Victorian house plan with its special-use rooms was actually nothing more than a series of decorated boxes enclosing space. The walls rarely contained ducts, pipes, or wiring. Smaller new houses were one outcome when people opted for expensive, recently-perfected systems of heating and plumbing, cutting into the amount of money they once used for simply enclosing space from the elements in a decorative fashion. Further, some new house types, such as bungalows, had open plans where public rooms flowed together, making difficult the separation of public and private functions so characteristic of Victorian house plans and domestic routine." Grier

Page 68: "Thus the smaller living spaces, changes in housekeeping routines and priorities, new and compelling outlets for spending discretionary income, and new forms of social life were accompanied by the decreasing power of the vision of the parlor as the world within a room, both as emblem of a public family identity and a memory palace of culture." Grier

Page 69: "By the 1920s, when credit buying was extended to automobiles, middle - and working class families now had access to what can be described as a portable façade. Along with furnaces and other systems, it should be noted in passing here that new homeowners also diverted some portion of house-building funds to construction of a garage, a house for their portable façade. By the 1930s, as many as half of the thirty million households in the United States owned or had access to a car." Grier

Page 89: "By the 1920s, the Victorian nursery had ceased to exist in most middle-class American homes. Smaller families and a desire to separate the sexes made the single large children's room obsolete. Instead, parents frequently placed the infants directly into the room he or she would inhabit throughout childhood, and which usually reflected the baby's age and gender." Calvert

Page 90: "By the early decades of the twentieth century, childhood had been divided into an elaborate scheme of subdivisions, each one requiring a different visual environment for the optimal growth and proper adjustment of the child." Calvert

Page 90: "This elaborate and very precise calibration of the correct material surroundings for a particular child developed during the 1920s and ended with the end of the decade. The concept that children outgrew wallpaper in the same way they outgrew their clothes seemed frivolous during the hard realities of the Great Depression. However, the idea of a room materially coded to the age and sex of the child returned with increased momentum in the 1950s and still remains so common at this, the end of the century that we fail to recognize the novelty of the idea and assume that assume that this is how things have always been." Calvert

Page: 123: "In many early-twentieth-century examples of middle-class houses, the chamber floor absorbed all the sleeping spaces, continuing a nineteenth-century trend begun by the wealthy. The Delineator magazine, a home and fashion monthly, held a competition for a three-thousand-dollar house for a middle-class family in 1909. Frank Choteau Brown designed the first-prize winner. Its ground floor had kitchen, dining room, and living room. The chamber floor had four sleeping rooms: one servant's room, two chambers, and a nursery." Cromley

Page: 123: "Two kinds of changes in the Delineator house suggest increasingly functionalist thinking about the house plan. The typical bedroom had a single entrance from a discrete corridor - not the multiple entrance points of the earlier first floor bedrooms described above - better guaranteeing privacy. This plan clarified room location by function rather than by status of occupant, placing all household members' sleeping rooms together on the second floor --although the servants room was separated from the others by three steps). The plan asserts that the privacy of sleeping is more important than the segregation of family members by rank, which had been characteristic of seventeenth or eighteenth century houses." Cromley

Page: 123: "There is an historical movement in location of bedrooms from the first floor, linked to a parlor or dining room and having several means of access, to bedrooms segregated on upper floors, with access limited to a door into a passage and perhaps a door into an adjoining bedroom. This movement seems linked to the family's desire to present itself as middle class or as rising on the social ladder by making a show of privacy. Bedrooms also shift from status determined locations, where a principal bedroom was linked to the most valued social zones in the house and servants were separated from other family members, to function determined placement, defining all chambers as sleeping rooms and creating a sleeping zone with owners and servants on one floor. That is, by the early twentieth century, the category "sleeping zone" prevails over competing categories, such as "servants' zone" and "family zone." Cromley

Page: 123: "The designers of single floor homes in the later nineteenth and early twentieth centuries confronted additional problems in locating their bedrooms. A one floor plan forces one to ask what functions could go next to a sleeping room and which ones had to stay apart. Early apartment unit plans for single floor household space often mixed sleeping rooms for family with the family's other more social rooms, as seen in Bruce Price's 21 East 21st Street apartment house of 1878. In his plan, a chamber and a parlor are linked; their windows overlook the street - always the privilege of the "best" rooms. Price's remaining bedrooms march toward the rear of the apartment along a corridor which leads finally to the kitchen. Servants, family members, and guests all pass by the "private" bedrooms on the way to the parlor, dining room, or kitchen." Cromley

Page: 123: "By the first decade of the twentieth century, apartment designers preferred grouping all family bedrooms together in a sleeping zone instead of linking a bedroom with reception spaces." Cromley

Page 127: "Answers to the question of which persons get their own bedrooms, then, depends on the social and economic relations within the household and the health ideas of the moment. Putting the baby to sleep with its grandparents was common in the nineteenth century, when one or more grandparents shared homes with younger generations; in the late twentieth century, many children do not grow up in the same house with even two parents, much less two grandparents. Here changed social relations obviate health warnings to keep the baby out of grandma's bed. Giving an infant its own bed, instead of putting it to sleep in the parents' bed, has been a middle-class preference, supported over the past century by doctors although sometimes challenged today by breast-feeding advocates. Working-class families shared beds and bedrooms more often than middle-class households, in part because extra space was too costly to be within their grasp. Separating children by gender has been common since the nineteenth century for any family that could afford separate bedroom space, but gender is assigned more insistently and earlier now than it was a century ago." Cromley

Page 128: "At the turn of the century, many writers gave the bedroom power to express the self. The other rooms must reflect the life of the whole family and their various occupations, but the bedroom is the place for one's personal belongings, those numberless little things which are such sure indications of individual character and fancy...the one room where purely personal preference may be freely exercised." Cromley

Page 130: "A turn-of-the-century columnist for Canadian magazine, Ms. Helliwell, described mythical "old days" --by which she meant the mid-nineteenth century), when each room in a house had an unambiguous function; she quoted Webster's dictionary to define 'bedroom' as "'a room or apartment intended for a bed,' or 'a lodging room,' and that's that." Cromley

Page 138: "A journalist speculated in 1902: "Perhaps another generation will see the total disappearance of the bedroom proper, and weary individuals, when night falls, will merely sink to rest on the hygienically-covered floor of their library or sitting-room." This has not happened for most of us yet. But while we still have bedrooms, let us not assume that we know them." Cromley

"The nature of privacy in a bedroom is less simple than it first appears. While the bedroom often provides a personal haven for an individual occupant that occupant's essentially public role in family and culture is structured into the bedroom's function, spatial location, and decoration. Any decade's theories about health, cleanliness, sex, and gender are imprinted on that decade's ostensibly private spaces. An exploration of bed and bedroom share a remarkable wealth of meanings hovering over the innocuous word 'bedroom' on the architectural plan." Cromley

Page 11: "In 1917, two thirds of the early Ukrainian settlers in Alberta lived in one or two room homes, patterned on designs brought from the homeland. In northern Canada, the one-or-two-room house persisted into the second half of the century." Canadian household size declined by 50% between 1881 and 1991. This, on average at least, the amount of room space available to each Canadian has grown dramatically over time." Ward

Page 49: "...improvements in heating and lighting had important effects on domestic social relations, access to personal space in particular. Normally household members could only use rooms that were warm and well lighted, at least during the cold dark months of the year. A large house with several ill heated or poorly lit rooms was functionally no bigger than a small one, for family members had to cluster together to share basic comforts. Even when homes had heaters in several rooms, the cost and trouble of keeping all of them lit at once encouraged family members to gather around a single source of warmth. Kerosene lamps had the same effect. They required careful tending; filling, cleaning, and wick trimming were time-consuming tasks that were much too dangerous to assign to the young. Nor was it safe to leave children alone with burning lamps. The chores and risks that lamps involved thus limited the number lit at any one time. Because the kitchen was often the warmest, best-lit room in the house it became the centre of family life. In this way older heating and lighting technologies restricted the use of space in the home, drawing household members into each other's company in the process." Ward

Page 51: "Central heating and the electric light altered these patterns dramatically. They were convenient, safe, and reliable, and they distributed domestic comforts throughout the home, making all rooms accessible to all family members at all times of the day in all seasons of the year. The electric lamp even offered the prospect of more than one light source in a single room. The result was that family members need no longer huddle together during the long cold evenings of a winter's night. They could retreat to the greater privacy of a separate focus of heat and light, or to the still greater privacy of another warm, well-lit room. These changes occurred at a point when the number of people in the household was shrinking and the physical size of the house was growing. The combination gave more and more Canadians opportunities to be alone within their own homes. By the mid-twentieth century many still lacked a room of their own, but most could lay greater personal claim to private places and spaces in their dwellings than all but their most privileged ancestors." Ward

Page 74: "...the place of the kitchen in the late 20th century home. Absorbed once again into the spaces used for everyday family, the kitchen had come full circle." Ward

Page 87: "In the recent past the middle-class bedroom has become an ever more private place. With its own attached bathroom, telephone, and TV set, the 'main suite' has assumed something of the character of a self-contained apartment. Walled up in their flat within a home, middle-class parents have built an unprecedented barrier between themselves and their offspring. It should come as little surprise, then that their kids have responded in kind. Since the 60s the number of larger homes in Canada has grown while the average number of household residents has shrunk - quite dramatically in fact. One result has been that young children now commonly have a bedroom each, while most adolescents regard this condition as an entitlement, not a privilege. The rooms themselves offer a separate place for schoolwork, and often include radios, televisions, and phones among the many electronic gadgets once available only centrally within the house. The bedroom has become every adolescent's private domain, decorated to her tastes, maintained to her standards of order and cleanliness. It's now a semi-autonomous household space with boundaries as jealously guarded as those of any medieval domain. Once upon a time 'parents keep out' was just a sign children hung on the clubhouse door." Ward

Page 142: "Since the glory days of the verandah, in fact, the suburban home has turned its back on the street. From the mid-twentieth century on, in particular, the patio, deck, and poolside have supplanted the verandah or porch as the zone of outdoor sociability. In time the auto usurped the street, which gradually devoted itself to parking and to fast, efficient transport. Outdoor domesticity has retreated to the other side of the house, where family and invited friends can enjoy a leisurely chat or a causal meal in the privacy of the garden." Ward

Page 155: "The changing technologies of domestic life also left their mark on this evolving sense of personal privacy. In time, newer, less costly forms of heating and lighting allowed family members to remove themselves from one another's company at home whenever they wished. No longer bound by the need to share a single source of heat or light, they could retire alone to a quiet corner as they desired. In a northern country such as Canada, these were particularly important innovations. Meanwhile the several gifts of the nineteenth-century porcelain revolution - flush toilets, bathroom sinks, bathtubs, hot and cold running water - transformed the hygienic customs of a people newly sensitive to the social meanings of odours, those of their own bodies in particular." Ward

Page 158: "The suburban home once turned its face to the public, to the roads and walkways that tied it to its community. It invoked a neighbourly sociability through porches, verandahs, and front garden displays - effective in Canada during the warmer seasons at least. But in the 1960s and '70s it turned its back on public spaces, more and more preoccupied with enhancing the family's privacy. The result is that the social life of transitional spaces between the home and the road or sidewalk has eroded almost everywhere in Canada, the suburbs especially. Householders have turned instead to their decks, their patios, and their barbecues - to a domestic ideal focused on the home's interior and garden. In this case, propinquity defines the distance between neighbours, who live 'alone together' - in the luminous phrase of the American apartment's leading historian. To know the same isolation you'd have to live in the depths of the wilderness. In twentieth-century Canada growing privacy and rising urban density have walked hand in hand. It seems likely that the relationship between them is casual that living ever more closely together has prompted apartment dwellers to defend their private spaces with ever more vigilance. Their norms and customs promote respectful neighbourly distance much more than familiarity." Ward

Page 316 - 317: 1990s -- "American suburban houses in all regions began to sprout traditional picturesque devices like asymmetrical massing, completely interlocking roof planes, and extensive dormer windows. Given a choice, few wished to live anymore in the blandly uniform housing tracts of the 1950s." Gelernter

"This renewed interest in a special sense of place combined in the 1990s with a renewed interest in environmental issues. Continuing population growth and industrialization put further pressure on the natural environment, gobbling up open spaces for suburbs, polluting the air and, alarmingly, heating up the world's climate and thinning the atmosphere's protective ozone layer. Even Americans who espoused less federal regulation and bureaucracy in their economic and social lives were not willing to remove the regulations put in place to protect the environment. Conservation efforts like recycling became a commonplace for millions of families. The American Institute of Architects set an ambitious agenda for 'sustainable architecture,' by which they meant buildings that were ecologically responsible. Sustainable architecture would also require buildings to work in sympathy with their local climates, one of the key issues of regionalism. We have seen...how many buildings before the Industrial Revolution had evolved in response to local climatological conditions, employing a compact form to retain heat in cold climates for example, and as a thin form to allow cross-ventilation in hot, humid climates. subsequent technical innovations like artificial lighting, central heating and air conditioning had removed these natural constraints on forms. Designers were able to put any building form in any climate and simply rely on the brute force of energy intensive technology to keep it inhabitable. By the mid-1990s, many felt that the economic, political and environment costs of this design were simply too high to continue. The sustainable architects set out to relearn the ecological lessons of their pre-industrial predecessors. In the new age of international telecommunications and automated manufacturing, according to this vision, people no longer needed to commute to central place of work. Here we return full circle to the typical pre-industrial village, where the local artisans lived over their shops and participated in the daily life of their neighborhoods while pursuing their livelihoods." Gelernter

Preface: "Not surprisingly, trends in housing are subject to history and fashion. In the latter half of the twentieth century and at the beginning of the twenty-first, trends have become truly ephemeral ..." Friedman and Krawitz

Page X: "Until the past few decades, transitions in the style of homes and in the types of households who inherited them were slow and gradual. Builders constructed houses according to the dictates of standard conventions: proportions, sizes, materials, colors, were all subject to accepted norms which varied little from year to year. Universal, instantaneous communication and transmission of visual images have changed the way we observe the dwellings and lives of other people. Television and the Internet have let us into the homes of the entire world, revealing households in countries we will never visit, showing us our neighbors in their kitchens, living rooms, and bedrooms. We witness local trends and global trends with equal ease. No matter where a style or certain look or even a simple detail comes from - we see it and we want it. We rush out to have it made real in our own lives." Friedman and Krawitz

Page xi: "Yet in North American society we all still live in rooms with walls that have doors and windows, we prepare our food in kitchens, we sleep in bedrooms, and wash in bathrooms. Some of our most basic human activities are not subject to trends or to socio-demographic shifts and economic restructuring, and the changes in our homes, while radical, still follow an evolutionary logic. The novelty of our age is that the evolutionary process is an accelerated one. Our use of the space in our homes changes with a rapidity that can be confusing and disorienting. And as we transform these spaces, they transform us." Friedman and Krawitz

Page xii: "These transformations are the result of demographic, economic, lifestyle, environmental, and technological pressures. Some have left only a superficial imprint on our homes and have a marginal influence on the domestic environment; others, such as the effect of consumption on home buying, have a far more significant impact." Friedman and Krawitz

Page 5: "Whether we like it or not, the boomers' needs will affect the needs of us all. The drive to provide homes for them as they move through their various life stages towards old age and death will prompt designers and builders to create homes that suit the type and size of boomers' households - first as parents, then as empty-nesters - their lifestyles, and their tastes. The modification of the current housing stock and construction of new homes will leave behind a housing legacy that will affect how all North Americans live for many years to come." Friedman and Krawitz

Page 6: "Since 1940 the average number of people living in a home has shrunk by one person, to just over two and a half. Almost three in five households are made up of only one or two persons. It should come as no surprise that while large homes are still being built, many buyers are searching for smaller, cheaper dwelling units more suited to their scaled-down requirements for space." Friedman and Krawitz

Page 7: "The growing market for housing types perceived as ill-suited to traditional families - highrise condos, row-houses, duplexes - is supported by rising numbers of households who are themselves considered non-traditional. Single dwellers have tripled their share of total households since the war: one in four of all homes now belongs to a lone occupant." Friedman and Krawitz

Page 16: "Computers and the Internet are recent additions to our lives and homes, and they have an undeniable impact on our use of time and allocation of space. Builders of homes have responded with the installation of wiring and connections to facilitate online and electronic use, while designers have assigned new functions to old spaces - computers in the living room, for instance) and have planned for new spaces to accommodate new uses - home offices and media rooms)." Friedman and Krawitz

Page 23: "The kitchen in North American has taken many forms throughout its history to arrive at its current incarnation. Originally, it was part of the largest room in the house - sometimes the only one - the room where the big table and fireplace were located, the place for eating, working, and relaxing informally. In early New England homes of the seventeenth century, the kitchen of one-room houses was sometimes extended into the outdoors by having the fireplace protrude through a wall so that cooking and candle-making could have their own space away from the single indoor room that was also used for living, dining, and sleeping. A two-room home would be divided into the parlour, for formal occasions and guests, and the hall, for everything else. In the southeastern American colonies of the seventeenth century, cooking was done indoors over an open fire in the early days but was later moved to a building apart from the house." Friedman and Krawitz

Page 23: "A typical middle-class home in the Midwest in the nineteenth century consisted of a parlour, usually kept closed, bedrooms, and a kitchen which served as the family gathering place and dining room as well as the food preparation area." Friedman and Krawitz

Page 25: "During the nineteenth century, the different functions of the house were compartmentalized into separate areas. The public and private rooms were kept apart, and the kitchen was located either in the basement or in the service wing at the back of the house." Friedman and Krawitz

Page 26: "The typical turn-of-the-century bungalow had a compact kitchen, no larger than 120 square feet. In houses and apartments built before the Second World War, the kitchen is almost always situated in the rear. Contemporary kitchens have become larger and have migrated towards the middle of the home. The post war era beginning in the middle of the twentieth century was marked by an expansion in kitchen size. Even by the early 1950s the minimum size for a kitchen had grown to 150 square feet." Friedman and Krawitz

Page 27: "Formal dining rooms have been eliminated in many homes to create large eat-in-kitchens, and the family room has been built adjacent to the kitchen to create the so-called great room." Friedman and Krawitz

Page 49: "Video entertainment in the home has also served to isolate household members one from the other." Friedman and Krawitz

Page 57: "Personal computers are a phenomenon of the last two decades which have no parallel with anything that existed before" and have transformed homes." Friedman and Krawitz

Page 58: "As the ways in which homes are used change, the buildings will evolve." For example, "the presence of television has had an impact on the use and function of spaces in homes." Friedman and Krawitz

Page 59: "The use of computers and video games by children illustrates how the concentration of a particular activity in select locations around the home has led to the abandonment of other, previously popular spaces." Friedman and Krawitz

Page 69: "The irony inherent in our use of these advanced communication devices is that although they expand the boundaries of our homes to encompass the world beyond our walls, they also serve increasingly to separate us from other people both inside and outside our homes. The more we engage in electronic activity, the more we find ourselves isolated from members of our households and the less we have need of direct contact with resources and people in institutions, offices, and libraries. We divide our homes into a multitude of private zones for individual use and we partake in fewer shared activities. Our use of the home has become fragmented; we require additional spaces to accommodate a growing number of uses. The home is evolving in step with the demands we place upon it." Friedman and Krawitz

Post WWII - "The bungalow was 1000 square feet, smaller than the two-storey detached homes with pitched roofs and basements and typical of the immediate prewar period. Kitchens were frequently only fifty square feet. The bungalow of the 50s was a little bigger than its postwar predecessor. By the early 60s, homes were bigger: 1300 square feet in the mid-1960s. The kitchen had doubled in size, compared to the 1940s to 100 square feet." Friedman and Krawitz

Page 251: "In reality, most ranch-style houses of the 1950s had less square footage than the average house of the 1920s, but housewives saw an end to their countless trips up and down stairs, and husbands liked the look of spaciousness, with fewer walls between rooms and a view of the backyard." Wright

Page 252: "The 1949 Levitt model had two bedrooms, a dining alcove off the living room, and a potentially expandable attic, providing 700 square feet of living space on a lot 60 feet by 100 feet." On a radiant-heated concrete slab, with carports replacing garages to save money." Wright

Page 147: "In the two decades following WWII, average land size doubled, from one-fifth of an acre of urban land in 1950 to two-fifths in 1970." Friedman and Krawitz

Page 154: "Over a half of all households have a garage or carport incorporated into their homes. Over three-quarters of all detached single-family houses have a garage with space for two or more cars, up from just over a half in the mid-1970s. Garages are deemed an essential component of the home. There are newly-built suburban houses that deal with the problem of excess storage material and car shelter by providing garages for three cars. A typical three-car garage takes up 900 square feet of space, roughly the same size as the average home built in the 1950s." Friedman and Krawitz

Page 174: "The average new house has expanded in size from about 1500 square feet in the mid-70s to over 2000 square feet. Only one-fifth of new homes had two and a half bathrooms then: today half of all new homes have at least two full bathrooms and a powder room." Friedman and Krawitz

Page 174: "Although they have smaller families than those they grew up in, the boomers want more space in the home for their own families."...Homes have taken on numerous shapes and dimensions. Households are getting smaller all the time, but single-family homes have grown by one-third in size over the last twenty years. Innovation will be a key ingredient to the potential success of builders." Friedman and Krawitz

Energy crisis - Page 418: "Public acceptance of more energy-efficient cluster and townhouses as viable suburban dwelling alternatives." Schoenauer

Page 418: "In the nineties the process of suburbanization continued and the dream of living in the countryside with urban amenities was as strong as ever. According to the US Bureau of the Census, the suburban proportion of metropolitan development reached 65% in 1980, and there are no indications that this trend will diminish." Schoenauer

Page 429: "Today, as in the past, land economy through smaller and more affordable building lots has led to the use of some semidetached bungalows, but more often to semidetached split-level and two storey homes. So great is the desire to live in a detached home that suburbs use such planning ploys as "zero-lot-line" subdivisions to reduce the size of lots and make them more affordable. The obsession with freestanding houses is not a new phenomenon. During the nineteenth century, people of more moderate means displayed great ingenuity in making detached homes affordable. Some examples are the "shotgun" and "camelback" houses built on narrow city lots in New Orleans, Louisiana. Predating trailer homes, these two dwelling types are only 12 or 14 feet wide, a constraint that forced the design of rooms aligned one behind the other, a layout not dissimilar to the nineteenth century railroad flats in New York City tenements." Schoenauer

Page 421: "Street frontage of a bungalow lot is three times that of a townhouse." Schoenauer

Page 422: "A viable alternative to the single-family detached house is the courtyard, or court-garden house." Schoenauer

Page 263: "The overwhelming majority of Americans cannot afford to buy a home today, whether it is a condominium, a townhouse, or a detached dwelling. The president of the National Association of Home Builders estimated in 1980 that only 8% of all potential buyers had sufficient income to purchase a home. The displacement of the poor, the unavailability of rental property, the high costs of land and financing, the wasteful energy expenditures, the stigma of public housing, are not isolated problems to be remedied by piecemeal government action or private enterprise. At issue are basic changes in how Americans live, as well as where they live. In the cities and the suburbs, smaller dwellings, clustered closer together and featuring energy-conserving systems, are an evitable new model for the American home." Wright

Page 266: "More people must rent rather than own, and pay too much for that; they must do without various consumer goods because of inflation; pleasure driving must be curtailed because of the cost of gasoline; many couples must postpone beginning a family so they can afford a house first. For these people, it is "the end of the American dream," a dream that had become intimately associated with cars and large, single-family suburban houses. In reality, it is the demise of postwar suburbia as the quintessential expression of that dream." Wright

Page 262: "Within this context, architecture would become more relevant to human needs. Technology could be used seriously - not merely as a demonstration of political or economic power. Till now, modern technology has implied mechanistic and soulless buildings, but only because of the soulless of the decision-makers themselves. The development of technology not only for construction but, more importantly, for architecture of greater humanity. The architect himself must change his role. He must be willing to share the design process with others; he must expand his awareness of his social role, and cease to be ambivalent about who he works for; he must expand his capabilities to embrace a more rigorous and scientific attitude; and he must see his work within a wider context: an awareness of the implications of small-scale decisions at the larger scale and of large-scale ones at the smaller. The architecture that results could be the most humane and most relevant in history to society's needs." Risebero

The National Association of Home Builders reports that the median size for a new single family home last year (2003) was about 2070 square feet.

Web Articles

In 30 Years of Experience by Alan Heavens
Philadelphia Inquirer
Apr. 25, 2004

"Family size has decreased almost 25 percent over 30 years, the size of new houses has increased about 50 percent, to slightly more than 2,300 square feet today from 1,500 square feet."

"About 25 percent of prospective buyers want a three-car garage, even if they have only one car and even if that would add considerably to the price of a house. Most would settle for a two-car garage."


Millennium Trends by Mark and Theresa Queripel.
Blueprints, The Denver Post
January 21, 2001

"It comes as no surprise that houses have grown in size and cost over the years. At the beginning of the last century, the average home was 700 to 1,200 square feet. In 1950 the average home was 1,000 square feet growing to an average size of 2,000 square feet in 2000. Costs in 1900 were about $5,000, $11,000 in 1950 and $200,000 last year. An interesting fact revealed in the [National Association of Home Builders -NAHB) report is that although homes have grown in size, lot sizes have begun to significantly decrease in size. In 1990, the average lot size was 14,680 square feet; the first year data was available for comparison. Just eight years later the average lot size was 12,870. In its profile of a typical new home in 2010, the report suggests the average lot size will shrink by another 1,000 square feet while the house size will increase to 2,200 or more square feet."

"The new home profile also anticipates more mixed-use communities, neo-traditional designs, neighborhoods with smaller lots and narrower streets. New communities will offer more diverse architectural designs. 21st century neighborhoods will be more diverse while maintaining high quality design standards. They will encompass live/work houses, commercial centers and close proximity to amenities and services."

"Larger homes on smaller lots will be one of many design challenges affecting new home construction in the years and decades to come. When height restrictions are not too onerous - as they are in many Colorado communities), the solution is to go up and down. Homeowners could carve out more liveable space, which may have been previously delegated for storage, in their basements and attics. Courtyards and other "outdoor living spaces" can make the home grow as well. Outdoor cooking centers and fireplaces, especially in warm or moderate climates, can be enjoyed nearly year-round."


New Home Trends Favor One Story and Small Lots
http://realtytimes.com/rtnews/rtcpages/20011002_stories.htm
By Carol Ochs
Realty Times
October 2, 2001

"Buyers seem to share one thing in common. Most want more living space. The median size of the respondents' current homes was 1,770 square feet. How much space did they really want? The median response was 2,071 square feet. In 2000, the median size for new single family homes was about 2,070 square feet of floor space."

"Now, how much land do you need for these bigger homes? Less than you might think. In 1976, the median lot size of new homes was 10,125 square feet. Last year that median size had slipped to 8,750 square feet. Most people responding to the survey indicated they were for ¼ acre to ½ acre lots. That translates to 11,000 to 22,000 square feet."

"There's the rub. While size is on the decline, the desire for bigger homes is rising. Homebuyers want one-story homes, but builders have been responding to the demand for more living space by building more two-story homes. More stories allow expansion of interior space without increasing a home's "footprint" - the amount of land it uses. This has become more important as land becomes less available and more costly in many metro areas."


Communities in Region Debate 'McMansion' Laws
The Journal News
By Robert Marchant
February 10, 2002

"...the result of rising land prices and a bigger-is-better approach to building that maximizes every inch of a house lot."

"...a few years, homes larger than 4,000 square feet started to go up on lots a third of an acre in size - after existing homes half the size were torn down."

"According to statistics kept by the National Association of Home Builders, the size of an average home in 1950 was 1,000 square feet, while today it is 2,265. The size of new homes grew 5 percent alone between 1991 and 1998, according to the trade organization - while average lot size has been shrinking."

Books Used

  1. American Architecture: A History by Leland M. Roth, Westview Press, Colorado, 2001.
  2. The Refinement of America: Persons, Houses, Cities by Richard L. Bushman, Knopf, Inc., New York, 1992.
  3. The Story of Western Architecture by Bill Risebero, MIT Press, Cambridge, Mass, 1979.
  4. A History of American Architecture: Buildings in their Cultural and Technological Context by Mark Gelernter, Manchester University Press, Manchester, 1999.
  5. American Home Life, 1880-1930: A Social History of Spaces and Services, edited by Jessica H. Foy and Thomas J. Schlereth, The University of Tennessee Press, Knoxville, 1992.
  6. Peeking Through the Keyhole: The Evolution of North American Homes by Avi Friedman and David Krawitz, McGill-Queen's University Press, Montreal, 2001.
  7. 6,000 Years of Housing by Norbert Schoenauer, W.W. Norton & Company, New York, 2000.
  8. Building the Dream by Gwendolyn Wright, MIT Press, Cambridge, Mass, 1988.
  9. A History of Domestic Space by Peter W. Ward, UBC Press, Vancouver, 1999.

Copyright © 2017 Moya K. Mason, All Rights Reserved

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