Treatise Exteriors

In A Treatise on Domestic Economy, Catharine Beecher offered several options to the homebuilder. In the section called "Plans of Houses and Domestic Conveniences", she noted, "The following plans are designed chiefly for persons in moderate circumstances, and have especial reference to young housekeepers." For these young people, the increasing affluence in the United States was a double-edged sword, at once offering them the opportunity to own homes and robbing them of good domestic help - " Every year, as the prosperity of this Nation increases, good domestics will decrease, and young mothers are hereafter to be called to superintend and perform all branches of domestic business." [Beecher, 261.] Plans for houses, then, must be considered with the goal of the utmost efficiency in mind.

The image to the right is the elevation of a house "where most domestic labor is to be done without the aid of domestics." [Beecher, 268.] It is conspicuously free of piazzas and porticoes, which Beecher considers wasteful, "Piazzas and porticoes are very expensive; and their cost would secure far more comfort, if devoted to additional nursery or kitchen conveniences. Many kinds of porticoes cost as much as one additional room in the house." [Beecher, 260.] Rectangular in shape, it is not quite the "perfect square" recommended by Beecher as the ultimate in economy of labor and money.

The gothic cottage to the left is the design "which secures the most economy of labor and expense, with the greatest amount of convenience and comfort." [Beecher, 271.]