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Gustav Stickley (ed.) / The craftsman
Vol. XIV, Number 4 (July 1908)

Hopkins, Una Nixson
Plaster houses in the Southwest,   pp. 420-425 PDF (1.7 MB)

Page 420

HE plaster house in America is
       a composite reflected of plaster
       houses in all countries, and, as
       a result, has many delightful
features. Its popularity in the past few
years has increased at a surprising ratio.
The reasons are not far to seek: plaster
houses are warmer in winter and cooler
in summer than those of wood. Fur-
ther, the high price of mill work no
longer makes the frame house cheaper,
so that the plaster house is not at a
disadvantage from an economical stand-
point. Then, too, people are learning
how to build them. Every one who
goes abroad, for instance, is more or
less influenced, when he comes to make
a home, by his observations. It may be
the Elizabethan half-timbered houses of
England have appealed to his particular
fancy, or that the villas of Florence are
the type which he wishes to reproduce
for his own, or, possibly, the rambling
houses of Spain, with their picturesque
courtyards, have taken a special hold on
his imagination. Those who have seen
Southern California with its wealth of
architectural specimens know that the
plaster house shows all these influences
as well as an occasional marked origi-
  The Pompeiian plaster house which
one seldom, if ever, sees in the Eastern
States, appears quite natural in the
tropical setting of our Southwest. A
number of these houses are situated in
the midst of orchards, a good deal of
space being necessary for their con-
struction to satisfy their rambling pro-
pensities. Built around   an  interior
court, or atrium, which serves as a dis-
tributing point for other rooms, they
are picturesque in the extreme. A
fountain plays according to tradition
and tropical plants border this central
room, luxuriously. The light comes
entirely from above, and the ventila-
tion is manipulated by small windows
that form a sort of frieze. In some of
the houses the atrium is floored with
cement, places being left for plants.
From the atrium you go up one step to
a platform that bounds the atrium on
four sides, and from this you enter the
various rooms of the house. The front
door, which commands a wonderful
view of this novel interior, also opens
on the court. In others the central
space has been filled in with dirt, the
plants growing as if out of doors.
These houses might be adapted for
summer homes in the East, and pos-
sibly for all the year round, but it is
doubtful whether houses covering so
much ground would be altogether prac-
tical when it came to the matter of heat-
ing, though it is possible. It would be
difficult to find anything in domestic
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