Country Houses and Seaside Cottages of the Victorian Era
by William T. Comstock

William T. Comstock: Country Houses and Seaside Cottages of the Victorian Era (Dover Publications)

Unabridged Dover (1989) republication of American Cottages: Consisting of Forty-four Large Quarto Plates, Containing Original Designs of Medium and Low Cost Cottages…, published by William T. Comstock, New York, 1883. 200 illustrations on 44 plates. 64pp. 9.375 x 12.25 inches. Paperbound. ISBN 0-486-25972-2.

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From the Book Cover

This fascinating book presents a series of 44 designs for vacation homes of varying styles and sizes, created over a century ago by a select group of New York and New Jersey architects. Many of them are two-story, and most of them were intended to be built on low-to-medium budgets. All of them reflect the ideals of comfort and charm and state-of-the-art technology of the Victorian period.

The original publishers compiled a splendid variety of designs, presented them as “seaside and country houses” and included designs for a Victorian club house, pavilion, school house and a “small seaside chapel.” A total of 200 illustrations — including perspective views, front and side elevations and first- and second-story floor plans — depict these appealing designs. Occasionally the architects have specified construction materials and finishing details such as paint color and trim, and in all cases they have included the overall anticipated costs, which range from about $500 to about $9000.

The Victorians, of course, loved architectural embellishments of every kind, and it is no small part of the charm of this book to study the profusion of gables, porches, portholes, dormers, porticoes, chimneys, pinnacles and more, lavished on even the most modest designs. Above all, the houses and cottages appear to be both comfortable and reassuring, appealing reminders of a gracious age long gone. Those studying and working in the fields of architecture, history and sociology will find in this wonderful book exuberant examples of a rich and charming architectural style. Those who wish to join the growing number of home builders and restorers recreating Victorian homes will find inspiration in each of these thoughtful designs.

Cover designed by Frank J. Moore.

(The above commentary is provided by Dover Publications, Inc.)

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