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who bave now occupied their apartments their incomes 16 moderate" enough. for three months, are generally well satis- Thousands of others, who may be living fied, and consider that the experiment has in apparent luxury in their Avenne been a success in every respect. To the homes, have a deeper sense of the "modcharge that they are dear, it can be said erateness” of their incomes. But if it that the rents are higher than was antici- is asked, “Can a man live in such aparipated, but that they are less than an ments for $5,000 a year?” we say, equal amount of floor-space would com- “Yes;” and if it is asked, “ Can he do it mand in an equally desirable neighbor- for $3,000 ? " we say“Yes;” but that is hood. A few figures will make this evi- the least, supposing him to have a family dent. Each apartment contains exactly of three, and to keep one servant. Then 1788 superficial feet, and the average it be asked, “ Can such houses be built rent is $1,260. For this the tenant gets for persons of smaller incomes still ?" a parlor, three bedrooms, a dining-room,
Yes.” And the reason is this: a servants' room, a kitchen, and a bath- that in living on such a system a family room, besides necessary closets. He has require less space, in order to attain an access by two stairways, a dumb-waiter equal amount of comfort, than when to lift coal from the cellar, where he has keeping an entire house. In fact, when a bin, and to carry clothes to the roof, a wife sees how much trouble and annoywhere he has a compartment for drying ance can be saved by the new way of clothes. The plumbing and appointments living, she regards contraction as an adare all that would be required in a first- vantage to her- downright luxury, class house. Let us compare this with which she never knew of before; for what he could get elsewhere. In one what greater privilege can she have than of the large-sized dwelling-houses in the the time to cultivate and enjoy her better same neighborhood, say 25 by 60 feet in senses? How often is it said that babies size, a floor contains exactly 1500 super- banish pianos, and that the young mothficial feet, and the second floor will bring er's duties to her offspring compel her to $1,200 1-year, if it can be rented at all, neglect her higher intellectual culture. in such a house and neighborhood. Yet Yet it is not, in reality, the baby to which it has no conveniences for living on one she is enslaved, but the thousand-and-one floor, and, when thus rented out, becomes household cares that come with an inscarcely more endurable than any com- creased family. It is in these that the mon tenement house. This Eighteenth- housewife economizes by the apartment street building, it is said, nets the owner system of living. Now, to answer the just seven per cent. on the capital in- question, if such houses can be built for vested. That the demand of people of people of small incomes, we say Cermoderate incomes for comfortable and tainly,” for that which has been already convenient apartments, at low rents, has built actually has room to spare in its not been met in this case, there is some apartments, where the family is small, reason to believe. But when we consider and an attempt is made to live economthat there were enough applicants for ically. Smaller apartments will of course apartments, before the house was fin- be cheaper; and in a neighborhood ished, to fill four more of the same size, where land is less costly, and in a house it is evident that a great many people of plain exterior, they can be decidedly found every thing to their liking, and cheaper, and still retain all those safewould have been only too glad to pay the guards upon which depends the comfort, rent demanded. Before building more protection, and isolation of each family, houses of this kind, we must ascertain and which make the apartment house what a “moderate income” consists of different from the “tenement house" so and then we can shape our houses to suit called. What these essentials are, we our tenants' purses. But therein is the will mention further on. But there great difficulty. Doubtless many tenants must be a limit to the decreased amount in Mr. Stuyvesant's building consider of rent, as long as such safeguards are
retained. These things must be paid better dispense with these things than for.
with others, upon which our comfort so With regard to the cheapness of much depends. Now, the greater deapartment-house” rents, the public mand in this country for back stairs, have been greatly deceived by false closets, store-rooms, passage-ways that prophets and inexperienced writers on will take you from any one room to any the subject. Their mistakes have been other without going through a third, mainly due to the assumption that a bath-rooms, large kitchens with ranges, Parisian house, which looks so cosy to sinks and wash-tubs, storage for fuel, them, with its gilt clocks, and mirrors, and places to dry clothes, not to mention and porcelain stoves, was just the thing a host of others, is what makes Amerifor American cities; while the fact is, can apartment houses necessarily expenthat the same persons would not live in sive. Take one item of expense-plumba Parisian house of the average kind, if it ing--and remember that each apartment were bodily transported to America. must have almost as much plumbing as Such a house would come, in time, to be is required for a small dwelling-house, a nuisance and a pest, and we will pres- and some idea can be formed of the ently see why. It would have, of course, source of this increased cost. All these a grand escalier for all, and its apartments things must be paid for when the occuwould have an antichambre and a salon, pant pays his rent. to be sure; but here these things would There is a strong reason, however, for be only a corkscrew-stairway, a vesti- the cramped condition of Parisian houses, bule, and a parlor; it would have no and it is in the fact that the value of land passage-ways except the vestibule, and in proportion to buildings is much greatall communication within would be from er in Paris than here. It is a question, room to room; it would have no bath- therefore, whether or not, with the roorn nor wash-basins, and the kitchen enormous increase in the value of land would be a dimly-lighted closet, without in cities like New York, we may ultiroom for the cook to sit down, and with mately be compelled to adopt the French every prospect that on our hot summer plan for our own houses, with all our days she would roast herself while broil- little comforts lopped off. Some archiing our steaks ; it would leave no trace tects hold that we will, and that it is of a closet or store-room for either clothes wasteful to show such liberality in closor provisions, and no back stairs for ser- ets, etc. But let the future shape events vants, unless it were an absolutely first- as it may; it is our duty to provide for the class house, in which case it would prob- needs of the present. The experiment is ably have a stable in the back cellar. at least worth trying in good shape. Such, as far as comfort and convenience Who, then,” the reader asks, “ may are concerned, would be a Parisian have apariments?” We answer, that, as apartment house, transferred to an far as investigation and estimate have American city. And this brings us to been carried, they are accessible, with the real difference between what such a all improvements, to families of four perhouse is abroad, and what it should be sons with an income of $2,000 a year. here. It is by the omission to provide The rental to such a family cannot be all those thousand-and-one things which much less than $800. This estimate does every American housewife considers es- not assume to be infallible, but is the sential to comfort and respectability, and best result of thought and calculation. often to decency, that the foreign apart- It is time that the public should underment houses are made so compact, and stand clearly what they may expect from consequently, economical. In only one the new system. To that end, we will respect are they better than American consider what an apartment house should houses are likely to be, and that is in be, and how it should be managed. Betheir substantiality and artistic finish, fore doing so, however, we will offer especially of the interior. But we can some suggestions on economic living.
The disappointment of so many as to In the apartment, however, where the the amount of rent which it is ne- rooms are on one floor, and the distances cessary to pay for apartments is much to are considerable, attendance to the usual be regretted. Some explanations are household duties compels them to take therefore necessary, which, it is hoped, that exercise which is generally denied will dispel such misgivings. It should to those who are compelled to remain inbe remembered that the rent of an apart- doors, and which they so much need. ment includes not only the landlord's in- But aside from these advantages of the terest on his investment, but a share of apartment house, who can calculate the the expense of door-keeping, lighting, amount of care, anxiety, and drudgery cleaning, and heating all the halls and saved to women by the new system? stairways, removing ashes and garbage, By it, also, the great servant-question is cleaning sidewalk, sprinkling the street, to some extent solved. A system which pumping water for the upper stories, and enables us to dispense with half the usual water-tax. These involve the rent and service may well be rejoiced at. The salary of the porter and his attendants, servant-question is also met in another and the maintenance of a steam-boiler respect. Though it may be difficult to and pump, which consume a large amount get servants who will work so near to of fuel. These things being done by the the eyes of their mistresses and this landlord, the tenant pays his proportion- has been found to be the case—the misate share of the expense, which is seem- tress is quite certain to get those only ingly part of the rent. All this outside who are willing to be watched, and surework being done, as it were, by whole- ly no others could be desired. sale, the cost to each tenant is very small, The conclusion, therefore, is, that what in proportion to the outside work of a we gain by the apartment system is not single house. IIerein is one of the larg- in cheap rents, but in cheap living. The est items of expense saved by the ten- outside work done by the landlord is reants. Few housekeepers know how ally done on the principle of coöperágreat is the cost of this work for an or- tion. This, though a saving to the tendinary house. It is a matter hard to ant, makes the rent apparently high. calculate, but the result, as fonnd by ex- But the economy in the system will be perience in the apartment house, shows found mainly in the reduced household that it constitutes a large proportion of expenses. Unfortunately, this cannot be the household expenses. The saving in proved by figures, but experience has the cost of furniture is another item, and thus far shown it to be true. The charge the wear and tear on carpets is much often made against the morality of the less, owing to the distance of most apart- system may be dismissed with a word. ments from the street. House-cleaning, It is without reason or precedent. It to the occupant of apartments, is a small comes from a Puritanical horror for evitem.
ery thing that is French, and is based on The physical advantages of the apart- a misconception of the state of French ment system, especially to women, should society, which is usually formed by supernot be overlooked. No exercise is more ficial travellers. injurious to women than climbing stairs, Let us now consider what should be wbile none is so beneficial as walking on the practical requirements of an aparta level. To women who are confined to ment house, built in accordance with their houses by domestic or other duties, American ways of living. the climbing of stairs, especially in our It should have two entrances, one narrow and lofty city dwellings, is a communicating with the front stairs, and wearisome and exhausting task, and, the other with the back stairs for serwhile it is almost their sole exercise, is vants and hucksters. There may be one that which is most injurious to them. A or more stairways of each kind, accordgreater share of it by far falls to them ing to the size and shape of the house. than to the male members of the family. The porter's office should he, if possible, between the two entrances, so that he the best coverings for steps. The encan easily control both, and his bedroom trance to each apartment should be made should adjoin it, if he does not sleep in evident by appropriate ornamentation the office. His family-rooms may be in of the door and its casings, and each the basement, where the nature of the door should have a distinct and legible ground admits, as in most parts of New plate, for it is not so easy to read names York. The entrance-halls should not be in-doors as on the street. more than three steps above the side- We now come to the arrangement of walk. The passage-way to the back the apartments themselves. Herein there stairs should, if possible, lead directly to may be great diversity as to relative the stairways; but if the exigencies of position, size, and number of rooms, the plan will not admit of this, it shonld depending, of course, on the size of the be carried down to the basement, and the family to be accommodated, and their stairs started at that point. There should way of living. Apartment houses will be an outside entrance to the basement in course of time be built for all classes for the carrying of ashes, garbage, etc., of people, the most extravagant and which should also communicate with the luxurious as well as the most saving and back stairs. Coal-bins are a necessity in
economical. But it concerns us now to this country, and they must be provided find what can be done for the latter in the basement, with separate compart- class, those for whom such houses are ments for each tenant. Iland-lifts must most in demand. In an American house also be provided at convenient places to it is essential that every room should convey fuel and stores to each apartment, communicate with a common hall or landing them in the vicinity of the kitch- passage-way. This is one of the respects ens.
The back stairways must connect in which it must differ from a Parisian with each apartment, near the kitchens, house. There the entrance is into a where the entrance-doors should have vestibule, or antichambre, which is a spring-latches and bells. They must also room of some pretensions, which must be well lighted and ventilated. The best communicate directly with the parlor, way of doing this, if they are not situ- the dining-room, and a passage-way to the ated so as to have corridors, is to con- kitchen. It is considered good enough, struct a shaft alongside of each stairway, even in the best houses, to enter your instead of depending upon a skylight at bed-rooms either through the parlor, the top, which, in a high building, will dining-room, or from the passage-way only light the upper flights. This ar- to the kitchen. César Daly says in his rangement is also adapted to the main great work on the Domestic Architecstairways, when not contiguous to exte- ture of Paris,* that the antichambre is rior walls.
the common room, the “ventral ground," The main entrance to an apartment of the apartment between the proprietor house should be elegant and substantial,
and his servants. It is the common pasand should be so finished as not to give sage-way even between the kitchen and evidences of wear and tear. The hall the dining-room, so that the visitor comand stairways should be so built as not ing late to dinner, as he enters, may run to be easily soiled, for it is important to against the waiter with his soup. An avoid the necessity of constant cleanings, antichambre may be a very good thing whicli means expeuse. To this end the for an American house, but we must floors should be of marble or tiles and have the common hall-way as well, so the side walls should either be faced that if the host is belated, he may not with stone, wainscoted with marble, or have to meet his guests in the parlor or covered with a plaster that will admit dining-room while passing to bis chamof polishing. This latter method has ber to change his boots. Granted, then, lately been employed with success. The that our apartment must have a common stairs should be of marble, or, if the
* L'Architecture Privóe au xixme Siècle sous supports are iron, slate or bluestone are
Napoléon III. A. Morel & Cie, Paris, 1864.
hall, the entrance from the grand stair- whole building is lieated by steam: the way must be upon the private hall near kitchen should have all the conveniences to the parlor, which is best located when usually provided, including range, boiler, in the middle of the suite of rooms. On sink, and wash-tubs; while the bedrooms one side of the parlor should be two should have permanent basins. double bed-rooms, connecting with each Apartments such as have just been other, and one of them communicating described can be provided in good but with the parlor. This arrangement will not fashionable neighborhoods, and good make it possible to use the parlor for a but not elegant buildings, for $800 bed-room in case of sickness, or of com- a-year. In a desirable neighborhood pany being detained over night. Con- and a house finished in a first-class tiguous to the bed-rooms should be the manner, the rent would be at least bath-room, and, if possible, a small room $1,100. These amounts are the average in which a nurse can sleep, and be within rental of a house of five stories, supposeasy calling assistance of the bed-rooms. ing each apartment to be the same and
On the opposite side of the parlor the rents graduated according to height should be the dining-roorn, connecting of the floors from the street. To provide with it by means of folding or sliding all these things in a well-planned house doors, so that on grand occasions the is no light matter, and will tax to the two rooms can be united. Beyond the utmost the ingenuity of the architect. dining-room should be the kitchen, se- Nothing has thus far been said about parated from it by means of a pantry, an apurtenance which is greatly needed with a sink. The servants' room may in buildings of this class. We refer to be in the vicinity of the kitchen, or passenger elevators. These appear to be between the dining-room and the kitchen, the great desideratum for making the in which case the communication be- upper stories of a building accessible. tween the dining-room and kitchen must When introduced, they will make it be maintained by means of a short pas- practicable to erect houses six and seven
stories high, while without them but four All the above rooms should communi- stories are admissible. The introduction cate with the common passage-way.
of elevators necessitates two things. There should be door across this, be- First, they add considerable to the cost of yond the dining-room, to keep the smell a building, while the expense of running of the kitchen from invading the other them, which includes fuel, attendants, rooms. The entrance from the servants'
and repairs, is a still greater item of exstairs should be upon the back hall thus pense. A second necessity, where eleformed, and immediately contiguous to vators are used, is that the building must it should be the door of the lift for coal. be specially planned for them. For
The above would comprise an apart- instance, ail the apartments on one floor ment suitable for a family of four adults, must be reached from one landing. In or two adults and three children. More, a building with two apartments on a however, could be comfortably accom- floor this is a simple matter, but if there modated by the use of sofa bedsteads are four, the problem is not easy to solve. and similar contrivances. Necessary Calculation shows that it would not closets and store-rooms should of course “pay” to introduce a steam elevator in be provided. The various rooms must the former case. Supposing the use of be provided with fireplaces, even if the an elevator practicable, when there are
four apartments to a floor, there must in The servants' room is the most difficult thing this case be but one main stairway; for to manage, because, if located in the apartment, it
the elevator must be run in connection must occupy nearly as valuable space as any other room. This, however, is a disagreeable necessity, with the stairway. It is also evident and must be put up with. It would be a dangerous that it would not "pay” to introduce plan here to adopt the French system of putting two elevators in a building of this kind. the servants of the different families together in the top-story.
In any case, where one is used it must