Charming Canadian Homes: No 5, In Praise of English Half Timber
ANNE ELIZABETH WILSONOctober11925
Art and Decoration for Town and Country Homes
Charming Canadian Homes: No 5, In Praise of English Half Timber
ANNE ELIZABETH WILSON
SO MUCH has been said in praise of the simplicity of English Georgian in these articles, that I am glad to have an opportunity of eulogizing another English type which has proven such an admirable adaptation in Canada— namely, the English half timber. Here the picturesqueness of high steep roofs and projecting eaves gives the greatest opportunity for original interior development, especially on bedroom floors, as well as an interesting and most inviting exterior. Although its quaintness is perhaps the greatest charm in this type of dwelling, yet there is a good architectural formality in its fabrication in a general distribution of parts and features well adapted to the Canadian climate.
A very fine example of this style is the R. T. Riley home on Armstrong’s Point, Winnipeg. It is, of course, wonderfully happy in its placing, and has had the priceless advantage of the careful planning and knowledge of an authoritative craftsman, being the work of Arthur Alexander Stoughton, that very scholarly Winnipeg architect.
For natural rugged beauty, Armstrong’s Point is held by many to be the most delightful situation in Winnipeg. The Riley home is placed in a directly central position on the Point, facing straight down Middlegate, with its back grounds sloping down to the Assiniboia river. The house commands a magnificent view from all rooms at rear, and has been planned for the utmost enjoyment of this natural enhancement. The dining room gives upon this vista, as also does the rear porch.
You can picture the very rich, warm effect of the brown stain half timber in combination with Port Arthur red brick, varying from salmon to purple, against stucco. Note the coursing of the brick work as shown in the photograph on this page. It is laid in a very interesting variation. First come five rows of “stretcher” (lengthwise) bricks followed by one of “headers” (end-wise) which is a very subtly pleasing arrangement.
The cement joints are wide and white —another feature well worth noting in this effective brick-laying effect.
A certain amount of panelled design has been carried out in the exterior timbering —and even trellises have been applied to the brick walls in harmony with the other wood trim. Another thoughtful exterior effect is brought out in the muntins of the windows. They are varied slightly, but for the most part are in vertical pairs —an unusual treatment and in excellent keeping with this exterior and its contrasting trims. It is a very interesting treatment for sliding sashes.
The interior evolution of the house is based on comfort rather than any daring departure—fine, big, well - heated rooms, and good sound treatment. It is in every sense modern and convenient, yet preserving the home-like livable atmosphere that is the great appeal of older ho*uses.
Consistency in Planning
ONE point that is so often overlooked by builders of homes is the coordination of exterior and interior in spirit and atmosphere—indeed in space. It is
not uncommon to see a gracious, inviting portico or entrance betrayed by a hall that snubs the entering visitor with its shallowness or cramped dimensions. The
promise of a house must always be conscientiously carried out by its welcoming interior if it is to be a consistent piece of architecture to the beholder, or a pleasure
to the owner or occupants.
This consistency has been well exemplified in the Riley home in such simple detail as the finishing of the stair. The handrail is supported by sawn planks in fanciful shapes, which in dull oak are a reminder of the timber designs of the exterior. The hall-way itself is deep and well-lighted, entirely of the dull oak finish. An understair cloak room and toilet are a convenient arrangement.
The living room is painted ivory, furnishing a commendable background for the owner’s many colorful paintings.
A fireplace with mantel supported by grooved corbels and bordered centre panel is almost Greek in its simplicity. On either side are built-in glass-doored bookshelves, while window' seats are built in over radiators.
The sun parlor which is entered from the living room, is also well-equipped with bookshelves of a similar type and flower shelves over radiators.
An electric fireplace in this room ensures winter comfort.
Passing through this room one may enter the porch or dining room by adjoining doors. This room, lighted by three large windows facing the river, is finished in dull oak. The panelling extends to the height of a low plate rail, where the beams continue to moulding against an ivory wall.
So much for the right-hand development of the lower floor. The left side is interesting in its management of an entrance and porch giving access to garage while providing for maid’s sitting room and tradesmen’s entrance. It is a very nice arrangement to have servants’ quarters as far away from the kitchen as can be managed. It gives the maids an opportunity to see their friends with better dignity, as well as doing away with the not always pleasant presence of visiting outsiders in or just off the kitchen.
THE kitchen is w-ell provided with cupboards and the usual conveniences, as is the well-arranged pantry.
The owner’s bedroom at the head of the stair is equipped with adjoining bath and electric fireplace, walls painted ivory. A double closet opened. also from the hall is a feature of this room. Tw'o bedrooms are equipped with a w’ash basin if not a bath, while that one facing the lake opens on a large sleeping balcony. The general bath of the floor opposite the stair is separated from the lavatory, and in this part of the hall are set three big closets: that for linen faces the bathroom
A little sewing room opens into the passage-way behind the first hall closet, and faces the lake for good light.
Another little bedroom at the end of the hall passage faces the river and has a deep closet of its ov n.
The maid's bedroom facing the kitchen stair is provided with bathroom and is nicely ventilated on two sides. N'ote that it is directly above the maid's sitting room, so that no member of the family could be disturbed by talking in this room below at any time.
A maid’s closet with running water
for scrubbing and lay-away space for cleaning materials and utensils is provided in the hall beside the bedroom.
There is a landing on the back stair which opens out to the roof of the garage. This roof has many possibilities. It is a
convenient and lovely place to sit, and could be fitted up with awnings, flowerboxes and rugs, or could be provided with a pergola or even a permanent roof to make it a verandah. It is an excellent place for cleaning and airing in the winter time as well as a delightful out-door sitting room throughout the summer months, looking as it does down the slope to the river.
The attic is finished with attractive beetling dormers and sloping roof, suit-
able for further servants’ quarters or store room.
The basement or cellar contains laundry room, furnace room, and specially located store-rooms; a cold room under rear porch and medium temperature space for storing vegetables.
In a general consideration of this house there is the feeling that here you are considering one of those really typical Canadian homes of which visitors to Canada so often speak with admiration for their comfort, ease and graciousness.
There is no pretension, no striving after “effect” or form, but easy welcome, beautiful natural surroundings, and warmth and good cheer within. Say what any of us will, even the humble author in describing some of the more “modern” adaptations, there is no atmosphere which can compare with that which is created in the homes so conceived and so enjoyed. Roaring logs in the winter time; the freedom of the water, wind and sunshine in the summer seem to be avatars
of the life which should be lived in a house of this type. It is from such homes that the true spirit of Canadian domesticity emerges in all its lovable qualities— those qualities which the strangers within our gates so often remember with happy retrospect.
The story you want is part of the Maclean’s Archives. To access it, log in here or sign up for your free 30-day trial.
Experience anything and everything Maclean's has ever published — over 3,500 issues and 150,000 articles, images and advertisements — since 1905. Browse on your own, or explore our curated collections and timely recommendations.WATCH THIS VIDEO for highlights of everything the Maclean's Archives has to offer.