Where space is at a premium specialised furniture is a necessity
ANNE ELIZABETH WILSONJanuary151927
The One-Room Apartment
Where space is at a premium specialised furniture is a necessity
THE HOME BEAUTIFUL
ANNE ELIZABETH WILSON
CONDENSATION is the cry of the age—we have simmered down household labor to the irreduceable minimum; we have substituted for the labyrinthine ways of hulking old houses the compact comfort of the modern dwelling, and now, that most modern of all condensations—the apartment—is by way of being rendered yet more compact. The one-room apartment is neither a fad nor a painful economy; it is one of the simplicities that civilization is gradually working out for the all too complicated machinery of living. In the larger cities, apartments in the smartest districts are of two varieties; they are either extremely small, one, two or three rooms, or extremely large, in fact, city houses with hotel conveniences. But there are houses upon houses devoted to the one-room idea, and by their example, the old homes which are being broken up into flats, are carrying out the same scheme. The one room apartment includes a kitchenette and bath, as a rule—it may even boast a sleeping alcove—but, however it is planned, the furnishing for comfort and dignity of such a room requires special treatment. It is neither comfortable nor dignified to feel, on entering, that you are intruding upon a glorified bedroom; neither is it comfortable nor dignified for the room's inhabitant to have no proper place for personal things, and no adequate arrangement for eating, sleeping and carrying on the routine of life. Such a room takes speciali'es, not only to create the proper atmosphere, but to ensure the occupant’s pleasant round of life. It is in the domestic sense, a studio. That term has
come to be regarded by house-planners and creators of the home setting, as a specific for that type of room which combines the various requirements of living. It may be only the combined dining-room and living-room, or it may be the be-all and end-all of the domestic round—in other words the one-room apartment. One must decry the possibility that it may ever be mistaken for the bed-sitting-room. On the other hand, some suggestions may be made regarding the furnishing of a studio which will be of use to those who at present occupy ‘bed-sitting-rooms,’ and who wish to make them less ‘bed’ and more ‘sitting’ rooms.
The Conservation of Space
THE first consideration is space, and the problem to be faced is, ‘how few pieces of furniture can I employ in making things comforttable?’ There fortunately are available, a variety of combination pieces which help materially in the solving of this problem. For instance, consider the table cupboard, here sketched. This is a piece of furniture which any good carpenter can make attractively, to be afterwards painted or enamelled, or any cabinet maker in a small way, turn out in a finished piece of stained and polished furniture. When closed, it has the effect of a flat wall piece—to all intents and purposes a cupboard, a closed bookcase or desk. Its drawers below, which may accommodate linens, have no particular domestic significance to the eye. When the doors are opened, the
table may be let down and adjusted by its one leg, when the china cabinet with its table accessories is laid open for convenient use. A silver drawer may be provided somewhere among the shelves, and a high compartment for condiments or bottles.
There is another type of table which now is very popular for the studio room and which is procurable in almost any furniture shop. This table, in a variety of woods, has the effect, when folded, of a narrow living room table with two end feet. When it is opened, it is a goodly square big enough to accommodate six persons for a meal. The principle is that of a slip leaf beneath the table top, and an opening out and turning process of the table-proper. Of course the old drop leaf table ever has been a favorite piece for studio treatment, but we have mentioned this for the purpose in other articles.
Disguising the Sleeping and Dressing Requisites
GREAT was the day, for the dweller in restricted space, when the designers of furniture conceived of the day-bed. The day-bed, be it known, is neither a cot, a sofa, a couch, a bed nor a davenport, but a creation unto itself. Its nearest counterpart, perhaps, was the broad low couch of modern English and French design with its wood head and foot pieces and mattresses, set upon a springy base. The first impression of the day bed is that of a luxurious piece of informal living-room furniture, decorated with rich cushions, and showing wood at head and foot, and in its visible legs. It is usually equipped with a box spring and a second covering matteress—and it may be dressed with a colorful throw or cover if its own
upholstery is not considered sufficiently rich. Some types of day bed open, providing a space for bed-clothes and pillow within—others do not. In making a choice you should consider whether or not you have available closet room for bed-clothes, and if not, choose a type which makes provision for this.
Then there is the problem of the dressing table. Sometimes, the question of the placing of this is settled by the existence of a roomy bathroom. More often, the problem of bad lighting and cramped space, or no private bathroom a t all, makes it necessary to have some provision, within the room itself, for a piece of furniture, to hold toilet requisites, provide drawers for clothing, and a mirror for
ties. The inside frame of the screen may serve as a place for screws on which to hang light utensils, but it will be worthwhile to equip the wall behind the screen with shelves. Beneath these, a small table will accommodate a two-burner electric stove. The best model for such a stove is the type that folds up upon itself, with two side handles, or little rails, to form a heater which may be placed on the floor, when not in use as a stove. It is more expensive than the ordinary models but twice as useful. You will be able to make room, if you can place your screen around a corner, for a little oilclothcovered work table, which you will find most convenient. If it can be so managed that your cooking corner is adjacent to
dressing. Such a valuable addition to the general utility room is the dresser-robe, which is here illustrated. When closed, it is a tall but not ungraceful piece of furniture looking much like a wardrobe against the wall. When opened, it displays on one side, a tier of drawers, and at the right a set-in dressing table with shelves and a stool which fits beneath. The shelves may be used for scarves and sweaters, bottles, or anything which seems most convenient to the user. A long mirror on one door is a luxury. This type, which is designed with an eye to feminine comfort, may be varied, for the bachelor, by introducing a bureau or chiffonier inset rather than a dressing table, and leaving the left hand side in closet form for clothes and shoes.
ALTHOUGH a kitchenette is almost a L\. necessity in a studio apartment, yet one may have to face the problem of installing and disguising cooking paraphernalia within the precincts of the room itself. It can be faced calmly enough if you have the proper equipment. The first necessity is a screen of goodly proportions. Even a very inexpensive one, covered in jute, has decorative possibili-
the bathroom, so much the better for water supply. An experience of mine in extemporizing a kitchenette for which there was no water supply, save down a hall may be helpful to someone faced with the same problem. I got two fair-sized buckets, one for fresh water, one for waste. The fresh water bucket was of agate and had a good-sized agate dipper. The waste bucket was an ordinary metal scrubbing pail, and over the top of it, I set an old colander as a drain. I found this system really very convenient, and requiring attention only once a day for filling and emptying. The waste water being strained free of refuse, was quite safe to flush down the drain in the bathroom, and whatever was left in the colander was dry enough to be wrapped up and put in the trash basket. For dishwashing, I used to fill the dishpan from the bucket, set it on the stove to heat, and do the few dishes right on the stove. It all worked out very satisfactorily, and I never seemed to feel the annoyance which comes of makeshift measures. A screen around the improvised kitchen, as I said, may be a very reasonable one of crash or jute. This material takes gold paint very well, and looks effective if the gilt is lightly dabbed on and ‘scrubbed’ in, rather than actually painted,
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