Inexpensive Home Building

Cut through the jargon and nonsense of home building and house construction by starting from zero dollars and trying to figure best-value bang-for-your-buck when choosing construction methods or construction materials. My research might answer some of your questions and at other times perhaps you have the knowledge or experience to post the answers to my questions and thereby help others too. The goal is an affordable and sustainable home for all.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

American Foursquare, Prairie Box, Box House: A Classic Efficiency

A Row of American Foursquare Craftsmen, Louisville Kentucky, May 2006 (W. Marsh)

Previous: Maximize Home Space Cheapest Cubic Space: Inexpensive Floor Plans Part 1

Celebrating the Classic American Foursquare (“Prairie Box” or “Box House”) 1890-1930

The classic American “Four-Square” architectural style is the closest example of the pragmatic cube. This simple “box house” often starts with 4 rooms per floor (imagine a square divided into 4 squares) and a symmetrical “hip roof” (pyramid, i.e. no gables), with possible embellishments of dormer windows or a roofed front porch. Foursquares are ideal for a central chimney where hypothetically every room could have a fireplace. Many are 2-story houses but the “workingman’s foursquare” home is 1-story. Sears sold 15 different styles of foursquare houses as kit homes.

Sears Roebuck Inc. Modern Home No. 52: foursquare 5-bedroom home kit with building plans for $1,995

This model has a kitchen attached outside the cube but that is not necessary (especially in colder regions) and the kitchen could be "moved inside" to replace, say, the dining room. The ingenious floor design provides 5 bedrooms in 1,630 square feet (1,500sqft without the offshoot kitchen)--and a central staircase might have allowed a 6th bedroom to replace the old-fashioned hall reception area (potentially 6 bedrooms in 1,500sqft).