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Design Review: Volume 4, Issue 5 (October-November 1952)

A House in Stokes Valley

page 110

A House in Stokes Valley

Here is a well-designed low cost family house. The family consists of Mr. and Mrs. J. Morgan and their three young children. The plan shows how the relationship of parents and children throughout the day has been considered. There is no banishment of the housewife to the kitchen—cooking is done virtually in the same area as the living room, the recess or foot of the L-shaped room avoids any feeling of thrusting pots and pans into visitors' vision. It is only to be expected that children will tend to play round their mother's feet and where the kitchen is small, preparing a meal can be frustrating and even dangerous. With the kitchen becoming part of the living room, dangers are page 111 avoided and the mother is within sight and sound.

The general atmosphere of this end of the house is friendly and light–the kind of atmosphere children naturally gravitate to–when it can be found. There is no need to guard or fence off vases on tables at the other end of the room, nor need to ‘forbid’. The children naturally seem to prefer their end of the room to play in.

The separation of the bedrooms has proved very successful. The children's rooms, opening off the end of the living room, are not places removed from the protection of parents at night and the children do not feel cut off and alone when they are sent to bed.

The large area of glass in the play room has contributed largely to the general warmth of the house, and the visual effect of opening up on to the terrace adds a spaciousness to the room itself. It has been found that there is little more danger of breakages than with normal windows-only the very young have to be supervised.

The house has been planned so that when the family breaks up as the children marry the parents can sleep in the children's room and the wall between the parents room and the living room can be removed, thus further enlarging the living room.

Construction: The stud walls are lined with 4in. T & G Heart Rimu vertically on Sisalkraft with Gibraltar board inside. Walls were finished with raw linseed oil. carefully taken into the tongues and grooves and allowed to soak in. Spar varnish was then applied. The roof consists of a central 10in. × 2in. ridge beam with 6in. × 2in. dressed rafters at 3ft. centres, checked into the beam and resting on the walls. Pinus ply was laid on the rafters face downwards, and building paper, purlins and corrugated aluminium were then laid on top.

Method of building: This type of construction and planning, although approved by the State Advances Corporation, was sufficiently unusual to worry the builders who were invited to give a price. Prices given were out of proportion to the estimated cost. One builder offered to bring down his quote on condition that a tiled roof and conventional ceiling be introduced! This was too much for the owners who decided to employ labour and do the contracting themselves. This they did and so were able to prove that a house of good design and character can cost even less than the conventional type of house to-day.



Living Room

Living Room

Builders: Perry & grainger

Photograph by C. M. Rogers and Co.