I’ve been fascinated by house plan books and catalogs for as long as I can remember and “The Books of a Thousand Homes” is particularly riveting.  Published in 1923 by an entity calling itself The Home Owners Service Institute, the book contained five hundred house plans.  Working blueprints for each design could be ordered through the mail for twenty-five dollars.  A planned second volume was never published.  Reprinted in 1990 by Dover Publications, the book was given a new and more accurate title:  500 Small Houses of the Twenties.  While the majority of plans were by relatively unknown architects, a few were by those that were better-known in their day such as Frederick L. Ackerman who achieved note as both a housing reformer and as the impetus behind the architect’s bible, Architectural Graphic Standards, in 1932.

Recently I ran across one of Ackerman’s designs from the book.  Although much of the porch has been enclosed, the house appears to be otherwise relatively intact.  First, Ackerman’s plan and rendering:


Plan No. 198 from “The Books of a Thousand Homes”.  The historic image is from the fantastic Internet Archive.


And here is a house which appears to have been built from this plan.  Outwardly it appears to be a sort of Colonial Revival / Prairie Style hybrid.  It’s a small house, but dignified.  I love the beveled glass sidelights and the fact that the plan shows a small reception hall.  The house still looks sharp after nearly a century!


Fortunately the porch pier on the left was retained when the porch was partially enclosed; the facade could easily be restored.   The missing balustrade once helped to emphasize the corner of the porch.  The distinctive triple columns may be replacements.



%d bloggers like this: