Thursday, August 2, 2012
THE RESIDENCE OF GEORGE D. PRATT, GLEN COVE, LONG ISLAND
THE house of George D. Pratt at Glen Cove, Long Island, recalls the English Tudor architecture familiar to us from pictures of Haddon Hall, the home of Dorothy Vernon. Although it was not designed primarily as a copy of English work, the English form was used because of the irregular plan and the grouped windows. The owner of the house wished certain arrangements of plan, and also desired the windows to be small and placed in groups instead of large and singly spaced. These two requirements are most easily met by adapting English forms, and so the house was in general designed in English style.
The house is built of stone, and the stones of which the walls are composed are small, more or less irregular in shape, and of variegated colors. The reason for this is that smooth, even stonework never looks well in a country house. It does not afford a good background for foliage, nor does it give that play of light and shade in the wall surface that is pleasant to look at.
Old houses invariably have this pleasing irregular quality. The reason for this is that in the first place their builders had no machines with which to cut stone, and the expense of handcutting was too great to be undertaken. Another reason is that these old houses have with age weathered to a roughness of surface and a variation of color according as the stones were hard or soft.
In the best modern work architects endeavor to reproduce this agreeable quality of light and shade. Even in slate roofs American architects are now searching not for slates of uniform size and thickness and as neatly cut as possible, but for slates of variegated colors and different thickness and rough surface. They are laid just as well as smooth slates were laid, and the house is just as waterproof; but the effect is many times more attractive. It is because of a just appreciation of the causes of the attractive qualities of English work that the residence of Mr. Pratt is so interesting.
PREPARED BY THE EDITORIAL STAFF OF THE MENTOR ASSOCIATION.
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