Flats, Urban Houses and Cottage Homes

W. Shaw Sparrow, editor. Flats, Urban Houses and Cottage Homes: A Companion Volume to the British Home of Today. London: Hodder & Stoughton, 1906.

The collection contains a series of articles by Frank T. Vertity, Walter Shaw Sparrow, Edwin T. Hall, and Gerald C. Horsley. The highly illustrative text offers advice for designing and planning flats as well as a comparison between English, French, and Viennese types. The final article is an extended advertisement, written by an “expert” from Waring’s (Waring & Gillow, Ltd.) – a department store in England- who discusses the best way to decorate and furnish a flat. According to Waring’s expert:

But I cannot refrain from repeating the warning given above against crowding massive pieces of furniture, suitable for a large rooms, into the lilliputian apartments of ordinary flats. This applies particularly to such articles as sideboards, bookcases, cabinets and wardrobes. The users of the rooms must have some place in which to move about. It is not desirable to have to step on the dining table in order to get from one side to the other. An 8-ft. sideboard in a 10-ft. square room suggests the imprisonment of an elephant in a mouse-trap. In the average flat everything has to be more or less on the diminutive scale. A room blocked up with oversized pieces of furniture is in many ways more uncomfortable than a room without any furniture at all. So, let this be your watchword- “Don’t overdo it.” Let your arrangements err, if at all, on the side of modesty. Don’t entertain your bosom friend with a noble sideboard which he is compelled to use a dining chair, because there is no room for him to sit anywhere else. Don’t force your lady visitors to sit on each other’s laps in the drawing room because the grand piano occupies four-fifths of the floor. (“How to Furnish a Flat,” pg. 6-7)