Andrew Jackson Downing (1815-52), the first great American landscape gardener, was one of the earliest and most influential popularizers of something new on the American scene — the small, inexpensive detached house. Into a countryside dotted with log cabins and occasional Greek Revival mansions, he introduced the tasteful, efficient cottage residence in all its variations, including Gothic, bracketed, Italianate, and “rustic.” His enormously successful books spread the gospel to thousands of home-buyers and many of his fellow architects — Frederick Law Olmsted, Calvert Vaux, and others — and none was more successful than Cottage Residences, one of the most widely used books in American architectural literature.
First published in 1842, this book went through many editions before the 1873 edition, reprinted here, which contains for the first time the valuable additions of Henry Winthrop Sargent and Charles Downing. It is here that the author presents 26 different cottage designs with views, floor plans, textual descriptions and, occasionally, garden layouts. Among the different houses included are a suburban cottage, a cottage in the Tudor style, a villa in the Italian style, a villa in the Gothic style, a side hill cottage, a stone cottage, and more. There are also designs for a small rural church and Italian gardens. The 155 illustrations allow readers to see for themselves exactly what the designs entail.
For anyone interested in nineteenth-century American domestic architecture, there is no more important book than Andrew Jackson Downing’s Cottage Residences. It is an incredibly rich firsthand source for the most popular architectural styles of the period.