Friday, 24 April 2015

Thinking about the basement

The space outside a basement was called 'the area' and often this is how the servants entered a Georgian house.  

Uh Uh, no door

This a squirty five foot lady, including hat and shoes, and even she can't get in under the stairs.

Fortunately for me, that's not always the case - they sometimes used a side or back entrances and, in the case of my little people, that is how their house is arranged.  I was again thwarted from building some stairs, this time from the pavement to the area, and making a door underneath the stairs for the entrance to the basement.  Doing without this has altered the basement layout as I no longer need any kind of entrance hall.

My staff now come in the house round the back and there is a central hall giving access to the various basement rooms and the service stairs.

The space under the stairs is now something of a dead are with no light.  

I grabbed the front of house pieces with the windows in and did some measuring and a big rethink.  Here is the new ground floor plan, otherwise known as 'the scribble'.  

The area on the plan showing scullery, corridor and butler's pantry won't actually exist, I just feel comforted knowing where they would be.  We are only looking at the slice in front of them.

The kitchen uses the full 15" (feet) depth and will be 17" (feet) across.  It has an archway going through into the servants' hall for easy transition between rooms.  The servants' hall is only 12" (feet) deep and 11" (feet) wide with a door at the back leading into the corridor and the service stairs.  This is a necessary room as it the one where the servants worked at bits of sewing or cleaning or mending and would hear the service bells if they were called.  They also had some opportunity to socialise and the more senior ones always ate together.  Cook (as she was also housekeeper) could have eaten in her room as could the butler but this is a small house and they are comfortable with the idea of them all eating together they even include little Daisy, although she and the kitchen maid do the fetching and carrying.

I just decided on another archway in the kitchen through into the corridor at the back to get food upstairs quickly.

On the other side of the servants' hall is Cook's room.  She has a wall of cupboards at the back reducing her room size to eight feet by twelve.  These are the linen cupboards for the household.

This will work; it puts a window in every room and in a reasonable position.  It doesn't make for the most interesting of room choices, but that's OK.  I may even get to put a pantry in the dead space under the stairs.  Again, this could prove difficult as they were walk in and needed windows so you could see what you were doing.  I could cut small windows in the wall she is facing and the one on the other side.  Failing that it will make some useful cupboard space for the kitchen.


  1. I love this planning stage! It's great to see someone else getting as much from it as well. You're clearly putting all your research to good use and I like your plans for the basement. I'm now itching to see them being put into practise.

  2. Not as itchy as me, Irene. I do LOVE the research and the thinking about and the endless changes of mind but I just wish that when I had decided I could just settle into it, instead I always believe there is a better solution out there somewhere and am fidgety until I have passed the point where I can't change my mind. I am just the same with menus too!!! Not good with too much choice. this is the most detailed blog ever - I am sharing every little moment in hopes the occasional newbie finds it and it helps to get them going. I know when I started I searched high and low for the absolute basics. Thanks for tagging along. Hope your 'nook' gets solved soon. Marilyn