Monday, February 9, 2009

Cottage Style

I don't subscribe to many magazines, and I hardly ever pick them up at the store, but this one appealed to me, so I got it. One thing that interested me was this ad for Storybook Cottage plans.

Look at those darling houses. They are small in space, but huge in character. And to me, that's what's important in a home - character. One of the things that bugs me most about new "McMansions" is their lack of individuality and charming details. Whist the facades may have some detail and character, often the sides and back are huge blank slabs punctuated by small unadorned windows. Boring. Dull. Uninspired. Cheap. Get me outta there quick.

This featured cottage is 180 degrees out from those McMansions. It was designed to resemble a Hobbit House. Can't you just see Gandalf knocking his head on that chandelier as he steps inside? The owner is an avid collector of Tolkien memorabilia and had this stone cottage created to house his collection. It nestles into the earth just like a proper Hobbit hole should and even has a round front door. It was built of native stone and features hand forged hardware, a butterfly window, 1920s Gothic style lighting, and beautiful curved timber framing. I think I could move right in and be quite comfy.

Click on photos for larger view.
So that got me thinking about architecture and our senseless quest for ever larger houses. And that spaciousness causes higher mortgages, higher fuel bills, higher costs to furnish and maintain, and a disconnect between family members. So I say, let's return to smaller homes. Okay, maybe we can't all live in Hobbit houses, but how about something like this?

Inside the book I found this house that looks interesting yet livable. It looks like it has about 1500 square feet; living room, dining room, small kitchen, three bedrooms, one bathroom. But look at that wonderful veranda off the living room. And the cute pergola behind the kitchen.
A modern family would probably want a larger kitchen and more bathrooms, and undoubtedly an attached garage, but don't do away with those charming details! One might even turn the house sideways putting the veranda in the back garden, and add the garage onto the kitchen side.
Now check out the sketches for the Characteristic Details of Old World Charm. They are just perfect. Wouldn't you be happy to drive home in the evening and see this happy little home? I would. Now, let's hear it for small houses!

Just to satisfy my curiosity, answer the following. I've answered in red.

How big is your home? About 1800 square feet.

How many people live in it? Two adults, two teens.

When was it built? Originally built in 1952, Totally rebuilt in 2001-2002.

Does it have interesting details? Yes; door surround, wrought iron hardware, mouldings, built-ins, chimney pots, stacked stone walls, date stone.

Are you managing your mortgage ok? Yes, and it will be paid off in eight years!

Do you love it? Yes, yes, yes!


Sulwyn said...

We're managing our mortgage okay, but not in our "dream house"! Our current cottage is a manufactured home with not one ounce of personality inherent in it and a disposition for making any "nesting" difficult for me. It is only 2 of us, with a third every other weekend, so space isn't a problem at 1600 sq feet, though I wish the layout and plan of the rooms were different!

Stephanie said...

We love our 1927 Dutch Colonial house. It's just the 2 of us since the kids have flown the coup. It will be paid off in 1 year. Yeah! And it has lots of charm and original details. It's around 2300 sq. ft.

Lorri said...

My house is paid for! But that does not keep me from wanting a cute little cottage. I will have to get the book.Love your blog.

Blondie's Journal said...

I grew up in a teeny, teeny little house with my parents and 6 siblings~of course I wanted to live in Kensington Palace when I grew up...but that didn't happen! I love my home because it is filled with love and that is the greatest happiness!

Thanks for getting us all thinking!! :-)


Gypsy aka Tam said...

Oh I would love a 'hobbit' house someday, maybe when I retire. I can dream right?
Since 2005 we live in a 2300 Sqft Colonial build in 1982 with two adults and two young adult sons (18 & 21).
It doesn't have too many original interesting details but we've added pocket doors and a very large fireplace to a livingroom addition and we're planning to add some buildins and crown molding. We are doing ok with the mortgage and have about 11 years left on a orginal 20 year mortgage.
I love this house but I know that someday I'll want to downsize and like I said before a 'Hobbit' house would be perfect.
Great post.
Have a wonderful evening,

Anonymous said...

oh, i love those sweet house plans!!! i confess i have bought those houseplan books before! and i would love a cottage, but i also love the way my 2900s.f. 1977 socal tract home lives, despite its flaws. my husb.and i live here since the boy and the girl are independent now. [:)] and the mortgage is almost paid. i'd downsize in a minute to a charming cottage, but my friends are here. i've moved a lot in my life and i'm not ready to take that on just now. so i tweak the place and feel content. and i LOVE your house! jkj