Cottage style homes are often depicted in storybooks and fairy tales, tucked deep in the woods and surrounded by birds, rabbits, and beautiful flowers. They are often thought of as small cabins in idyllic surroundings where nothing bad can ever happen.
Home designers are now creating cottage houses with more space and in different settings, but there is a distinct style and charm that reflects the rural lifestyle of cottage dwellers.
What is a Cottage Style Home?
Traditionally, cottage houses were compact English farmhouses occupied by peasant agricultural workers. They were typically connected to plots of agricultural land and often included barns in close vicinity.
Due to their use in the agricultural community, they were located in rural areas. Home designers like Andrew Jackson Downing brought this style of home into American favor by including building plans in popular pattern books.
Today, cottage homes are often assumed to be smaller sized homes with beautiful flower gardens and a quaint design. Many vacation homes and rental homes offer that traditional English cottage feel in peaceful rural surroundings, complete with cottage-style gardens bursting with colorful blooms.
Many of these vacation homes are located on beaches, lakes, or other bodies of water. They are designed to give travelers a peaceful, relaxed setting where they can bond with nature. Small families and couples will rent these homes when they want to escape the hustle of big city living.
You can find more spacious homes that are considered cottage style, and many are used as primary residences in suburban neighborhoods.
These homes will have many of the features that characterized traditional English cottages, but they are designed on a larger scale. Some home designers are also creating pocket communities with compact cottage houses lining the family-friendly streets.
How to Identify Cottage Style Homes
Upon first glance, cottage houses can be identified by their more compact size and their asymmetrical exterior features. They can be one or two stories, but the two-story models tend to be more stacked or box-like than many modern home styles.
They are known to feature four columns along the front of a roomy front porch that stretches across the front of the house, corner-to-corner.
You can easily imagine a set of rocking chairs sitting on the porch of most cottage style homes. This is the comfortable, quaint feeling that is evoked by most homes of this style.
Yet, most cottage houses have their own personality. There are a variety of features that are commonly found on homes designed in this style, but no single house displays all of these features.
Exterior Details of Cottage Houses
- vertical board and batten siding alternating wide boards with thin strips
- portico designs with four columns and roomy covered porches
- gable roofs
- stucco siding
- balconies for two-story designs
- large bay windows
- flower gardens bursting with colorful blooms
- Dutch front doors
Interior Details of Cottage Houses
- vertical board and batten paneling alternating wide boards and thin strips
- open shelves
- exposed beams
- natural woodwork resembling simple, early English construction
- flat panel doors without decorative features
- bead board wall paneling
- hardwood flooring
- handmade twig beds
- canopy beds
- rustic cupboards, bookcases, and hutches with worn finishes
- wooden farmhouse style tables
- built-in dining nooks near large bay windows
- painted walls in natural colors that reflect mother nature
- slipcovers over furniture
- beach cottages may have nautical themes and water colors
- rugs with soft color and interesting texture
At Home in Your Cottage
Cottage style homes can be tucked away into the woods, located near the water, or otherwise surrounded by nature. They can also be blended seamlessly into local residential neighborhoods.
Some are older cabin-like structures that have been standing for many years, while others are updated designs with touches of modern comfort. Wherever you find one, it is sure to be charming, quaint, cozy, and representative of a simple, wholesome lifestyle.