Google+ House Revivals: Cottage Love

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Cottage Love

Okay, I admit it.  I have cottage love.  It's a condition I've suffered from for most of my life. I can't help it.  I love cottages.  But lately I've been trying to define what makes a cottage a cottage? Does it need to be small? Full of old-fashioned detail? A second home?  Relaxed and casual?  Pretty and sweet?  Warm and cozy?

Most people would agree that this Talladega Tudor Revival cottage is a... cottage.  It's small.  It's pretty.  It has charming detail.  It's not too stuffy. It's kind of old-fashioned.  But it was most likely always a year round residence.  Maybe we should strike second home as a requirement...?

This Cotswold Cottage is definitely warm and inviting.  It's also fairly casual and relaxed, but it's not exactly small.  Hmmmmm, maybe it's okay to consider a medium-sized home a cottage!  Because, I have to say, this house definitely feels like a cottage.

But what about Newport, Rhode Island "cottages", such as the Vanderbilt Mansion?
The original families who summered in those lovely mansions referred to them as cottages.  Those families used their cottages as a way to escape city life and it's demands.  They dressed differently, entertained differently, and lived differently than they did in the city.  They were more relaxed in their summer cottages.  Maybe "cottage" has nothing to do with scale?

Surely, it's all about detail, then....
 This Gothic Revival, like the Newport mansions, does not lack for detail, and I don't think anyone would argue that it's a cottage!  That's it, then.  Detail.

And maybe some old-fashioned styling....
But what about those streamlined and modern cottages?  I'm sure their owners would disagree about detail being a cottage requirement.

For that matter, the detailing on this Nantucket Cottage is somewhat restrained,
but there's no question that it is a cottage.

It is sweet and inviting... and pretty...
... kind like this darling Beverly Hills Hansel and Gretel Cottage.  Maybe that's it!  Sweet and inviting!  Not sure I think of those Newport mansions as "sweet", though.  And some of the modernistas might take offense to their stream-lined abodes being called "sweet"-- or "pretty."

This tar paper cottage is certainly charming, but probably not what we would consider pretty.
But it was welcoming, and was most likely considered beautiful to the family that called it home. So, what's the answer?  What makes a cottage a cottage?  Maybe, like beauty, a cottage is in the eye of the beholder?  Or, like some types of "literature", you "know it when you see it"?  I'm not really sure.

Maybe it's really all about how the home or space makes you feel?  Or act?  Maybe, after all, cottage "style" is really about "lifestyle".  A cottage is a place that welcomes and comforts.
A place where you can relax and enjoy being alone, or spending time with family and friends.  Maybe, it's not about the building, at all..., maybe it's really all about the people who live within it's walls.

This post is being linked to the Alphabe-Thursday link party at Jenny Matlock's blog.