Does cottage living attract a certain person, or do you change?

lavender_lassJuly 6, 2010

I thought the post on "cottage changes personality" was about how someone changed because of cottage living. While the post was actually about changes to the cottage (and very beautiful by the way) it made me a person attracted to cottage/smaller home because of their personality, or does living in the smaller home influence us?

It would be difficult for me to live in a very small home (under 800 square ft.) but I do like the flexibility of a few larger rooms. I think the key to living in smaller spaces is flexibility. It's hard to have several formal/specific use rooms in a small home, so I think we all find ways to be creative with the spaces we do have.

While I used to dream of a fancy Victorian home, my ideal home would now have a very large living room, with a fireplace and bay window with room for a game table. It would also have a large kitchen, with space for a woodstove, table and small seating area in a sunny corner. I don't use a formal dining room, but for special occasions/holidays, I could put leaves in the game table and make that end of the living room a beautiful dining space. Of couse, there's nothing wrong with some pretty moldings and trim work, but I think my next home will be sort of like a country cottage, with functional spaces and lots of room for books and family. Gathering spaces, rather than being broken up into many separate spaces :)

What about you? Have you always loved smaller homes? Has being in a smaller home changed the way you think of housing? Do you prefer open spaces or separate living/family/dining rooms?

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I always just assumed I wanted a big house because everyone always said bigger was better. After having had a big house, I learned that I didn't like cleaning all of that square footage and decided that smaller is better. I've preferred small houses since then.

When I look at big houses now, I just see the amount of work and maintenance attached to them.

I like small but open. Our current house has a combined LR/DR, with an open space to the kitchen as well. There is a loft upstairs that is open to the LR/DR below, love it.

    Bookmark   July 6, 2010 at 5:12PM
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I've never lived in a very big house- only one of them was over 2000 sq ft, and I was only a child then. All of the other places I've lived I would call small to average, so houses in that range just seem 'right' to me.

I'm actually a bit uncomfortable in large (or expensive) homes. To me, home is the most comfortable place in my daily cycle, a place where I can dress how I want, kick my shoes off, and not have heart failure if the dog urps on the floor. Large homes often feel a bit cold. My BIL's place has a 20' ceiling in the family room, and it's about as cozy as a rock pile.

I'll admit, I never really thought about my favorite style, but as it turns out, what's currently called 'cottage style' pretty much feels the bill. Mismatched furniture, preferably antique, lots of interesting doo-dads, bordering on clutter, rustic or simple finishes, such as light colored painted paneling, and a vase of wildflowers if I think of it. Kind of the polar opposite of McMansions and plastic on the 'good' furniture.

    Bookmark   July 6, 2010 at 5:25PM
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mama goose_gw zn6OH

Our home is on the larger end of the 'Smaller Homes scale,' only because we've slowly been adding on space as we needed it, over the course of 16 years or so. We bought the home because the yard, the location (rural area, close to family), and the school was right.

The house was a foursquare, 1 1/2 storey, but the PO opened up the two front rooms to make one good-sized (to us) living room. There is a circular traffic flow--the kitchen and dining room both open onto the living room. The house was built in the 1920's--I think the original owners first 'inside' bathroom was built into a corner of what is now our living room. We've found holes cut in the hardwood floor that appear to have been cut there to accommodate pipes. That side of the LR was probably a bedroom before becoming a bed/bath combo.

We've lived with the small separate rooms, because we didn't have the time, money, or fortitude to change the original structure, but I'd love to take out the wall between the kitchen and dining room.

I like living in a small home, I'd just like a little more storage space. :-)

    Bookmark   July 6, 2010 at 6:08PM
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Fun thread! so I live a lone in my bungalow/cottage and my 1200+ square feet, plus two-car detached garage, plus unfinished basement plus poorly finished attic is quite like a palace to me! like Goldilocks, "it's just right!" :)

I have 2 BRs on the main floor -- one for me and the other, I turned into my "closet room." :) No structural changes, just added a shelving/cabinets and rods system to three of the walls and voila! The POs used the attic space as their BR, but it really needs to be done properly, so I just use that for storage. In the basement I just store tools and left over paint, brushes, rollers, etc... and the laundry is there, too. If someone needs to stay over, I have a bed in the attic room for me and I give up my BR or I sleep on the LR sofa. It's not often enough to have a guest room vs. the closet room that I use daily!

I love cottage living. I love the above description, mismatched furniture, wild flowers, painted paneling, etc... that's so me! And I'd be lost in a huge house -- even this sometimes seems a little large for just me! But mostly its comfy and homey! My LR at 20x12 is huge to me. DR is 14x12 and tho not often used, I love that I have it, for friends and family gatherings. But because this is cottage, I pass thru the DR every day :)

My DR china cabinet houses my special china AND my "high brow" purse collection AND my fashion dolls collection! hahaa! The china cabinet in my DR is a "double-take" moment for anyone who passes by. Yes, cottage living begs for oddities like this.......

... here's a pic of the first two shelves of the china cabinet... The third shelf actually starts the true china ware collection. And yeah, The "girls" are shopping. :)

    Bookmark   July 6, 2010 at 8:34PM
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Hmmm, what an interesting question! Honestly I have always like the "idea" of cottage living but it was absolutely not what I was looking for! My best friend bought a house around 1,600sq ft and I thought she was crazy. I remember thinking I would go crazy in a place that small. However, when God dropped this little place in our laps with nowhere else to go we had no choice if we wanted to get out of apartment living. At first I was miserable, thinking this place was way too small (1200sqft) and that everyone looked down on it (my mom still reminds me how much smaller it is than hers!) and that we would never be able to sell it because no one would want it. Then one day out of the blue I just decided to change my attitude, perspective and idea of living. As soon as I saw this place for what it is, a beautiful, cozy, affordable place in a neighborhood I love. A place that is small enough for me to make radical changes without spending a lot and a place for us to live comfortably and simply without accumulating too much stuff! Ever since I have completely embraced the smaller lifestyle, the beautiful charm of cottage design and the joy of low utilities!

I still struggle occasionally when comments are made about the size (my mom calls when larger houses come up for sale) but honestly I hope that maybe we will stay here forever...after all, when future kids leave the nest we wouldn't have to downsize!

    Bookmark   July 6, 2010 at 11:37PM
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This is a fun thread.

We have lived in so many houses it is hard to say when I finally decided the smaller house is good for us. I do know we have had more smaller houses than larger houses. I made a mistake thinking our house is 1300. It is actually 1378 SQ FT so sorry. Anyway we had a large for us 1850 SQ FT house and it frustrated me I could not do a house cleaning all in one day. I mean the full monty kind of cleaning windows tracks floors moving the furniture to vacuum under the bathrooms and laundry room all the laundry and so on. It would take me about three days to get through the whole place.

Then I whined and was miserable when we moved to the 1200 SQ FT house and what was I to do with my favorite pieces of furniture. Add to that there were no walls in the kitchen for a china cabinet and I had two of them and a buffet that was too tall to sit nicely in front or under the windows.

I was miserable for about a year. some of the furniture was stored in the shop and I wanted it in the house. I pushed things around and around in the house trying to make it work. I about had a break down or maybe I really did.

One problem was my DH did not want me to switch the guest room for the office. He resists change. Finally in tears I told him this was going to happen and not only that HE was going to help me move the furniture because a couple of the pieces were too big for me to do it. Once this switch was made my life in that tiny house was so much better. the biggest reason for me needing the switch is I did work from home and spent many hours in my office and the room that was my office was dark and it depressed me. The guest room with always made up bed never used was light and bright and a happy space. I NEEDED to be in that space. I also got rid of the full bed and bought the futon for the new guest room so I had it as a den in that house too and I used it.Like I do here.

My friend was painting all her furniture white and I was horrified. LOL And then I started to like the white look and looking at our small house I got to seeing it in a different way. If I made it light and breezy "Cottage" the house would feel happier to me. I also had been hanging out at the Cottage Gardens board . So between my friends influence and the cottage gardens and houses of the other board my mind started to transform to Cottage where small is good.

I also like the smaller size house for the fact I can clean it so much easier. Now I am a bit older the one day cleaning thing does not happen often but I can do a lick and a promise kind of cleaning or slap and dash and make the place look pretty good in a short time. Vacuuming is not a two hour ordeal unless I am moving all the furniture and I do not do that as often as I maybe should.

Minette your dolls are darling. Love the full room for a closet kind of thing. We do have a sort of guest room here but for the most part it is my sewing room and I use the futon couch in there for napping. So for me it is more of a den space and company can use it when they do come but I do not keep a made up bed in there just the futon.

This is a three and two and the other bedroom is my studio room and ALL MINE!!!


    Bookmark   July 7, 2010 at 12:03AM
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A certain person? Meaning personality? I don't think personality wise. But I do agree with lifestyle which includes needs, wants, age, family size, some financial options and location interests.

I'm in a small house because of being single, older and wanting a single level. Have thought many times that my little house of 1100 would never work if my husband were still here. He was a tall, big man and can see the house fill up with just him here. Have lived in houses from close to 3,000 sq ft to 1800 until this one. Cleaning was never a problem with a larger home, husband and I always did this together on a planned day each week and he was a neat freak.

I have more problems keeping the little house clean in all honesty because I get into projects and can make ongoing messes for dust and general disorganization.

There hasn't been a home that I would not have thought of changes wanted, so size doesn't seem to matter. I don't miss a big house, this one works well and is quite comfortable for anything of interest.

I'm in for the long run. It will be interesting if I change anything in the future interior wise. If I had the option would buy all new furniture for the entire house. Of course this won't happen, but fitting furniture seems to be the most of problems we tend to run into.

    Bookmark   July 7, 2010 at 7:08AM
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I think I'm just a smaller home type person. It's never even occurred to me to live in a large house it's just not something I've ever wanted or thought about.

"When I look at big houses now, I just see the amount of work and maintenance attached to them."

I'm exactly the same, my first thought is usually "I'm glad I'm not the one who has to clean it" :)

I have changed over the last few years though in my attitude as I've worked towards making our 900+ function better. Lots of decluttering and organising the house better and it's made the house feel bigger. As a former hoarder I've come to realise that I like having much less stuff and life is simpler without it and a small house really shows you that.

It's such a challenge too to make it work and I enjoy that challenge now, coming up with simple ideas to store things, or realising if you open a cupboard to put something in and it's already full, you need to find something in there to get rid of or you need to come up with a better way to store things lol.

    Bookmark   July 8, 2010 at 2:24AM
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I find this an interesting thread. When I think of a "cottage", I think of a smaller home. When I googled this (just quick, limited reading hard-core research!), I determined a cottage is mostly a generic term for a small home...even if it has a proper, named architectural style. A cottage is also another word for a smaller vacation-style home.

On another note, there is also the Cottage Decor scheme which I think has great appeal...and I think many people with larger homes try really hard to turn big square footage into a cottage.

I think Cottage Decor is more about a relaxed, casual style. You can put so many words with Cottage to describe a decor that most everyone can find something they like: Beach Cottage, Rustic cottage, country cottage, shabby chic, eclectic cottage, modern cottage, etc.

Q: "What about you? Have you always loved smaller homes?"
A: No, I came of age in the 1980's where the goal was to become a Yuppie. Live in excess. Bigger is better. We grew up in a small 100+ yr farmhouse & culturally, I was taught that I was supposed to have "more" and "better".

The first house I bought was 2800 sf. 2 people, 4 bedrooms, 2 baths...and way too big. Realized it was unnecessary after about a year of spending my free time cleaning unused space, and blocking off heating/cooling to unused rooms. Paid way too much in utilities and got nothing in return for the quality of life all that square footage it was supposed to provide.

The ex still lives there. I got out and bought myself a 1000 sf PERFECT-sized home.

Q: "Has being in a smaller home changed the way you think of housing?"
A: Yes and No. Being in that big house and living that old dream changed the way I think of housing. I began to dream of small, useful, cozy, and just-right in size. I'm older and wiser now. I'm more grounded with family, what's important, living with what I need and not what I think I want, or what society/culture teaches me what I should want.

I've never been one to collect things, buy gadgets, or need storage for extra things...even when I had the big house. Moving from 2800 sf to 1000 sf didn't even phase me. I didn't downsize. Everything was right with the world and my little house is a perfect fit for my daughter and me.

Q: "Do you prefer open spaces or separate living/family/dining rooms?"
A: I do prefer open spaces. My living & dining rooms are open, and the doorway to the kitchen is very wide and considered more of a dividing line than a separate room. LOVE that.

In my small house, I would be tearing down walls if the K/L/D rooms were separated out.


    Bookmark   July 8, 2010 at 4:25PM
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How did I manage to overlook this thread?

I did not always want a cottage or a smaller home. What I had was a vision of certain functions being housed in a certain kind of space. My need for these functions has not changed, but they are blending together to be contained in more compact spaces.

I suppose this sort of happened when I bought a houseboat to live on, and you had only so much space to do it all. And then I WORKED on boats too, and got used to dealing with my personal space being 7 foot by 7 foot and 6 foot high. You really learn to make the most of your storage.

I bought MoccasinLanding which was a brick cottage, a tract house in a subdivision, but it was on a little bayou in the city. Most people would think it tiny, but after a career on board boats, I rattled around in it like a beebee in a wash pot. I had two wicker chairs and a cypress coffee table when I moved in. My friends loaned me their old furniture, and it took forever for the house to become filled up at all.

My weakness was books--always has been, since I was a child, and since my first career was as a librarian, I'd grown accustomed to keeping them around me. Also magazines and then videos, CDs, and photographs. I avoid calculating how much money I spent over the years on decorating magazines, because I think the total would have paid for a lot of remodelling!

But one feature of a cottage is that it brings light into the interiors. If the curtains are drawn and the windows are shuttered, everything is closed up, it is a sad house. What I did was bring LIGHT to the house, open it up to its location, bring the outside in and let me see the garden and the bayou. I added a lot of unfinished furniture, including many book cases. I still have some of them, even though Hurricane Katrina warped the wood and destroyed my book collection. I've almost stopped buying decorating magazines, especially since I am coming here to get my decor fix.

I've also realized that the life style I grew up watching on TV was not the one for me. Life With Father, Leave It To Beaver, etc. The life I live can fit nicely, thank you, in a 2 bedroom 2 bath house (well, two TOILET house), as long as I have a place to keep my birds and books and sewing and filing stuff which goes with my photos and my computer stuff. For 32 years I lived alone, and now have adjusted my planning to being half of a couple. We do have the same philosophy on life styles, but DH and I are both very strong willed people. We joke about it, but we do butt heads. I have ensconced a cup which says SHE WHO MUST BE Rumpole of the Bayley calls his wife Hilda on TV. Another reminder from old sayings, "A man lives happily in his wife's house." And so we have basically worked it out. He takes care of repairs, and I do the designing and painting and decorating these days. I don't think his first wife was as independent as I am, so it's taken him a while to accept that I KNOW WHAT I'M DOING.

I lost track of what I said in the beginning, so I will simply stop at this point and reserve the option of coming back again later. The house we are in now will soon adjust to our needs, because we do not intend to move again.

    Bookmark   July 9, 2010 at 4:41PM
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gayle, I love your research on the definition of "cottage". That's exactly how I think of what a cottage is: a small home and/or vacation home.
My cottage is both. I've always loved smaller homes. My favorite style home would be a ranch although my little cottage (approx. 1000 sq. ft) is a Cape Cod style. In a perfect world all the rooms would be on one level. I've always loved California Spanish style ranch houses. I prefer open floor plans but my cottage has 3 separate rooms on the main floor that open into each other with open doorways: kitchen to DR to LR. There's a half bath in the back of the kitchen and a closed in porch up front. Upstairs are two very tiny bedrooms with low ceilings (main floor ceiling height is 9 ft). And upstairs has the full bath.

Since this is a second/vacation home, storage isn't a problem. And I have a full size basement and a 2 car garage. Since it's just me and my trusty little dog, there's only one car so that's more storage space.

My next place, when I retire, will hopefully be a ranch with 2 full baths and I'd like my bedrooms to be a bit larger. But I won't be getting a much bigger place. I was never a McMansion type of gal. What do people do with rooms of furniture that they hardly ever use???? Seems silly to me.

    Bookmark   July 10, 2010 at 3:54PM
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"What do people do with rooms of furniture that they hardly ever use???? Seems silly to me."

I agree. This is why I love our small cottage so much. We use every room every day and the studio room and sewing room both do double duty. Studio/office and sewing/guest room.

I guess you would call out house style a ranch cottage. Does that mean longer verses box like? Course we are a manufactured home so they need to have their style built into them.

The lady that bought our last house that was totally light airy cottage turned it into darker rustic cabin.

Very interesting thread.


    Bookmark   July 10, 2010 at 5:50PM
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I've enjoyed reading your answers to this thread. I don't post on here often, but I visit and read just about every thread.

Q: "What about you? Have you always loved smaller homes?"
As a once married and now single female, I've lived in more smaller houses than larger. The house we built when I was married was plenty of room for the two of us and our two sons. We had over 2000 sq. ft., 3 bedrooms, 2 1/2 baths, full basement, family room, LR, DR, and kitchen, plus my sewing room/storage room. The next house was for just me and my two sons; 1300 something sq. ft., 3 bedrooms, 2 baths, good neighborhood for kids, affordable - in short, the right house at the time for me to buy. Now the kids are grown and I am in an older home, brick bungalow, 100 yrs. old this year! I have 1635 or so sq. ft., three bedrooms, 1 bath, LR, DR, kitchen. The rooms are good sizes, but I would love a walk-in closet. I guess folks didn't have all that many clothes 100 years ago! LOL! It's just me and my little dog, sons are grown now, so there is plenty of room.

About 35 years ago, I started collecting the David Winter cottages and became a "cottage" person. Not shabby chic/all white, but cozy and comfortable with the charm of vintage and antique.

Q: "Has being in a smaller home changed the way you think of housing?"

Yes! I just don't think that anyone (well...maybe the Druggars with 19 children) needs a huge house to live happily. IMO it is just wasted space and too much conspicuous consumption. In the first house that I bought myself, I really lived in about 700 sq. ft. of the house and the boys were upstairs. I managed fine in that space and would still be there if I hadn't had to move for work. I never want to feel that I am rattling around all by myself in any house I may buy or build.

Q: "Do you prefer open spaces or separate living/family/dining rooms?"

I like the kitchen separate and LR/DR open to each other thru a wide doorway (like I have now) or the kitchen and DR together and the LR open to the area thru a wide doorway. Or, I like the L-shape where the kitchen is around the corner from the main living space, but the K, DR, LR flow into each other.

    Bookmark   July 11, 2010 at 1:07PM
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Growing up I lived in small homes, as a newly wed living in Spain while DH was in the Navy, we had a small 2 bedrm apt. We came home in 1973 to our tiny 50's cottage and have been here ever since. Our little cottage is right around 700 sq. ft. We have opened it up and made some changes that make it nicer. If we ever move, we are looking to have a place a tad larger, like maybe around 1000-1200 sq ft. For now, this is where we are, and I love our little space. As others have said really large homes seem cold and thinking of the expense of keeping it up, filling it up with things, and cleaning it just doesn't appeal to me. Small is cozy, easier to clean, easier to keep cool or heated and whenever I look at homes online, cottages are what appeal to me. I do want a window over the kitchen sink though, that is a must. Open is also better to me than individual rooms. Oh yes, about an acre of land in the country would be nice too.


    Bookmark   July 15, 2010 at 11:27AM
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I've always loved smaller homes, and ones you would call "cottages." I find them romantic. When DH and I were hunting for our first house, we selected a house with a cottage "style" but a fair amount of space. As I sat in the house alone throughout the 4 hour inspection, I realized I was unhappy. I wanted a smaller, cozier home for the two of us. So, we bought one that's only 1740 sq feet, a 1940's cottage. Now that we are looking to build, I'm leaning toward a cottage, not too much larger. I am convinced I can raise a family comfortably in less than 2400 sqft if the space is well planned. The issue in our area? New neighborhoods have "square footage minimums," and they are usually faily high. In an area where 3,000 sqft is the expected norm, I don't really fit in.

Open spaces or closed? I like a mix of both. Soonermagic's home is a good example. The main living area is open, yet on a human scale. However, a cozy loft provides a space for retreat. I love that concept, though I have no idea how big her house is.

Our cottage in progress

(small dining room, which we use daily)

The living room doesn't look like that anymore, but it gives you an idea of space.

Before the Great Cord Cleanup of 2008. Haha!

Here is a link that might be useful: Soonermagic's house

    Bookmark   July 17, 2010 at 5:29PM
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Young-gardner What a Pretty cottage.Yard is also pretty and loving your collection of pitchers. Lovely delicate handles.thank you for inviting us in. You got it all over Soonermagic's house. Be proud.

So please tell us how you took care of those cords!! LOL Need to do that. They do not show behind the cabinet we have but I hate to have to clean down around the tangled mess.


    Bookmark   July 17, 2010 at 5:53PM
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One of the techniques for dealing with the size requirements, YoungGardener, is to submit the plans for the larger house square footage, and then to build only the "first stage" which omits a piece of the plan as the first building steps.

As long as there is space left to add on to it in the future, you can break it into two building phases.

Just a thought.

    Bookmark   July 17, 2010 at 7:24PM
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Young-gardner. Looking back through your pictures. There is the bedroom one. I am interested in what you did at the window. Looks like there is a window seat. Shelves built in either side of the window with curtain/drapes over them. I would love more information on that part of your room. Please.................


    Bookmark   July 17, 2010 at 8:17PM
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Thanks for the advice, moccasin. I will keep that in mind. In fact, one of the house plans we are looking at has "future bedrooms" we thought could just be unfinished storage, so it would be easy to submit in that way.

You're right. The entire wall is bookshelves on top and large storage spaces below. The large spaces used to have sliding doors, but they didn't work and made it impossible to put things in there. We stored my husbands ugly computer books on the shelves, so I made curtains to hide them. I used spring rods and matching curtains for the bottom portion. Directly under the window is a small space, which I use as a window seat. I'm not sure its original purpose. Someone long before us built the shelves.

We are currently packing to prepare to list our house, so I had to take down all the curtains to show there are built ins. The room seems a bit cold now.

I'll post a picture taken the day we closed on the house.

As for the cords, can I say UGH! I hate cords. Actually, the computer (hooked to the TV) is behind the shutters in that picture. We are lucky in that the outlets are high. DH just got a cord cover, and I moved the tv to a low stand to hide it all.

Thanks for your kind remarks! We're very shy about our home, so posting pics makes me nervous.

    Bookmark   July 17, 2010 at 8:35PM
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OH My I am so glad you showed this to us then I have totally enjoyed your house. It is lovely and sorry you will be moving from it. I know the feeling of staging. It does make things feel cold in a way.

Those shelves really are great and I am wondering if I might be able to do something like this in my studio room. Since it would look great in my room painted like your room is I would not have to use the top grade lumber.

I hope you do not mind me keeping your picture as inspiration. What a great amount of storage. I love the curtain idea. I am doing that here too.

Thanks Again.


    Bookmark   July 17, 2010 at 10:15PM
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What a lovely, lovely house! Thank you for sharing. Yes, you need a loft as a retreat. My husband and I have finally agreed on building one in our new home. Planned properly, they can add a lot of light and airiness to the whole home.

I wish you much happiness in your new home.


    Bookmark   July 17, 2010 at 11:39PM
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Young-gardener- Thanks for sharing! I can't wait to see how your new house turns out.

As for minimum square footage rules- In this economy, and with the trend towards greener living, I wonder how long it will be before someone successfully challenges those rules? Here in FL, a law was passed making it legal to have a clothesline, which had been banned in many communities. When we were shopping for land in rural SC, we actually had a hard time finding a property without a minimum square footage requirement. We have no need for 2500 sq ft, much less even half that.

    Bookmark   July 18, 2010 at 9:38AM
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Feel free, Chris. I don't mind. Goodness knows I have hundreds of GW pics tucked away for inspiration. :)

Interesting that you mention the clothesline. I wish they would do that here in GA. ONe of my biggest reservations about living in a development is the long list of restrictions. I want to be able to hang diapers out to dry when we have kids, to plant a garden so we have fresh, clean food. Much of that you can't do in neighborhoods here, both because of rules and space. We actually moved here from Miami/FtL 3 years ago, because I couldn't handle the materialistic side of life there. This is a bit better, but I'd still love a slower pace of life even yet. :)

Here is an interesting project happening where we live. I know it's not new, but it's new to our metro area. I love the concept, but the houses were a bit over what we wanted to spend when the idea was introduced. I see pulling it up today that prices have dropped. That makes me smile. This type of living should be available to all. (If you read Cottage Living, you've probably seen other parts of this development. They've been featured a few times.)

Here is a link that might be useful: The Nest

    Bookmark   July 18, 2010 at 10:31AM
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Here is the model.

Here is a link that might be useful: nest model--scroll down

    Bookmark   July 18, 2010 at 10:36AM
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mama goose_gw zn6OH

young_gardener, beautiful home and garden--I love your pottery. Our 1920's cottage is very similar.

I can attest, yes, you can raise a family in less than 2400sf--less than that, really. And now that our children are on their own, our small cottage is still a good fit. We currently have a 'boomerang' daughter, and her small son staying with us, so it's not empty anyway.

Good luck with selling your lovely cottage, and with your new build. I hope you can take some of that charm with you!

    Bookmark   July 18, 2010 at 11:02AM
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young-gardener, I love your house. I think you've hit decorating a small house dead on.

    Bookmark   July 18, 2010 at 11:56AM
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Thank you, mama-goose and marti8a! You're very kind.

    Bookmark   July 18, 2010 at 11:58AM
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Well I had to spend time in my studio this morning cleaning it up. We got a call company will be coming soon. That could mean tomorrow or next week. Either way there is an injured, kitten from the feral's in the guest room that needed to be moved to my studio. So while cleaning I looked some more at the arrangement in there and young-gardener your shelf system will be perfect.

Will mean a big re-arrange and of course building project. But I can do this and will do this and finally have the window seat I have always dreamed of on top of it. Woo Hoo. Thank you so very much. Will be some time before I can even think of starting this project. Will have to measure and draw up the plans and save up the $$$ but this is going to happen. Curtains and all. The lower cabinets will be great to store my sheets of glass and the shelves perfect for my smaller containers of glass. AND the shelves I am using now will go in our master closet and the shelves that are in there now that are really junk are going away or out to the garage for Joe to put his things on. I have thought this through and it is going to work. Come on winter when I have time to deal with all of this. Not sure where to put the stuff in the room while I am in the process of building. Sigh. Will have to work on that.


    Bookmark   July 18, 2010 at 1:19PM
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How exciting, Chris! I can't wait to see pictures when you're done. The extra time while you save up will give you time to do some thoughtful planning. :) I'd love to have a room for my projects!

    Bookmark   July 18, 2010 at 4:24PM
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Sorry to be a bother on this YG. About how deep is that lower cabinet? thanks Chris

    Bookmark   July 18, 2010 at 7:23PM
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It's no bother at all. The base cabinet is 16 inches deep. To the top of the window seat it's 26 inches high.

    Bookmark   July 18, 2010 at 9:46PM
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Perfect Young-gardner. Thank you!!! I already talked to my husband about this and he might even help me to do this. I have the saws and tools and know how to use them. My hands are not as strong as they used to be so he might run the saw for me. Sure do wish I still had my table saw. Sigh. Anyway he talked to me about how to make the frame and to draw it up. 16 inches deep is about the space I can use for the sheets of glass and if they are too big I know how to make them smaller to fit. LOL Have glass cutter will resize.
Z-I-P tink done.

The 26 inches high seems high to comfortably sit on. I think the bottom of my window sill is about 19 inches.

Gads I am so excited about this.

This is what I have for storage now with added curtain. And I did change out the cabinet for another one. What you have there will work so much better.

Thanks so much for posting your pictures. It is going to get me in trouble but it will be worth it. Hehehehe


    Bookmark   July 18, 2010 at 9:59PM
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I'm so glad it's going to be a good fit for you! You're right. The 26 is a strange height for the seat. They really should have lowered that section if they wanted it to be usable (and maybe made it a little bit longer so you could pull your legs up comfortably) Once it's done, it's going to be worth all your hard work!

    Bookmark   July 18, 2010 at 10:05PM
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That's a good question, lavender lass! I think it's both. I've always needed a larger house since there were 5 children. Now they are all grown, and I *still* need a large house. LOL But....the day is coming where I might be able to have a cottage or smaller home. As the kids and grands get older, i'm thinking i'll be the one doing the visiting since the kids will be involved with activities as well as school, and that's fine with me. Less cleaning is always good which means i'll have more time to travel also. Right now i'm very involved with family and can't imagine not having enough room for them to come and stay. I'll be having 8 'guests'(kids and grands)coming in the middle of August, and have 3 extra bedrooms where they will all bunk. With a dog and 3 cats, that's a houseful! LOL

    Bookmark   July 20, 2010 at 12:15AM
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My house is around 1700 square feet, which is larger than the house I grew up in with 7 other people, so when we bought it 17 years ago I didn't know it was small--I discovered this from our, um, culture. (You know-- all those "small spaces" articles in shelter magazines that are talking about 2000 square foot houses).

My husband and I rented 3 houses before we bought this one, and all our rental houses were on an acre or two or three, and we discovered we loved having a big yard. Our current house is kind of a wild 1970s vintage modern house on just under an acre in the middle of our city.

Although small, it does not at all look like a cottage--there is nothing cute or bungalow-ish about it at all. The house is all straight lines and big plate glass windows, in a downtownish neighborhood withe lots of college students and professorial types. We're in Florida so we've gone for an "old Florida" look (no palm trees but dozens of old growth pines, oaks, elms, magnolias, Japanese plums, etc.) plus ferns, gingerlilies, azaleas, and weeds--oops, I mean ground-cover.

    Bookmark   July 29, 2010 at 10:41PM
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Our house had 1080 feet when it was designed and built. Two baths since I had 3 daughters still at home. It was built in the 70's and is as quirky as you would expect. But it has no need for air conditioning and it heats easily in winter.

It has been a very gentle house to live in.

Now we are retired and my wife has Alzheimer's. This house is really too big for us. If we build again, and it is getting less and less likely, it will be about 400 feet max.

I like small houses, cars and egos.

dave in idaho

    Bookmark   August 3, 2010 at 12:10PM
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DWGriff, hi and welcome to the place to be! At your juncture in life, contracting into a fetal position is totally understandable. That is what we are in the process of doing too....only so far so good, no sign of Altzheimers YET. It robs you of the companionship you once enjoyed with your wife. Many of us here are poised for some kind of plunge into the unknown of geriatric health problems too.
We do have another Idaho resident among us, so you are not alone in that spot.

ShadesOfIdaho sez:" Not sure where to put the stuff in the room while I am in the process of building. Sigh. Will have to work on that. "

Shades, you could always do what I am still doing, using transparent plastic totes stacked in the corner as high as I dare. It won't be long now, and I'll have at least ONE closet to replace the three I tore out to redo the baths. I like the plans you are making for the window seat and storage. Sounds like my plan for the dining room, with the window seat being storage but also dining seats too.

    Bookmark   August 3, 2010 at 1:16PM
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I grew up in a small Craftsman-style cottage, red brick outside and lots of wood,trim, built-ins. I find as an adult I prefer small homes. I'm uncomfortable with those "barns" they call Great Rooms. I like a house with definite rooms, doors you can close. Yes, multi-purpose and be able to accomodate people for family parties. I also find my garden is very much like my Grandmothers, roses, violets, lilacs, bleeding hearts. She loved flowers.

    Bookmark   August 3, 2010 at 3:31PM
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mama goose_gw zn6OH

jannie, I'm another smaller home owner trying to emulate my grandmother's garden.

Welcome, sabrinaflorida, we've loved having a large yard--at times it's what helped save my sanity.

"It has been a very gentle house to live in." dwgriff, what a lovely way to describe your home.

patty_cakes, your post reminds me of visits with my grandmother. We're adding on a guest room, for visiting adult children and grandchildren--I want a houseful at every holiday gathering!

ML, LOL, you've seen my plastic totes that have been in the middle of the kitchen floor (under a table) for two+ years. We'll get it under wraps some day!

    Bookmark   August 3, 2010 at 5:20PM
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mamagoose, holidays have always been very important in our family, and I can't imagine that ever changing. Although I would absolutely LOVE to have a smaller home, realistically that isn't going to happen for a few more years. My family is the most important thing in my the moment. I'll always love them, but as everyone gets older, the times together could be less. There has never been 'sibling rivalry' so I feel lucky about that! I'm just gonna take it one day at a time, and enjoy every minute. ;o)

    Bookmark   August 3, 2010 at 5:38PM
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Welcome, Sabrinaflorida Dave in Idaho, Jannie, Patty Cakes. So good to see so many folks coming in. I have been slightly MIA because of my job. Going to be a busy week.

Dave which end of Idaho are you? Hope you get to see the northern lights tonight. Supposed to be a good show the further north you are. We are only about mid Idaho so might not get to see them.

My husband has thrown a wrench in the shelf project for a bit. He informed me we will be getting a pellet stove or Monitor stove or some other form of back up heat soon.He has not decided which. It will have to go in the living room which means something has to give. And it might have to give towards my studio. WWWWAAAAHHHHH Why not into his garage??? Heheheh Wish the gun cabinet which is a monster would go away. Would make a perfect china cabinet but I already have two of them and do not have a space for it in the dinning room. So it might become the shelving in my studio. NOT my idea of a good idea so you all keep good thoughts some one will buy it. Dang as I had that shelf system all worked out even some down on paper and it would be so perfect in my room. Not giving up on the idea yet. Just depends on which stove he decides on.


    Bookmark   August 4, 2010 at 12:47AM
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Young gardener, do you mind my asking where you got your beautiful floor lamp in your little room (last picture)? I love the old brass finish!

    Bookmark   August 4, 2010 at 12:56AM
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