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  • Writer's pictureShepherdArchitects

The Cottage

The idea of a cottage invokes an almost unimaginable number of images: huts, small homes, log cabins, bungalows, chalets, and hunting lodges. From residences in fairytales to backwood shacks, everyone has an idea, thought, or inkling of what represents a cottage. Not surprisingly, the term or idea of “cottage” exists in most cultures around the world, and a concept or specific translation of “cottage” can be found in most languages.

So, what comes to your mind when you think cottage?

As an architect and professional designer, I thought it would be interesting to ponder this question and share my connotation of a cottage. Before I begin, let me say that in my mind, a cottage is more than just a physical object. I feel every cottage also has an emotional element at its core. Romance, nostalgia, and a strong sense of history and place also accompany my definition of “cottage.” If I were to rely solely on architectural jargon and technical assessment, I would neglect what makes these diminutive structures so special.

My cottage is small but not cramped, with a place for everything and everything in its place. Its spaces are casual in nature, freely flowing from one to another, and an interior is made up of equal parts décor and function. It is cozy and comfortable where everything seems innately balanced between interestingly unique and efficiently appropriate.

My cottage feels light and is a mix of simple and familiar forms. Ceilings are vaulted with exposed rafters and planks. These wooden members are small, worn, and numerous. While the colors are light and reserved, the textures are abundantly vivid, with variety from surface to surface. These textures remind me of things I’ve seen before: places I’ve been and things warmly remember. When I look closely, I can see icons from your childhood: the picket fence in the front yard and shingles from the front of my grandmother’s house.

All these textures lay quietly, waiting to be discovered by my visitors and guests.

My cottage reminds me of where I am and of years gone by. I can feel the beach, the woods, or the mountains simply by closing my eye and imagining the space. It is as much a part of its place as the sand, the trees, or the views. My cottage seems old because it’s a part of a place I’ve been visiting since I was a kid. It is an extension of who I am as opposed to simply serving as a shelter. From the porch, I look at a view that I’ve seen a million times before, but each time feels special. I remember living in my cottage with just us, then with our friends who visit, and finally with our family. Each time it is different, yet each time the same.

My cottage is a collection of all the things I treasure both physically and emotionally.

My cottage is home.

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