Cottage Inspiration

I’ve always loved the idea of a simple cottage. In today’s world where everyone seems to need 2,600 SF to achieve their house goals, a cottage is a rare site. I love it anyways though! Berrybrier is about 1,400 SF (not including the unfinished basement) and it seems huge especially when it comes time to clean! I love the simplicity of a smaller house with a big garden. And hey, let’s skip the grass and go for a more abstract landscape while we’re at it. English inspired cottages are some of my favorites, so I thought I’d round up some inspiration today for you to enjoy.

Let’s start outside. I think the key part of a cottage style home is proportion. This is a two story cottage in a big meadow, yet it feels size appropriate. The upper floor probably has rooms with sloped ceilings. It’s big, but it’s not dominating the landscape. The stone facade is classic and gorgeous, the minimal trim details are highlighted in that sweet shade of robin’s egg blue.

This cottage is brick, not stone, but it repeats so many of the same elements as the first! There is more detailing with the brick work above the windows, but again, minimal trimwork, and simple design. Two stories, but again the top floor probably has sloped ceilings. Proportionately, it feels appropriate to the surroundings. The door is accented, but it’s subtle and clean looking. The landscaping around this cottage really helps it blend into it’s surroundings. A wall on the left side is almost completely hidden by vines and climbing roses give the house a delightful, fairy tale look. Low, lavender colored shrubs highlight the base of the house, but their uniform look provides a relief from the asymmetry of the building. Everything is subtle and just enough. It’s beautiful.

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Frances Schultz’ Bee Cottage is one house that has imprinted itself in my brain and will continue to inspire me for years to come. Did you know she even wrote a book about designing this home? I need it! I love this little house so much. It always reminds me of my Aunt Chris’ adorable Oakland Hills cottage. This house again, repeats so many elements I’ve discussed: sloped ceilings on the second floor, climbing vines, simple and small proportions. It brings the robin’s egg blue back once more, this time with shutters and it contrasts beautifully agains the mushroom painted stucco! The landscaping is subtle again, with well maintained shrubbery and some overflowing window boxes.

I love how this home too has the climbing roses. The asymmetrical roof and aged bricks create a fairy tale feel. The front entry is subtle and the stone pathway leading to it looks like it’s stood the test of time. Even though I’d guess this house is actually a new build, it feels very old. And, I’ll 100% take a dog outside any day.

Inside a cottage, I always expect small spaces, stuffed with life and creative storage solutions. Countless people have written about the adorable cottage featured in the Kate Winslet / Cameron Diaz movie The Holiday, because the house is so tiny, but filled with treasures galore. I love that home. These two set photos showcase how creative storage creates such a warm and cozy glow. I love this kitchen with it’s tiny stove and big fireplace. With the advent of the kitchen island, we’ve lost the kitchen table to echoing great rooms, but I’m here to rally for the kitchen table! It’s so much more intimate and cozy feeling. I love how the fireplace mantle is bursting with serving ware and the painted wood knobs on the cabinets create the most subtle look. I love unlacquered brass, but that would have felt so much more glam and ostentatious in this more simple home.

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This little library — also from the same set — is so charming. the wall color is again a robin’s egg blue tone and the trimwork is a very warm white. The shelving is packed to fit as much as possible and it’s cobbled together appearance feels so natural and old world, like someone’s grandfather came over for the weekend to help build some extra storage. There’s a story in a true cottage style home and I’m here for it!

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This cottage kitchen from House of Harvest has that same authentic, old world feel. Again, it’s a tight space! But every inch is utilized with function from the entire wall of built-ins on the left to the chair perched in front of a less frequently opened cabinet. I love the collection of cutting boards on the countertop. The simple lighting and concrete counters could go farmhouse, but overall it feels more country cottage to me.

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This cottage dining area may or may not be right off the kitchen, but it’s simple palette of white and neutrals is very popular right now. The use-every-inch-of-storage-possible feels very cottage to me. I love the settee so much; it’s another great, stuff-’em-in technique to make the best of a small storage space.

Not to bring another kitchen into play, but I do love this sweet one featured in Architectural Digest. The cobbled together, casual elegance of that storage on the back wall is gorgeous and I love the marble top sideboard and lamp on the left. There’s found pieces throughout this picture.

Are you inspired to ditch city living and find yourself a country cottage? I think I am! And if you enjoyed the cottage inspiration, don’t stop there! Go check out my cabin inspiration post here.

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