Storybook Cottage Style

By Bud Dietrich

The cozy fairytale look of this cottage hides an up to date layout for informal modern living. Plan 120-174

While Colonial, Modern, Craftsman, Victorian, etc. are all styles that we know and cherish, there are so many other styles.  From Art Nouveau to Art Deco, from Persian to Post-modern, there exists just about every style for every taste.

A great era for this “just about anything goes” approach to residential design was the Battle of the Styles that took place throughout much of the 19th century. 
Of all of these un-ordinary styles, a favorite has to be the Storybook Cottage.  Soft and gentle, hand crafted and imperfect, diminutive and scaled as such, the storybook cottage is a style that resonates with so many people.

Perhaps this is a reaction to the ever increasing size of the American home.  Perhaps it’s a desire to celebrate the local, handmade and simple. (Indeed, Storybook style is actually an offshoot of the Craftsman style.) Perhaps it’s a need to live in a place that takes us back to a simpler era.  Perhaps it’s these and more. Whatever the reason, a storybook cottage -- like Plan 120-174, shown at the top of this post -- finds its way into our hearts, letting us dream of tea (or maybe a little port) by the fireside as we unwind from the day and regale each other with stories.

But how do we make a Storybook cottage that is all of this while at the same time a celebration of the modern lifestyle? How do we, in fact, enjoy the barefoot and relaxed way we now live with the attributes of the storybook cottage? Maybe this is how:
  1. Just because we want small, handcrafted panes of glass doesn’t mean we want dark and depressing interiors.  We still want a light and bright space that greets us every morning and lets us enjoy living the life we live in the sun.  So incorporating small panes of glass in large windows seems entirely possible with new windows.
  2. When the weather is nice and the possibilities exist, we still want to open our home up to the whole of the outside.  We want the interior spaces to blend and mingle with the interior spaces and we want the whole of the landscape to be a part of where we live.
  3. Informal living fostered by an open floor plan is very much how we live today.  And while a storybook cottage is more about small, intimate and cozy spaces, our best homes have a range of room sizes that can easily accommodate large and small, even solo, gatherings.  So while the kitchen and family area may be large and open and able to easily accommodate all of us for a holiday meal, a storybook cottage will also have small, cozy spots such as inglenooks and window seats where two people can talk or one can read a book.
The layout of Plan 120-174, show here,

allows for just such modern living with an open great room connecting to the lanai at the back of the house. 

So in the end, a Storybook cottage, rather than being an anachronistic style with no place in the 21st century, can live on.  A simple blending of what the style’s traits are with an understanding of how we live today can yield a home that’s at once light and bright as well as cozy and intimate; a home that’s welcoming and friendly as well as private and reclusive.  It just takes a little “Imagineering” as the folks at Disney would say.




06/02/2014