Cottages by the sea are continuing to change, and one factor is the increased rarity of buildable lots and homes in desirable coastal locations and their high costs. For example, simple cottages that not long ago were inexpensive summer homes for artists, writers, and educators in Carmel, California, now cost in the millions. Another change is climate variation and the increased severity of coastal storms. New cottage designs look to these conditions and expand and vary our modern coastal cottage traditions.
While cottages offer everything one needs, there may not be space for all that one wants. It’s a balance, and there is an art to living small and well. The cottage tradition is oneness with landscape, and cottage living means expanding the living space to porches and patios outdoors.
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I asked Whidbey Island architect Ross Chapin, a cottage designer and proponent, why cottages appeal to him. “I like the simple lifestyle they offer. A good cottage is relaxed and easy, with no pretensions of impressing anyone. ‘Come on in,’ it says, as if through the back door, rather than asking formal introductions at the front door. Cottages might be lean on space, but every bit of space will be fully lived in. It is character that defines a cottage, not size or polished perfection. A beloved cottage enlivens the heart and celebrates relationships with family, friends, and neighbors. What’s not to love about that?”
I invite you to experience coastal cottage living in the pages of this blog through Scot’s joyful photographs, imagining yourself in these settings and taking away design ideas for wherever you call home.
A cottage at the beach is the perfect place for an artist to live and paint.
With its generous broad porch, painted board-and-batten walls, and the low angled roofline over the porch, at first glance this home resembles a simple bungalow, an early and favorite cottage design. However, the two rooflines set behind allow for living space in the top level. With the differing exterior wall finishes—natural shingles and clapboard—there is a feeling of additions over time, when in fact it is the original design.