Picture a cozy home with arched doorways, a chimney, a charming front porch, and a stone or brick façade. Whether this house has beachfront views or is nestled in the countryside, you’ve just envisioned a quaint cottage-style home. One of many popular home styles, cottage-style homes have stood the test of centuries for a reason. So whether you’re looking for your first home in the suburbs or a vacation rental house by the coast, you may want to consider a cottage house.
To help you decide if this is the right style home for you, we’ll explain what a cottage home is, its characteristics, pros and cons, and its different variations. Let’s jump in.
What is a cottage-style home?
A cottage home is a small property often associated with beach or country living, blending into nature with rustic details. These homes are typically one story, while some may have an additional half-story or second floor. They’re known for their cozy charm and can be a great option for a variety of homebuyers and renters.
History of cottage houses
Like many of the home styles out there, cottages are steeped in history, dating back to the Middle Ages (1400s-1500s). It’s unclear which country they originated in, but cottage house plans were popular in England, Norway, Finland, and Russia, among many other countries. The original style was built with a thatched roof and wood or stone exterior. It was typically a small house located in the countryside popular with the farming community.
By the 19th century, the cottage-style home migrated to the US. These homes quickly became popular vacation home styles along the east coast, especially in areas like Cape Cod, MA, or Newport, RI. Since then, cottage-style houses have remained a staple beachside home and are even common in more populated and metropolitan areas.
Characteristics of a cottage home
Cottage homes have some common exterior and interior characteristics that make them unique to their style.
Unlike their English countryside counterparts, many modern cottages don’t have a thatched roof. Instead, most cottages have steeply-pitched gable roofs. The exterior may be shingled and feature stone or brick accents. You’ll typically find a broad or wraparound porch, potentially a backyard deck, and an arched front door.
Many, but not all, cottages are asymmetrical, meaning the layout is not the same on each side. For example, you may find the door located off to one side of the home rather than in the middle.
Cottage style homes embrace nature both inside and out, so you can expect to see a lot of the same natural charm indoors. There are plenty of cozy elements in a small space, from exposed beams and rafters to brick or stone walls and fireplaces. Many cottages have a more open floor plan, meaning your living space, dining room, and kitchen are all in one area. There are often one or two bedrooms and bathrooms. If your cottage has a second floor, you may have an attic space or another small bedroom.
Variations of cottage homes
There are lots of styles of cottage houses depending on the regions they’ve originated from or the style that the builder chose. Here are seven styles to consider if you’re looking for a cottage-style home.
English cottages are the most well-known cottages, and chances are, what you picture when you imagine a cottage home. They’re typically a single-story home with a thatched-style roof and garden surrounding the entrance, which may creep up the home’s siding.
These cottage homes usually have a stone exterior with climbing vines, brickwork, and clay-tiled roofs. French country cottages often have a fancier interior compared to other takes on the style.
American or coastal cottage
You may hear this style called “American” or “Coastal,” but they’re one and the same when it comes to cottage styles. These cottages tend to have wide front porches, bay windows, wooden shingles, and white trim. You’ll find coastal cottages on both the east and west coast in areas like Cape Cod, MA, or Carmel, CA.
Canadian cottage-style homes are very similar to their American counterpart in style and location. The main difference is that these homes often have a second floor.
Nordic style cottages, often found in Norway and Sweden, are typically built from wood and have bright red exteriors that stand out against the summer green and winter white countryside.
South African cottage
These cottage designs are made with stucco walls, and you’ll find traditional thatched roofs.
Cottage vs bungalow: What’s the difference?
Bungalows aren’t necessarily cottages and are often misidentified as so. The bungalow house style is a one-and-a-half story home with a prominent front porch, gabled roof, and exposed beams inside. However, that doesn’t mean that a cottage can’t have a bungalow style.
Pros and cons of cottage-style homes
Pros of a cottage
If you’re looking for a small house or vacation home, a cottage house may be perfect for you. With limited space and bedrooms, this can be great for those who want a charming house that doesn’t require too much upkeep. Cozy cottage-style homes are also great for those who want to live outside of the city center and enjoy a rustic natural looking house.
Cons of a cottage
Cottage houses are often, but not exclusively, located in beachside or countryside towns rather than in big cities. So if you’re looking for a home in the heart of New York City, you may not find a cottage there. Cottages are also smaller in square footage, so they may not be the best choice for those on the hunt for a home with more than two bedrooms. They also have a more rustic interior, so if you love a more modern and sleek home, cottages may not fit your style.
Where to find cottage-style houses in your area
If you’ve decided that this quaint and charming house is right for you, Redfin can help you find a cottage home in your area.
2. Near the top of the next page, on the right side, you will see “All filters.” Click on that and scroll to the “Keywords” box near the bottom of the page.
3. Type the word “cottage” into the Keywords box and press Apply Filters. That’s all. Homes within the city name or zip code you entered will populate the page, and you’ll be able to begin your search.