So today, I searched for the definition of 'cottage' and found the term was developed in the Middle Ages to describe what was then the home of a 'cotter' - a working peasant. Also, 'cottage' was derived from a combination of the English word 'cote' which means 'hut', and the French word 'cot' which means 'hut' - in other words, a peasant's hut. And the peasant's huts were understood to be 'cozy' because they were small. Hence, cottage style living is always cozy.
'Cozy' has come a long way since the Middle Ages! Cozy is no longer determined by size, and cottage is no longer determined by size, or location, for that matter. The large summer cottages that were built for the very rich in Bar Harbor in the 19th century changed all that.
Over the years, cottages have developed certain characteristics that are common among them, such as shingled, stucco, timbered or stone siding, deeply slanted rooves, paned windows, gabled windows, chimneys and they are sometimes enclosed by picket fences with gates.
Some cottage elements are specific to the country they are in such as England, France, Sweden, etc., so we have English cottages, French cottages, Australian cottages and then we have the same for interior decorating...i.e., English country, French country, American country, refined, rustic, Victorian, shabby chic, traditional.....what does it all mean and how does one country's decor differ from another?
And are cottages always by a body of water? Definitely not.....they can be found in the woods, mountains, rural and urban areas.
To try and sort it all out, let's look at some international cottage styles. And tomorrow we will look at some interior design styles.
Tiny cottage in upstate New York
Hand built by a woman as her own retreat
St. James Park, London, England
Stucco, gabled roof, (no thatches), bird house on roof
Traditional Irish cottage, Donegal
Steep roof, paned windows, colorful
Stone walls, gate
St. Bart's, Caribbean
Michigan full-time residential cottage
Decorative window panes, steep roof
Shingled, gables, veranda
Infamous Grey Gardens
Hamptons shingled cottage 1897
Contemporary Hamptons cottage
10,000 sq. ft.?
Shingles, gables, paned windows, chimneys
Image 1 NY Times, Images 2 & 3 Wikipedia
Image 4 Coastal Living, Image 5 Cottages of Harbor Springs,
Image 6 Unknown, Image 7 East Hampton Historical Society
Image 8 Unknown, Image 9 Unknown