English country house plans evolved from the tenants’ cottages on large manors in Western England during the Middle Ages. Originally these simple structures were fashioned of wattle and daub or stone, and topped with high thatched roofs to facilitate rain runoff. For many people, the archetypical English cottage home is the storybook image of a small dwelling nestled in trees at the end of a country road, with smoke curling up from the chimney, and rose bushes climbing up the walls onto the thatched roof; with little old men and ladies gazing out of small, leaded windows flanked by shutters and a flower box. There is something in this image which is undeniably appealing, and which makes cottage-style living the dream of many modern city-dwellers. On the other hand, this picture also implies cramped living quarters, dark interiors, and perhaps few modern amenities. In order to define the continuing appeal of cottage living, the words that spring to mind are “comfort”, “simplicity”, “charm”, “intimacy” and “romance” rather than the overwrought, pretentious grandiosity of, say luxury estate house plans mansions. The point is that cottage-style living is a state of mind as much as it as a physical presence.
To understand the appeal of English cottage living, think back to the happiest scenes of your childhood: the snug burrow hidden beneath the thick lilac bush; the tree fort cradled high up in the maple limbs; the closet in the attic with its secret passage way beneath the stairs; the bunk-bed at the summer cabin piled high with thick blankets. What do these memories have in common? How did you feel when you were hiding and playing in them with your siblings and playmates? For most people, cottage-style living evokes these forts, closets, hollows – cozy, secret happy places of childhood. When we were children we created spaces which made us feel secure and safe. Although we are now adults, we still have the need for magical, mysterious places which hug us snugly within their boundaries and provide a soothing resting place – retreat from the hustle-bustle world outside.
English cottage homes capture a warm, cozy feeling. The fairytale style of authentic English country cottage house plans became very popular in the United States between the 1890’s and 1940’s. In the modern style these cottages often have hip roofs with steep gables; with stone, stucco, or shingle siding. The asymmetrical design often has floor plans of one-and-a-half stories, together with quaint interior design features such as artistic niches and nooks. Since they tend to be small in size, English cottage homes are usually favored by young or retired couples rather than couples with growing families. Besides their romantic appeal, cottages are easy to maintain and easy to live in. The house itself encourages an informal, relaxed style of living close to nature. The unpretentious cottage lifestyle means that more attention can be paid to fine details and craftsmanship than ostentatious luxuries. English cottage living expresses who you are and how you prefer to live life – close to nature and the earth – with little regard for impressing others.
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