Cottages: The Happy Medium?

Tiny homes have become a national sensation; homeowners everywhere are trading in traditional houses for a residence no larger than a food truck. For some, this lifestyle is perfect. For others, it seems impractical. And yet, for some, like millennials or young couples, a smaller living space sounds great, but the tiny home is a bit too extreme. And for those who are seeking a happy medium, there may be a solution in sight.

Cottages are defined as “a small simple house,” and are typically located in semi-rural or rural areas. So if you are considering a tiny home, you could also consider a cottage, which provides the permanence of a larger home and eliminates the issue of certain permits that tiny homes come with.


Photo of an early American minimal traditional shingle style home.

But aren’t cottages always in forests and other Lord of the Rings-like locations? Not necessarily. Cottages can be readily found in mountains, near beaches and by lakes, and were popular around the 1920s-1940s in downtown areas and along “Main Street USA.” While these may be more expensive because of location, if you are considering building your own house, you can always use the inspiration of existing cottage architecture and adapt it to a suburban location.

The key to cottages is their small square footage and comfortable feel. A cottage typically has only 1-3 bedrooms/bathrooms and a lot of windows to allow in natural light. Newer cottages can also easily be designed to be eco-friendly, although older buildings may not be as efficient. However, because cottages are typically located in suburban or rural areas, there is still the yard maintenance that comes with a traditional home that tiny homes leave behind.


Beautiful Green Countryside House

Overall, cottages can be great alternatives to tiny homes and also perfect options for first-time home buyers who don’t want a large house but want the investment and security that comes with owning property. Whether cottages catch on as the new happy medium between traditional homes and tiny homes has yet to be seen, but if it does, it will be interesting to see how a new style of home impacts the industry and living style of North Carolinians.

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