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Photo credit: Therma-Tru Doors

Cottage-style homes originated in England in the late 18th century during the Romantic movement. The name comes from the British term “cotters”, which designated English farmers who lived in this specific style home. These homes were usually small, and featured stone or wood facades with gabled roofs. Today, one of the most alluring aspects of the cottage style is that it makes us feel comfortable, cozy and instantly at home. Variations of the Cottage Design Style can be seen in every region of the United States, although it’s most common along the gulf coast, east coast, and Cape Cod.

Today, this style resonates with homeowners throughout the country, because it offers a style that speaks to notions of tradition and home. Although there are many design elements that fall under the cottage style umbrella, there are a few specific ones that give a unique aesthetic to this design style.

Photo credit: Therma-Tru Doors

Windows 

Unlike traditional double hung windows, Cottage style windows have unequal proportions. The top sash is smaller than the bottom sash – typically a 40/60 sash size ratio. The larger lower sash offers a clear line of sight and a larger opening for ventilation, while the top sash provides a smaller, more secure, window opening. Both sashes can incorporate divided lites to mimic multiple panes of glass, although this is most often featured on the top sash to allow unobstructed viewing through the bottom sash. Divided lites are typically desired to add character, architectural interest, and curb appeal. In fact, homeowners appreciate the look of multiple panes of glass, the patterns they create, the linear flow and continuity of design, and how they distribute light inside the home. Because Cottage style windows are typically very tall and elegant, these windows are desired not only by homeowners, but also by architects, as they provide comfort, energy efficiency, security, and curb appeal.

Since the origin of the Cottage style, these windows have experienced some changes. As glass became more readily available, and larger sizes were possible, the size and proportion of these windows increased, but the characteristics of earlier divided lite patterns were retained. Where multiple panes of glass with true divided lites were once combined to create a single upper sash, one pane of glass could be visually divided up with performance divided lites or simulated divided lites to create the same appearance, with greater energy efficiency.

Photo credit: Kolbe Windows and Doors

Doors

Simple shaker doors and farmhouse style entries with simplified mullions reflect the Cottage Home style, while letting light in. As an architecture style that evokes comfort, familiar and warmth, this design style longs for indoor and outdoor connections. The blend between the two allows for more light, while being close to nature. However, maintaining decorative mullions helps to bring the scale of these openings more in relation to the home exterior.

As time went by, the Cottage Design Style evolved. Rooms, which used to be small and separated by doors, now have an open flow best-suited for today’s lifestyles. Kitchens were given a small footprint and were purely meant for utility, but now have become central to living spaces. Additionally, some cottages were originally intended for seasonal use with limited heating and cooling systems, but now provide the comforts of home for year-round living.

Photo credit: Therma-Tru Doors

In Conclusion

Although materials have transformed, sizes have increased, colors have changed, and design elements were added, the Cottage Style maintains a timeless design that captures the charm and character that make it an enduring home style.

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Members of the Window and Door Manufacturers Association (WDMA)

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