Monday, June 16, 2008

Summer Cottage: Not the Size but How We Live In Them That Matters

This weekend I was reading Paradise Lost by Wendy Dennis in House & Home's Notes From Home, one of the few shelter magazines that stills devotes precious pages to essays about the meaning of home. The author laments the advent of the McCottage and the loss of the simple ways previous generations have appreciated the beauty of Ontario's Muskoka region.
In response to her question "Do you like your cottage?" the renter next door replied, "It's fantastic. It has this unbelievably massive media room downstairs." That response captures it all...With all the beauty of the surrounding area, rain or shine, why a media room?

I think in the end it's not the square footage of the summer place but what you do and who you are when you're there that matters.
Architecture and design can, if we let it, help us truly vacation - leave behind the usual and find the extraordinary of summer time.

What architecture can create this way of being? Here are some pics of my version. (Click here to see a gallery of cottage pics from House & Home)

A gathering place for meals and card games or the 3,000 piece jigsaw puzzle that takes a whole summer to complete.
Everything is simple. (via House Beautiful, photography by Don Freeman)


via Pointclick home, photography by Eric Striffler
via PointClickHome, photography by Mark Lohman

The bedrooms are small and cozy and made even better by oddly angled walls.

above images via House Beautiful, photography by Don Freeman

image via Coastal Living, photography by Jean Allsopp

There a bikes with baskets in the front and a bell on the handlebar.


via Small Place Style


You take the time to wander down paths and up trails.



No matter the view from your cottage window, you spend time just gazing.



You notice little stuff - you open up to less formal ways of doing things.


You choose words like "tinker" instead of "fix." You sense you have time.



Sandals get left at the edge of the beach. People trust they'll be there when they return. (Chatham, Cape Cod)


You sit next to people you care about. You make conversation with people walking by.

Wellfleet, Cape Cod

Wellfleet, Cape Cod

You find that TV is a poor substitute for nights spent watching this and then gazing up at the stars. (Stonington, Deer Isle Maine)

And when your summer stay comes to an end, you are all the better for it.

12 comments:

megan said...

i love this post.
it reminds everyone to slow down and enjoy the summer.
yesterday i posted the cottage where i would like to spend my 'summer getaway'.
(you posted some pictures of it)

pve design said...

For the past several summers, we have spent some family time traveling to Block Island and stayed in homes that look like these, simple, have everything you need and the beach is footsteps away. Flying kites, riding bikes, selling lemonade and wondering what is for supper all add up to making summer family vacation matter. Memories are priceless.

littlebyRD said...

This is my favorite post! It is one I want to read again again. The pictures are full of ideas I want to steal and I loved your writing. Thank you!

capegirl said...

There is no better place than the cottage we spend time in at Cape Cod. Who cares if the sand is on the floor...is there anything better than "bobbing" in the bay or an outdoor shower. The sweetest sound is the thwack of the screen door.

simply seleta said...

Agghhh!!! Wonderful post. I'm saving it for tonight and reading again with a cup of hot tea. Joy!

Pigtown-Design said...

We had a cottage on a lake in northern vermont until i was in my early teens. very rustic. no tv, no town, nothing. so we had to make our own entertainment with the canadian families who lived along the shore with us. great days and sometimes northern lights at night. i can only hope that these charming cottages haven't been replaced by huge ones.

Fifi Flowers said...

I want a SUMMER COTTAGE!!!!!!!!!! On Cape Cod would be ok too!
I was amazed to see how countryside the Cape was... I thought of just beaches like in California... the East Coast is so green and beautiful!
Thanks for sharing these... makes me CRAVE a lobster too!

Pamela Terry and Edward said...

I had the best fish sandwich of my life in Stonington, Maine. These photos are quintessential summer. And, I love angled walls!

Kwana said...

Great post. I love the light in all the photos. I so want a summer cottage.

Easy and Elegant Life said...

Off to the OBX this weekend where I can be assured of an orderly little place waiting for our invasion. your post has me itching to pack the car....

Off to unearth the kite.

LondonCalling said...

I really enjoyed the gallery link..and this post.

Things That Inspire said...

This is a lovely post. In many ways, I feel the same in my quest for a new home...I like charm, and prefer cozy, well located, and well done to large and impersonal.

This makes me look forward to our annual trip to the family beach house in California, only a few weeks away!

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