Who DOESN’T like cottages?? Please stand up. Nobody? Thats what I thought. Most people out there tend to like cottages from an aesthetic and romantic perspective. The notion of a quaint and peaceful country life always part of this image in our head. Aside from that, cottages are a very important part of our heritage in this country, forming a vital cultural and aesthetic mouthpiece to our rural landscape, including parts of our urban landscape that have swallowed these areas up also.
From a homeowners point of view, many of them can be expensive to renovate in order to make liveable and comfortable inside again so do your research before buying a cottage if you are new to the house buying schtick but otherwise, if its a dream of yours, well… go for it!
I wont get into the cost and requirements here, I’m just concentrating on the aesthetics so Im putting these pics up to see what people think of them (both good and bad opinions!) and to show the variety of building styles that are out there, all forming an important part of the fabric of our towns and cities.
A note on building forms…
Many cottages and rural homes followed the building techniques of the time but many others did not follow these traditions and yet still turned into timeless classics forming vital heritage pieces of their time, so, planners….take note…while there are many good reasons not to allow certain designs and please dont discount a window shape, chimney position or material just because the two houses next door werent built like that. Q: Is building a third ugly home to fit in with the 2 ugly designs next door better than simply building a well designed culturally sympathetic third structure next to these 2 ugly designs?? Do we just keep building bad structures becauses the previous ones were bad too? When do we get to design a good building then?? Whats my definition of a bad design I hear you say??…well….in an Irish context….these I suppose>>>>>
A Bookies in Cork City, Not a design classic to put it mildly. Previously a garage, converted to veg shop wit few bits stuck on and now a bookmakers. Patchwork conversions, with no real direction.
Flat roof home. where did this design come from?? 60's style flat roof prefab...on a smaller scale...but with traditional window style and timber trims over the door. Peculiar look to say the least....
Roadside house. While not a cottage it probably started out as one and turned into this!! A convoluted development. An original cottage, an extension to front and sides then with flat roof just visible to right and also a large centre or back section with different slopes on each piece. Its like a mutated cell division in a body! And thats not to mention the paint scheme...
Sloped Roof eaves on same roadside house at back. Not a very traditional roof eaves detail. Looks like it should belong in a tropical climate with that large sloped overhang....or a spanish sunny climate with the overhang providing shade. Completely shades and dwarfs the window just visible. Also provided lovely gutter downpipe connections.
An extension to a cottage/bungalow. No connection whatsoever to the original part in red brick. Different windows, sizes, rooflines, materials...Contrasts can be good, when they serve a purpose, Like yin-yan. This however is just pretty bad.
Cottage or bungalow it still serves a purpose here. It reminds me of 'frog-eyes'. The dormer windows are just odd looking on that roof....
A 'McMansion' Horrible building...and they have popped up almost everywhere in the countryside! From its overly massive nature on a quiet road with many small properties nearby, to the odd window sizings to number of rooms and windows (many opes, hope there are no air leaks too), unimaginative shape (simple is good but should be in proportion, this is just hurried up) and poor orientation for light purposes, needless roof pitches over the 2 upper floor windows to the front where there is no bay, slap dash double bay windows that dont serve much purpose at the side squashed in next to each other (why not just one piece instead of 2 awkward ones?) A mock Manor house done poorly...
It would be nice to look at Heritage, Cultural appreciations, Progression & Sustainability all in the same breath. Acknowledging Older architecture and building on it, rather than simply attempting to create a different form altogether. The latter, is what Planners seek to discourage in the countryside but they often appear to come across as stifling freedom of expression. There is a fuzzy border between the two which can be clarified and should be when possible. Many prospective clients dont understand why they are not allowed to build a particular design, yet when given adequate explanations and alternative ideas are able to incorporate and move forward. It just takes more work from a designer’s & planner’s perspective and maybe even a brief client introduction to building history, heritage, and the impacts of architecture on a landscape, without preaching of course! When everyone is on the same page, with a better understanding of each others roles, this fosters a positive atmosphere and promotes good design and compliance, with the outcome usually being more culturaly acceptable forms and concepts in the offering.
What is traditional building to us was in many cases mainly a technologically necessary way of building at the time. Ok, It may not be quite as simple as that, but it is certainly the main factor. When it comes to building new structures it would be nice to be able to pay homage to traditional styles, hoping to improve on them and incorporate them in a logical manner into new buildings rather than this box ticking of criteria which goes on in some places, to constrain a visual effect purely for the sake of repetition of other patterns or details nearby without considering prefectly good reasons for the contrary first… However, in most cases I do take the points of planners and love to see beautiful buildings both new and old that are respectful of old traditions and above all maintain and enhance the character of an area in a positive manner…What better way than cottages!! For more about traditional building techniques and materials see the Architect Mark Stephens blog at http://markstephensarchitects.com/category/rural-housing-book/page/5/ , check out the various posts and chapters on his rural design handbooks….
So here are a few below, see what you all think. ‘Traditional’ and ‘ugly’ cottages alike, come in many sizes and shapes!
Ok this is a fantastic little cottage,....plenty of old character and charm.
A cute cottage
This new cottage was going well, nice windows and so on...then sticks the chimney inside roof edge and puts up a soffit on the gable side. Does anyone else think the gable edge would have looked super (and fitted in with traditional styles a bit better) if that gable was without a roof soffit along the edge and the chimney was flush with the gable wall?
this is a sweet cottage built alongside another on a tiny little road, nice colour scheme and simple.
Not sure about this combination! a roadside cottage and a new large house up behind. Totally contrasting styles. Why is the gable side of the new dormer house in pink? terrible. Many cottages around this hillside and many new ones are very different in styles....what do you think???
Black and white cottage with timber pieces in the gable wall end spotted along a road.
Series of cottages along a road in a town near Cork city, note the gable end with flush eaves and chimney....these are traditional cottage forms in Ireland, very simple. Could do with a 'lick' of paint but otherwise typical example.
A cottage in Cork city where a park was built around it. Interesting shape with the valley in the middle of the building. Not sure why it was done this way, maybe as a series of buildings where the other ones were simply demolished leaving this standing perhaps? Traditional gable and flush eaves present again
Stone faced cottages in a town.
This is just a nice example of flush gable ends and nice paintwork in a townhouse in the city.
A beautiful roadside house I snapped out a car window! Unfortunately I couldnt get a better one on the move and its not a cottage but I had to put it up...some really nice details, will come back to it in another post.
A nice townhouse / cottage in the city. Next door neighbour went and converted the attic and 'improved' it with those attic windows...tchhhh
A cottage in the woods. Barely caught this on a tight but busy roadside. Cute eh?!
Some cute cottages, and some not so cute homes shown. One or two of them were houses and not cottages I know but they all serve a purpose here to highlight forms and styles. I could get a lot more pictures but I wouldn’t get to write this post for ages then so they had to do! I will add of course when I get more….happy cottage spotting and please send some good pics my way if you would like them shown here.