Interior design is often extended to casual dwellings such as cottages. The definition of cottage may not necessarily be restricted to the common Canadian lakeside summer hideaway. It may also refer to a full time urban residence. It may be large or small. Whether your cottage is actually at a lake or it is an urban small home, décor is often a large part of the enjoyment. Comfort and easy living coupled with lots of personality convey the charm. Cottage style is a very loose term and therein lies the fun of it. In our more formal city homes, often one décor style is dominant and more edited. In cottage living, we are able to give greater rein to our eclectic leanings. Old can be mixed with new, as it can in city home décor, but there is often a more rustic look to the furnishings.
This is not to say that very rustic antique or antique-looking pieces cannot be used in the urban setting (some photos courtesy of Better Homes). There is simply a stronger tendency to the rustic whimsy of old garden ware, tin signs, fishing memorabilia, vintage cabinets and the like in cottage décor. As well, we can mix the ornate with the distressed at the cottage, and we do not commit to one particular style. To some extent, anything goes, but clutter is the enemy. Not to mention dirt. At the cottage the goal is relaxation, not the care and dusting of a vast collection of objects.
The exterior of a cottage-style home in the city often has asymmetrical architecture and a steeply pitched roof. Exteriors are often stone or brick. Picturesque dormer windows and a dominant roof-line are also common elements of the urban cottage. This style of home harks back to the English or French cottage that is the essence of charm. In the city, an English garden is often present.
This European touch does not employ miles of floral fabrics and large collections of nicknacks. Built-in bookcases, beaded-board paneling, porches with columns, and an abundance of French doors–either replaced or updated–create a cottage look that’s both old-fashioned and up-to-date.
At the lakeside cottage, florals are still present in art or pillows, but not so much in curtains. They are a vehicle for colour, texture, and charm. The purpose of curtains at the lakeside cottage is to provide privacy and control light.
In the urban cottage, however, there is no need to refrain from having a multitude of mixed and matched fabrics. We are even able to use silks, toiles, stripes and plains, linen and canvas, roses, plaids, and cow prints. Chairs may have needlepoint seats because we are not subject to the dirt that we are in a lakeside cottage.
In lakeside cottages, the building may be simple or very grand. It is most often constructed of wood. Log cottages are a Canadian icon, although they are not as common as they once were. Often, cottages are brightly coloured with painted moldings, window muntins and shutters.
Indoors, whether the cottage is lakeside or urban, painted or rusticated finishes reign. Shapes are simple and covers are washable. Relaxation is the goal. Rooms are often small so need to be extra comfortable. Claw foot tubs are a reference to the past and always convey an impression of relaxation and elegance. Wash stands can be very rustic dressers or vintage storage units.
The cottage kitchen generally does not have all the amenities of the city but has to produce meals for a crowd of people. A good cottage guest is one who pitches in and who brings one or two prepared meals. Seating in the cottage kitchen should be available so that the cook is not left working alone while everyone else relaxes. A stone fireplace is a lovely touch in the cottage kitchen or family room. Often these room adjoin so the fireplace can be double-sided. There are often large trees overhead which offer shade from the summer heat.
A screened deck, porch or gazebo allow outdoor dining free from pesky insects. An overhead chandelier is not out of place. Outdoor fabrics have come a long way, and often, it is not obvious that they are as durable as they are. The old harsh green stripes are no longer the only choice available. Specialty foams provide comfort and withstand moisture, although they should not be left out all winter. In all the rooms of the cottage a soft palette of faded colours and worn surfaces, and relaxed and plentiful seating. This a classic example of living well in a small home. Clutter should be kept to a minimum. The carefree cottage lifestyle is still relevant today. Even if you don’t own a home by the water or woods, you can decorate your home as if you do. Call Mulberry Interiors now at (905) 849-6423 to book a consultation. We look forward to working with you to increase your enjoyment of your home.
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