Webster defines nostalgia as a wistful desire to return in thought or in fact to a former time in one’s life, to one’s home or homeland, or to one’s family and friends; a sentimental yearning for the happiness of a former place or time.
These desires or yearning can be triggered by certain sights, sounds, smells, feelings, and even objects.
While feelings of nostalgia were once believed to be an indicator of an unhealthy mental state, in modern times nostalgia has become viewed as a healthy reaction to pleasant feelings and memories of times gone by.
For my husband and me, whenever we saw or visited charming Cape Cod cottages with their familiar sensory triggers, we experienced feelings of nostalgia. We asked ourselves, “what if we could recreate these memories and feelings by building and decorating This New Cottage in a nostalgic, retro style using a combination of modern and vintage products?” With the assistance of many knowledgeable contractors, we did exactly that!
The exterior design of This New Cottage – which is located within a 1950s cottage colony – is reminiscent of old Cape Cod cottage style with its peaks and dormers, its colors of light yellow clapboards, mariner blue shutters and black window frames, and its open front porch and screened back porch.
The interior of This New Cottage also features the distinctive style of 1950s homes. This unique style has become known simply as retro. Kitchen cabinets, appliances and furniture – their colors and styling – are immediately recognizable nearly 70 years later. Open shelving and built-ins were common, and décor was multi-purpose and cheerful. Other rooms of ‘50s homes were equally characteristic of the times. Cozy living room and porch couches, comfy beds covered in colorful quilts, mismatched lamps, paneled walls and brightly painted furniture all depict “retro cottage.”
With these memories driving our vision and the binders of magazine-clipped ideas and inspiration, and with the help of open-minded, out-of-the-box-thinking contractors, we were able to create This New Cottage. It evokes nostalgic feelings of a time gone by. We know this is true every time a family member, friend or worker comes to the finished house and says “this house makes me happy!”
This New Cottage, written by its homeowner and its builder, is a tale of color, nostalgia and the challenges of rebuilding a Cape Cod cottage. Watch for it in bookstores soon!