A unique feature that we wanted to include in This New Cottage was the distinctive charm of a cottage’s built-in bookshelves, horizontal paneling on the walls, and a certain style of interior doors. I had clipped several magazines in my idea stage that illustrated these ideas.
The clippings showed pictures of shelves built into the nooks and crannies of cottages of yesteryear. Their locations varied – into the walls underneath staircases, between two exposed studs of any room, and into the eaves of the second floor. Depending on the room, the shelves might store books, décor, toiletries or food and dishes.
After the interior of This New Cottage was studded, we walked through the house with the builder in hopes of finding a few areas where we could incorporate built-ins. Our living room would have an entire wall of cubby bookshelves. We learned that current building codes were going to interfere with our ideas for other rooms because the walls of staircases and the eaves of the second floor would be insulated. We did discover two small walls of a bump-out dormer in a second-floor bedroom where we could have two built-in shelves. Each would have three shelves – enough room for a few children’s books and some pretty décor items! Perfect! With this bedroom’s slanted ceilings, a bump-out dormer and a couple of sweet built-in shelf areas, this room would be loaded with cottage charm!
Similarly, my clippings showed cottages whose walls were horizontal paneling. I learned that the product used today is called V-groove paneling. We were able to incorporate this feature in many of the first and second floor rooms. As time has passed some of the areas where the grooves meet have started to crack. Perfectly imperfect!
From the very early stages of planning This New Cottage, I knew we wanted a certain type of interior door. I awkwardly described it as a “five horizonal paneled door.” Ideally, the doors would be wooden and creak! We were persuaded by the builder to use more modern composite doors simply because they wouldn’t swell and contract in humid and dry weather. We were delighted that he look would be the same – cottage charming!
This New Cottage, a coffee-table book 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!
~ Peggy Linsey