Cottage charm is usually visible. Mismatched comfy furniture and built-in bookshelves define it. But it is much more. It is multi-sensory. For example, some cottages have a distinctive musty smell from being closed up more than half a year. The sound of creaky floor boards definitely cries “charm.”
Anyone who has been to the unique homes in a coastal community knows what cottage charm is. People recognize it when they see it – or rather – when they feel it. Charm is a home’s special features that elicit a certain feeling of nostalgia from its visitors.
Cape Cod homes and cottages have distinctive features different from cottages elsewhere. TV shows, magazines, and online photo-sharing sites illustrate this in their many references to a “Cape Cod style home.” Cape Cod charm often means a steep roofline, exterior peaks and dormers, a picket fence, porches, and slanted-ceiling, second floor rooms.
In our meetings with the architect, designer and builder for This New Cottage, my husband and I had some very specific characteristics that we knew must be incorporated into our Cape Cod cottage to make it charming. In addition, as we went through the process of design, many other ideas emerged as ways to build in more character.
The single most important feature we wanted to include was a sound. Our task was to convince all the professionals that, indeed, we wanted simple screen doors that slammed shut. No springs. No closers. A simple hook and eye lock. The sound of the snap as the door slams back into place makes us reminiscent of our childhood homes. As it turns out, many visitors have the same reaction to our slamming screen doors!
Stay tuned for more cottage charm stories!
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