A cottage can be a true work of art, a personal paradise, and an incredibly fun place to live. That said, space is always an issue in smaller buildings. There can be clutter, and more to the point, cramped living space. “Cozy” is one thing, “obstacle course” is another.
Creating external space can solve these problems and quite literally add an extra dimension to cottage life. Verandas, pergolas and other additions can achieve wonders, almost effortlessly, and quite cheaply, far cheaper than renovations.
The cottage lifestyle is brilliant for a truly well developed excursion into graceful, rather than merely gracious, living. Modern cottages have the huge advantage of allowing eclectic, mature tastes to express themselves. There’s no “lifestyle dictatorship” of fashions in cottage living.
The cottage itself is only part of the lifestyle, and the external space, particularly a garden area, is the other key component. That’s where creating external space becomes an art form, and where true creativity can have a ball.
The veranda was originally a traditional way of creating working space around a house. It was like covered ship’s deck, useful for putting stores, and often a real work space, before the garage took over that role. It evolved into the porch, a far more suburban, and somewhat more style-conscious, form in the late 19th century before becoming an actual fixture in the 20th century.
Traditional European and American cottage design tends to the freestanding building without a veranda or a minimal sized one, sometimes with outbuildings for functional reasons. In Australia, traditional bush cottages might have a single covered veranda, as distinct from the old colonial style all-round veranda for houses.
The Australian approach has one particular advantage - It creates a direct intermediary design function linking the cottage to the garden space. As all gardeners and cottage lovers well know, the gardening issue tends to create a “Um… Where do we do all this stuff…?” situation, with related clutter and mess. It’s just plain messy to have to do everything in the kitchen, and there are some very necessary gardening things you simply can’t do outdoors in bad weather.
The cottage veranda, therefore, covers that issue very nicely. What’s surprising is how much space a veranda can create. It can act like a porch, provide good working areas, and some people even partially enclose larger verandas as safe play areas for young kids, or guest rooms.
The veranda really comes into its own, though, as very versatile extra space for practically any imaginable use, and that space is priceless. A veranda can literally double available cubic space in a cottage. Think of it as doubling or tripling your space.
With verandas can come another invaluable aesthetic and practical asset - Pergolas. The pergola can operate as a covered walkway, a perfect frame for climbing plants, and as a great design feature for other outside amenities like barbecue areas, Jacuzzis, pools, etc. Pergolas can carry elegant vines, Bougainvilleas, climbing roses, and practically anything else which climbs.
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