In 2013, “Fixer Upper” first aired, and over the last seven years we’ve learned what a “modern farmhouse” looks like. Even city dwellers, small spacers, no yarders, and definitely folks without cows or chickens adopted Chip and Joanna’s iconic style. They defined the genre. They also inspired all of us to forge our own path when it comes to defining our own style and our home’s design.
Which brings us to “modern cottage.” I get questions every day about the hashtag #cljcottage (read more about that here which is also a fun post about naming your house!) and the response from a few followers–it’s not even CLOSE to a cottage. Stick with me for a minute.
While watching “The Holiday,” raise your hand if wanted Kate Winslet’s house over Cameron Diaz’s. You’re not alone. The whole film crew loved that cottage. the production designer said everyone one set preferred the cottage! And, guess what. The interior was built on a set in Los Angeles. Did you hear the good news? You don’t have to live in “just 40 minutes from exciting London” to get the cottage vibe.
While there are some established definitions for a traditional cottage, I hope you’ll indulge me as I paint a picture of what it means to me…
A cottage has… stony exteriors and stone inside, too. Moody colors, natural materials, cozy spaces, nooks, arched doorways, wallpaper, empire lampshades, woven baskets overflowing with quilts, (quilts!), books, candelabras, built-ins, fireplaces, the ritual of a daily cup of tea, ceiling beams, warm woods, a nod to the past, good stories, layered patterns, divided rooms and spaces (not an open floor plan), lots of land, stone pathways, off-the-beaten path, a steeply pitched roof, a dormer, shutters, (did I already say stone?), a front gate, spindle furniture, interesting ceilings…
A cottage gives and needs love. A cottage is a retreat, an escape from the world.
When we bought this home last year, I adopted a “modern cottage” style for our home because I was so drawn to the traditional elements and warmth of a cottage, mixed with modern pieces. (Not to mention the setting of our home felt very cottage-esque.) However! Again, you don’t have to live in the country or on land or have a stone pathway to start implementing a cottage vibe. We’re NOT saying we live in a cottage. We’re saying we’re emulating the style of a modern cottage in our home. We painted our walls white walls and added contrast trim in some areas a dark and moody in others. To me, a modern cottage is one that pairs a super traditional sofa with a modern lamp (or visa versa). An antique rug warms up a cool credenza. Vertical paneling shows off with pendants that have oversized bulbs. Clean lines marry warm woods with an antique painting hung on the wall mixed with a modern abstract. It’s all the charm of a cottage paired with some of the simplicity of modern design.
We’re going for a modern cottage vibe in this home (hence #cljcottage) but it’s going to take some time to get there. I’ve loved following accounts like Heidi Caillier, Jeffrey Dungan, and House & Garden UK Magazine’s account, whom all have the cottage vibe down! But I’m also excited to bring my own style and personality to it. I know it will evolve as my style evolves, and I want to continue to share that story with you.
Most of all, I hope this inspires you to develop your own style story (and house genre?) — no matter where you live. You get to decide that and make that come to life.