Interior Design Tips for the Cottage 2 (comforts, floors)

Let’s start out this segment by quoting some who say, “practicality must take precedence over appearance“. This, we believe, is not necessarily true. Your cottage can be charming and quaint in appearance and very comfortable and cozy inside. After all, charming, quaint, and cozy are all very synonymous with the word cottage and when we imagine any cottage all those terms may come to mind. In fact, I’d like to think of all cottages as being very cozy; and by this I mean useful, organized, well planned, “everything has it’s place”, and very comfortable. Your cottage needs to really appeal to your heart in every way, so take enough time to plan everything out correctly.

Comfort nowadays, certainly means good floor plan layouts, with each cottage sporting some of the more “modern” appointments such as “Smart Home” electronics and feature-rich appliances (along with energy saving ones as well). It seems to me, we want the look of the old and quaint, but without the cold and barren primitiveness of them. We nearly demand these new comforts and conveniences, and rightfully so. But, let’s not forget there are some real lessons to be learned and techniques to be mastered which the old builders and architects utilized. I just love to learn “new” methods and purposes from our predecessors in the trades. I love to see images and read descriptions of how they “used to do it“.

There are some real important things which adorn your cottage, both inside and out, that add character and functionality, that have long since been removed (at least for the most part). Mr. Landers quotes a great example of the once very practical and now the nearly omitted – the Shutter. Most shutters nowadays are merely decorative, very few are operational. There is one company that I found that makes fantastic operational shutters if you are interested, www.timberlaneshutters.com, or www.timberlane.com. I haven’t used their product yet, but I plan to in the near future. Shutters, according to Mr. Landers, “look right and they feel right. To close the shutters at dusk on a chill December afternoon, and eat hot buttered toast in the firelight is an exquisite pleasure. In summer, the shutters can be half closed to keep the light off the watercolors, and on golden afternoons you may doze in sub-aqueous gloom after a heavy luncheon.” I realize this is and Exterior Design tip, but I use this as an example nonetheless.

Flooring is a great place to start within the cottage. Originally, many of the cottage floors were dirt or clay (interestingly enough, the term “dirt” by true definition means “misplaced soil”, so it is really dirt on your carpets and hands but not in your garden or yard). Sometimes the floors were strewn with straw or other plant materials. Sometimes fragrant plants were used so that their pleasant aromatic smells were released upon walking over them and crushing them, thereby releasing these pleasant smells. Another interesting, but certainly less tasteful (no pun intended) method in my opinion, was to mix the mud from the floor with “bullocks’ blood, which made it hard and gave to it the appearance of black marble when polished” (see C.F. Innocent, pg 159, Univ.Prs. 1916). Interesting to think about, but certainly not what I would recommend for many obvious reasons.

Lime was later mixed with mud to harden the earthen floors, which also lead to certain cementaceous-type floors and then eventually flagstones and/or bricks were used for floors in even the most modest and primitive of cottages. Flagstones, and other stone products, are still a good choice for certain places within the cottage today and are very authentic in nature. Timber (wooden floors) also took the place of earthen floors and this type of floor remains as one of the top choices for flooring in a cottage today. Woods, woods, woods…, that is all I can say. I love wood floors, both planked and parqueted. There are simply fewer things more beautiful, in my opinion, than the warmth and beauty of wood flooring materials in a cottage. Granted, rugs should also be used in conjunction with wood floors to “soften” it’s hardness and help quiet the echoing within the rooms where wood floors do occur. Carpeting is also appropriate and beautiful in it’s own way, and when laid in it’s appropriate places, can be outstanding.

There are many good wood flooring companies. We have found two that we really like; Carlisle Wide Plank Flooring (www.wideplankflooring.com) and Kellogg Hardwood Lumber (www.kellogghardwoods.com). We are looking for an exceptional parquet flooring company, so if you have one in mind that you have worked with, please let us know. We had a client recommend a wonderful parquet floor company, (www.czarfloors.com)
In my efforts to keep this article from becoming too lengthy, I will stop here and continue with this in the next segment of Interior Design Tips for the Cottage in the next week or so.

In the end of course, your should always keep in mind that your cottage should be one of serenity and peace. It should be filled with what you like and love. Your cottage should be a comfortable, pleasant haven from the sometimes noisy and busy world in which we live. It should be as adorable as it is practical.

One Comment

  1. We had a client recommend an outstanding parquet flooring company, take a look, they are really quite amazing! Thanks so much for the link!
    http://www.czarfloors.com