Thursday, July 3, 2014

Period Cottages

I'm a sucker for beautiful, well-preserved period cottages. If I didn't have a special place in my heart for farmhouses, a period cottage would definitely be my next choice for a dwelling to call home. Because so many period cottages were built in the 20th century, I like that they were designed with some modern conveniences in mind yet at the same time possessing unique architectural character (as opposed to very early homes with no indoor plumbing or electricity).

Most period cottages date to the twentieth century or the late nineteenth, after the heyday of Victorian architecture in America and well after so many wonderful Romantic era homes. Oh how I love the examples of pattern book houses by Alexander Jackson Davis--but I digress-- (this topic deserves a post all unto itself).

Gothic Revival
There is the Gothic Revival, which really is more of a romantic period Victorian style home, but I think it still fits in the category of period cottages somewhat. Many of these were built earlier (mid and late 19th century) than most period homes. The Gothic Revival Style was commonly selected for churches, even in the countryside.

Tudor Revival
The Tudor Revival cottage is one of my favorites. I love the use of various materials, the steep gables, and the half-timbering. I especially love the prominent chimneys often located on the facade of homes and the arched entries. Tudor Revival houses for me evoke a sense of a little English garden cottage in the countryside. 

Colonial Revival
The Colonial Revival is perhaps the most widespread and common period cottage. Some historians give the Colonial Revival a class all its own because of its popularity. The house below features symmetrical placement of bays, a prominent dormer window, and classical broken pediment entry surround. 

Rustic Revival
Many of these buildings are commonly found throughout the National Park System and were even built by the CCC during the 1930s. They used natural elements and materials found in the landscapes they occupied and displayed traditional forms of building technology such as log construction.

Spanish Revival and Mission Revival
This style was popular during the 1920s and 1930s, especially in the south and the southwest. Spanish or Mission Revival houses were usually constructed of stucco, featured terra cotta tile roofs, and often times had metal casement windows. Some Spanish Revival homes take the form of bungalows, while others are more eclectic cottages with courtyards and patios. 

Fort Bragg Officer's Housing in Normandy Heights, courtesy of Fort Bragg CRMP

There are certainly more period cottage styles out there but these are just a few of my favorites. Do you have a favorite one? 


  1. I have to say I'm quite partial to Gothic Revivals. I love steep gables, gothic windows and the decorative trims.

  2. You had me a the word "revival." :) I'm sure it's no surprise that I'm a Spanish Revival fan -- since I live in a 1925 Spanish bungalow. But it's a close call between that and Gothic Revival (Can never think about Gothic Revival without thinking of "American Gothic," by the way. I'll take that house, thank you very much.) Here in the Bay Area, we have quite a lot of Tudor Revival houses -- particularly in the North Bay. What's most common in your area?