Pamala Garant from Sonoma, California contacted me the other day about some exciting small houses her husband is designing. Pictured in this article is their guest house and my wife and I have been invited to come stay in it sometime, so look for an update with a first hand experience of staying in this victorian cottage.
Pamala says: “My husband is a structural engineer and specializes in designing historic reproduction architecture. As we age, we are becoming more aware and responsible about our previously large carbon foot prints. He is currently designing some small houses to post on his web site…. http://www.victorian-cottage-plans.com.”
We plan to “retire” into a smaller cottage, when we replace our current Carpenter Gothic cottage, which was also designed and built by my husband, Robert Garant. It is 2000 sq. ft and we find it too large. We like the idea of small houses but are also snobs about good architecture.
Why Small Cottage Plans?
We have designed and built a number of cottages along the way, some less than 400 square feet others over 3000. All classically detailed, some perhaps too large to be called a cottage. But the tiny ones are always the most appreciated and adored. Perhaps it’s the public’s love of dollhouses or maybe the cozy environment brings out the evolutionary roots from our days in the cave but whatever it is, it seems the more compact the more endearing. We’ve chosen the small cottage plan concept for many reasons, not the least of which are endearment and affordability, but I also believe it is the best way for me to perpetuate the design and building techniques that go into making a genuine, romantic, classical Victorian. Here are a few reasons you might want to buy a cottage plan from us and build one of your own:
- Adaptability -These homes are versatile and affordable for small families, retirees, for use as a backyard “granny unit” or as a vacation home,
- Acceptability – Classical cottages are small but you won’t have to apologize for living in them. They present an elegant and tasteful presence and are appreciated in any socio-economic environment,
- Expandability – Most of our cottage plans are created to be easily expandable upward into a vaulted attic space for very little additional cost. With a little effort on the homeowner’s part, one can usually add a couple small bedrooms, a bath, a home office, workshop or large storage area.
- Simplicity – Our cottage plans are crafted to be built quickly by a very small crew or an owner-builder. These cottage plans offer the non-professional an in-depth description of how to build the basic structure, as well as patterns, illustrations, tool lists and instruction sources for creating historic detail,
- No Large Tools Required – Our cottage plans intentionally detail the structure with small and easily handled elements, therefore no heavy equipment is needed to construct them,
- Ease of Pricing – Our cottage plans will allow you to make an accurate cost analysis before you start something you can’t finish. You don’t have to be a construction estimator to determine the costs. All our cottage plans come with a specific list of materials that can be presented to your local lumber stores for competitive pricing on virtually every construction component. And our clear and concise illustrations of construction details leave little room for wasteful errors by professionals or owner-builders,
- The Price of Classical Detailing – Because of the small size of the buildings, the classical details that make all the difference, are surprisingly very few in number and can be built inexpensively by anyone with reasonable skills, perhaps in his or her basement over the winter before construction begins,
- Usability on Difficult Lots – Our cottage plans have very small footprints with minimum foundation costs, allowing them to fit affordably on nearly any lot. They are particularly advantageous on properties needing raised elevations or on heavily sloping lots,
- Strength – Our cottage plans are engineered to withstand anything nature can throw at them. Our parent company, Garant Engineering Inc. has been providing structural design services to architects, municipalities and industry since 1979. Our 30 years of structural design experience with earthquakes, hurricanes and floods means you can expect your investment to stand the test of time.
- Joy of Ownership – Building a small classic cottage offers the chance for you to create a family treasure. A treasure that will look better with age as vines grow up the walls and the paint fades a bit. A home that is made for grandchildren and families but is affordable and maintainable into your retirement years. A home that will appreciate with age and which will perhaps pass on a little of the wonder of the classical cottage.
If you’re interested in building your own Gothic Cottage, bare with us as we transform our historic designs of the past into one you might want to build and live in. We have constructed the first cottage in our new series in the “Carpenter Gothic” style of Andrew Jackson Downing it was built in Sonoma as part of our new office/residence complex and we’re happy to report that it’s better than we imaged. And it was incredibly easy and inexpensive to build. Check out this and all our new designs in our “Victorian Cottage plans” section or stop by and see us and we’ll give you a tour.