Brookside Cottage

Brookside Cottage

by Christopher Stoney

When I consider all of the hurdles and hassles associated with building a tiny house in this modern time of high land prices and restrictive zoning, I find myself extremely fortunate to have had the opportunity to buy a small cottage. My cottage has remained essentially unchanged since the 1940s when smaller houses were the norm.

I have always had an idea of just what kind of house I wanted to live in. For years I had been keeping an eye on the market for the perfect house. Finally, in 2006, I saw an ad in a real estate flyer: ‘Brookside cottage with claw foot tub.’ This I had to check out, even though I was in a perfectly comfortable living situation at the time. When I visited the house, I felt a sense of recognition. It was as if I were returning to a home I had built for myself in a previous lifetime. In a flurry of negotiations I got the price down to what I could afford, and with the help and advice of a Tarot reader, I overcame some legal hurdles and I became a homeowner.

Brookside Cottage

Although I think it would be closer to the truth to say that this house owns me. Even as I have chosen this house to be my home, I feel that in some sense I have been chosen by this house, and by the woodland spirits that live here, to be its caretaker.

Since then, I have been redecorating/remodeling the house one room at a time. The claw foot tub is still there, although the rest of the bathroom has been completely redone.

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robin yates - April 13, 2012 Reply

very nice setting,peace on earth, Where is this piece of heaven ?

    Christopher Stoney - April 15, 2012 Reply

    In the college town of Amherst Massachusetts, on Amethyst Brook

kimk - April 13, 2012 Reply

I can see why you fell in love with it. Enjoy it immensely. I dream of owning a little cottage like this!

karen - April 13, 2012 Reply

oh my god that’s beautiful! what a wonderful caretaker this place has found in you!

Bob - April 13, 2012 Reply

Wonderful place. I would love to see a sketch of the floor plan.

    Christopher Stoney - April 15, 2012 Reply

    The overall dimensions are 16′ x 24′. You can probably figure out the plan from the photographs with a few hints: There is a laundry room (not photographed) on the northeast corner with its own exit door (to bring clothes out to the clothesline). It is on the opposite side of the stairwell from the living room. The bathroom is between the kitchen and the laundry room and has a tall, narrow window by the bathtub looking down at the brook.

Sharon Adams - April 13, 2012 Reply

I love your little piece of heaven, and my blessings to you for insight to recognize your destiny and to pursue it!, My best to you Sincerely…

Camilla - April 13, 2012 Reply

I love this. What is the square footage. Thank you.

Anne B - April 13, 2012 Reply

I would really like to see more of the tiny staircase! How wide is it and what does it look like from the front? It appears to be an elegant way to address access to a loft while still keeping the footprint small.

    laura - April 13, 2012 Reply

    really cool staircases (not all are small ps – but I think they are still cool ideas) 🙂 They get the brain juices flowing anyways. 🙂 http://imgur.com/a/5Oct4/all

    Christopher Stoney - April 15, 2012 Reply

    A lot of people are asking about the stairs. The stairwell is 20 inches wide so there really isn’t room for a railing, but there are enough ledges and other surfaces I can hold on to on the way down that I don’t really need one. The steps are triangular, pointed in opposite directions. It is a variation on the Alternating Tread Stair concept, with separate treads for right and left feet. Before I constructed it, I spent some time keeping track of which foot I naturally started on going up or down, and designed the stair accordingly.

      jipsi - April 15, 2012 Reply

      I LOVE the stairs… the ‘alternating tread concept’ makes sense, in keeping the accessway small, but not as steep as a normal stairway would have had to be. What intigues me most about YOUR cottage’s staircase is the ‘triangular’ pitch of the steps: I like this MUCH BETTER than the previous ones I’ve seen, which resemble large square ‘paddles’. These (yours) look to be much more ‘user friendly’, and as another member stated it, this really got my creative juices simmering again! 😉
      Your cottage is PERFECT and you should be proud! THANK YOU, for the generous gallery of interior and exterior pics.
      I, too, would love to see a sketch of the floorplan! I know you mentioned it’s pretty basic, but, for me, being able to study a ‘flat’ schematic of the structure, well – it’s an ADDICTION: if I ‘see’ the house and like it, I have a FEVER for the FLOORPLAN! lol…

      You’ve done a wonderful job of ‘living’ in it and giving it that wonderful, highly-personal, ‘lived in’ feel!
      Some interior pics I’ve seen look too staged, too picture-perfect – but I guess sellers of tiny homes need THEIR ‘model homes’ to show off, too…

      Dave Bell - April 26, 2012 Reply

      Absolutely lovely Tiny House, Chris!
      What is the depth of the (wide end) of the treads?
      Do they taper to a point at the hidden end?
      Seems like two could be cut from a 20″ length of dimensional lumber, if they do.

      I lived for a couple years in a much plainer, but still cozy, little house many years ago. It was 6 square feet smaller than this cottage, with a sheetrocked-only attic loft. Quite serviceable!

Becky A - April 13, 2012 Reply

This looks so inviting. Love the decor, it surely must make you feel good being able to have the things you love and having a small space to display it. Love it.

Mark A - April 13, 2012 Reply

Wow, those stairs are something else!

Congrats on your happy home.

leslie - April 13, 2012 Reply

So wonderful!

MelD - April 13, 2012 Reply

Such a pretty cottage and a beautiful location!
I wondered if you are of eastern/northern European heritage from the colourful, busy style your cottage boasts?! Very cosy.
I can empathise with how you feel about the house, as we, too, found something very special that spoke to us; we feel we are the caretakers for this period of the house’s life (it was built 1770) and appreciate the lovely vibe.

    Christopher Stoney - April 15, 2012 Reply

    While all of my ancestry that I am aware of is from the North Sea area (British Isles and Scandinavia), I have always been attracted to Eastern European music and culture. Indeed, I used to play in an Eastern European folk dance band. You probably noticed the Ukranian urn in the corner hutch, or the hanging Kazakhstani puppets.

alice h - April 13, 2012 Reply

Sigh (of deep envy). What a wonderful cottage.

Jack - April 13, 2012 Reply

Hi, Thanks for the tour of your home. The staircase is fascinating! Did you build it yourself? What’s it like to use or for your guests to use?

K - April 13, 2012 Reply

I love it! Thanks for letting us see a glimpse of your charming home. For safety, I would add a rail to that staircase though!

Scott - April 14, 2012 Reply

Now that is the way to go. Getting around square footage codes by repurposing an older building, camp, etc. Beautiful little house there! Thanks for the great post. Love tinyhouseblog!

Mary Moore - April 14, 2012 Reply

Hi Chris– David called to tell me your house had been published here– how beautiful! We love the stairs as well!

    Christopher Stoney - April 15, 2012 Reply

    I couldn’t have done it without inspiration and housewares from the Claw Foot Tub in Amherst MA.

Charlie - April 14, 2012 Reply

Any idea what the square footage is?

Marj - April 14, 2012 Reply

…with the help and advice of a tarot reader??
I would not go in that direction. I would go to the source of our destiny, God. And my guardian angels and the saints in heaven are wonderful aids that help and guide us.

    Christopher Stoney - April 15, 2012 Reply

    I am a believer in keeping our lives in tune with the Will of Our Heavenly Creator and His angels and saints. However I don’t believe there is anything supernatural or occult about Tarot, it is merely a tool (albeit a powerful one) for discerning what is going on at the subconscious level.
    Like all forms of psychic divination, Tarot exploits the human mind’s amazing ability to extract meaning from random information. If the input is truly random, such as the order of the cards in a shuffled deck, the meaning extracted tells us nothing about the source of the information but it tells us a great deal about the inner workings of the mind, and is therefore a window into the subconscious.
    Like all tools, from the can opener to the internet, Tarot has no intrinsic good or evil apart from how it’s used.

      jipsi - April 15, 2012 Reply

      VERY well-put, Christopher! And thank you, because I am printing and clipping your comment to remind myself what to say, (and much more succinctly than I would otherwise! LOL) the next time an overly-religious friend/acquaintance accuses me of ‘dabbling in the occult’ because of my fascination with crystal balls, ouija boards and tarot cards/fortune-telling decks (most of it – my interest – is purely in the aesthetics, though)!
      I believe, that God is behind every aspect of our SCIENCES, as much as that of the supernatural. He has given mankind the intelligence to use tools for investigation of all that is around us, as well as reminding us how little we know of HIM or the world we live in. We are fully expected to progress, to learn, to ask questions, but I believe He also expects us to ‘help ourselves’ when it comes to research, discovery, amending our mistakes and solving our problems…

Benjamin - April 14, 2012 Reply

The scenery on the kitchen cabinets is delightful!

Sandra - April 15, 2012 Reply

Where do I start to look for something similar… Did u have it built and Reno
Or have it built this small? Like warmer climate… Between key west and NYC
Thanks for your response

Lorraine M - April 15, 2012 Reply

I could so live there 😀

Anders - April 15, 2012 Reply

Wonderful! And I love those stairs!

Blake - April 15, 2012 Reply

Wow! I wanted to buy this house for my daughter but I couldn’t get the rest of the family on board. It’s in a wonderful, wooded setting, 100 yards from the road where a free public bus runs into town. You’ve really added to the cottage atmosphere.

If anyone is interested in more stairs go to http://www.StairPorn.org

Sarah @ housecrazy - April 18, 2012 Reply

What an eye-catching little wonder! I love this cottage! And I know what you mean when you say it felt like coming home.

alice h - April 18, 2012 Reply

One problem with those alternating stairs, if you have a bad knee and need to go up stairs one at a time they don’t work too well.

    Christopher Stoney - April 23, 2012 Reply

    I have had problems with arthritis in the past, and your comment prompted me to try an experiment:

    I walked up and down the stairway with one knee stiff, pretending it was painful to move. What I found is that it is no problem at all to climb up or down one step at a time on a zig-zag path, as the triangular steps actually provide enough room for both feet if necessary. I have also found that on this stairway if I change my mind halfway up I can make a U-turn and go back down – something not possible on an ordinary alternating-tread stairway where the treads are divided in half in the middle.

      alice h - April 23, 2012 Reply

      That’s fantastic about the stairs – if both feet fit on a tread there’d be no problem at all. Very encouraging! Thanks for the experiment and info.

Lori - May 5, 2012 Reply

So very beautiful. I very much want to manifest something like this for myself, on a piece of land that is perfect for my two horses, two dogs and three cats. Thank you for posting photos of your home. It inspired me. — Lori

willow - June 17, 2012 Reply

Just looking at the pics of your beautiful house gives me a sense of being home. It has such a warm and inviting feeling to it. It’s like your house has it’s arms wide open greeting you as you step inside. I absolutely love it!

Robert - February 23, 2013 Reply

So cool, so peaceful looking, so inviting. What was the path you took to arrive at being able to have discovered this opportunity and ultimately moved in?

Thank you so much for sharing this information and pictures of your house. It is the sort of arrangement I am seeking.

Gabrielle - March 14, 2013 Reply

omg – it’s beautiful and exactly my style of tiny house, including the gorgeous woods surrounding it. Bbeautiful inside too – love all the pics – so organic! (love the stained glass)
It’s great that you got the price down so you could afford it, (“and with the help and advice of a Tarot reader, I overcame some legal hurdles”)…awesome – hopefully it will work out for me one day.
I believe it was meant to be your home.
thanks for sharing!

Kathryn - March 16, 2013 Reply

Gorgeous, but those stairs would take a lot of getting use to and careful not to trip and fall. But I love the cottage.

ayla - February 9, 2015 Reply

I actually lived there around 1994. It was a rental at the time. A special place indeed. Love what has been done to it since then!

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