Sonoma Victorian Cottage

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….”

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:

  1. Adaptability -These homes are versatile and affordable for small families, retirees, for use as a backyard “granny unit” or as a vacation home,
  2. 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,
  3. 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.
  4. 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,
  5. 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,
  6. 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,
  7. 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,
  8. 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,
  9. 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.
  10. 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.

Join Our eMail List and download the Tiny House Directory

Simply enter your name and email below to learn more about tiny houses and stay up to date with the movement.

Click Here to Leave a Comment Below

MJ - January 28, 2010 Reply

Where did the sink unit come from? I love that thing!

    Kent Griswold - January 28, 2010 Reply

    Hi MJ – let me contact Pam and see if I can find out. I”ll get back on that soon.

Switcher - January 28, 2010 Reply

You can be sinks like in the above photo, at almost any restaurant supply business.

Or check Craigslist & Ebay…

I had a restaurant give me an old sink free (like new), from his restaurant, after they replaced the sink with a much larger unit. It looked just like the sink here, with a single compartment & all stainless steel.

Switcher - January 28, 2010 Reply

Supposed to be “You can buy sinks” lol, 🙂

Pam Garant - January 28, 2010 Reply

Here is a link to the sink

Please note it has a right or left side drain rack. The sink is holding up well. There is enough space below the drain rack side for a small wine cooler or frige. I cannot recommend the commercial sprayer I bought with it, as it is too powerful for home use.

amanda - January 28, 2010 Reply

I love this one! Absolutely gorgeous.

Alex - January 29, 2010 Reply

Ha ha, I was going to comment on the sink as well. I used to work at a restaurant and always wished I had the set up at home. But the sprayer is too strong, huh?

isha - January 29, 2010 Reply

I’d advise against the sink, it’s spacious and easy to clean but man does your back hurt after you’ve done a load of dishes. It’s because the sink is so deep you have to stoop the entire time using it.

Mike M - January 31, 2010 Reply

I checked out the web site – no simple floor plans, just exterior front shots(pictures)Who would pays 59.95 for something based on one picture, no bill of material, no floor plan showing basic size of rooms?

Liesl - March 9, 2010 Reply

I agree with the above posting – I too went to the website hoping to check out some cool plans but they will only let you see front shots – no plans.

    Kent Griswold - March 9, 2010 Reply

    It is my understanding that he is still in the process of putting the plans together completely and that is why not everything is there. Let me check with them and find out when they will be ready.

ken t - April 10, 2012 Reply

it looks great on the outside…but…it has no character on the inside…. at all….you can do better….

janieliza - August 11, 2012 Reply

For the details, consider making a multipaned bump out dining window seat opposite a 6 foot by 7 foot high “kitchen” contained in a cabinet: a 4 cu ft refrigerator, a three burner, a venting convection microwave oven in the left two feet, a drawer for cutlery above a two foot space for pots and pans, and a two foot space for shelves, sink, Fisher Paykel single drawer dish washer and another drawer. Use a long skinny table with chairs at the ends. Then on the back wall of the kitchen you need a corner multiuse area with desk, storage up and below, for computer, crafts, etc. On the front wall, I could see a small china closet(2-3′)in the corner by a coffee and drinks station(2′) with a small ice maker and undercounter drinks refrigerator. Coffee and glassware in wall cabinet.
I’d put a 5′ walk in multilevel closet off that front wall with the bathroom to the rear. I’d have a tiny house stair going to the attic space above the kitchen where there would be a small paved and turreted balcony outside a door above the bump out. The space would be great for sleeping cozy style.
The great room needs a canopy bed with layered drapes and shutters on the side window allowing the jalousie to be opened. The window above the bed is too high for access and too small for much light. Consider an arched window with translucent and colored stained glass and a second ceiling fan.
Your furnishings are quite good for this sterling example of a Downing Gothic home, but an antique settee can be comfortable too. I have a gothic house plan book by your namesake and LOVE the different styles. Perhaps you have one too.

Leave a Reply: