In Metrowest, small homes on tiny lots are usually cottages and their location is almost always along bottom-land near oceans, rivers, lakes and streams. While cottage is a hard style to describe, there are a few distinguishing characteristics – the most sweeping generality being that it is a very informal style.
In addition, they are: boxy, simple architecture without any ornamentation; low, almost flat gabled roofs with overhanging eaves; and tiny windows and doors installed to catch shade and breezes without regard to symmetry or style. They can be made up of a Hodge-podge of easily available materials and stories abound about cottages made from recycled shipping pallets, crates and scrap lumber.
Unlike the cottages found in the Caribbean and island locations, most original New England cottages began as homes for poor people or were built on large estates to cheaply house the help. In the 1950’s they were built en masse as country vacation homes for the growing middle class, and in the following decades those homes have been “winterized” and updated to become year-round communities.
Cottages are ideal starter homes and are usually the lowest priced segment of their market. Recent trends indicate that they are appealing to the baby boomers who are looking to scale down for lifestyle or economic reasons and want to be part of a waterside community. Because of the buyer pool attracted to these homes, fixing up a cottage without increasing the living area is generally not considered a good investment. However if you update one for your own quality of living, you will usually increase the “curb appeal” and saleability.