Top Cottage-style Homes 2015

Viewed from atop the oceanfront dune the house separates into three connected pavilions.

A Shaker-like stairway exemplifies the building’s fusion of minimalist traditionalism and classical modernism.

A view through from the living through the dining area to the window-lined sunroom.

The renovation was shaped by principles of simplicity, ease, durability, and environmental responsiveness.

Rather than adding layers of finish materials, the basic core materials of the house’s construction define its character.

The visual interest of the structure comes from revealing rather than concealing the building's construction.

The opportunity to research, design and test ideas was the impetus for this project. The integration of the practical and beautiful was central to the design. It was an undertaking rooted in the culture and spirit of my practice and our home. -David Baker, architect/homeowner

Industrial stairs link the combined living area with master suite above and the roof deck.

Baker commissioned artist Andrew Schultz to do a mural for a multifamily project, but it had to be friendly for the condo association. "So I hired him to do what he wanted and this is an end of the world thing but still really wonderful," Baker says. "Just letting go--don't try to control things too much and you get more creative solutions from people."

The house's picturesque entry elevation is little changed since the Victorian era.

The family room opens onto the rear deck and treetop views.

The kitchen's wood-paneled walls and ceiling lend a casual atmosphere.

SIDING Smooth-finish, fiber-cement HardiePlank lap siding from James Hardie delivers a durable cladding that achieves up to R-0.51 per inch and is engineered to specific climate conditions. The siding is available with proprietary factory finishes that resist prolonged freezing climate conditions, moisture contact, and UV exposure to deliver up to 30% more fade resistance and last up to twice as long as field-applied finishes, says the maker. 888.542.7343.   WEATHER BARRIER The EnviroDri system from Tremco Barrier Solutions delivers a permeable brush- or spray-applied asphalt-based membrane over the exterior OSB sheathing for a joint- and fastener-free weather barrier. The membrane mitigates air and liquid moisture transfer through the walls to maintain a tight thermal envelope but vents moisture vapor to guard against latent damage behind the exterior finishes. A perm rating of 12 is comparable to most housewraps. It fully cures in less than one hour. 800.876.5624.

WINDOWS CertainTeed 9555 vinyl double-hung windows from MI Windows and Doors feature 7/8-inch insulated glass with low-E to boost thermal resistance values; optional argon gas fill is also available. The units are Energy Star labeled with a minimum 0.60 U-value and 0.27 SHGC for southern climate zones. 888.417.1162.  FLOORING The Navarrre collection from U.S. Floors offers engineered oak planks from FSC-certified timber sources with a proprietary Natural-E oil finish. The Toulouse line features a rustic look with 71/2-inch-wide planks and can be glued, nailed, or floated at, below, or above grade. The series also complies with CARB Phase 1 formaldehyde emissions requirements. 800.404.2675. APPLIANCES KitchenAid appliances include an Energy Starlabeled dishwasher and bottom-mount refrigerator. The full-size dishwasher (model KUDC20FVSS) is rated to use 4.0 gallons per cycle (Energy Star baseline is 5.8) and 313 kWh per year; the 18.5-cubic-foot Architect II series refrigerator (model KBRS19) is verified to be 20% more energy efficient than the minimum federal standard. 800.422.1230.

PAINT Sherwin-Williams Harmony no-VOC acrylic latex interior paint delivers high-hide coverage with low odor and no off-gassing to promote healthier indoor air, says the manufacturer, while an antimicrobial additive inhibits mildew growth. The Greenguard-certified paint is available in flat, eggshell, and semi-gloss, and it covers up to 400 square feet per gallon. 800.474.3794. FIREPLACE The Sovereign series wood-burning fireplace from Majestic offers an optional forced-air fan for supplemental room heat and gas knockouts to enable a sealed combustion appliance, if desired. It is available in 36- and 42-inch opening widths in both radiant and heat-circulating models. The interior features all refractory brick to provide a realistic masonry look and a black steel mesh firescreen molded in for durability. 800.867.0454.

Three bedroom cottage exterior

In the bedrooms, the forested site is visible through windows from Marvin Windows and Doors. The simple furnishings include beds from Design Within Reach and dressers from Arbet Design.

Cobblestone Cottages by Barefoot Cottage Co. Plymouth, Mass.

Cobblestone Cottages by Barefoot Cottage Co. Plymouth, Mass.

Cobblestone Cottages by Barefoot Cottage Co. Plymouth, Mass.

Nonquitt Cottage South Dartmouth, Mass.

Nonquitt Cottage South Dartmouth, Mass.

Nonquitt Cottage South Dartmouth, Mass.

New Moon Cottage Harvey Cedars, N.J.

New Moon Cottage Harvey Cedars, N.J.

New Moon Cottage Harvey Cedars, N.J.

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