Gone are the days of the McMansion, where bigger always meant better and square footage was automatically equated with luxury. Nowadays, it’s about smart growth rather than sprawl: making the most of what you’ve got, while still living well. Homes that employ innovative use of space, energy-efficient appliances and green building materials, located in communities with walking trails and a built-in sense of conviviality, are what’s hot right now… and nothing embodies this spirit better than the classic, cozy cottage.
Located in the quaint, historic coastal town of New Bern, NC, Carolina Colours‘ most established neighbor is the Croatan National Forest… 160,000 acres of pines, hardwoods, meandering creeks and an incredible array of wildlife. This impressive master-planned community is built around its spectacular setting-blackwater Brice Creek winds its way from one neighborhood to the next, bordered by majestic live oaks hung with Spanish moss. The community has a wide range of neighborhoods and homes, among them Carolina Commons, a traditional neighborhood development with sidewalks, parks, gazebos and even a pier. Here you’ll find Parkside cottages, designed with Southern flair and contemporary convenience. Residents enjoy top-notch amenities-lake, social pavilion, bike paths, golf course and fitness center in the works-plus a neighborly spirit that will have you feeling right at home in no time.
The folks who live here are not alone in their decision to embrace cottage living. “When we do our custom work, it depends on the client, but our magic range is 1,800-2,700 square feet. With the newer communities, there’s definitely a lot of people who want cottage plans, cottage homes,” says Paul Harms of Moser Design Group, which supplied Carolina Colours with the plan for their cottages.
For Harms, the preference is personal as well as professional. “I just designed my house and built it in Habersham. It’s 1,200 square feet,” he says. His decision to go small had a number of factors: “I wanted to design it efficiently, and not surround myself with empty rooms. Then there’s the comfort level, in terms of the size of your living space. And then there’s the green aspect, less materials, less maintenance.”
Harms says that the choice to build cottage-style homes is a growing trend. “The homes we focus on, the communities lend themselves to that. There are narrower lots, the homes are closer to the street, there are front porches… there are opportunities in these communities to do smaller homes.”
River Dunes, located in Oriental, NC, outside New Bern, incorporates architecture that is true to its roots: Charleston-style homes, tidewater bungalows and, of course, Low Country cottages. The cottage homes here are so charming, complete with fireplaces, luxury bathrooms, state-of-the-art entertainment stations and more, that the developers offer them as rental properties for family gatherings or corporate retreats. In the Chapel Square neighborhood, cottages and bungalows range from a comfortable 1,900 square feet to a palatial 4,000. Residents here can wake up each morning to serene, inspiring views of the harbor, Cedar Creek and Mill Creek.
The architecture at River Dunes complements the community’s beautiful maritime environment. Unwind at the Harbor Club, where the vintage tobacco warehouse beams and wide-plank reclaimed flooring evoke the simplicity of earlier days… then set sail from the 400-slip world-class marina, with easy access to the Intracoastal Waterway and beyond. Here, culture blends seamlessly with nature, as evidenced by the Performing Arts Pavilion that will soon have its home on the harbor. The planned Canoe Club and Adventure Center is the perfect launching spot for both novice and experienced paddlers. At the coastal village of River Dunes, luxury, attention to detail and the endless possibilities of exquisite maritime surroundings combine to create an unforgettable place to call home.
The Landings at Skidaway Island is a community with a mission: “On our island, nature flourishes, adventure blooms and monotony wilts.” What could be better than that? Twelve miles south of Savannah, The Landings is nestled between the Wilmington, Skidaway and Vernon Rivers. Not surprisingly, water is the byword at this exclusive gated development, which has been recognized by the Urban Land Institute as “One of the nation’s best residential communities.”
As incredible as the setting are the people: Nearly 100 community groups gather on a regular basis, from woodcrafters to croquet enthusiasts to writers. The development boasts six championship golf courses, every one of which has earned designation as a Certified Audubon Cooperative Sanctuary. From tennis to boating to fishing to dining, The Landings has an impressive selection of amenities.
At Moon River Landing, the development’s newest community, houses are framed by lagoons, the Intracoastal Waterway, and lush woods. This community is home to The Cottages at Dream Maker Park, a neighborhood lifted from the pages of a fairytale. Designed to evoke the spirit of an intimate coastal retreat, this exquisite neighborhood will feature just 18 semi-maintenance-free cottage homes, with six floor plans from which to choose. Enjoy porches, fenced yards and private courtyards where you can gather with friends and savor your personal piece of paradise.