When you hear the word cottage, a log home may not be the first thing that comes to mind. Most Americans may picture a half-timbered building with a thatched roof, which is the quintessential English cottage. However, the word cottage has many different meanings throughout the world, and most of them work perfectly with log home construction.
In Britain, cottage can be applied to any small home. Typically, cottages have a full ground floor but the upper floor houses small bedrooms under the steeply pitched roof line. Dormers may be used to add space to the upstairs, but it is still fairly compact on the upper floor. English cottages are half-timbered buildings, due to the lack of timber on the island. While English cottages are typically primary residences, the term can also refer to a smaller building on a larger estate.
In the United States, our conception of the cottage is very similar to the English one. Usually, an American cottage is a small, rural dwelling used as a vacation or recreation property. Interestingly, despite their similar heritage the Canadians have three versions of a cottage and they can be quite different from each other and from the American usage. In Quebec, a cottage is used to refer to any two story home, in contrast to a ranch or bungalow. In Ontario and Atlantic Canada, any dwelling that Americans might otherwise be called a cabin is referred to as a cottage. Thus, any rural log cabin here might be called a cottage instead. In contrast, Western Canada’s usage of cottage is closer to the British and American usage.
Finland has quite the affinity for the cottage, with about one cottage for every ten people. Given the softwood forests of the area, log construction is typical here. Of course, a sauna is also a must have in a Finnish cottage. The Swedes are also very fond of their cottages, with the government estimating that half of all Swedes have access to a cottage. The typical Swedish cottage is clad in wood boards and painted red.
In some countries, the cottage can take on a very different meaning. In densely populated Hong Kong, for example, a cottage is typically a three story brick building with an upper-floor balcony. Perhaps the most interesting cottage is the Russian version. The term cottage only entered the Russian language around 1980, and was taken to mean a nice home in a style typical of the Western middle class.
We hope this look at log cottages has inspired you to build one of you own. Whether you’re looking to build a vacation home or a year-round cottage home, our designers look forward to helping create the cottage of your dreams.