Custom Home Building Styles: What is a Cottage?

Aug 3, 2021 | cottages, Custom Home Building

Cottage style homes have been popular dwellings for centuries. Evoking feelings of coziness and comfort, the word “cottage” has become synonymous with old world charm. But what exactly makes a cottage a cottage, and how are these custom homes different from other home styles you might choose for your build?

The answer to all of these questions and more lies below: Read on to discover everything you need to know about building a custom cottage in South Carolina.

What is a Cottage?

The word “cottage” comes from the medieval word “cotter,” which was used to describe people who lived in small homes in exchange for working the surrounding farmland. To this day, the term cottage is often used to describe smaller homes in countryside settings. In the United States, most people equate cottages with vacation homes by the beach or a guest home on a large property. However, that doesn’t mean that cottages only exist in beachside or rural environments: These homes can be built just about anywhere.

One of the most commonly seen styles for cottages is the Cape Cod style home often seen in New England. Modeled after the English cottages from the Middle Ages, these cottages feature a small, compact design (usually around one-and-a-half stories) and charming curb appeal. Here in the South, however, our cottages tend to place a greater emphasis on outdoor living, often containing large wrap-around porches.

How are Cottages Different Than Other Homes?

While cottages can come in a variety of styles and designs, they are different from other homes in three key areas: size, price, and layout.


As aforementioned, cottages are smaller style homes. In fact, many people entering the tiny house movement choose cottages as a stepping stone due to their smaller size. The average cottage size is approximately 800 square feet; however, cottages can be larger depending on the design specifications you set forward for your custom home builder.


On average, an 800 sq. ft. cottage will cost around $250 per sq. ft. to build. That translates to roughly $200,000 for the total project. Building a small cottage rather than a traditional single-family home is a great way to save while still enjoying all the creature comforts you’ve grown to love.


Cottages are often described as “cozy,” which could be due to their compartmentalized floorplans. Unlike most modern homes with an open layout, cottages are sectioned off into individual rooms for a more organized yet comfortable living experience (depending on your personal preferences).

3 Things to Consider When Building a Custom Cottage

While the idea of building a cottage might sound appealing at first glance, there are some things that you’ll need to consider before consulting with a custom home builder to begin your project. The following are just some of the things you’ll need to think about before deciding if a custom cottage is the right build for your needs:

  • Interior Space: Part of the joy of owning a cottage is being closer to nature, but everyone needs a place to pass the time on rainy days. Be sure your cottage design incorporates plenty of interior living space for you to enjoy during inclement weather.
  • Location: Typically seen in rural settings, it’s not uncommon for your custom home builder to have to remove trees and adjust the environment so your cottage can be built without a hitch. Consider how your property’s location will impact the cost and time it takes to complete your project.
  • Storage Space: Cottages are smaller in size, so it’s important to keep this in mind when designing the space. To compensate for their smaller size, consider incorporating more storage areas, such as cabinetry or built-in shelving, so you have the room you need.

Choose Lee Builders as Your Custom Cottage Builder

If building a custom cottage in South Carolina sounds like the right decision for your family, Lee Builders has the team you need to get the job done. Our custom cottage builders offer a broad range of personalized solutions to create the home of your dreams. Request a custom home building quote from our team to get started on your cottage build today!

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