Cozy cottages sell big as people downsize

Ever dream of a cottage by the sea, atop a mountain or in the heart of downtown? Well, you may enjoy 10 projects in the latest edition of Builder Magazine that practice the "art of thinking small."

"There's no shortage of fine little structures out there with lessons to be gleaned on how to build a tight ship, be they primary residences, weekend retreats, granny casitas or outbuildings," Jenny Sullivan writes. She says many of the projects are selling well and incorporating eco-friendly features into their less-is-more footprint.Among her examples are the Greenstone Homes' "cottage series" near Spokane, Wash. The models, ranging from 1,300 to 2,000 square feet, include playful roofs, porches and crisp picket fences. They're built to Energy Star and Built Green standards.

Or, located in the mountains about 100 miles from Manhattan, are The Catskill Farms -- cozy houses ranging from 450 square feet to 1,300 square feet. Sullivan says they blend modern, open plans with "nostalgic touches such as clapboard siding, broad porches, wide-plank floors, Shaker-style cabinets, cast-iron radiators and other reclaimed materials with vintage appeal."

In Austin, there's the "mother-in-law" or MILHouse, a sleek 1,070-square-foot accessory unit 200 feet uphill from the main house. It has two bedrooms, two baths and an open living/eating area.

Quite striking in San Francisco is "Pretty Perch," a clever outbuilding anchored into the side of an urban cliff rising 30 feet from the street. It uses reclaimed and recycled artifacts, including old wood timbers, repurposed lumber, plank flooring, stained glass windows, brick, ironwork, hardware and lighting fixtures.

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