A Place to Escape

Have you ever been driving/riding in the mountains (Blue Ridge, Adirondacks) and craned your neck to look closer at a house as you meander along winding roads? I have, neck nearly rotating around, while we searched for the perfect apple orchard with donuts and cider on a crisp October afternoon. This cottage style home, Norfolk A 1885, by Frank Snodgrass of Living Concepts House Plans, requires a second look, a crane your neck and look closer look. The heated square footage is slightly less than 1900 square feet, making this cottage style home perfect as a mountain getaway, lake home or the one you choose when your children have (finally!) left home. Let’s get a closer view.

The exterior is a stone and shake façade, with the two-car garage on the right as you look towards the home. Arched windows complement the roof line as well as the dormers (windows that project from the roof). The area surrounding the front door and the curved steps use natural stone to complete the cottage look for the front. Stepping up and through the porch, we enter the home.

The foyer is the gateway to the home. Imagine it as stepping through a portal- instead of Narnia, though, you have entered your own kingdom. Walking ahead and turning right, you will find stairs on the left that take you down (more on that in a few words); to your right is the powder room, indispensable for the front door user or after parking your car and walking inside. A closet is nearby, too, where you can hang up your coat or toss your boots in (well, it is your castle). Perhaps your prince or princess would rather place their shoes on the copper tray that Martha Stewart recommends (she thinks of everything!). An area next to the closet is ideal for your washer and dryer, though not indicated on the plans.

Continue walking and there is a door to the left that takes you upstairs to the bonus room. The garage is through a door and a few steps down, where your car awaits your next trip.

Back inside, from the foyer and a turn to the left, you enter a large open area that is just right for family gatherings or entertaining friends. The kitchen, dining and family rooms are all open; watching white tail deer or the majestic moose (perhaps the latter is best viewed behind glass) through the bay window while using the kitchen sink may become your nearly favorite pastime. (A bay window is one which protrudes). The dishwasher is adjacent to the sink- the refrigerator and oven are at either ends of the countertops. The U-shaped kitchen allows you to add a rolling kitchen island/cart where you can store that cookware you always want to have within arm’s reach.

Placing your family dining table between the kitchen and family room will still leave you plenty of room for extra seating in front of the fireplace. A sectional sofa facing glowing embers, with a few wingback chairs you can position at whim, will make this space a cozy one. A decorative screen or tall vase with accent pieces will make the fireplace the focal point of the room during the warmer months. Windows flank either side of the fireplace, with cabinets underneath to store extra blankets for snuggling or the grandkids’ toys and games when they come to visit.

The door to the covered veranda leads you outside. This house is as stunning from the back view as it is from the front; the trusses over the veranda complement the arches above and below. This is the perfect place for a chaise lounge and a tall, cool drink.

Once refreshed, you can enter the master suite from the veranda. Here, a king size bed with the best mattress you can find is a necessity for deep, sound sleep. No Princess and the Pea here-this is your retreat from the day’s worries. There is even room for a reading chair in front of the window, another place to curl up and escape (I would recommend Louise Penny and Jo Nesbo for starters). The master bath features a substantial walk-in shower, his and her sinks and a generously sized walk-in closet.

The bonus room is over the garage. It has its own bathroom with shower, toilet and single sink, making the area a versatile one. You might make this space a recreational one with table tennis, a pool table with room to hang your personal cues on the wall, or you might choose to exercise here, away from the family downstairs.  A rowing machine and elliptical would fit in here with space still for a smart television and comfortable chair.

At ground level, the stairs take you to the hearth room with another fireplace. There is also one outside that is back to back with this one, a lovely area with surrounding stone and steps on either side that lead to your backyard. A ceramic grill and wrought iron chairs (with one for the cook) would complete the space. The second covered terrace is only feet away, where you can escape when the sudden downpour sizzles on the grill but not your spirit.

Back inside, there is a closet under the stairs (install a closet rod, a few shelves and you have made room for those extra coats and shoes). A door close by leads you to the laundry room with utility sink, and extra storage is right around the corner (this is the place to put seasonal decorations or the kayak for rafting). The second and third bedroom suites both have reach-in closets, share a bathroom that has storage for linens, and have a shower/tub and single sink, making this level desirable for guests or returning-from-college young adults.

Whether you wear Timberlands or glass slippers, this cottage style home will adapt to your needs- a place where you can relax or entertain, dream before the fireplace or grill steaks outside. What could be “Grimm” about that?

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