9 Books for Building Cozy, Affordable Cottages

Plansbook and House Plan Sources

small white house with black shutters, large central portico with four columns and a pediment

Bettmann/Getty Images (cropped)

From a hideaway retreat in the mountains to a seaside villa, nothing says peace, tranquility, and relaxation better than a cottage. The floor plans in these books are grander than the plans for tiny houses, and the designs may be more interesting than planbooks for simple one-story homes. These great resources will help you plan and build your own dream cottage.

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Katrina Cottages

Plan #514-6 Katrina Cottage designed by Marianne Cusato

Illustration Courtesy of houseplans.com

After Hurricane Katrina destroyed homes and communities along America's Gulf Coast in 2005, architects and designers developed cheerful, inexpensive, energy-efficient emergency housing often called "Katrina Cottages." You can purchase floor plans for a variety of these affordable cottages from online vendors such as houseplans.com. Architect Marianne Cusato provides some of her designs for houseplans.com, like the one shown here. The "Cusato Cottage" and other designs are also available on her own website.

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Mountain Homes, Cottages and Villas

Enchanting Home Plans for Mountain, Sea or Sun. This collection has twenty-one different floor plans for three distinct venues — a coastal cottage with open shutters and wraparound porches, a rustic mountain cabin hideaway, and a Mediterranean-style villa. The book is created by the Florida-based Sater Design Collection. Sater Design Collection Publisher, 2001, 144 pages.

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Dream Cottages

Subtitled 25 Plans for Retreats, Cabins, and Beach Houses, author-architect-teacher Catherine Tredway presents 25 plans in 176 pages for a variety of cottages, each with details unique to a particular region of North America. Includes elevation views, floor plans, and close-up drawings and photographs of architectural details, plus a historical look at the background of each design. This 2001 book by Storey Publishing has received mixed reviews, yet it remains a favorite of many who dream of building their own cottage haven.

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Cabins & Cottages and Other Small Spaces

If you don't subscribe to Fine Homebuilding magazine, you might want to try this paperback book for some ideas on living small. The "Small Spaces" in the title is definitely as relative a phrase as the "cottages" of Newport, Rhode Island. Nevertheless, this 2014 addition to the "modest home" building craze is a welcome addition. Taunton Press Publisher, 192 pages.

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The Backroad Home

This short book is the companion volume to the popular Don Berg website of the same name, www.backroadhome.net. Subtitled Simple Country Designs of Cottages, Cabins, Barns, Stables, Garages and Garden Sheds with Sources for Blueprints, Kits, Building Accessories, Catalogs and Guide Books, the book includes designs for 22 cabins, 42 cottages, 22 traditional barns, and more, with info on construction plans, building kits and hard-to-find country building products. Self-published, 1999, 96 pages.

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Cottages: Charming Seaside and Tidewater Designs

Another Dan Sater book. Most of the seaside homes in this 64-page paperback book by the Sater Design team were inspired by the 19th-Century Caribbean, Charleston Row, and Key West island houses. Complete construction drawings are available for all 25 house plans, most of which are from 1,200 to 3,600 square feet, and are well-suited for the narrow lot restrictions in a waterfront community. Home Planners Publishers, 1998.

Also check out another Sater book, the 2004 Beautiful Cottages and Villas. At 223 pages, Sater Design has a handle on the market.

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The New Economy Home

New Economy Home by Marianne Cusato
The New Economy Home. Builder Concept Home 2010 by Marianne Cusato

Architect Marianne Cusato combined simple, Folk Victorian details with state-of-the-art, energy-efficient systems for her New Economy Home cottages. In 2010, the New Economy Home was the featured Builder Concept Home at the International Builders' Show.

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Tiny House Design & Construction Guide

The "tiny homes" movement has taken off, and it seems that everyone has been writing about their experiences. This 2012 book by Dan Louche of Tiny Home Builders is special, however — he built his first tiny home for his Mom in 2009. How cozy is that? The revised edition from Tilt Development Publisher, 182 pages, was published in 2016.

While you're at it, check out The Big Tiny: A Built-It-Myself Memoir by Dee Williams, Blue Rider Press, 2014. The stories of getting small can be inspiring.

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Cabin Porn

Maybe all you need is Inspiration for Your Quiet Place Somewhere. This popular 2015 book by Zach Klein, Steven Leckart, and Noah Kalina is the hands-on print companion of the website, cabinporn.com. Go get your hands dirty from Little, Brown and Company in 336 pages.

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Craven, Jackie. "9 Books for Building Cozy, Affordable Cottages." ThoughtCo, Sep. 7, 2021, thoughtco.com/building-plans-cozy-affordable-cottages-178218. Craven, Jackie. (2021, September 7). 9 Books for Building Cozy, Affordable Cottages. Retrieved from https://www.thoughtco.com/building-plans-cozy-affordable-cottages-178218 Craven, Jackie. "9 Books for Building Cozy, Affordable Cottages." ThoughtCo. https://www.thoughtco.com/building-plans-cozy-affordable-cottages-178218 (accessed June 10, 2023).