Architecture / At Home on the Globe / Global Cottage

The Global Cottage


As travelers we’re fascinated by the world – dazzled by exotic locations, awed by natural wonders, and astounded by man-made marvels. Give us the souk in Marrakech, along with the Grand Canyon and Sydney Opera House … and we’re in heaven!

But most of all we’re intrigued by the people of the world.


We delight in the diversity of different cultures and their traditions. Everyday life intrigues us – how people dress, what they eat, and what they do for fun! And we’re curious about where they live – their homes. Despite all our differences across the planet, millions of us have one overriding thing in common. We live in modest dwellings.

Over the years we’ve defined this concept of simple homes across the earth as
“The Global Cottage.”

* * *

What does the word “cottage” bring to mind for you?

Perhaps something with a thatched roof …

Round thatched cottage

African house

… or a place where you can commune with nature.

Cottages Overlooking Scenic Valley

Maybe you prefer a home in the sky …

Trees house

… or under the rolling hills.


Possibly your idea of bliss is a home that moves with you.

Travel Trailers


Gypsy Wagon

We were looking for mobility when we lived in a tent for 5 months on our epic camping tour of North America!


Does size really matter? In a word, yes … at least it does to us. Although the well-to-do folks who built massive homes in Bar Harbor and Jekyll Island affectionately called their mansions “cottages,” most people would agree that:

In modern usage, a cottage is usually a modest, often cozy dwelling”

We’ll leave the grand residences to Architectural Digest.

To us a Global Cottage is an abode of any architectural style. A place of modest size and modest means. It can be a bungalow, tiny house, mobile home, yurt, apartment, tent, sod house, RV, houseboat, tree house, vacation home, flat, log cabin, chalet, Hobbit house, dacha, pied-à-terre, mountain hut, teepee, condo, converted school bus (takes breath) … you get the picture. Yare_Cottage,

Global Cottage is also an umbrella term that describes not only a dwelling, but a way of life. Topics can be far ranging, such as:

  • Creating a home anywhere in the world
  • Staying in small spaces around the world
  • Feeling “at home on the globe”
  • Living like a local in places such as London, Amsterdam, Athens, and Berlin

So today we’re officially launching our Global Cottage Series. We’ve already published several posts that fit the Global Cottage theme. If you would like to get a taste of what we’re talking about, check out Savannah’s Tiny Cottages: Total Charm in 300 Square Feet.

We’re really excited about this topic and would love to hear your suggestions for posts. And even if you live in a grand place with square footage to spare, please join us, because all are welcome in our Global Cottage!

Simply Yours,
Dorze_huts Photos via Wikimedia Commons 1) Sergei Mikhailovich Prokudin-Gorskii 2) Tanenhaus 3) Tatoute 6) Cherus 7) Rob Chandler 8) Tara Hunt 9) Waqcku 11) Evelyn Simak 12) Graham Hardy 13) MauritsV


43 thoughts on “The Global Cottage

  1. Home is where the heart is – no matter what the size or where it is. You’ve captured beautifully the essence of home in these photographs, and with your thoughtful words. Virginia

  2. Some wonderful images here and how very diverse. My two favourites are the children sitting with the colourful carpets and the round thatched cottage. Could they be more different? Nice post. 🙂

    • Many thanks Jo. Those are my favorite images, too. And as you know so well from your extensive travels, there are so many wonderful types of homes all around the world. ~Terri

  3. Great post! Love the little blue house. It is sad that my house, at 1500 sq. ft, is considered small, and even sadder that older houses inside the Raleigh beltline were torn down so McMansions could go in – totally out of scale with the neighborhoods. And the last time I shopped for furniture I noticed that that was getting over-sized, too.

    • Thanks Kathy! For years I’ve been fascinated with all different types of housing around the world. I’m constantly impressed with people’s creative use of space. Here in the US I hate to see the little cottages torn down to make way for homes that aren’t in scale with the rest of the neighborhood. And you’re so right about furniture being up-sized. We have a small place and finding furniture is always an adventure. How is your kitchen renovation coming? All the best, Terri

      • Alas, still in the planning stage. It’s the kind of thing I hate doing, and I hate spending the money even more (which is why I have the money to travel, lol). But I plan to visit Lowe’s today (already crossed off Home Depot) and I’m meeting an interior designer on Wednesday.

    • Cathy, I’m with you about being totally happy with a modest home – I’d rather spend the money on travel! ;~} And I think many people in the USA are in the same situation as you. Neighborhoods have evolved, and if zoning allows it, small homes are razed and replaced by much larger houses. Will you stay in your neighborhood or consider alternatives? ~Terri

      • Well, my house is a large enough Colonial, but it’s not a McMansion. As far as where I will live, it depends on what happens to my marriage. If my husband and I reconcile, I will stay there. If we don’t, we will have to do something with the house and I will definitely be living in a more modest home.

  4. You lived in a tent for five months?! How exciting! I’m looking forward to this new series. As a little girl, when I dreamed of my home, my family, my life, it was always cozy. I wanted my loved ones close. I’ve learned to love and appreciate large, beautiful homes, but I’ve always felt that too much sprawl can lead to emotional distances too.

    • Yeah Anita, can you believe it! We decided to chase Spring and Summer across the US and Canada. The trip just kept evolving, we kept loving it more and more. It was a blast!. And it’s wonderful how your childhood dreams influenced your adult life. We’ve lived in houses of many shapes and sizes, and now prefer the small, simple cozy ones. I think James would love to live in a Hobbit House … if he wasn’t so tall! LOL ~Terri

      • Oh, where do I start? Most days are rewarding, but I must say for me, the ‘cup being half empty’, which is probably not so unlikely an attitude for many in their 80’s and 90’s, can leave me a bit weary. At these times I find it best to just step away for a few minutes and take a few deep breaths. Thank goodness for meditation! 🙂

      • James is a big proponent of meditation … and I usually find my meditation by scraping peeling paint off a house in need of TLC. Sounds like you can choose either! ~Terri

  5. Yes… How’s that for a short answer. Too short. I’ve always enjoyed small spaces. Peggy and I spent four years traveling around North America in a 22 foot van. I once spent six months on a 6 month,10,000 mile solo bicycle tour of North America living off of what I could carry on the bike. My backpacking tents barely accommodate two people. (Good thing Peggy and I like each other.) So bring on your small houses and your global village! 🙂 I am looking forward to your blogs.


    • Hi Curt, Thanks for your enthusiasm! It sounds like you and Peggy are the masters of small-space living with your North American travels! And cycling 10,000 miles solo in 6 months is totally awesome! I mean really! James has also done quite a bit of that type of cycling, so you two can swap war stories! We’ve done the same type of backpacking using James’ solo tent, and it’s definitely cozy. Everything works great … until it rains. Then things get messy. Thanks again for your encouragement! All the best, Terri

      • Yes, the rain problem. I absolutely love the sound, and feel, of rain falling on our tent. Then there is always the worry about it creeping inside. “Darn, are my feet wet or is that my imagination?”

    • Why, thank you! It seems that the possibilities are endless. The one unifying factor seems to be creativity – it takes a creative spirit to live happily in smaller spaces. And you know all about creativity with all of your innovative recipes! ~Terri

  6. What a wonderful idea for a series! It immediately made me think of this absolutely amazing 350 sq ft space that someone made into a cozy urban cottage here in NYC:
    There’s something strangely liberating about a smaller space… perhaps it has to do with being forced to shed all the non-essentials that we usually hang on to so tightly. 🙂

    • Hi Miranda, That place is amazing! It created quite a buzz in the community when it was unveiled with its creative solutions. I just smiled through the entire video. And I think you’re so right about smaller spaces being strangely liberating. Although you’re IN a box, you’ve really got to think OUT of the box! I know scaling down has forced us to be more creative … and we love it! ~Terri

    • As a child, my bedroom closet was under the attic stairs and I loved it. I would tell my mother, “I want to live in here!” because I figured it had just enough space. My fantasies graduated to wanting to live in gypsy wagons and tree houses. Glad you could relate, Bronwyn. ~Terri

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