Friday, July 6, 2007

Katrina Cottages

I first read about Katrina Cottages in Cottage Living magazine back in 2006, and fell in love. Since I was a teenager I've loved houses. For years I thought I would be an interior designer, but realized that I really didn't love it enough to want to put up with the clients :) Next, I wanted to be an architect. Deep down I still want to be an architect! My primary interest is well-designed affordable housing. To me Katrina Cottages are excellent examples of just such architecture. I've thought a good bit about why they are so attractive to people. To the point that Lowe's is now selling several versions nationwide, and USA Magazine had one built in Washington DC that was given to a family in need. I think one of the main attractive points is the porch. I've been reading a good bit about community and how important it is. Yet at the same time Americans are moving farther and farther away from community. Our populace tends to be very transient and people just don't interact with their neighbors like they used to (we, in fact, have two neighbors--one next door and one across the street--that truly never speak!). Thankfully we are also blessed with really good neighbors on the other side! Anyway, much of my reading links two things to decreased interaction amongst neighbors: houses without front porches and central air-conditioning. Honestly, I wish that porches were all it would take to get people talking again, but I've experienced "front porch" communities were people still stay isolated inside their houses for the most part. We'd probably have to do away with A/C to really get people back outside! Back to the Katrina Cottages...I think one of the other things that attracts people is the simplicity, but inherent livability of them. I think many of us long for things to just be simpler. Technology has been both a blessing and a curse. It's biggest curse is that it has made our lives so much more complicated...Looking around me in just this one room there are five machines that I must figure out how to operate and them keep operating. And I'm not anywhere near the kitchen!! Now, of course, the cottages aren't really that much simpler. They will still have programmable dishwashers, DVD players, computers, cell phone chargers, digital cameras etc. But you know what I still want one!! I have to have hope that that cute little cottage will make my life less complicated. Seriously, I think that Katrina Cottages could be an answer to the affordable housing crisis in this nation. I can honestly say that I wouldn't mind having one of them "in my backyard."

For more information on Katrina Cottages check out and . New Urban Guild also has tons of information on Katrina cottages, including links to newspaper and magazine articles.

Edited 7/8/07 to include additional links.


Mrs. Pivec said...

You know, I have often thought about the lack of front porches phenomenon. I love, love, LOVE front porches. Somehow, it never occurred to me that the real culprit might be the air conditioning. That was one of those, "smack-yourself-in-the-forehead" moments for me!

I was outside this afternoon, pulling the sheets of the clothesline and everything is soooooooo quiet. No one is out; it is just too hot.

They say that air conditioning - plus frozen orange juice concentrate and DDT for mosquitos - were the things that greatly changed the face of Florida. I often wonder to myself if I would live here without the air conditioning. I think I could, because we keep our air at 83 degrees & I didn't even turn that on this year until it was reading 90 in the house. But what if I didn't have that luxury? I wonder...

What is the square footage of the Katrina house? I had never heard of these before? They seem quite charming! So interesting! :)

Marianna said...

I must say that I admire your commitment to having the A/C set at 83! Even (or maybe because of) growing up in a hot, humid climate I am simply not acclimated to the heat.

I added some links on the original post about the Cottages. Apparently there are quite a few being built in the Gulf Coast region of Mississippi. I wish there was more information about how they are actually being used.

Marianna said...

I forgot to answer your question...the cottages range from just over 300sf up to nearly 1200sf. The original designs were in the 350-500sf range.

The Feathered Nest said...

I have to keep our air at 78 otherwise the heat just wipes me out so I admire Mrs. Pivec for keeping her's at 83!

I remember that CL article about the Katrina Cottages and I'm impressed that Lowe's is offer some of the plans.


Splaneyo said...

I would like one too - in my back yard. Oh, wouldn’t that be so nice!

I don't have a front porch, but people tend to be friendly here. Most of the time people are out and about enjoying the nice weather, watering their plants, or shoveling snow. Moving from CA to MI we were very surprised that no one has a fence in their front yard and most people have only small fences in their back yards.

When we moved to MI we bought a house from 1930 - it had no AC. After all those years without AC, my husband and I did think twice about putting it in, but we did it anyway!



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