English Cottage Meets Casual Elegance

This English Cottage Exterior combines with a Casual Elegance interior for a warm and inviting home.




Square Feet



House Highlights

  • Open Floor Plan, designed for entertaining.

  • Outdoor Patio, on the lower level.

  • Screened Porch, off kitchen.

  • Laundry Room, on the main level.

House Highlights

  • Brick Masonry with Stone Accents.

  • Courtyard Style Entrance Drive.

  • Mansard Roof Shape.

  • Distinctive Chimney Design.


The Arch-Top Entry Door

Exterior door of casual elegance house
Ancient brick wall door

The homeowner asked for a comfortable and inviting home that could be used often for formal entertaining. This was accomplished with designs that balance the warmth of craftsman workmanship with the sophistication of traditional design concepts. The distinctive shape and stonework of the chimney are a complimentary counterbalance to the formal symmetry of the entry. The arch-top entry door is framed by a masonry arch with inset stone accents. The stone is also used above the window openings and at the chimney. Both the chimney and the arched entry features were inspired by turn of the century English architect Edwin Lutyens.

The inspiration for the front entry came from english architect Edwin Lutyen’s Grey Walls project, which has large keystones that I just loved.

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Ben Robbins

Architecture & Build Manager


Beauty And Comfort

Dining Area

The house feels expansive and impressive when you enter, which is created by allowing views of multiple spaces at once. The reason people are drawn to open floor plans is because they feel bigger than they are. The trick to making rooms seem bigger is to allow people to see across and through the space. The foyer, dining area, living room, and kitchen are all open to each other and interconnected. It’s important to tie open spaces together with a common material. The wood beams in the living room, mantel, and kitchen cabinets visually connect all the spaces with their natural tones.

Casual Elegance is all about balance between beauty and comfort. It should be sophisticated, but not overly done, so as to feel uninviting. We don’t want anyone feeling like the space is too museum-like and you can’t actually use it for everyday living.

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Dani Harttraft

Architecture & Interior Design Manager

Floor plans designed with Casual Elegance in mind usually refrain from being too symmetrical. You’ll want to layer in your favorite colors and patterns, with soft horizontal lines and wood elements to subtly enhance a down-to-earth feel.

This house’s soft lines and fabric seats, even in the dining room, all feel comforting and inviting.

Designer Tip

Space Well Used

When a house is on a narrow lot like this house, with the only access from the front, go with a courtyard style garage entry to the home. This will give you the widest home on a narrow lot and will be the easiest garage to pull in and out of because of the deeper turn pad.

A lot of neighborhoods have 80’ wide lots or smaller and it creates the design problem of where to put the garage and how to enter it.

The courtyard style garage layout evokes classical english motor courts. Upgrading the driving surface to a specialty concrete or patterned paver creates a sophisticated arrival path to the front entry.

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Nick Corcoran

Architecture & Project Manager

When you have a tight lot, putting the garage in the back uses up the valuable yard space and blocks all your rear views. The back of the home is the most private and valued space.

Garage Diagram

Putting the driveway on the side of the house creates too narrow a home, see the diagram below. It is not any designer's first choice to put the garage in front of the home, but if the only access to a narrow lot is from the front, the best layout is often the courtyard style garage.

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