Designing a Dream Writing Cottage

Posted on: 25th Jul 2013  /   Categorized: Writing Life

Years ago, I read an article in Writer’s Digest about an author who had a personal writing cottage in their backyard, constructed from beautiful vintage windows and surrounded by a quaint English garden. That’s been a dream of mine ever since, but one that always lingered behind all the other dreams. I have a Pinterest board of Writing Spaces that I hope will inspire me one day, but for the most part, my vision of an ideal writing cottage has been something of a blur.


Except for one particular detail.


I wanted it to have a vintage Dutch door.


Why? Good question. I don’t know. I just like them.


Well, a few weeks ago, my husband and I were wandering through a shop of reclaimed building materials in Seattle and stumbled upon, what else? A vintage Dutch door.


Dutch door


Well, I couldn’t resist!


And now we have to figure out what to do with it, which means it’s time for me to start thinking about my dream writing cottage after all.


Though we won’t be able to actually build my writing cottage for at least a year or two, I’ve started compiling a list of some things my dream studio might have. Here’s what I’ve come up with so far:


– floor-to-ceiling bookshelves on at least one wall.

– pretty vintage windows

– a large writing desk with enough space to check page proofs and lay out chapter synopses for complicated plotting maneuvers

– also, space on the desk for garden-fresh flowers

– and probably a coffee maker

– a cozy reading chair, with a side table for a lamp and a glass of wine

– a large corkboard for posting fanart and inspiration photos

– a special wine chiller/refrigerator, and a space for snacks, and maybe a watercooler? No, that’s too corporate. A pretty pitcher for filtered water then.

– Artwork that can be easily swapped out for new artwork that inspires the current WIP


So, what am I forgetting? What would you put in your dream writing cottage?


  1. Maddilin commented on:

    Heated floors! Ahh, carpet, preferably, but just enough so my feet wouldn’t be cold in the winter 🙂

    Oh, and a wall with painted with chalkboard paint, so instead of writing last minute notes on a piece of paper I might lose, I can write it with flare on the walls before I rush out or simply leave for a little while.

    Darn! Now, I want one of these writer’s cottages! I must work harder, then. 😀

  2. Morgan commented on:

    Your cottage sounds perfect!! I would add a tea kettle instead of coffee myself hehe. Maybe some cozy blankets and pillows for when it gets chilly. I always wanted a house with a round turret room, with cushy window seats that you could lift up to store things in. And a giant bookcase of course 🙂

  3. Nadine commented on:

    I like Maddilin’s carpet idea, as long as it’s tasteful carpet. And I’m definitely on board with Morgan’s window-seat thoughts.

    As for me (since the window seat idea has already been used), I love different lighting. My favorite is, of course, natural lighting coming through huge windows, but when it’s getting dusk you can’t go wrong with candle or old-fashioned candle-lanterns. Even oil lanterns! Maybe it’s the nostalgic in me, but I think it’d be pretty nice if you had a few of those.

  4. Nadine commented on:

    I forgot to say what my cottage would have! Well, you’ve covered a lot of the good stuff, but I’d have to have a fireplace and preferably hexagonal walls, most of which are covered in floor to ceiling bookshelves (that you have to reach by a ladder!). I live in a state with 9 months of winter, so a fireplace is probably the most important, with a lovely wooden mantle above to display my favorite books (yes, Cinder would be on it).

  5. Mary Allyn commented on:

    Ever since I was old enough to know what a bay window was, I’ve wanted one. With a fantastic window seat and everything. It’s an obsession. I’d plant hydrangeas and azaleas outside the window.

    I’d also want a cozy little reading chair, preferably an old wingback chair (those are my favorite!). Definitely lots of cozy blankets and dim lamps as my eyes are rather light sensitive. I like Maddilin’s chalkboard wall idea! Perfect for scribbling little snippets for later scenes or (what I always forget) basic facts about character’s appearance.

    I’d probably also have a hammock/swing for mid-writing naps. 🙂

    Man, I really need a cottage now.

  6. Shay commented on:

    I would want mine to have a log cabin-ish feel, kind of cozy and nice with a fireplace and a huge chair. One wall would have a huge cork-board for pinning ideas on and the other walls would be lined with bookshelves.

    Most importantly though, there would have to be one of those sliding ladders that are in old librarys. I have always wanted to go on one of those things. 🙂

  7. Joni Patterson commented on:

    I’ve always loved the idea of a writer’s cottage, too. A detail I’ve always dreamed up for mine sounds a little extreme (but hey, dreams can be extreme): I want a tree house. If not that, then tiny two-story building complete with quaint fairytale-ish details like ivy and diamond-paned windows. I don’t know why I’d want it up high… Guess I like my head in the clouds. ^.^

  8. Annabeth C. commented on:

    Ooh, a tree house sounds nice…only I’m afraid of heights. Maybe in the forest, like the one Princess Aurora lived in. A bay window has always been my DREAM. Next to it, I’d have one of those double-stuffed long, leather sofa chairs that you can just lie down in–with a standing lamp, so I could read by it. What else? Ooh! Ooh! A whole two walls that are just bookshelves, and instead of ladders like most libraries have, there would be a rope net right in front of the shelves–kind of like those rope nets they have at playgrounds, you know? and you could just climb up, pick the book off the shelf, and climb down. Only the bookshelves would be much wider than they are high (due to aforementioned fear of heights). What else? Umm…the room would be filled with candlelight. I’ve just always loved candlelight. And not just regular candles, either–vanilla and cinnamon-scented ones that would just make the whole room smell like something is baking! And of course there’d be a kitchenette, with a small oven (perfect for actually baking things, like brownies or cookies) and a small fridge, and a tea kettle. My room would be carpeted with a super-soft royal purple carpet with an intricate golden design.
    I really want a cottage now.

  9. Stacey W. commented on:

    I love it. Fireplace, built in shelves, wine fridge. The only thing missing would be an outdoor space. I’m thinking slate tiled patio with a nice shady pergola and one of those handmade rough looking writing desks from World Market. And of course, a weather control box, so it’s always 72 degrees F and partly sunny with a tree rustling breeze.

  10. Tyra Lynn commented on:

    Beautiful, beautiful door! What a find. Ironically I am planning to build a writer/recording studio in my backyard, and since I know many handymen who can assist me in my mad endeavor I have been doing a little daydreaming as well. I began smiling as I read through your list, it was nearly spot on for my tastes, with the exception of a super thick, soft carpet -the kind you can’t help but sigh and bury your toes in every time you touch it. 🙂 And I’d definitely need a little tea set. Tea is my gasoline when it comes to writing, so that, and a special writing mug, would be big priority for me. You’ll have to post pics when your dreams become reality.

  11. Bonnie commented on:

    An impressive share! I’ve just forwarded this onto a colleague who was doing a little research on this. And he actually ordered me lunch simply because I found it for him… lol. So allow me to reword this…. Thanks for the meal!! But yeah, thanx for spending time to talk about this subject here on your internet site.

  12. Karlee commented on:

    I would want to have stained-glass windows somewhere. Lots of windows would be nice, like a little conservatory to let in all the natural light. And someplace to make tea. I love the floor-to-ceiling bookshelf idea too.

  13. Lexie commented on:

    Oooh, I like this idea. Mine would have polished, patterned concrete floors, a white fireplace, and two long white trestle tables – one for my writing computer, one for my art computer. One wall would be tall glass french doors, and one wall would be painted pink, where I’d pin up inspiration. The rest of the walls would be white. I’d have my grandmother’s old orange lounge, and floor to ceiling bookcases, along with an indoor swing. I’d also have a really awesome sound system and one of those glorious transparent white boards with a rainbow of markers. Lots of natural light, maybe a hidden mini fridge and kettle. Lots of fresh flowers and a bed for the inevitable cat would finish it off perfectly!

  14. Vyki @ On The Shelf commented on:

    How awesome! I would love to have a writing cottage, what a fabulous idea! I hope yours comes along quite nicely once you start it. I think I would have to have a small two story cottage with the second floor reserved for my personal library! Definitely an outside space, too. I might have to make my own Pinterest board for it now 🙂

  15. Stella Telleria commented on:

    I love all your ideas but I’ve always wanted old rustic library shelving you need a mobile ladder to reach the top of. I would also add a really good internet connection but no phone line so my mother couldn’t call me every five minutes to distract me. No cable or satellite connection either. Most importantly…silence. I write best in silence. I would love a cottage on a lake with a view. Sort of like the cottage Tom Cruise build in the movie Oblivion. Yeah, that would be nice.

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