Martha and Paul Crombie's new home doesn't have a yard and is about one-third smaller than their old house. They love it.
"Oh, my gosh, this is perfect," Martha Crombie recalls thinking when their Realtor showed them what would become their new 1,800-square-foot home. It is one of 17 houses in Vandalia, a cottage neighborhood about a mile from downtown Franklin.
Cottage developments are increasingly popular with everyone from first-time buyers looking for an affordable house to downsizers like the Crombies. Typically built around community courtyards or with small individual yards, they combine the lock-and-go convenience of a condo with the privacy of a single-family home with no shared walls.
Because they make smart use of available land, cottages are popular in cities. Several cottage communities have been completed or are planned in Nashville. More recently, they have made their way to Franklin and even suburban Nolensville.
Vandalia's front porches, courtyard, community garden and community fire pit will encourage residents to spend time together, Martha Crombie said.
"In the evenings, we'll get to know our neighbors," she said.
Demand for cottage homes is growing in Franklin and Nashville. Most of Vandalia's 17 homes are still under construction, but most have already been purchased. When Carbine & Associates announced it was building the Cottages at Old Liberty, an eight-home neighborhood near the Factory in Franklin, buyers snapped them up before they were built.
"It's a lifestyle that a lot of different buyers are looking for," said Ashlyn Hines, a principal with Bristol Development Group, the company developing Vandalia.
Cottages appeal to busy homeowners who have better things to do than maintain a large yard and a house with space they never use, said James Carbine, whose company developed the Cottages at Old Liberty.
"Everybody's lifestyle is go, go, go," he said.
Smaller interiors and efficient use of land help hold down the price of cottage developments. The Cottages at Old Liberty were priced around $400,000 for about 2,700 square feet. Prices at Vandalia range from the $200,000s to the low $400,000s. Home sizes range from 1,250 to 1,805 square feet.
When Regent Homes built two 2,000-square-foot cottage-style homes on Cummins Street in Franklin and priced them in the mid-$400,000 range, buyers grabbed them instantly.
"They sold the very minute we put them on the market," said Regent Homes President David McGowan.
Wide price range
Regent is building cottage-style homes in Burkitt Springs, a subdivision in the Williamson County town of Nolensville. At 1,400 to 1,600 square feet, they appeal to first-time buyers as well as downsizers. Prices in the community, which features a mix of cottages, townhomes and traditional homes, start at $187,900, McGowan said.
In Nashville, Aerial Development is developing East Greenway Park, a 62-home infill community on the city's east side. Homes will range from 1,200 to 2,500 square feet and will be priced from $225,000 to $375,000 or more.
Developer Jeff Miller is launching the Cottages of White Avenue, an eight-cottage development in the Woodland in Waverly neighborhood. The three-bedroom, 2½-bath homes will range in size, starting at 1,500 square feet. Prices will start under $400,000.
"Eight homes around a central courtyard will encourage people to talk to their neighbors, a sense of community," Miller said.
The eight homes in one of Nashville's newest cottage communities, Acklen Park Cottages, all sold quickly, said Barbara Browning, a broker with Village Real Estate Services. The community is adjacent to Sylvan Park. The cottages, with three bedrooms, three full baths, hardwood floors and an attached garage, were priced from $385,000 to $435,000.
"What's not to like?" Browning said. "I bought one."
Nashville's most prolific builder of cottage homes, Core Development Services, is developing Richland Station in the Sylvan Park neighborhood. The 40-home community will be Core's fifth cottage development in seven years.
Article from Tennessean
Written by Bill Lewis
Photo by Shelley Mays