Web tour: Cottage, cabin, converted Airstream, and more

Lately, I've been stumbling upon some of my best finds while looking for something else. Such was the case when I came upon this tiny cottage in Oak Bluffs while en route to the annual Cottagers Cottage Tour. The gothic-revival steep roof, peaked-arch window, carved barge boards, mini porch, and delicate foundation plantings are all a delight. Which got me thinking, 'tis the season for back-to-basics living. Time to enjoy playhouses, cabins in the woods, and camping trailers (and, of course, garage/garden rooms like this KHS design in Manchester, Mass.).

Get started with the July/August 2013 issue of Design New England which features an intriguing grouping of four new getaway cabins on Sebago Lake in Maine. With vaulted standing-seam copper roofs, fieldstone foundations, and cedar siding, the warm-tone cabins appear to grow naturally from the site, peacefully nestled between rock outcroppings and trees along the lake's edge.

Head over to Sunset online to find a young, landscape architect's Airstream trailer converted to home and his accessory trailer rendered portable office. His unique and creative housing/office choices are sure to inspire.

Pick up the HOUSES 2013 issue of Fine Homebuilding to read Sean Groom's article about accessory dwelling units (ADUs) in the Pacific Northwest. These buildings and spaces, which are smaller than 800 square feet, accommodate a whole host of uses often better than conventional alternatives. It's high time that financing and zoning regulations friendly to ADUs are more readily adopted in New England, too. (Also check out Michael Litchfield's In-laws, Outlaws, and Granny Flats: Your Guide to Turning One House into Two Homes.)

Let these back-to-basics accommodations inform your getaway, office, guest quarters, granny-flat and home. It's summertime and living should be easy.

by Katie Hutchison for House Enthusiast

Web tour: Container gardens

For the first year in many, I'll actually have a small cottage garden to cultivate. It's a big leap for an idjit gardener, so I'm inclined to start with baby steps. I figure container gardening may ease me into the wider world of gardening in the actual ground.

Of course, there are many sources of inspiration for container gardening, but I found a favorite in Design New England; it's a whimsical early spring container designed and created by Trent Lloyd Design of Newburyport, Mass. It taps into the fun of the miniature, mini, and small -- favorite topics here at House Enthusiast.

If you like the Trent-Lloyd-Design container garden, you'll probably get a hoot out of artist Judy Robinson-Cox's work, especially her Lilliputian Landscapes, and this image in particular. So fabulous.

Humor in the garden is win win.

by Katie Hutchison for House Enthusiast

Web tour: Old-House Journal: Historic-house energy retrofit

Pick up the April/May 2013 issue of Old-House Journal to find my story about the energy-saving retrofit of Historic New England's c. 1793 Lyman Estate in Waltham, Mass. The retrofit aims to reduce the National Historic Landmark's energy consumption by 50%, while respecting its historic character. Old-house homeowners, in general, could benefit from many of the same energy-saving strategies.

Find the story online here -- and an online bonus sidebar about energy-saving behavior here.

by Katie Hutchison for House Enthusiast