Design snapshot: The Emperor Penguin of cottages

Sometimes a building speaks to us loud and clear, but we’re not exactly sure why its call holds such a grip on us. Such was the case with this white-stuccoed cottage with a hipped gable, partial half-timbering, and centered, ocean-blue shutter. It instantly made me smile, much the way catching glimpse of a favorite dog breed will.

In my family, we tend to assign the characteristics of much-revered animals to much-revered people and objects. There doesn’t seem to be an English word for this, not “anthropomorphize” but, perhaps, “animalpomorphize” – though tells me this isn’t a word.

In any case, this little structure reminds me of an Emperor Penguin. Have you seen the March of the Penguins movie? Plus, a PBS Nature episode about animal babies recently aired, and there, again, were charming, waddling Emperor Penguins. Somehow, I see in this hipped gable, two window eyes in a stout white body of an Emperor Penguin. The half-timbering even reminds me of the contrasting coloring of the Emperor Penguin face. In addition, the location and disposition of the blue shutter reminds me of where an Emperor Penguin shelters her or his newborn, in front, down between her or his feet.

But if you’re not one for “animalpomorphization”, this cottage also passes my Recipe for Architectural Charm. Does it pass yours?

by Katie Hutchison for House Enthusiast