Here is an interesting case study on a very unique country cottage rebuild. 

“We knew we would have lots of work to do, but we didn’t care, because we fell in love with its shape, the land, the view,” Roseline Glazer says of the shingled cottage on Martha’s Vineyard that she shares with her husband, Bill. Originally built by Roger Allen in 1930, architect Joseph W. Dick helped with the renovation. A brick courtyard wraps around the entrance to the kitchen, at the rear of the house. “The chokecherry tree over the cottage is nature’s umbrella,” Glazer remarks. June 2008

When Paul and Heidi Danilchik decided to build guest quarters at their home in a small waterfront community on Washington’s Olympic Peninsula, they looked to the trees. They now own a distinctly unordinary arboreal refuge in the style of a Tyrolean chalet, a deft combination of state-of-the-art engineering and storybook charm held aloft by two venerable western red cedars. “We wanted a guesthouse that would have both privacy and a view of Puget Sound. The only way to do that was by building in the trees, an idea we loved,” says Heidi Danilchik. Above: Constructed by TreeHouse Workshop, the wood-and-stucco cottage floats 20 feet above the ground. February 2006

“I wanted to create a summer atmosphere typical of Mackinac Island residences,” says Carlton Varney, who did the interiors for Dan and Missy Musser’s Sunflower Cottage. The 19th-century clapboard house reflects the resort mood of the island, where no motor vehicles are allowed. Originally located on the other side of the island, the residence was moved in 1890, using horse-drawn conveyances, to its present site facing Lake Michigan. The house is reminiscent of the island’s Grand Hotel, built in 1887, of which Dan Musser is president. August 1992

A group of dwellings on Mount Desert Island, Maine, is all about “romance and fantasy,” says owner Thomas F. Leddy, who was inspired by English follies, Russian dachas, Scottish castles and Asian pavilions. Although the architecture is eclectic, an “unstudied sense of harmony was the goal,” Leddy comments. “The unifying elements are Maine, wood shingles and the color maroon.” Pictured: The finial atop a guest cottage was copied from one of Catherine the Great’s palaces. June 2005

“We wanted a mood rich with intimacy and informality appropriate to the location,” Thomas Britt says of a cottage he designed for a couple in Old Naples, Florida. A block and a half from the beach—with only two bedrooms and a yard—its size is a far cry from that of their previous house: small, yes, but soulful. Pictured: A guesthouse is visible from the patio, where the clients frequently entertain. Britt wanted the space to “call up images of Havana and New Orleans, two romantic cities that mean a lot to the wife, who’s connected to both.” March 2000

Toad Hall is the rustic home of Kreis and Sandy Beall on a picturesque 32-acre site in the wooded foothills of Tennessee’s Great Smoky Mountains. Tadpole Cottage was “built from a simple sketch,” says designer Suzanne Kasler. “The builder just put it together.” Its function, defined by Kasler, could be said to be the universal function of all that Toad Hall embraces: “charm and folly!” June 2009

Golfer Greg Norman and his wife, Laura, renovated a charming beach cottage on their Jupiter Island, Florida, property. In 1992, after Hurricane Andrew just about washed it out of their lives, “we constructed a seawall, lifting the 1,800-square-foot structure up on stilts,” says Laura Norman. “When you’re in it, you feel like you’re on the ocean. Frankly, I could live there.” However, she has a bevy of other choices, since the Jupiter Island pad boasts, as she puts it, “22,800 square feet under air-conditioning.” March 2004

Architect Bernard Mapes Wharton’s guest cottage, with two bedrooms and a living room/art gallery, is a freestanding addition to his Connecticut house. “The guest cottage is designed to have a strong presence but not to compete with the house,” Wharton says. “The scale was important—I have an affinity for small-scale enclosures.” June 1999

Legendary decorator Sister Parish first visited Maine at the age of two weeks, when she went to her parents’ house on an island near Camden. Forever afterward, she claimed the Summer House, as it is known, as the place where she felt most at home. “The smell of fir and pine, the feel of clean salt air and the sound of the waves against the rocks were indelibly stamped into my psyche,” she once wrote. “Much of what was there needed freshening,” designer Libby Cameron says of the Cape Cod–style cottage, one of two she updated for the late decorator’s daughter Apple Bartlett. June 2006

Stephen Shadley restored six cabins at his Catskills retreat. Before, “the cabins were white with green trim, so they popped out of the landscape too much. I wanted the structures to fit the surroundings,” says the designer, who painted the exteriors “a rich Adirondack red.” Pictured: Pine Cabin has been converted into an eating and changing facility. “The dining area was a vacant box with sagging floors,” says Shadley, who refurbished and painted the floors and added pine paneling. February 2003