Enchanting Pocket Neighborhood Cottage

A prime example of this collaboration can be found in the Third Street Cottages, which is a charming group of eight well-crafted dwellings that are nested around a central garden and green space. Averaging around 650 square feet each, with lofts up to 200 square feet, these eye-catching homes represent Ross’s first foray into creating ‘pocket neighborhoods.’ “A pocket neighborhood consists of a dozen or so homes that share a commons area and a communal, multi-use building, tool shed, and mailbox kiosk,” Ross explains. “Parking, whether open, in garages, or both, is kept detached from the cottages and screened with landscaping, walls, or other means from the street.” Most importantly, the Third Street Cottages demonstrate that these smaller homes have less impact on the land than would four larger ones occupying the same property. Further stressing this assessment, Linda Pruitt, president of The Cottage Company, adds, “Like Ross, our mission involves pioneering single-family housing that fits seamlessly into more expansive neighborhoods. Intrinsic within this undertaking is our goal of connecting with people and the environment in a simple, life-sustaining way.”

The key ingredient to this and other pocket communities is what Ross refers to as layering spaces from public to private. “It’s all about the progression of spaces from being totally public to totally private by clearly defining personal boundaries,” he points out. Because the parking is intentionally placed away from the cottages, residents reach their front doors by walking through the commons area, which leads to their individual gates and front porches. “This arrangement, Ross explains, “also creates an opportunity for them to smell the flowers or talk with a neighbor in the flow of daily life.”