Another contender for the anti-McMansion: “upscale cottage colonies”

A few days ago I highlighted a photo gallery that suggested a 1938 Cape Cod was the “anti-McMansion.” Here is another contender for that crown: new “upscale cottage colonies.”

Under the direction of Mark DeWitt, the 8-acre Grindell’s RV Park on Old Wharf Road will see its last season this summer. On Nov. 1, ground will be broken for Heritage Sands, a condominium-style cottage colony…

Brennan pointed to similar projects recently opened in Wells, Ogunquit and Kennebunkport, Maine. “These successful shore communities show us what’s possible in cottage design,” he said. “Heritage Sands will offer six cottage styles and include responsible environmental planning.” Brennan noted that The New York Times, Wall Street Journal and Forbes magazine considered the new cottage colonies “the anti-McMansions of the post-bubble real estate market.”…

Cottages will have one, two or three bedrooms with no opportunity to expand. “This is part of our septic approval,” Brennan said. While they can’t add more bedrooms, owners may opt to install solar panels on their roofs, taking advantage of the south-facing site to save on energy bills…

Pre-construction sales on the cottages, which Brennan said start “below $400,000,” begins in March. Brennan said he has a growing list of people waiting to go to contract. “These cottages are going to be unparalleled on the Cape,” he said. “We expect rapid absorption by people who are looking to recapture their summer experience on the Cape as kids. The return on investment will be photo albums and memories passed down from generation to generation.”

Here is what appears to make these cottages anti-McMansions: they are more environmentally friendly, a bonus near the water. There are going to be “colonies” of these homes as opposed to large houses on large lots where people are trying not to interact with others. The homes can’t be expanded and presumably smaller (though we aren’t told about how many square feet they are).

On the other hand, here are some features of these houses that might go against the anti-McMansion idea. They are meant to be second homes where people can recapture their childhood. These are not older houses. They are not exactly cheap. They don’t come with all the green features – solar panels have to be added, driving up costs. In the end, these are still homes for fairly wealthy people.

This leads me to another idea: is one of the new desirable status symbols the anti-McMansion?

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