Discovering The “Early Cottage” Vancouver House Style


Vancouver’s architecture is often difficult to distinguish as many of its homes are adaptations or amalgamations of more recognized styles. By cataloguing them, we gain an understanding of our homes and neighbourhoods, which gives us all a sense of pride in our city. With this is mind, the Vancouver Heritage Foundation provides Scout with an exclusive series that we call The Roof Over Your Head.



The Early Cottage (1890-1925) is a slightly more substantial version of Vancouver’s earliest cabins and shacks. Small but practical, most early cottages are single storey with eaves that flare at the ends (known as bell-cast eaves) and a relatively low roof pitch. In most cases the attic space is so cramped as to be useless, but a few have steeper-pitched roofs that shelter narrow upstairs rooms lit dimly by the dormers. The front edge of the roof is supported typically by four square posts, although sometimes even small houses have more ornate grouped turned columns. Vancouver examples almost invariably have a bay window on one side of the front façade with the front door offset a little from the centre. Some have a cutaway front porch occupying only half the facade’s width, providing more enclosed living space behind the bay window. Many have a small dormered window right above the front doorway.

Inside, a parlour, kitchen and eating area occupy the bay-window side of the main hallway, while bedrooms and a bathroom occupy the other. These homes are simple and unassuming from the street, with very little ornamentation. However, the common clapboard siding and the occasional presence of dentil molding gives them added levels of charm.

LOCATION | Early cottages are found in most of Vancouver’s older residential neighbourhoods, such as Kerrisdale, Kitsilano, and Mount Pleasant.



Vancouver Heritage Foundation is a registered charity supporting the conservation of heritage buildings and structures in recognition of their contribution to the city’s economy, sustainability and culture. VHF supports Vancouver’s built history by offering educational tours, talks and lectures, courses, and special events. Launched early in 2013, the Vancouver House Styles Architectural Web Tool is a free online reference cataloguing Vancouver’s common architectural styles.

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