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One-Level Living for Empty Nesters | 2021 Cottage Community

The TOH 2021 Cottage Community model home is a duplex; each side features the same footprint with different setups. The right side is set up for “Empty Nesters,” featuring a main floor that meets seniors’ needs, combined with spaces above and below for adult children and live-in help. ​

Idea House 2021, Norwalk Cottages, Reveal Erin Little

En Suites on Every Floor

Idea House 2021, Norwalk Cottages, Reveal Ian Worpole

Instead of a second-floor study, this cottage features two primary en suites: one upstairs that allows parents of young children to be near the kids’ rooms; while grandparents or guests can be comfortable on the main level.

A Playful Powder Room

Idea House 2021, Norwalk Cottages, Reveal Erin Little

In this powder room just inside the main entrance, the gentle curves of the mirror and faucet are echoed in the statement light fixture overhead. ​

Vanity, fixtures, mirror, lighting: Signature Hardware

A Kitchen Equipped for Convenience

In the kitchen, cone-shaped pendants draw the eye to the island, with its workstation sink, easy pulldown faucet, and durable quartz countertop. Upholstered stools make for back-friendly seating. Pale-gray Shaker-style cabinets provide clean-lined storage. A gas cooktop with knobs in the front and stacked wall ovens at waist height offer an ergonomic plus when putting together meals. A powerful-but-quiet range hood silently removes cooking odors and smoke without interrupting the conversation. ​

Lighting: Generation Lighting, from Chloe Winston Lighting Design; Sink, faucet: Elkay; Cabinetry: Mantra; Range Hood: Panasonic; Appliances: GE Profile, via Aitoro Appliance; Countertop: Caesarstone; Backsplash: Tile America

Open Living Area

Idea House 2021, Norwalk Cottages, Reveal Erin Little

On the first floor, an open-concept kitchen/dining/ living area makes mingling with houseguests easy and comfortable. Light paint colors and abundant sunshine are a boon to aging eyes. Modern casement windows with slim black frames and muntins usher in daylight; the matching sliding door opens to the screened-in porch. A gas fireplace ensures the space is warm and inviting. ​

Paint: Benjamin Moore; Windows, sliders: Marvin

Built-in Workspace

Idea House 2021, Norwalk Cottages, Reveal Erin Little

The living room’s 10-foot-long built-in holds two desks and a top row of storage cabinets for seldom-used items. The easy-care quartz desktop is convenient for paying bills and answering e-mails. ​

Cabinetry: Mantra; Countertop: Caesarstone

Serene Screened Porch

Idea House 2021, Norwalk Cottages, Reveal Erin Little

The home’s layout balances openness and connection with private spaces where residents and guests alike can retreat. Off the first-floor living area, the screened-in porch floats above the sloped backyard, offering the feeling of a treehouse. Both the tongue-and-groove flooring and ceiling beadboard are easy-care PVC that resists fading and scratching while standing up to all kinds of weather.​ Two skylights bring in even more sunlight and views. ​

Porch flooring, ceiling: Aeratis; Skylight: VELUX (use provided link); Ceiling fan: Modern Forms, from Chloe Winston Lighting Design

Easy-Reach Laundry Room

Idea House 2021, Norwalk Cottages, Reveal Erin Little

A laundry area off the mudroom is accessible from both the garage and the kitchen. Cabinets keep supplies out of view; a metal hanging rod won’t sag under the weight of wet garments.​

Cabinetry: Mantra; Appliances: GE Appliances, via Aitoro Appliance

​Comfortable First-Floor Living

Idea House 2021, Norwalk Cottages, Reveal Erin Little

The first-floor bedroom and bath offer the option of a private retreat without having to navigate stairs. In the bedroom, which is spacious enough for a king-size bed, a barefoot-friendly woven wool rug, cotton linens, and a gray velvet headboard and bench envelop the space in soft colors and textures. An accent wall covered in a pale blue feather-print wallpaper gives the space a style boost.​

Peel & Stick Wallpaper: from NextWall, via Overstock.com

Attractive and Accessible Bath

Idea House 2021, Norwalk Cottages, Reveal Erin Little

The main bath’s double-sink vanity has large, easy-to-grasp bar handles, high-arc faucets, and a stain-resistant quartz top. A bottom shelf offers tidy towel storage. The twin medicine-cabinet mirrors have built-in LED lights along both sides to brighten the space without casting unflattering shadows—as well as built-in wireless speakers and USB ports for charging smartphones and electric toothbrushes. ​

Vanity, tub, fixtures, mirrors: Signature Hardware

Little Luxuries

Idea House 2021, Norwalk Cottages, Reveal Erin Little

For barrier-free bathing, there’s a wide-open curbless shower with a generous grab bar. “Because there’s a sloped floor and a linear drain along the back wall, you don’t need a glass enclosure,” Sandy points out. A dual-function ventilation fan inside the shower offers additional light and humidity control. Porcelain tiles with a subtle raked texture add a touch of understated luxury. Jet sprays and a rainshower offer a spa-like experience. More-agile residents can relax in the sculptural freestanding acrylic soaking tub.​

Fixtures, tub: Signature Hardware; Ventilation: Panasonic; Tile: Tile America

Statement Chandelier

Idea House 2021, Norwalk Cottages, Reveal Erin Little

While the well-lit home has dimmable recessed lighting throughout, dramatic pendant fixtures highlight key areas. In the soaring entry, Sandy chose an iron and gold-leaf chandelier with tiered rings “to soften the angles in the space,” she says.​

Chandelier: Generation Lighting, from Chloe Winston Lighting Design

Upstairs Common Space

Idea House 2021, Norwalk Cottages, Reveal Erin Little

Rooms on the second floor can be put to use in a variety of ways by family and friends—whether they’re just visiting or plan to stay for a while. ​​

A den at the top of the stairs can function as a library, a lounge, or an office for an adult child. “That way, they aren’t walking around your living room talking on Zoom calls all day,” Jerry says. Here, a board-and-batten accent wall, painted a sophisticated dark green, adds a handsome backdrop for a stylish desk setup.​​

Lighting: Generation Lighting, from Chloe Winston Lighting Design; Accent Wall: Site-Built by Matys Carpentry; in Regent Green (#2136-20) by Benjamin Moore

Airy Guest En Suite

Idea House 2021, Norwalk Cottages, Reveal Erin Little

Adjacent to the office and overlooking the scenic woods, this breezy guest bedroom has its own en suite bath.

All About the Accents

Idea House 2021, Norwalk Cottages, Reveal Erin Little

An ocean-inspired hue pops against the teak vanity and gold hardware. Geometric tiles create a unique accent wall in the shower, complemented by sleek, matte black fixtures. ​

Vanity, fixtures, mirror: Signature Hardware; Paint: Aegean Teal (2136-40) by Benjamin Moore

Shared Spaces

Idea House 2021, Norwalk Cottages, Reveal Erin Little

The upstairs hall is awash with natural daylight, thanks to strategically placed sun tunnel skylights. Two additional bedrooms across the hall share a bath with double sinks and a tub. Another skylight overhead brings much-need daylight into the windowless space. ​

Skylight, Sun tunnel skylights: VELUX (use provided link); Vanity, fixtures, mirror: Signature Hardware

Hobbyist’s Hideaway

Idea House 2021, Norwalk Cottages, Reveal Erin Little

In the finished basement, a 13-by-13-foot room can be set up as a workspace, a home gym, or a hobby room, like this art studio. The egress window brings in natural light and a landscaped view, thanks to steps that function as planters. Because the room has its own bath, it can also serve as a bonus bedroom.​

Egress: The BILCO Company; Vanity, fixtures, mirror, sconces: Signature Hardware


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