A self-contained garden cottage 

Nicole and Matt needed a cosy little home – first as short-term accommodation for their family of four, and then to become the ultimate ‘granny flat’ for Nicole’s mum.

It has been more than a decade since they entrusted us with crafting their cute garden cottage, but it’s still one of our favourite stories.

“We loved our cabin…
a great way for mum to live nearby with support, but for us all to have our own separate spaces.” 

From short-term shelter to long-term living

Upon buying their property in the Southern Highlands of NSW, Nicole and Matt took on quite a project.

They had plans to demolish the existing house and build a new home in its place. But while doing so they needed somewhere for them and their two children to live. They also had future intention to move Nicole’s mum to be close by and cared for.

And so, with a block of over 2000m2 to play with, it made sense to build a small cottage in their spacious garden. Somewhere they could live as a family while rebuilding the main home; a place that could then serve as a separate self-contained home for Nicole’s mum. 

A decision made on quality and trust 

Matt and Nicole chose Greenspan after looking at a lot of other companies. “We were impressed by the quality of the materials, the traditional design that would suit our neighborhood, and the responsiveness and transparency of the design team,” Nicole recalls.  

Initially, the couple had placed a deposit with another company before discovering Greenspan. Impressed by our flexibility and experience, Nicole and Matt also wanted to protect their beautiful location.

“We liked the idea of the cottage components being built off-site but assembled on-site so a large structure did not have to travel through our tree-lined street,” Nicole says. “We actually cancelled another prefabricated cottage because they could not assure us that the building could safely be transported to the property without street tree damage.” 

Ideas of a storybook cottage made real

When it came to what they wanted to create, Nicole and Matt had ideas in mind and brought them to us to put on paper. “The team put together a design from our ideas without hesitation,” Nicole tells us.

And what came to life from this collaboration was a cottage straight out of a storybook! 

Externally, it is the stereotypical log cabin, clad in cedar, and the perfect style to suit its setting amongst the trees. A high-pitched roof, decked verandah across the front, and colonial windows and doors complete the quintessential look.

Inside, and brimming with the same typical country cottage style, the open plan living space includes a kitchen, as well as dining and lounge areas. Adding to the list of home comforts, there is a full-size bathroom and stairs up to a spacious loft.

Installing the kitchen themselves, the couple were impressed with the precision, emailing us at the time to say, “It is amazing how square and level the fit-out is. I’ve started to install a kitchen and it has gone straight in first time – no need to trim anything!” 

A self-contained garden cottage fit for a family of four  

All of this was achieved simply and quickly, with the cottage designed, built and ready to move into in just months, allowing Matt and Nicole to start work on their next project.

“Over the next 18 months we enjoyed our cosy cottage while we watched our home being built,” Nicole tells us.

And there was plenty of room for this family of four.

“Two single beds, two study desks and clothes racks fitted nicely into the attic with its cute window,” Nicole recounts. With the stress of a house demolition and rebuild, how comforting to still be able to live ‘at home’ and be on site to project manage at all times. 

The next generation

Fast forward to the completion of their new house and it was time to hand the keys to the cabin over. “We moved into our new home and mum moved into the cottage,” Nicole says.

The couple paved and installed gardens between the self-contained garden cottage and the main home, complete with a small bridge for a sense of independent access. “The cottage was a great way for mum to live nearby with support, but for us all to have our own separate spaces,” recalls Nicole. 

Long-lasting impressions

Eleven years on, the cottage belongs to another family now. 

“We sold the property several years ago and now live in Melbourne,” Nicole recently advised. 

While they may have passed the keys along once more, Nicole and Matt look back on the cottage that had such an impact on their lives.

“We loved our cabin,” Nicole fondly reminisces. “The end result was often commented on by passersby as ‘a very cute cottage under the trees’.” We suspect it still is. 

Nicole and Matt’s story has also made a long-lasting impression on us. Our aim, with every single build, is to enhance lives. And there is no doubt that this picture book cottage, a home for generations, is the very essence of that!


Nicole and Matt’s self-contained garden cottage is a Cedarspan Loft Cabin 20CHL70 measuring 12.6m x 3.8m. The front verandah spans the full 12.6m length and increases the width another 1.9m.

External weatherboard cladding, colonial windows and French doors are all upgraded to Western Red Cedar, and Colorbond® roofing is “Paperbark”.

Walls have been upgraded to 3m in height and it features a high-pitched cathedral ceiling and generous loft.  

All measurements are approximate. 


Garden cottage from front

Do you want a home fit for generations?

Download our Design Price Guide to find out how you can create the cosy cottage of your dreams.


Already downloaded our Design Price Guide and ready to take the next step? Let’s meet.
Book a 15 min Discovery Call. Tel: 1300 635 966