The Saltbox-style accommodation began to appear in Newfoundland around 1870. This unique housing actually depended on the design of the popular 14th C Steep Gable Roof houses found in the United States. The design originated by way of the long traveled adventure of ships crossing the Atlantic Ocean bringing cheap salt to Newfoundland from their own countries. This was to preserve the fish demanded by consumers back in each respective country- the Americas as one example. The Salt Box shaped containers had the top part shaped shorter in front and longer in the back. The use of roof lined shingles, clapboard siding, came from those areas where cold weather, and trees were in abundance!
The Elizabeth J.’s modified the roof-line from the 18C Saltbox keeping the 10-foot ceilings inside at the front of the house slanting to six feet in the back. This common design was known for being quick to build adding extra space onto the original shape of the existing Steep Gable Roof making it extremely functional. In this bygone era the stove on the main floor was the sole heating source so the small, upper half-story made sense allowing Newfoundlanders to roll into their beds and stay warm.
Newfoundland in the 18th C began having larger families. One can see today that the out-ports are filled with both styles of The Steep Gable Roof or The Salt Box style classic houses.
In Newfoundland The Salt Box Roof style accommodation became a wonderful way to combine family, salt and a horse or two. The 2 story house part of the house was used by the family for their sleeping quarters.
Downstairs was the living/kitchen area that was 10’ high. A wooden partition was built inside the area that slanted to only 6 ‘ inside. This accommodated the large amount of salt needed to preserve fish and meat. Next to this was the stable to house a cow or horse. To live with family, animals and salt was their normal way of life.
Juggling History With Modern Needs
On 2 Acres of grasslands I wanted to keep as historically acurate as possible while ensure your more modern needs are met. This also included ensuring both holiday cottages kept their jaw-dropping views the same along with your privacy between the two cottages intact.
The Salt Box Coastal Cottage I felt driven to build first. This pet-friendly accommodation is built for clients requiring a more spacious coastal cottage – more of a true European style. Simple, open and no – you are not required to climb a ladder to roll into your sleeping bags!
As you can see from the pictures of my cottage it is open airy with so many windows one of our elected Government Cabinet Provincial Minister’s visited the cottages and felt he was in the middle of the ocean.
Inside this coastal this unique cottage you will find Newfoundland traditional mudroom where the washer/ dryer exists as does your shoes, boots, coats and waking sticks.
A lovely French door separates the mudroom from the living room where the ceiling opens to 10′ and gently slopes to the traditional 6′ in the back. I did not open the attic to keep space cozy and simple.
My unexplained passionate love for the Salt Box Cottage knew no bounds and there was a magical reason that I was not even aware of at the time. This I will tell you shortly.
What is the difference between the Elizabeth J. Steep Gable Roof Cottage and The Salt Box Cottage?
The 14th C Steep Gable Roof Cottage’s floor plan inside is identical to the 18th C Salt Box Cottage’s. However, the ceilings are different due to the roof- line.
As you may recall The Steep Gable Roof Line is the same length in the front as in the back – making that famous triangle look at the side of this cottage. This creates a ceiling inside that is 8’ throughout this gorgeous cosy holiday cottage.
The Salt Box Cottage See the picture to the right showing the short roof in front and the longer sloping roof in back of the house.
No matter which unique self-catered cottage you are in you will feel you are in another world breathing in and feeling the spirits of those who have lived on this land before you.
Why was I so driven to build The Salt Box Cottage
The drive to build the Salt Box Cottage was insatiable. Five years later my father died. I went back to my old house in the Beaches of Toronto. The house was sold and under construction. I slid through the neighbor’s broken fence to get into my old backyard. The carriage house that was our garage was gone and the backyard a mass of dirt. Windows torn out of my beloved house that I just needed to sit, remember and breathe it all in.
Suddenly I heard a man ask, “What are you doing here?” Offended since I felt it was still mine I told him. We talked and I found out a Newfoundlander built my families’ red brick/white trimmed house with the large roofed porch. Roof was shorter in the front and longer in the back.
Yes – the house I grew up in was a Salt Box Roof House built in 1920 by a Newfoundlander architect!
One year later I was in Toronto again and decided to go home to see my old house after the renovations were completed. You will never guess in a million years what I saw in the now complete gorgeous house that stood shinny bright looking like it should be on the water.
The original Salt Box Roof House stood with large new dormer windows and there to the left attached to the Salt Box Roof House was a new lower extension where the driveway use to be to the left of the house. I stood across the street shocked. This new structure was of a one story Steep Gable Roof Design.
The color of my new/old house? Yes, it was all yellow with white trim.
Only in NL – ej