Ah, the power of the cozy fireside mystery set in the English countryside, and its pervasive influence on a thirteen year old.
I have a fascination with the old. A cottage, particularly one in Europe, has standing on the same ground for centuries. And in my rather empty little corner of California, there really isn't anything that old. Ancient means maybe 150 years, and it's nowhere they'll ever let you live.
So my little cottage, wherever it may be, is just outside a village: not further than an easy walk through a shaded trail or maybe on a quiet street. The local trees had better be full-grown and meet in a canopy above my head and only dapples of sunlight reach the ground. I want wildflowers all spring and summer, and crunchy leaves in the fall. Winter should only have the lightest snow, and rain showers without driving sleet.
My cottage isn't a Thomas Kinkade with thatched roof--I don't want that much work--but it does have a winding trail of slate stones to the little front porch; somewhere there's an arch entwined with roses that droop heavily and drop their petals over you in summer's benediction.
The walls are rough local stone, and I hope the local rock is shaded purple, and at least one corner sports a shawl of ivy. One bay window faces the morning sun, and it's a deep enough corner to read in. Maybe there are drapes, even, like Jane Eyre's. At least the living room is hardwood--as an American I demand a tiled bathroom with natural light and a tub only just this side of too-small-to-swim. Every room catches enough natural light that there are plants growing in every corner.
I need an office. And it overlooks the back garden, so I can look out and find weeding to do rather than actually write. Here, I actually will grow my own tomatoes and lavender, but for old time's sake the apple tree is outside my bedroom window.
And when it isn't too breezy, I can read under the willow tree by the pond (which hosts no mosquitoes) and listen to the battle of frogs and ducks.