Great escapes: The world’s most beautiful contemporary cottages

Award-winning architecture probably isn’t the first thing that comes to mind when hearing the word “cottage.

More likely, it conjures images of quaint countryside dwellings — rustic abodes in Cape Cod, thatched roofs in England, and modest oceanside retreats in Sweden.

First emerging in medieval England between the 5th and 15th centuries, the word “cottage” refers to a home for cotters, peasants who worked on farms in the countryside.

The more familiar style of rustic cottage architecture, typically made with heavy stones or wood, emerged in the 18th century.

But quaint and cozy is no longer the order of the day. As more and more city dwellers look for a refuge to relax and recharge, cottages all over the world are getting sophisticated, environmentally sensitive makeovers.

“Contemporary taste calls for a lighter touch and a stronger connection between nature, the materials, and the architecture itself,” says Charles-Bernard Gagnon, principal architect of Quebec City-based Cargo Architecture.

Read the full story on CNN.