Project Description

Lucia’s Little Houses > House #05

A Sprightly Victorian lady

One of the smallest houses in the collection, it’s a good choice for sites that will respond well to delicate proportions and small scale. Being small, but somewhat rambling, all the rooms have good views in two opposite directions. Will work without a basement.


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This is a wonderful little Victorian summer cottage suitable for hanging about in an old cotton sweater and forgetting what you should be doing to better the world.

We designed it for a very small piece of property but this house will do fine anyplace where its delicate scale won’t get beaten up by large ugly things nearby.

This house is built around the discipline of a 12 ́ width. In places where that is just not wide enough, I have added bays that both create more visual space and add on functions of window seats, so less furniture is required. By fastening what Charles Moore referred to as “saddlebags” to the side of a smaller module, we aren’t tempted into an ever bigger house.

Beyond the living room is the small screened porch in which to sit and watch the sunset sans bugs. While easy access is necessary in order to make the deck an integral part of the action, I like to put doors in unfurnishable space. So the living room accesses the deck via a door alongside the dining room table where you can’t put furniture anyway, and via a single door that swings into the screened porch. This also serves to make the small living room seem less of a traffic corridor.

In the heart of the house, a pivot point is a small corner fireplace in the living room. A kitchen woodstove (or any woodstove) can back up to the brick backwall of the chimney. The fireplace is to feel good around, and the stove will really heat the place.

The 8 ́x12 ́ kitchen sticks a counter out into a bay, so the dishwasher can see the water, which is to the west. The dining room is big enough at 10 ́x11 ́ for a 3 ́x6 ́ table—and we give it a bit more breathing room with a bay window into which a seat can be built.

Two bedrooms and a bathroom share the up- stairs. Since this is the only bathroom in the house, it is divided into two compartments, with the tub and sink being most remote so that somebody can take a long bath without junior beating on the door demanding entry to use the toilet. The north bedroom has access to a roof deck over the screened porch to make an adult refuge.

All of the bay windows carry through to the second floor in order to emphasize the vertical component of this house, which very consciously echoes the carpenter gothic of the 19th century. I think this house will do well in subtle places where the delicacy of its form will not be overlooked.

One significant design feature with this house is that there is only an 8 ́ floor to floor height—normally it would be 9 ́. Since this house was to be left “unfinished” inside, we exposed the second floor joists, but the bottom of those joists are about 7 ́-4 ̋ high. I feel this gives the proper scale to these rooms, making the horizontal dimensions seem a bit bigger. Likewise the upstairs is very much under the eaves, with roofs springing from a 4 ́ high plate. Although you could get away with making this house taller, it would lose something in the translation.

Working drawings provide you with the architectural documentation you (or your builder) need to build this house. Working drawing sets vary for each of the houses. Click here to order.

House Details
Heated square feet. . . . . . . . 1,183
Adjusted square feet . . . . . 1,364
2 – Bedrooms
1 – Bathroom
Crawl space foundation

Foot Print 1,006 sq. ft.
View Dimension 39’
Side Dimension 37’
Height 19’

1st Floor 640 sq. ft.
2nd Floor 543 sq. ft.

1st Floor
Living 11’ x 15’-6”
Dining 10’ x 11’
Kitchen 11’ x 10’
Entry 6’ x 4’
Scr. Porch 12’ x 8’

2nd Floor
Bedroom–1 11’ x 12’-6”
Bedroom–2 12’ -6”x 11’
Bath–1 6’ x 8’

Working Drawings
• Cover Sheet, Schedules
• 1st & 2nd flr. Plans
• Elevations
• Sections
• 1st & 2nd flr. Framing
• Electric Plans