Project Description

Lucia’s Little Houses > House #01

A Sunny Place in the Forest

A very compact footprint, and a strong sense of geometry make this house a good candidate for tight sites. Views are oriented to the south and west, but you could mirror it for south and east.


This house was featured in Sarah Susanka’s book, Creating the Not So Big House (2000), in the Spring 1988 issue of House Beautiful, and the February 1986 issue of Down East magazine.

When I designed this house it was foremost in my mind to create a place that was wonderful to be in because it was small. Our clients wanted the smallest footprint possible to minimize the impact on their beautiful land. It was a vacation home for their family of four, and was designed with the idea of enlarging it (which we later did) if they moved there year round.

You enter this house on a corner porch and immediately see across the diagonal of the house to another porch. Emphasizing the diagonal in the plan tends to minimize the sense of confinement that small houses must avoid.

Since we were only cutting a small hole in the forest canopy, I took this compact footprint, and gave it a strong vertical component and a lot of roof glazing so the house could reach up toward the light, like the spruce trees around it. This assured that what sunlight fell down into this “hole in the forest” would get into the house.

On this site the house looks out to a quiet cove to the southeast, but this house would do well with any site where the approach is from a different direction than the primary view. The house can easily be mirrored to deal with a westerly as opposed to an easterly view orientation.

It is desirable in a small house that circulation space has multiple uses, so we have both a front door and an airlock mudroom entry off the front porch. This mudroom holds a freezer and washer and dryer tucked under the stairs. In the dead of winter, the same front porch and the same entry hall inside will serve both entrances—no hallways!

Once inside the building, all of the rooms radiate off the central space, which is open to the roof ridge so that you can always get a sense of the entire space, even as you are sheltered in the cozier side spaces.

Climb up the compact corner stair and the space at the top of the stairs is like a wide hallway that we developed into an office/study. Walk from there along the balcony that goes past the bathroom (or the closet space) and you end up at the bedroom. This destination effect makes the bedroom feel like a very separate and private place because of the spatial transition to get to it. Once inside the bedroom, the bay window lets all the space fly out into the view so that you can almost forget that the house is behind you.

It’s a wonderful place to hunker down near the woodstove (which could become a fireplace) and wait out the winter, and in the summer all the glass makes it like living outside.

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. . . . . . . . 1,418
Adjusted square feet . . . . . 1,649
2 – Bedrooms
2 – Bathrooms
Full basement foundation

Dimensions
Foot Print 1,085 sq. ft.
View Dimension 36’
Side Dimension 33’
Height 26’-6”

Summary
1st Floor 900 sq. ft.
2nd Floor 518 sq. ft.

1st Floor
Living 24’ x 12’-6”
Kitchen 11’ x 13’
Bedroom–1 10’ x 13’
Bath–1 5’ x 8’-6”
Mud Room 9’ x 9’-6”

2nd Floor
Bedroom–2 9’ x 12’-6”
Bath–2 6’-6” x 11’
Study 13’-6” x 7’

Working Drawings
• Fndtn. Plan, 1st flr. Framing
• 1st & 2nd flr. Plan, Schedules
• 2nd flr./Roof Framing
• Curved wall Framing Plan
• Section “A” and Details
• Section “B” and Details
• Section “C” and Details
• Elevations
• Electrical Plans