Project Description

Lucia’s Little Houses > House #07

Alice’s Field

A very compact footprint and small cozy spaces make this a very versatile house. This is our house, and we designed it so that we would always be near an outside wall and the view. It will work well in fields or woods and can deal with a variety of view potentials.

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This house was featured in Fine Homebuilding magazine’s book, More Small Houses (1998) as well as in the May 2002 issue of Yankee magazine, the May 1999 issue of Maine Boats & Harbors magazine, and the Summer 1997 issue of Fine Homebuilding magazine.

This little shingled house that sits on a peninsula in the Bagaduce River at the end of a long hay field is, more so than any other in this collection, an experiment.

It is the house Lucia and I built for ourselves, and it is an experiment about fitting a house to your life like a glove. We spend a lot of time in the summer on an old wooden sailboat that has very tight accommodations, and we love it. We love the cozy, at-home feel that we get when we are settled in down below on our boat with the tiny wood stove and paraffin lamps. So when we decided to build a new house we thought about what we could do to create the same feelings in a house, but still have it be light and airy, efficient and connected to this wonderful piece of land.

The first thing that we realized was that we could do without the traditional living room. When we are in the living room we sit around and talk, listen to music, read and watch TV. All this could be accomplished with about a 10′ x 11 ́ niche with a built-in seat. If this niche projected into the view and had glass on all sides it would be all we needed. Our kitchen needed to be bigger because we tend to get at cross purposes with each other when we are both cooking and so we needed two distinct work areas.

Our bedroom is upstairs, and Lucia insisted on it being big enough for a comfy reading chair so that it can serve as an alternate living space if one of us wants to get away and be private.

There’s also a wonderful bathroom on the south that is big enough to have a sort of greeenhouse for soaking up the sun and long showers in the winter. Taking a shower in the jungle!

The rest of the second floor is a nice sunny landing at the top of the the stairs and big walk-in dressing room with all our storage on shelves, hanging or in drawers, but not behind a lot of expensive doors.

Jesse’s bedroom (which is probably ours someday) is downstairs and is on a prime sunny southeast corner, because most of the time it will be another dayroom/office type space when he’s not here and we don’t have guests.

That pretty much set the sizes of the rooms, and the shapes and orientations were determined by the land, views and outside forces like the sun.

Because the house sits alone at the end of Alice’s Field with a backdrop of big oak trees along the river bank, it needed a certain sense of internal order—to be able to stand on its own as an object as well as deal with the dynamics of our program and the site. We also wanted it to look OK in the fabric of other houses along this stretch of the river.

Searching for this personality was an evolutionary process where Lucia’s decisive input was critical. I would mutter myself into a compromise of these forces, she would look at it and simply not approve it — Keep working. Then when it really did start working together, she knew it and gave it her stamp of approval. Good architecture does not come without that kind of decisive input. That final form turned out to be three gable roofed forms that slide together, but also seem to be pulling at right angles to each other—pulled apart by the dynamics of the site but being held together by the centripetal force of the order. But it mostly looks like a regular house and we’re crazy about it.

Seven years later in 2003, the only thing I would change is to lower the living room window sills by 4–6 inches. Do we some- times wish it was bigger? Sure. Does it need to be? Nope.

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. . . . . . . . 1,284
Adjusted sq. ft. . . . . . . 1,427
2 – Bedrooms
2 – Bathrooms
Full basement foundation

Foot Print 1,208 sq. ft.
View Dimension 42’
Side Dimension 28’
Height 21’

1st Floor 838 sq. ft.
2nd Floor 456 sq. ft.

1st Floor
Living 12’ x 16’
Dining 16’ x 12’
Kitchen 12’ x 12’
Bedroom–2 14’ x 11’
Bath–1 7’ x 6’
Scr. Porch 16’ x 10’

2nd Floor
Bedroom–1 12’ x 15’
Bath–2 12’ x 6’
Dressing 10’ x 12’

Working Drawings
• Foundation Plan, Framing
• 1st & 2nd flr. Plan
• Elevations, Schedules
• Sections/Details
• 1st flr. Interior Elevations
• 2nd flr. Interior Elevations
• Mechanical, Electrical Plans