Project Description

Lucia’s Little Houses > House #02

An Island

A low profile house with a very compact footprint with views to the south and east. The open plan gives it a surprising sense of space inside. A good choice for sites where height restrictions keep things low, or where a low house simply looks good.

A house built by a customer:

I have always seen this house as an island in a sea of woods or fields. In our clients’ case it was a second growth spruce and cedar forest a bit inland from the Maine coast.

With no commanding long distance view, I wanted to design a centrally planned house that would create its own place in a somewhat undifferentiated landscape, a house that would become an island of order that would order the landscape around it. This is an old idea in architecture, but it usually is done with a bit more boasting than this unpretentious cottage.

In this plan the bedrooms and bathroom are attached around central eating, living and dining spaces. These areas are open to the east and south—east as opposed to west because the approach is from the east and I always like the kitchen to have a command of the approach (if possible), and because in colder climates I like the morning side of the house to have lots of glass to soak up the morning sun and start warming the house. Late in the day the western sun tends to cause overheating, and so that is where we put the small screened porch. It is in the afternoon that one is likely to have time to sit and enjoy the mosquito-free comfort of a screened porch.

The outside deck augments the living space with easy access from the screened porch and the dining room, affording a lot of casual coming and going from deck to inside. It’s important to use the relatively inexpensive space provided by decks and screened porches to augment the limited interior space of very small houses. The deck here is around 500 square feet, about half as big as the first floor area of this house, which is 1,132 square feet.

An unusual feature that I really like in this house is the kids’ bedrooms (two and three) which are only about 65 sq. feet. Tiny as they are, they work because we designed lofts above the floor up under the roof. You can see them as a dotted line. The kids climb up to their beds (or play areas) via ladders. There is even a small door (optional) that connects the two loft spaces. The lofts use all the volume under the roof as added floor.

The parent’s houseguests get the loft space over the entry area; this has a ship’s ladder to get to it. The fireplace and wood stove act like an anchor that holds this centrally oriented assemblage together. It creates an entry foyer on its north side and a hearth on its south side, and holds up the guests’ loft.

The dining room off to the southeast projects like a peninsula from the house so that it gets the sun all day long. It has the feel of a sheltered part of the porch when the big double hung windows are open in the summer.

This house was designed for summer use, where I think it works fine for its family of four. Living there year round one might consider bumping the kids’ rooms out with bays like the parents got. Our clients are prospering (with only an occasional grumble), living there with two growing kids, so you can too.

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. . . . . . . . 1,237
Adjusted sq. ft. . . . 1,546
3 – Bedrooms
1 – Bathroom
Crawl space foundation

Foot Print 1,824 sq. ft.
View Dimension 48’
Side Dimension 47’
Height 18’

1st Floor 1,132 sq. ft.
2nd Floor 105 sq. ft.

1st Floor
Living 20’ x 20’
Dining 12’ x 12’
Kitchen 9’ x 11’
Bedroom–1 11’ x 11’
Bedroom–2 8’ x 8’
Bedroom–3 8’ x 8’
Bath–1 8’ x 10’

2nd Floor
Loft 10’ x 10’

Working Drawings
• 1st flr. Plan
• 2nd flr. Plan
• Sections
• Elevations
• Fndtn. Plan, 1st flr. Framing
• 2nd flr./Roof Framing
• Wall Section, Details
• Interior Elevations (Kitchen)
Fireplace Section
• Electrical Plans