Project Description

Lucia’s Little Houses > House #20

Getting on the Land

A two-phase design that gets you living on the land in the short run, and leaves you with an elegant Greek revival cape and guesthouse in the long run. This house will do well on many sites and will fit in nicely among other houses in suburban locations, but it will make your neighbors envious.



Phase 1:

Phase 2:


This is a two-phase house that we developed for a couple who wanted to take advantage of their land but were not ready to commit the funds necessary to build the final house.

In doing phased houses, the critical thing to remember is to keep the transaction cost low; by that I mean the additional cost of doing it in two phases instead of all at once.

In the case of this house, we first built what would end up as the living room and screened porch, and then added a 10′x18′ “dependency” to the end that contained a tiny bedroom, small bathroom, and front porch. When we build phase two, the dependency is moved to the east and forms a downstairs bed/work room, and the living room module gets extended into a Greek revival farmhouse.

In phase one, the very small front porch of the dependency leads into a high-ceilinged space with a loft at the end. In phase two this large space will be a living room, but in the first phase, a small galley kitchen is where the fireplace will be in the phase two, and an eating area is tucked in next to it looking out the windows to the east.

In order to save money, we left all the interior finish off in phase one. In addition to saving money in phase one, when we complete things in phase two, the entire inside finish of the house will be new and things will be tied together. Also, things like changing wiring in the phase one space will be easier to accomplish.

This little house turned out to be such fun to live in that my clients extended the time before doing phase two, because until they had more time to live here, this “starter” was really all they needed.

Phase two will create a proper house, with a downstairs bed and bath (that doubles as a powder room), a full size kitchen, and a real dining area. What in phase one is the whole living area will become a nice high-ceilinged living room. Upstairs in phase two we will have a master bedroom and bath all under the slope of the roof.

On this site the long western side faces a hayfield and the eastern side is backed up to an oak forest with a rampaging stream running through it. The north side faces the river and really has the best scenic view. Since my clients loved all these views, we wanted the living room (in both phases) to look out in all three directions.

This is a house that will run along the edge of the field very comfortably, echoing the change of field to forest. These Greek revival farmhouses were almost always modest in size and very compact, and so the wide corners, broad fascia boards, and other complex trim details that echo Greek temple design change the scale of these buildings and make them very attractive to us. When large houses are done in this style, they lose the appeal that comes from this scale shift.

It’s important to note that these details and the quality of their execution can’t be cut back, or you will end up with a very humdrum version of “Developer’s Colonial,” with none of the gem-like quality of this house. The red cedar shingled roof is a gorgeous thing that changes with the light of the day and whether it is wet or dry, and though expensive is one of the things that makes this house sing. Many of the houses in this portfolio are quite comfortable with asphalt-shingled roofs and shingled sidewalls, but this house will lose a great deal if cuts are made in this area.

Finally, if you really just want to build phase one and phase two may never happen, then it would make more sense to simply continue the steep higher roof over the dependency so the house is more unified. We didn’t do it because it will be easier to detach the dependency with a low roof, and when it forms an “Ell” we wanted it to still seem dependent and to not block the view of the stream to the east from the upper floor.

If you build this house with the proper affection for the detailing and the exterior finishes, it will always be one the classiest houses in town.

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 sq. ft. . . . . 608 and 1,593
Adjusted sq. ft. . . .714 and 1,962
1 and 2 – Bedrooms
1 and 2 – Bathrooms
Full basement foundation

Dimensions, Phase 1
Foot Print 792 sq. ft.
View Dimension 18’
Side Dimension 36’
Height 20’

1st Floor 464 sq. ft.
2nd Floor 144 sq. ft.

1st Floor
Living/Din. 17’ x 17’
Kitchen 10’ x 8’
Bedroom–1 9’-6” x 7’-6”
Bath–1 8’ x 6’

2nd Floor
Loft 17’ x 8’

Dimensions, Phase 2
Foot Print 1,359 sq. ft.
View Dimension 42’
Side Dimension 50’
Height 24’

1st Floor 1,111 sq. ft.
2nd Floor 612 sq. ft.

1st Floor
Living Rm. 17’ x 17’
Kit./Din. 22’ x 12’
Bedroom–1 12’ x 13’
Bath–1 8’ x 6’
Scrn Porch 18’ x 8’
Entry Porch 5’ x 12’

2nd Floor
Bedroom–2 16’ x 12’
Bath–2 5’ x 12’
Loft 17’ x 8’