Project Description

Lucia’s Little Houses > House #14

Stay Focused

A very spacious, single story house with a walk out basement (though that’s not essential), this is a very good waterfront home with a more contemporary treatment. Very cost effective finishes and window treatments maximize return on the construction dollar in a house that’s a lot of fun to be in.


The success of this house comes from the kind of merging of site, client, program, and builder that every architect is always looking for.

My clients had gotten a beautiful corner of a peninsula that looked into a quiet cove. It had a little knoll so the house could sit a bit proudly above the water, and allow a walkout basement for the easy storage of kayaks and waterfront stuff. Although there was a very limited budget, the clients were very clear about their needs. When our design and their desires got over that budget, we had a meeting and laid out the alternatives to get back on course. They made the tough choices and the house stayed focused on the prime mission.

We were after a simple, easy-to-build structure that would have a large central living space flanked by a master bedroom suite on the east and two bedrooms and a bath on the west. No stone fireplace, rooftop balconies, or fancy trim details would get in the way of having a house that was easy to keep clean, easy to come and go from, and easy to live in for an extended three generation family—and affordable. We needed to build it for under $200,000 (in 1999) but still have it be a house that would grace a very beautiful site.

The first version of this house had a loft space over the kitchen area, with stairs that went up over the staircase that goes down to the basement. But this pushed us over our clients’ budget and they realized that they didn’t need it. Without the loft, the main space is too cavernous, so we put in a few columns and beams, like an indoor pergola to give the kitchen a more defined sense of space. It was a good tradeoff. The clients gave up space that they didn’t really need but got a wonderfully varied high-ceilinged space with a great south-facing 5 ́ diameter round window that lets a beam of sunlight play over the entire room.

Since this is a single story house we used a relatively low-pitched roof that didn’t enclose too much volume. We didn’t want the house on this waterfront site to seem like a suburban ranch house, so on the approach side we carved a large, welcoming entry porch out of the house volume, and on the water side brought the roofs down low over a window seat sitting area.

This lower roof created a more intimate seat- ing area in the southwest corner of the living space where the view was best, and from the outside made the house appear to flow down the hill toward the water. We initially wanted a glass roof over this sitting area, but to keep to the budget we backed off to several Velux roof windows. We got almost all of the effect with half the cost.

There is a modest deck that’s partially sheltered by a roof that is accessed from the living room and master bedroom. Stairs lead to a larger lower deck that is more sheltered from the wind, is below the view from the window seat area, and continues the “stepping down the hill” started by the roof over the window seat. This stepping down deck tends to mask the open space under the upper deck that leads to the walkout basement, and when you approach this house from the water you aren’t oppressed by a large shadowy area under overhanging decks high above you.

Cottage-like houses often benefit from traditional windows with muntin bars, but we felt that since this house is a combination of simpler shapes and very simple trim details, it would do fine with large single lights of glass, thus saving dollars.

I can’t promise you the great contractor we had here, or the incredibly easy site, or even that you will be as resolute as our clients, but this house will deliver a lot of living for a modest amount if you do your part.

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. . . . . . . . 1,572
Adjusted sq. ft. . . . . . . . . .2,443
3 – Bedrooms
2 – Bathrooms
Walk-out basement

Dimensions
Foot Print 2,380 sq. ft.
View Dimension 52’
Side Dimension 50’
Height 18’-10”

Summary
1st Floor 1,516 sq. ft.

1st Floor
Living/Din. 24’ x 19’
Kitchen 12’ x 15’
Bedroom–1 16’ x 15’
Bedroom–2 14’ x 10’
Bedroom–3 14’ x 14’
Bath–1 16’ x 9’
Bath–2 8’ x 5’
Entry Porch 12’ x 10’

Working Drawings
• 1st flr. Plan, Schedules
• Elevations, Details
• Elevations
• Sections
• Sections
• Details
• Foundation Plan, Details
• 1st flr. Framing
• Roof Framing, Details
• Electrical Plan