Project Description

Lucia’s Little Houses > House #12

The Charlie Cotton House

A renovation of an 18th century cape, we have redrawn this New England farmhouse for modern building techniques. It retains the cozy spaces of the original, but adds a lot more sunlight and breathing space. It will work well in the country and would be especially happy in a New England coastal town.

Charlie Cotton


This house was featured in the February 1994 issue of Down East magazine, the Fall/Winter 1994/95 issue of Good Housekeeping, the November 1994 issue of Harrowsmith, the February 1997 issue of Remodeling, as well as in other publications.

This was our house. It was built in the 1790’s by George Morse. In 1990 we totally renovated it. Lucia, our son Jesse, and I (and earlier, our two older boys) were sheltered by this wonderful house since 1976. Of course, in time honored Maine tradition, it is still locally known as the Charlie Cotton house after the man who lived in it with his family early in the 20th century.

We include it in this collection because it is a house that will do well in a more village-like context. Being mostly from the 18th century, it is a house about walls more than windows, and as such does well with closer neighbors than many of our houses designed for remote sites with long views.

Just inside the entry door is a small kitchen which works great for one cook, but is rather crowded for two. It has a kitchen wood cookstove to supplement the gas range, because we like both, but you could add more counter.

As one moves off to the left the house opens up into a two story space that we created by removing one of the four bedrooms upstairs (see back cover photo). This eating space is filled with sun all day in the winter, but in the summer big maples to the southwest give us shade in the afternoon. As the sun gets lower in the west it streams under the limbs of the maple trees that line the town road, pouring through the small paned windows and drawing us into the living room for the end of the day.

Off the living room is a small alternate living room that I call a library, a good place for solving the reading versus TV struggle.


Upstairs are three bedrooms under the eaves with large roof windows that open for cross ventilation and give wonderful views of the stars. The master bedroom has an extra deep closet (to fit the stairwell width) and we used that depth to put shelves in the back.

The little hall upstairs looks into the two story space and shares its light and the warm air that floats up from the woodstove below. We put in a thermostatically controlled fan that comes on when it gets too warm, blowing the warm air down through a duct into the library. Except when we are lazy and don’t keep it going, our Vermont Castings Vigilant woodstove easily heats this house.

If you live in a cold climate, the entry side of this house really ought to face south, but it would not look silly if it didn’t. And you might think of a sloped arbor over the deck for summer sun control if you don’t have the maples.

If we didn’t have an opportunity to build a new house in Alice’s Field we would have happily spent the rest of our lives here, and then maybe it would become the Knight house, but probably not.

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. . . . . . . . 1,705
Adjusted sq. ft.: 1,887
3 – Bedrooms
1 1⁄2 – Bathrooms
Full basement foundation

Foot Print: 1,489 sq. ft.
View Dimension: 39’
Side Dimension: ’56
Height: 23′-6″

1st Floor: 978 sq. ft.
2nd Floor: 727 sq. ft.

1st Floor
Living 17’ x 13’
Dining 10’ x 13’
Kitchen 16’ x 10’
Den 12’ x 10’
Bath–1 8’ x 7’

2nd Floor
Bedroom–1 12’ x 17’
Bedroom–2 11’-6” x 13’
Bedroom–3 10’-6”x12’-6”
Bath–2 6’ x 8’

Working Drawings
• 1st & 2nd flr. Plans
• Elevations
• Sections
• 1st & 2nd flr. Framing
• Interior Elev./Cabinetry
• Interior Elev./Cabinetry
• Millwork
• Electrical Plans
• Details, Schedules