Archive for ‘Zone 5’

December 30th, 2012

A House in a Hill


When I designed the first story of this house I was thinking about the advantages (and disadvantages) of underground houses. While not actually underground, this house is set in a hillside for the warmth, so useful in this cold climate I live in, while still being open on three sides for plenty of light.
What did I end up liking the best about this plan? The outside porches and the way it seems all tucked away! The thing I liked least was the huge long living room at the end but that would be very nice for parties…

April 8th, 2012

Small, dark, not so handsome

Just recently I have done a bunch of plans that I am not really in love with, this being a very good example of them. The enormous study is a waste, the combined dining room/living room is not really my thing, I don’t like the fireplace on the outside wall and the house will be dark. So I’m sitting here singing, the Christine Lavine song that goes, “What was I thinking? What was I blind? I must have been completely out of mind…”

March 11th, 2012

A New Fashioned House- Part II

Here is the finished first floor sketch, as I promised! It is on the large side for a regular house but much much smaller than some of the houses I see in plan books. I designed it to be a house for someone with a large budget who wants to build a “smaller” house with beautiful details perfectly proportioned. One thing that is flexible is the basement door. It can either be placed across from the pantry or, if the site allows, it could be a walk in basement.

As a special surprise, I did an elevation last night at 3:00am!

Many of the plans I have seen in books like to add a fancy window above the front door but I like the elegance of a simpler second story. I also really love all the closets, it even has two closets outside the front door for skis and other outdoor equipment (such as snow shovels).

I forgot and made the interiors walls way too large, they should be more like 6 inches.

March 7th, 2012

A Mental Remodel

For the last week, I have had Sarah Susanka’s “the not so big life” on permanent pause so I can just un-pause it when I get a moment. I have much fewer moments than I would like, a problem, I gather, which is part of the point of the book. Now if I only had a few more moments I could get to the part where she suggests a solution! (Yes, I really am not very far along). I have thoroughly enjoyed her books, even read them- not just looked at the pictures :P.  I love her idea of building smaller, whatever smaller means to you, so that you can employ beautiful craftsmanship. And she has extended that to remodel smaller as well.

Since our budget is strictly limited (non-existent), I have been doing some mental remodeling on our home instead. And it fits right into my passion for organizing. I personally think that every real estate agent selling a cottage who desires to have good future referrals should screen potential buyers by asking them just one question, “Is your moon in Virgo? Or is this going to be your second home.” Being organized as a knee jerk reaction is the only way to live in a very small cottage.

Sooooo the absolutely amazing idea that I just came up with was to *Tat-ta-ta!* turn the “spare” bedroom into our living room! It took our deciding to move the computer business into an office outside the house- which turned out to be a perfect thing to do.

What did adding more public space do for the cottage? It provided an “away” room with comfortable seating that anyone making loud noises, or wanting to escape loud noises, could retreat to. It was the one thing that made the cottage unlivable in the wintertime, that you just couldn’t get away an read a book if you needed to.

Now the house feels (dare I use the “s” word? Oh, live dangerously) spacious! Well, as spacious as a tiny little house can feel. We have an absolutely wonderful 6 3/4 foot long dining table that fits a lovely amount of guests and we confine our really big bashes for the summer when we can eat and lounge outside. I long for a guest room but the living room has a pull out couch and it still has it’s door so it can double as a guest bedroom. Perhaps someday I’ll put in a built in day bed that can double as a couch, that would be more comfy, but this is fine for now.

Of course, I long for more windows, a complete redo of the cellar, a bathtub not attached to an outer wall, ect. But this is pretty good for now. And I have all that paint in the cellar just waiting for spring!

February 27th, 2012

A New Fashioned House

I was warding off a cold that had hit Eva full force this week. In addition to Vitamin C and Echinacea, I checked out of my library Craftsman Homes: More than 40 Plans for Building Classic Arts & Crafts-Style Cottages, Cabins, and Bungalows by Gustav Stickley. I found myself drooling over “An Old-Fashioned House”. Would it be a sacrilege to say I wanted to stray a wee bit from the master?  At least in the area of a downstairs W.C. and a few other items that are dear to my heart. I have the raw sketch I made that I’ll put up for your consideration but at some point I’ll clean it up and add a second story. I promise.

Here is Gustav’s version:

First Floor:

Second Floor:

And my version:

The secret room is my office/guest room. One thing I love, butler’s pantries- there is something so yummy about them- I wonder if I would like it as much in real life. Ah well, who cares about real life anyway! :P

One thing I was sad to lose is the veranda- it is seriously drool worthy.

February 26th, 2012

T house with central fireplace

First Floor:

I saw a similar house once in a house book and here it is- half remembered from long ago and changed. I loved the T shape with all the windows around each room and the centrally located fireplace.

Second Floor:

T house second floor

I love the laundry centrally located and near the bedrooms. I also love the hall linen closet and the book shelves by the toilet. The big second bedroom is to accommodate my daughter’s trampoline and gym equipment.

January 15th, 2012

The Cottage 2, 1st floor only

I’ve been thinking and talking to people about the last plan. T suggested it might be good if the living room was larger- I decided to make it bigger to the right so it wouldn’t block the bathroom window. C suggested putting the front door over so it would go in through an existing window instead of through supporting walls, a very fine idea :). I decided to move the bathroom door so it wouldn’t be right in front of you when you first came into the front hall.

January 15th, 2012

The Cottage

This is a proposed renovation to a Cottage in Maine. The front door used to come in through the diningroom, and there also used to be a back entry off of the kitchen door. Parking is closest to the new proposed front porch. Hum… I noticed that I forgot to put in most of the windows…

First floor:

I extended the 2nd floor to be above the kitchen and gave it walls. This provided a sound barrier (you couldn’t do anything in the original house without everyone else knowing) and helped provide support for the southern wall (It flexes alarmingly in the winter winds)

Second Floor:

December 24th, 2011

Lilly House

Lilly House 1st floor

This house design is created for a house site in Maine that is on a hill that slopes down east/northeast. The entrance is to the north/northwest. Thus the courtyard is created to be warm and sunny a good part of the day.

Lilly House 2nd floor


In these versions I was working on creating pools of light at the end of corridors to draw the eye.