Why Just Two Exterior Styles?
For traditional style we have selected Craftsman as the most enduring, appealing, and popular traditional house style. Craftsman fits well with most existing traditional housing stock. Our contemporary designs integrate simple forms with environmental and energy saving features.
However, if you live in a region where Colonial, Georgian or Adobe is the primary style, or there are design covenants, it’s easy to change. A house plan can “wear” different exterior architectural styles. There are exceptions.
Why are Your Contemporary Designs so . . . “Conservative?”
We’re partial to understatement. We avoid trendy modern clichés as well as overwrought renditions of traditional styles. If cutting edge design is your goal there are talented architects and building designers ready to help. You may even want to start with one of our plans.
What About Tiny Houses?
Tiny houses have captured the imagination of many by introducing low cost (often DIY) solutions to the housing market. Areas are usually well under the generally accepted ±500 sf definition. Structures under 200 sf, often called Micro Houses, are the most popular. Frequently mounted on wheels to evade building code restrictions almost all use workarounds to deal with planning/zoning and building codes.
Our vision and offerings of livability in a small house begin with an area around 450 sf, conventionally constructed, complying with applicable codes in an approvable setting. Check out our smaller designs which are spacious despite their modest area. Kitchen layouts are not compromised by the small footprint.
Why No Sleeping Lofts?
A sleeping loft, often tucked into a limited height space under a sloped roof, is an excellent way to capture and use that space. Access is typically by ladder. Ladder access to residential space is not allowed in building codes. Most installations are managed though code loopholes and or workarounds. They are excellent space saving solutions. We do not include any in our offerings. Check out our fully approvable two story/loft designs which have full height ceilings and a conventional stair.
What About Storage?
The question of storage space arrives sooner or later. Whether you are a minimalist and have already incorporated that lifestyle or are more mainstream (like most of us) a small house can be a challenge for “the stuff.” One answer can be found overhead. Take advantage of attic space storage potential. Framing adjustments and a pull-down stair are good techniques to solve the issue. Another answer depends on floor framing. If there is a generous crawl space consider that alternative.
Where are the Fireplaces?
We’ve left fireplaces out of most plans because there was often more than one good location. When there is an optimum location it will be on the drawing. They’re easily added where you want them. Take advantage of the wide range of types and styles available. Unless you want a traditional wood burning flue/chimney contemporary gas fireplaces allow flexible locations.
Mechanical or Furnace Rooms?
With current HVAC (heating, ventilation and air conditioning) equipment and technology ADU, Cottage and Cabin sized homes are able to minimize or eliminate mechanical equipment space leaving every square inch of enclosure for living space. Hot water on demand units, unitized HVAC equipment are examples of the many options. The dominant local utility will usually dictate the energy choice through availability or cost. When needed or desired, spaces under a counter or modifying a closet or pantry will work. Do not locate a hot water heater in an attic..
Why Mostly Square and Rectangular Plans?
Most of our plans are square or rectangular. The benefits are simplicity, economy and energy conservation. A compact shape minimizing exterior surface area is an economical, energy saving, fundamental. We’ve deviated on some plans when we think there is a special opportunity for design features or functional enhancement.
What about Modular and Prefabricated Construction?
Modular dimension discipline can save money. However limiting sizes to two foot and four foot increments over a very small area does not produce significant savings. That practice is not incorporated into our designs.
Prefabrication is worth exploring especially if you live near a fabricator. The benefits are well known. However, the economics when applied to small, custom structures seldom pencil out. A more attractive alternative is pre-cutting of major framing materials. Widely used, this technique is a contractor option. It works best when it is your contractor’s preferred method.
What‘s That Extra Line and Space in Exterior Wall Drawings?
A close look will show an extra line around the exterior wall. Our exterior walls are based on 2x6 studs for extra insulation. The extra line is an allowance of approximately two inches of siding and rainscreen space. Recommended but not a necessity in many climate areas. Best building practices in your area should be your guide.
How do I View 3D Models?
If you purchase the original model file you will have the advantage of being able to view your design from different angles, distances and light conditions. SketchUp is a widely used modeling program. Check for a free program on their website.
How Accurate are the 3D Models?
Our models (rendered in non-photo realistic style) have been prepared over several years with multiple refinements and exterior revisions. Some models are more detailed than others and some vary slightly from their Design Drawings. That said, SketchUp models are excellent representations of the overall design.
What About Sustainability?
ADUs are inherently ‘Green” by virtue of their small size. All designs require less material and energy to build and substantially less energy to operate. We leave the details to you. There are plenty of resources available to satisfy any level of interest and commitment.
Definition: A zero-energy building is a building with zero net energy consumption. Meaning the total amount of energy used by the building on an annual basis is roughly equal to the amount of renewable energy created on the site. Given their small footprint, all of the ADU designs are net-zero prospects making them good candidates worth evaluating. Meeting that goal depends on factors including: energy analysis, geo-location, solar access, quality construction, insulation and integrated mechanical and electrical system choices. A net-zero home is likely to return its investment with increased value, Plus the cachet is irresistible to the sustainability community.
Who are “We?”
“We” are a forty year career practitioner returning to a core interest and commitment to sensibly sized residential design that is economical, energy efficient and visually attractive. We’ve always been attracted to residential floor plan arrangements that are elegant in their simplicity. It’s an attribute that is difficult to explain. It’s an exercise in discipline and excellence.
All designs, drawings and text in this enterprise have been developed by one person. The result is a personal visual style with text that contains (hopefully) a minimum of jargon.
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