Debra Rucker Coleman, Architect
HOUSE PLANS
HOUSE PLAN SPECS
Floor 1
1,352 sf
Daylight Basement
1,296 sf
Entry Faces
NW
South Glass
12%
Complexity
complex
Atrium 3
PLAN PRICING
$70
Study Plans
11x17 set of drawings to better study the design of the house. 6-9 pages depending upon the size of the home. Excludes construction information and custom energy specs. Choose PAPER or PDF. After the order is placed, send a list of your ideas for customization and Sun Plans can tell you if the ideas are practical ones.
Sun Plans uses PayPal for secure payment processing. You may pay with a PayPal account, or any major credit card (no PayPal account required).

Payment will be handled on the secure PayPal web site, then you'll be returned to the Sun Plans site.
 
Plan Name:
Atrium 3
Plan Format:
PDF Files Paper Both (+$20)
Total Price:
$70
 

$220
Review Sets
11x17 mini set of Construction Prints marked "not for construction". 10-16 pages depending upon the size of the home. Includes Study Plan also. Excludes Custom Energy Specs. Cost deductible from orders of Construction Prints or CAD files. Choose PAPER or PDF. After the order is placed, ask for an opinion of construction cost from the architect.
Sun Plans uses PayPal for secure payment processing. You may pay with a PayPal account, or any major credit card (no PayPal account required).

Payment will be handled on the secure PayPal web site, then you'll be returned to the Sun Plans site.
 
Plan Name:
Atrium 3
Plan Format:
PDF Files Paper Both (+$50)
Total Price:
$220
 

$1,350
Construction Prints
24x36 construction drawings. 10-16 pages depending upon the size of the home. Includes Custom Energy Specs. Choose 6 PAPER sets or PDF.
Sun Plans uses PayPal for secure payment processing. You may pay with a PayPal account, or any major credit card (no PayPal account required).

Payment will be handled on the secure PayPal web site, then you'll be returned to the Sun Plans site.
 
Plan Name:
Atrium 3
Plan Format:
PDF Files Paper Both (+$200)
Total Price:
$1,350
 

$1,780
CAD Files
Computer-Aided Design (CAD) Files for having changes made by a local architect, design professional or engineer. Includes CAD Files, PDF Files, Custom Energy Specs and a Copyright Release. Electronic delivery.
Sun Plans uses PayPal for secure payment processing. You may pay with a PayPal account, or any major credit card (no PayPal account required).

Payment will be handled on the secure PayPal web site, then you'll be returned to the Sun Plans site.
 
Plan Name:
Atrium 3
Plan Format:
DWG & PDF Files
Total Price:
$1,780
 

$220
Mirror Reverse
Must be ordered with Construction Prints or CAD Files. Reverse the house along the north-south axis (i.e., if the front faced east, it will be reversed to face west). This is a service performed on the drawings. Drawings will be true right-reading, mirror reverse drawings.
Sun Plans uses PayPal for secure payment processing. You may pay with a PayPal account, or any major credit card (no PayPal account required).

Payment will be handled on the secure PayPal web site, then you'll be returned to the Sun Plans site.
 
Plan Name:
Atrium 3
Plan Format:
PDF Files
Total Price:
$220
 

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Study Plans
See larger, clearer, and more drawings than what are shown on the individual house plan pages.
The price is deductible from future orders of Construction Prints or CAD Files of any Sun Plan even if a completely different house plan is later purchased. Study Plans can be ordered from the Pricing tab for each house plan.

Study Plans include:

  • A mini set of design-oriented drawings set up for 11"x17".
  • A choice between a Paper version sent by US Priority Mail or the PDF version sent via email.
  • Unlimited printing with PDF's for sharing with family members.
  • 6 to 9 pages of drawings depending upon the complexity of the home.
  • Schematic site plan, floor plans (with room sizes and furniture), daylight basements if applicable, exterior elevations, a schematic section of the house to help visualize the interior, kitchen elevations and garage plans.

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Review Sets
Review Sets provide information to help decide whether the design will meet the budget. They are mainly for those who crave technical details, have construction experience or have a builder on board. 
The price is deductible from future orders of Construction Prints or CAD Files of any Sun Plan even if a completely different house plan is later purchased.
Review Sets can be ordered from the Pricing tab for each house plan.. 
Review Sets include:
  • A mini set of construction drawings set up for 11"x17"
  • Choice of PAPER sent by US Priority Mail or PDF version sent via email. (Select PDF to print extra copies or share electronically with other building professionals.)
  • 10 to 16 pages of drawings depending upon the complexity of the home.(See each house plan description for the drawings that come with each design.)
  • Dimensions and construction notes.
  • A copy of the Study Plan.
  • An "Opinion of Probable Construction Cost" from Sun Plans if requested. Sun Plans evaluates the design and compares it to similar home designs for which other clients have provided construction costs.   A range of construction cost is provided. (This is based on national information. Sun Plans does not have statistics by state, region or country.)
Review Sets may vary slightly from later orders of Construction Prints and CAD Files since drawings are continuously being updated to meet newer construction and in-house standards,
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Construction Prints
Large Construction Prints with clear, concise information make it easy for builders to follow yet they are flexible enough to adapt locally based on the price and availability of materials and subcontractors, various construction methods and home owner preferences. Together, every builder and home owner will change some aspects of the design before or during construction. If mutually agreeable (and approved by the building inspector and local engineer), these "field changes" can often be made with red notes on the Construction Prints. (For complex changes, please see CAD Files or Adapt-A-SunPlan Services.)
Construction Prints include:
  • Six sets of Construction Prints on 24"x36" paper shipped via UPS ground or PDF computer files sent by email
  • 10 to 16 pages of drawings depending upon the size and complexity of the home. (See individual house plan descriptions for specific drawings for each design.)
    • Schematic site plan (cover sheet showing how to orient the house for passive solar gain)
    • Foundation Plan (either slab-on-grade, crawlspace, below grade or daylight basement)
    • First and second floor plans (many construction notes, window sizes, etc.)
    • Exterior elevations (all four sides shown in hatched detail)
    • Schematic Building section (cut-away through the home showing basic configuration)
    • Kitchen elevations (all sides of the kitchen)
    • Typical wall detail (showing the various building materials recommended)
    • Schematic electrical (showing lights, switches and outlets)
    • Schematic framing plans (showing floor framing, roof framing and beams)
  • Garage or Carport
  • Custom Energy Specs. (Read more.)
  • One hour of technical support with the architect by email or phone
Miscellaneous Details
  • Order Construction Prints through the Pricing tab on any house plan.
  • After an order is placed, reply to the email received to advise of the requested information Sun Plans will need to prepare the Custom Energy Specs.
  • Allow 5 business days for updating the design to the Sun Plans in-house checklist and preparation of the the Custom Energy Specs. (Shipping then takes another 3-7 days.)
  • With PDF's, unlimited copies of the Construction Prints can be printed locally so long as they are used for building one home. PDF's are handy for sending to builders, mortgage companies, appraisers, home energy raters, and others who may be assisting with the planning and construction of the home such as the builder's subcontractors. Some building inspection departments require PDF.
Rick is in the lighting business and reviews construction prints in his work.
They are wonderful!  If you saw most of the drawings and specifications I see, you would wonder how anything got built properly...It is just nice to see a true professional who does the job correctly and takes pride in her work.  In my 34 years of working with Architects you are hands down the best I have had the privilege to work with. - Rick
A client sent a set of Construction Prints (designed for stick construction) to a SIP company to have them converted to SIPs. This is what they told the home owners:
I also wanted to take this opportunity to confirm your selection of Sun Plans Inc.  We receive many sets of drawings each day that are interested in comparing SIPs.  The drawings submitted by Sun Plans Inc. were high quality and very easy for us to work from. - Steve, SIPS of the South
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CAD Files
CAD files are the most flexible type of construction drawings since they can be modified and sent electronically. While the house design is intended to save the home owner energy, the CAD files are designed to save the energy of design professionals by making adaptations proceed faster should it be desired to have someone other than Sun Plans make the changes. The PDF files that are a part of the order allow for printing unlimited Construction Prints even if no changes are made. CAD files are intended to be used by professionals experienced in residential design.
CAD Files Include:
  • CAD files of the Construction Drawings (see below for options)
  • PDF file of the Construction Prints (see Construction Prints)
  • PDF file of Custom Energy Specs
  • PDF file of Copyright Release to allow the house to be modified and changed to build one house
  • One hour of technical support by email or phone. This can include review by the Sun Plans' architect on proposed changes prior to preparing Custom Energy Specs. If the customer sends a list of proposed changes immediately after placing the order, the architect can review them for energy implications and try to address them in the Custom Energy Specs.
CAD File Details
  •  Order CAD files through the Pricing tab on any house plan.
  • After an order is placed, reply to the email received to advise of the requested information Sun Plans will need to prepare the Custom Energy Specs.
  • Allow 5 business days for to allow for updating the design to the Sun Plans in-house checklist and preparation of the the Custom Energy Specs.
  • With the CAD files, many changes can be made to the design.
  • With PDF's (part of the CAD file order), unlimited copies of the Construction Prints can be printed locally so long as they are used for building one home. PDF's are handy for sending to builders, mortgage companies, appraisers, home energy raters, and others who may be assisting with the planning and construction of the home such as the builder's subcontractors. Some building inspection departments require PDF.
  • If consulting on changes is desired before the order is placed, then Adapt-A-SunPlan Consulting and Review Service is the process to take.
Examples of how the CAD files are used include: 
  • The design professional may expand the house a couple of feet, change the exterior materials, move a bathroom, or rearrange interior walls and doors.
  • The structural engineer may want to add engineering information such as rebar sizes and specific connections suitable for the local codes, soils, winds, snow or seismic activity.
  • The builder may find it easier to perform take offs and layouts with this electronic version of construction prints.
  • Home Energy Raters or HVAC subs creating duct work layouts can increase the speed and accuracy of their services.
Info for the Design Professional
  • The CAD Files are designed to be used by an experienced residential design professional
  • The standard method of preparing the CAD files is in AutoCAD 2000 DWG file type, with the files split into separate files. Approximately 95% of CAD file orders are prepared in this format. (Sun Plans can export to any version of AutoCAD between version 12 and 2013, but 2000 seems to be the most common one that most design professionals can use including those with older versions of the software.)
  • Can't use any of these CAD File types, but still want the local design professional to copy and redraw the design with changes?  The Copyright Release that comes only with CAD Files allow for this. (Please see Copyright.)
  • Special requests for all-in-one CAD files, DXF or AEC (DataCAD) files can be honored if advised within one business day of the order.
  • Split CAD Files are divided into separate files - cover sheet, foundation, first floor, second floor, elevations, section, kitchen, wall detail, and detached garage as applicable.  More than one of the printed sheet may be in each file. For instance, the fp1elect and fp1framing will also be in the fp1 file, but these are recommended to be printed separately as shown in the PDF files that come with the CAD Files.
  • More questions? Have the design professional contact us.

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Mirror Reverse
Similar to the Mirror Reverse feature for each house plan, mirror reversing Construction Prints and CAD Files flips the house plan on the north-south axis. However, the Mirror Reverse custom service also reverses the text and numbers so that they are no longer backwards. The drawings will be "right reading". It takes some time to check for overlapping text and numbers, but it is a worthwhile service considering the errors that can be made by the builders and their subs if they otherwise tried to reverse the home during construction.
In rectangular plans designed with one long wall designed to face south, the south and north sides will still face the same compass direction, but the east and west walls are reversed. In angled plans designed to sit at a 45 degree angle to south, the mirror line is from the northern-most corner to the southern-most corner which is a diagonal line across the house. What was the northwest wall would then become the northeast wall, and what was the southwest wall would then become the southeast wall.
Instances of when reversing might help include when the home owners want the entry on the east rather than the west. Or maybe a bedroom on the west is desired instead of the east-facing bedroom if light is not wanted from the sunrise. There are hundreds of reasons for mirror reversing a house along the north-south axis. Sometimes the architect suggests it during the Review and Consulting phase of any custom services based on the home owners' site or other particulars.
A local design professional can also do the reversing with the CAD Files.
Mirror Reverse is a not available for the lower-priced Study Plans and Review Sets.
The Atrium 3 boasts a southern corner sunroom. Two walls of the house face south. Both the southeast and southwest sides receive sun. The central atrium brings light down into the middle of the house so that the kitchen and central study are also bathed in southern light.
First Floor
French doors can close off the sunroom for acoustical privacy and for days when the sunroom may have a greater temperature swing than the rest of the home. The center hearth in the living room can house a wood stove or fireplace which can be two-sided and shared by the sunroom.
Morning sun will stream into the master bedroom in winter. In summer it will receive some rays through the northeast window which also helps with passive ventilation. The laundry is conveniently located near the master bedroom and it has a door to the outside for quickly hanging out clothes.
A variety of outdoor spaces extend the first floor living spaces. The spacious northwest front porch has room for rockers and swings to watch the evening summer sun. The screened porch is open on three sides for maximizing breezes that cool outdoor dining. The southern deck is a great place to catch some winter rays on non-windy winter days. The narrow walkway connecting the deck and back porch maximizes sun in the lower level.
Daylight Basement
The sunny stairs lead to the lower floor with 3 bedrooms, a study, exercise space, TV area and mechanical rooms. This spacious level almost doubles the home's living area. Since so many of the walls are earth-bermed, the rooms will require less additional heating and cooling energy to stay warm in winter and cool in summer than if they were on the second floor or a two-story home. With the numerous windows and walkout patio, it will be hard to tell that the rooms are below grade.
Garage
The detached garage can house two cars with a workshop or greenhouse space, or it can be modified for three vehicles. It can easily be attached to the house via the laundry or through the screened porch based on home owner preference.
Construction Info
First floor ceilings are vaulted which adds space and character. Basement ceilings are 9' tall. Stud walls and rafters are easily adapted to insulation requirements of various climates by varying the amount of exterior insulation. Thermal mass is in both the tile floors throughout the home and in the brick or stone wall in the sunroom. Solar panels can be placed facing southeast and/or southwest on the roofs, or on ground-mounted poles.
Modification Ideas
Since these ideas may affect energy performance and structural integrity, they should only be undertaken with professional assistance.
  • Build on a concrete slab for a small, high mass one-story home
  • Let the sunroom be a bedroom by converting the hearth space into a closet and rearranging the master bath to add a door
  • Reverse the home to place the garage on the northwest
  • Slide the screened porch to the southeast in front of the living room or sunroom to give the dining room southwest views
Construction Drawing:
For this plan, the following drawings are included with Construction Prints and CAD Files:
  • Schematic Site Plan
  • Daylight Basement Plan
  • Floor Plans 
  • Exterior Elevations
  • Building Section
  • Typical Wall Detail
  • Schematic Electrical Plans
  • Schematic Framing Plans
  • Garage Plans
Comments and Photos

Sandy and Bill's Atrium 3 design was featured in the article LEED for Homes: Dennison Homes Builds with the Future in Mind in Green Building and Sustainable Strategies Spring 2012.  Below are excerpts from the article by Marylene Vestergorn. Sandy and Bill chose to go beyond the energy recommendations of Sun Plans to include many green building features in their home.  In general, home owners can add infinite layers of details to make each set of Construction Prints match their priorities, finishes and tastes.

They started with the environmentally-friendly building program in Canada - the R2000. They interviewed three qualified local builders including Steve Dennison of Dennison Homes. That week the Canadian Green Building Council emailed her the brand new standard, LEED Canada for Homes. Steve called to say that with very few changes, their house would be a good candidate for LEED certification. He was on the same path and even signed up for courses on how to build to LEED standard. Since he was so enthusiastic it made our decision easy, said Sandy.  This was definitely a learning process, said Steve.

When building any house, you have a million choices to make. But when you're trying to build green, your choices are narrowed with limited information to guide you. It's not just about energy, points out Steve. LEED is also about the house as a home; about the health of its inhabitants. To avoid off-gassing, all the finishes, paints, insulation, MDF - everything has to be low VOC. There are a lot of competing rating systems out there, says Steve. You think you've found the right product and everything seems to check out, but it doesn't meet the LEED recycling content. Building to a LEED standard requires a huge investment in the education process.

Researching for the right vendors and products was a team effort. Sandy was very involved sourcing the partners to pull off this project. It started with acquiring the building design. Sandy found Sun Plans, specialists in passive solar homes, online.  The atrium creates a very dramatic space. Its ceiling is finished with reclaimed pine flooring and we installed a fabulous chandelier. The house has a simple layout. The builder said it's basically a box with three covered porches and wide overhangs  that provide character.

The two-story atrium provides natural light and ventilation that eliminates the need for air conditioning in their mild summer climate.  The kitchen, dining, and living areas are all open to the atrium. The two main walls of the living space face south so the master bedroom, den and living room have windows that get direct sunlight during the day. The kitchen and utility areas (mudroom/laundry room, stairwell and front entrance) are on the north side of the house.

Adhering to the LEED checklist meant considering every detail, including CFL lighting and ENERGY STAR fans and appliances. A local plumbing contractor took care of all the low-flow plumbing fixtures and the heating system, which includes an HRV system with an ECM motor and a high-efficiency Envirosense hot water tank to supply both domestic hot water and in-floor heating system.

Products are either built locally, or are environmentally friendly, but you don't often get both, says Sandy. One exception is the decking. Northern Composite Products use rice hulls, recycled glass and plastic to make decking that is durable, beautiful and environmentally friendly. Sandy opted for an aluminum roof that's recycled and durable.

The success in this project was in the learning. As for LEED certification, Steve's advice is to build as energy efficient and environmentally friendly as you can, but don't chase points by incorporating things that may not be practical for you. He expects the house to meet LEED Gold.

We could have built the home for less, says Sandy, noting higher end finishes for countertops and flooring and two custom built showers upped the ante. I like to think of our house as a practical green home that is just right for us.
Thank you Sandy and Bill for sharing comments and photos!