The Northern Lights 4 is an updated, rustic, high mass version of the original Northern Lights Sun Plan with its long-time proven energy performance. Timber columns, a front porch timber truss and wood lintels add western touches. Stacked stone blends the home to the land while the simple and practical stucco–type coating is a natural and inexpensive siding for the ICF walls behind. The wrap-around front porch on the cool northeast side works especially well for those who enjoy shady summer evenings outside, but reversing the home would be recommended for those who preferred sunset viewing.
From the front porch, a large airlock entry also serves as an art gallery with abundant wall space that is often missing in rooms that are open with lots of windows. A single glass door opens into the large earthy great room with wood ceilings and a large stone hearth. Next, the expanse of south windows is almost breathtaking. The kitchen is open to the sunny breakfast corner and the large great room. Its deep window box has enough room for several plants, but even the deep window sills in the south rooms can hold many flowers and herbs.
Two of the bedrooms will be sunny year-round while the northwest one may be the best choice for those who prefer less direct sun in winter. It may make a better office if computers or valuable books or art work are to be displayed.
The large garage has one small and two large overhead doors facing the side. The “L” shaped area forms a courtyard-like space for the front walkway. The separate mechanical room is nestled close to the house. The home is entered via the family entry large enough for boots and coats. The stairs up to the attic are designed to be nicely finished. Only after passing through the door at the top of the stairs, is the unfinished attic evident. The nearby laundry is ideally placed close to all bedrooms.
The great room, dining and breakfast have vaulted ceilings with beams dropped below the roof trusses. A wood ceiling here carries through with the rustic exterior of the home. In the dining area, dropped cross beams add elegance to the ceiling intended to have lighter white ceiling in between. The rest of the home has 9’ high flat ceilings. Insulated concrete walls (ICF) and concrete floors throughout make this a very high mass home which keeps the temperatures very stable year-round. While the floors on the south side should be covered in stone, brick, tile or stained and polished concrete, the floors in the north rooms can be wood.
Since these ideas may affect energy performance and structural integrity, they should only be undertaken with professional assistance.
Read more about the drawings available for various Sun Plans.
For this plan, the following are included:
Custom Energy Specs that describe any recommended adaptations for your climate – insulation values, glass type for the various windows, overhang lengths.