Debra Rucker Coleman, Architect
Floor 1
1,591 sf
Daylight Basement
1,591 sf
Entry Faces
South Glass

The Acorn is a bright, low-energy home bursting with sun and convenience. Beginning at the east-facing front door, and continuing throughout, windows are carefully placed to admit the right amount of light and heat. The "L" shaped front of the home creates a type of courtyard and gives flexibility to place the home on land with a driveway approaching from the north or east.

"My husband and I are so happy with our home. If the day is sunny, the furnace does not kick on until the wee hours of the morning - even if it is single digits outside." -

First Floor

The open staircase designed for wood stairs that is part of the entry greatly opens up the space-saving foyer. Immediately the eye travels beyond it to the bright, south wall of windows in front of the dining, great room and kitchen. The master bedroom takes advantage of the sunny south side as well as morning sun through the east-facing window box.

That leaves the cooler north side for the more utilitarian spaces such as baths, laundry, stairs and mechanical spaces. Centrally located bedroom 2 can also be a study that opens up to the main living area. For bedroom use, bath 2 can be accessed privately. The kitchen is ideally placed close to the laundry/mudroom and garage whose workshop area can be used for canning. The laundry that has a sink in a counter that works equally well for cleaning vegetables straight from the garden. The opposite long wall has plenty of space for boots, coats and cubbies as needed.

The master bedroom and bath, as well as the kitchen and laundry allow for aging in place with larger than average spaces. Higher than average amount of Universal Design features are included.

Daylight Basement

The daylight basement shown with window wells for a flat lot (full walkout is also possible) has 3 extra bedrooms for a five bedroom home! The split bathroom can be used by more than one. A large recreation area with a study nook makes the lower perfect for children even if they only return home seasonally with their own family. The northwest room tucked into the corner near the bottom of the stairs is perfect for a root cellar or safe room. .

Attached Garage

The two car garage with workshop has the garage doors near the front door to minimize distance to the kitchen when unloading from outside. Being close to the kitchen, the workshop can easily become a hobby room or canning space since the side door can go directly out to a garden.

Construction Info

With its simple shaped stud walls and truss roof, the Acorn will be an economical to build home. The truss framed roof with raised heels allows for extra thick, economical insulation while the truss-framed floors accommodate duct work and utilities so that an 8' basement is more acceptable and cost-effective. The first floor main living area has 9' ceilings and the central great room is designed to be slightly vaulted. The masonry wood stove provides much of the thermal mass and a thinner tile system in the south-facing rooms provides the remainder. The exterior is designed for horizontal cement board siding, stone veneer foundation and a metal roof which makes for a low-maintenance home that is resistant to exterior fires.

Modification Ideas

Since these ideas may affect energy performance and structural integrity, they should be undertaken with professional assistance.

  • For a one story home, replace the stairs with a large pantry or a small study or craft nook.
  • Enclose the corner back porch for a winter greenhouse or, if the plan is reversed, for a bright morning room.
Construction Drawings

For this plan, the following drawings are included with Construction Prints and CAD Files:

  • Schematic Site Plan
  • Daylight Basement Plan
  • Floor Plan with attached garage
  • Exterior Elevation
  • Building Section
  • Kitchen Elevation
  • Typical Wall Detail
  • Schematic Electrical
  • Schematic Framing Plans
Comments and Photos

"I wanted to let you know that every year my mom and I have a contest to see who can hold out the longest before turning the heater on. With our new home, she will never be able to win again. The heat from the day keeps our house warm all night. It is approaching November and we still have not turned the heater on. We are very happy with our home. Thank you so much!" - Alice and Kyle

We really appreciate the sharing of photos from Alice! The first group of photos.

Later, Scott and Natalie built the home and sent the aerial photos. They still have the basement attached awning to add.  (Sometimes we recommend that clients wait a season before adding them since the extra thermal mass of the lower daylight basement can keep the home from overheating in summer if the climate is not too hot.  They shared: 

"The first year we have used one fourth the propane we used in the home I built in the same area 20 years ago.  Very pleased with the comfort and energy efficiency." - Scott

Their new home is only about 10% smaller than their previous one.  While many clients use the mini-split heat pumps if they are going all electric, especially if they will be adding PV solar panels, some clients still prefer to use propane if they are in a climate that does not need the air conditioning that mini-split heat pumps can also provide.

Scott and Natalie also changed the location of the kitchen in their home - swapping it with the living area. Few people build a home exactly to a home's original design as they tweak it to fit their family and lifestyle.