Debra Rucker Coleman, Architect
Floor 1
2,343 sf
Daylight Basement
1,911 sf
Unfinished Basement
432 sf
Entry Faces
South Glass
Atrium Breeze 3
The Atrium Breeze 3 home features the same sunny atrium, vaulted first floor, and basic layout as the Atrium Breeze 2, but the exterior has been modified to stone and stucco. Other changes include a larger garage and basement modifications for land that sloped to the southeast. The entry is through the front courtyard on the northeast and nearby there is a path that leads down to the walkout daylight basement den - perfect for a home office or in-laws suite.
"I have found the house very economical to heat and have not found it necessary to use air conditioning because of the atrium."
First Floor
The front entry courtyard welcomes the visitor as they approach from the northeast (northwest if plan is reversed). Elimination of the elevator makes the front bedroom larger and it now has its own private bath. The master bedroom and bath are still large, but the laundry has been moved closer to the kitchen and garage. The small loft has been traded for a vaulted ceiling in the stair well and if you were not too concerned about excessive summer heat or possible leaks, a skylight above would be fantastic. The dominant feature of the home is still the kitchen, great room, and dining as they are washed by the light from the atrium.
Daylight Basement
If your land slopes to the south and east, the light into the bedrooms, craft room, exercise room, and den/kitchenette would make these spaces bright so long as you do not add decks above the south windows. The only dark area would be the mechanical room which has the area outside covered by the screened porch above.
The garage can hold 3 vehicles and has been expanded to have room around the edge for extra storage and workbenches. The optional southwest greenhouse area is a great place for your outdoor plants in winter especially if the garage is insulated.
Construction Info
The entire kitchen, master bedroom, and front bedroom all still have the same vaulted ceilings as the great room, dining, and corner sunroom of the previous Atrium Breeze plans. The other first floor rooms still have 9' ceilings and the basement has 10' walls. (Always check with structural engineers on heights of basement walls.) The roof slope is still lower and the thermal mass walls around the corner sunroom remain. They can be covered in tile, stone, or stucco to assist with thermal comfort in winter. We estimate this home and our other atrium plans to be about 20% more expensive to build than other homes with simpler roof structures.
Modification Ideas
Since these ideas may affect energy performance and structural integrity, they should only be undertaken with professional assistance.
  • Slide the garage to the northwest to open up the entry (then remove the screened porch to make the roof lines work)
  • Move the garage to the other side of the screened porch then modify the entire area between kitchen and previous garage to allow for a third bedroom and bath.
  • Eliminate the basement and build on a concrete slab for more thermal mass which minimizes temperature swings
Construction Drawings
For this plan, the following drawings are included with Construction Prints and CAD Files:
  • Schematic Site Plan
  • Daylight Basement Plan
  • First Floor Plan with Attached Garage
  • Exterior Elevations
  • Building Section
  • Kitchen Elevations
  • Typical Wall Detail
  • Schematic Electrical Plans
  • Schematic Framing Plans
Comments and Photos
Some of the photos are from our clients in the North West who ended up taking off the atrium in order to save on construction costs (they used roof trusses instead of the stick framing).  You can see that the inside is still very spacious and has plenty of light from the south windows.
The other photos are from a modified Atrium Breeze 3 with changes made from the CAD files. The home owner living in the east says: "The garage is now a carport, the lower level apartment has a rear walkout instead of a front door, the house is built of a locally made insulated block of waste sawdust and concrete, etc.).  I have found the house very economical to heat and have not found it necessary to use air conditioning because of the atrium.  I used electric window openers for the atrium windows.  The HVAC is a Mitsubishi split system.  I am really pleased with the accessibility features sawdust and concrete, etc.). "
The home was part of a tour.  The home owner shared: "We had many favorable comments about the house.  We overheard many visitors saying that this was their favorite house because it was a house they could see themselves living in and not a museum piece.  There was a lot of interest in the passive solar features and everyone was impressed by how cool the house remained despite the 85 degrees outside."