Debra Rucker Coleman, Architect
Floor 1
1,456 sf
Daylight Basement
1,456 sf
Unfinished Basement
400 sf
Entry Faces
South Glass
Ben Franklin 2
The Ben Franklin 2 exemplifies simplicity and practicality while eliciting the warmth and charm of cottages. With the second floor removed, it is even more practical than the original Ben Franklin for those who only need a three-bedroom home and have land that slopes to the south. The compact footprint has everything a couple needs on a daily basis while the kids or guests can privately rule the sunny daylight basement. The north-facing front with its simple, front porch (large enough for rocking chairs) has a steep roof for cottage character.

16 degrees here today at noon, record lows for this time of year. Here are some photos with the sun shining. We are a comfortable 72 degrees on the inside and the furnace has not come on

First Floor
An ample size foyer has a view clear through to the south French doors. A quaint study on the side, separated by a glass pocket door, makes for a quiet nook away from bright light which can cause glare on computer screens.
A two-sided fireplace allows the hearth to be experienced from both the living and dining areas. The east family room wall with built-in cabinets and square windows on the east and west walls adds to the charming cottage style. The slightly vaulted ceilings over the south rooms make the entire south side feel even more spacious. The sunny kitchen is large enough for both an island and family dining.
The master suite will remain cool in the northeast corner of the house. The east windows allow the sun to brighten both the bathroom and bedroom.
The family will most likely use the side entry near the laundry and half bath with nearby ample storage for coats and boots. A large screened porch on the southwest is perfectly situated for outdoor, sunset dining.
The gentle U-shaped, central stairs lead to two bedrooms that flank either side of a central den that opens to a covered patio. Each bedroom has an expansive wall of south glass as well as a walk-in closet. The bathroom is large with a private tub with shower/toilet compartment. The entire north side of the basement has a large storage/mechanical area.
Detached Garage
The two-vehicle garage with a workshop and/or greenhouse space is recommended to be placed to the northwest of the main house. A covered walkway can connect to the side porch.
Construction Info
The first floor and basement both have 9' ceilings, but the main living areas also have slightly vaulted ceilings created with the economical scissors roof trusses. The foundation is designed to be pre-cast concrete walls, but other types can be used. The first floor walls (and the south wall of the above grade basement wall) are 6", but can be thicker. Since the house's south glass does not exceed 8% of the floor area, no additional thermal mass is needed to keep the home from overheating in winter.
Modification Ideas
Since these may affect energy performance and structural integrity, they should only be undertaken with professional assistance.
  • Add a full front porch across the front of the home
  • Expand the master bathroom to the east
  • For one story homes (or a full below grade basement), move the front door to the south, then combine the foyer and study into another first floor bedroom.
  • Add a shower in the half bath and make it connect directly to the new bedroom.
  • Consider relocating the laundry into the basement.
Construction Drawings
For this plan, the following are included with Construction Prints and CAD files:
  • Schematic Site Plan
  • Daylight Basement Foundation Plan
  • First Floor Plan
  • Exterior Elevations
  • Building Section
  • Kitchen Elevations
  • Typical Wall Detail
  • Schematic Framing Plan
  • Schematic Electrical Plans
  • Detached Garage Plan
Comments and Photos
As shown in the photos that he shared, Marcus built a modified version of the Ben Franklin 2 through with the CAD files. He reversed the design and attached a garage to the side. During his first cold weather spell, he wrote:
16 degrees here today at noon, record lows for this time of year. Here are some photos with the sun shining. We are a comfortable 72 degrees on the inside and the furnace has not come on.
Most of the thermal mass is on walls in the center of the home and in the basement flooring.