Debra Rucker Coleman, Architect
Floor 1
1,296 sf
Floor 2
445 sf
1,741 sf
Entry Faces
South Glass
Cottage Atrium
The Cottage Atrium evolved from our compact Atrium 2 house plan with the small footprint and large central atrium. Our client's land was flat so they could not take advantage of a daylight basement. Instead, we added a small second floor loft area for additional living. The house is full of the Not-So-Big-House concepts. Two sides are designed to face south which maximizes the number of rooms that receive sun. The back corner sunroom is designed to face due south with the front of the house facing northwest.
First Floor
The central staircase of the home is full of light from the atrium that also aids in natural cooling. The light will spill into the living area and kitchen. The south sunroom will be very cozy in winter with the wood stove. Open the French doors to heat the rest of the house or close off the room in summer on hot days to keep the rest of the house cooler. The master bedroom is close to the main living area yet still has acoustical privacy. The deck on the west will be warm in winter and convenient for summer cookouts being next to the screened porch. The northwest porch is ideal for summer sunset viewing.
Second Floor Loft
At the top of the stairs is a small study with French doors. To the right is a small bedroom and across the hall a bathroom. Tucked around is eave storage within conditioned space to keep your seasonal items in good shape year round. Garage Option The detached garage can house two-vehicles and a workshop space or it can be modified for a third car or tractor. It could even be attached via the laundry room if the layout of the land allowed and if the master closet window could be sacrificed.
Detached Garage
The garage can house up to three vehicles which allows one bay to be flexible for a workshop or extra storage. The garage can be placed at various locations on the land or even attached to the home.
Construction Info
The first floor ceilings not covered by the second floor are vaulted which makes the quaint size rooms feel open and spacious. The concrete slab construction can tolerate more thermal mass so the south glass has been increased. Even with the 30% solar penalty with the 45 degree orientation, the home boasts a substantial south glass of 10%. Because of the potential for overheating with errors in siting, you must carefully site your home per our custom energy recommendations. (Also, please see our book or web site regarding angled plans in general.)
Modification Ideas
Since these ideas may affect energy performance and structural integrity, they should only be undertaken with professional assistance.
  • Add a small closet to the sun room and door to the master bath to create another first floor bedroom
  • Make a full west side screened porch and orient the southeast side of the house due south. Reduce overhang lengths to 2'
  • Place a large second floor bath in the study area and turn the bath area into a study overlooking the great room and atrium
Construction Drawings
For this plan, the following are included with Construction Prints and CAD Files:
  • Schematic Site Plan
  • Slab Foundation Plan
  • Floor Plans
  • Exterior Elevations
  • Building Section
  • Kitchen Elevations
  • Typical Wall Detail
  • Schematic Electrical Plans
  • Schematic Framing Plans
  • Detached Garage Plan
Comments and Photos
"We are enjoying the Atrium and I am really happy about the thermal performance. Maintains an average during the day of about 12 degrees F above the outside temp. When Mr. Sun hits the SE windows about 8:15AM or so, that side of the house really starts warming up nicely." - Sam (light colored house photos)
And thanks Rosalie for the interior photos of the western built Cottage Atrium. The vertical nature of the photographs illustrates that its the vertical aspects of the home that are the most appealing!
And we love the bright roof contrast of the prairie-sited home. Jack wrote: "Lisa and I embarked on a project almost 9 years ago based on one of your plans. Since that time, we've had a chance to "put the house through it's paces". As the raven flies (we have very few crows), we are only a couple miles from the Continental Divide, thus the temperature extremes (-40F to +100F) are constant. Overall, we're extremely happy with the passive solar design (and the resultant low energy costs), the functionality (is that a word?) of the house, and the relatively low maintenance. If we ever do another home, it would be one of your plans"