Debra Rucker Coleman, Architect
Floor 1
1,684 sf
Floor 2
741 sf
2,425 sf
Entry Faces
South Glass
Cozy Solstice
The Cozy Solstice is partially earth-bermed with part of the first floor nestled snugly into land that gently rises to the north. The narrower width reduces the cost of construction and operation with lower energy bills. The exterior is a blend of stone which creates the illusion of truly blending with the earth, but with smooth finish accents on the parts not touching the ground. The metal roof completes the fire-resistant exterior, but as with all Sun Plans, the exterior materials can easily be changed.
"So proud of you working with us on our home 9 years ago already no regrets, we love our home."
- Cathy & Darren  (Their home was on the National Solar Tour in 2019.)
First Floor
The interior still has the same wonderful open feel of the other Solstice homes. The master bedroom, great room, dining area, and kitchen will be full of sunlight year-round, yet shaded from direct solar gain in summer. The woodstove, or fireplace hearth, is in the center for equal distribution of heat and a visual focal point on the large wall lined with bookcases. The second floor balcony-style walkway overlooks this area.
Two smaller north rooms are very flexible in their use. The one closest to the garage is well suited for mechanical and/or laundry, while the central one is better suited for a home office, nursery or bedroom especially if a door was added to the nearby toilet area.
Second Floor
From the split level stair landing, the second floor is easily accessed from the front foyer. The central area above the living and dining are left open which also aids in passive cooling. A bedroom on the east and west create privacy. They share a bath in one of the north dormers. South dormers allow winter sun into the bedrooms while the side windows balance daylight and allow for cross breezes when the windows are open.
Attached Garage
Nestled close to the house, the narrower width of the attached garage, allows the home to fit on smaller lots. The south greenhouse space can also be a workshop while the front two-vehicle area is easily accessed from the street. A large attic can be accessed through either the second floor or pull-down stairs in the garage.
Construction Info
The first floor bermed walls are ICF (insulated concrete forms) while the rest of the walls are 6" stick framed that can be filled and covered with various amounts of insulation depending upon the climate. The great room and upstairs have vaulted ceilings while the rest of the first floor has 9' ceilings. The thermal mass is designed to be primarily in the concrete slab floors that can be covered in tile, stone, brick pavers or stained and polished.
Modification Ideas
Since these ideas may affect energy performance and structural integrity, they should only be undertaken with professional assistance.
  • Move the garage doors to the side and make garage one level
  • With minor tweaking of bathrooms, turn the utility and study into bedrooms, remove the second floor then lower the main entry for a cozy one-story three bedroom home
  • Floor in the central second floor area for an entertainment room
Construction Drawings
For this plan, the following are included with Construction Prints and CAD Files:
  • Schematic Site Plan
  • Partially Earth-bermed Foundation Plan
  • Floor Plans with Attached Garage
  • Exterior Elevations
  • Building Section
  • Kitchen Elevations
  • Typical Wall Detail
  • Schematic Electrical Plans
  • Schematic Framing Plans
Photos and Comments
Cathy and Darren in the far northern U.S. tell us: "We are still loving our home, in the winter it regularly gets to 78/79 degrees and when it's below zero outside we are LOVING that heat wave inside. The other day we had 26 people in our house for Christmas cheer and we actually had to open a couple windows. Beautiful sun shining and way too many bodies. I love how efficient our home is and our families love coming over in the winter because it's so nice and toasty."