Debra Rucker Coleman, Architect
Floor 1
2,217 sf
Floor 2
116 sf
2,333 sf
Entry Faces
South Glass
Equinox Homestead

The Equinox Homestead is one of the original sun-inspired home designs, but it has been updated. One builder obtained a BuiltGreen Platinum rating. It has been on the National Tour of Solar Homes, on Shaw TV and in a documentary - Kilowatt Ours. The dominant feature of this one story plan is the library loft with a long clerestory above that brings light and additional solar gain into the center of the home. The front of the Equinox Homestead is designed to face south. The south living areas are bright and sunny while the north bedrooms will remain cool.

First Floor

This home with few hallways has little wasted space. The clerestory into the middle of the house creates a wonderful spatial quality in combination with the vaulted ceilings. The sunroom can become an away room or breakfast area with the smaller bay window then used for plants. The porches on each end allow for both sunrise and sunset viewing year round. The breakfast bay is a unique feature that is echoed in the front foyer.

Second Floor

The stairs to the loft also lead to a balcony space beneath the clerestory, perfect for an extensive library. There is an abundance of storage space upstairs too. The loft storage can become a fourth bedroom, playroom, or office with its French doors leading to the private, covered balcony.

Garage Option

The garage can be detached or attached and located on the side or back. From the back you could enter through the laundry and from the side you would enter into the family entry.

Construction Info

A stick framed roof allows for insulation to be fit between the rafters to create room for the loft and a semi-conditioned walk in attic. The first floor south ceilings are vaulted while the north spaces have 8' ceilings. The entire second floor is vaulted. The slab construction is designed to have thermal mass floors for the south side of the house. The concrete mass floors can be covered in stone, tile, brick pavers, or concrete stain for a marble look. The electronically operated windows in the clerestory aid in cooling.

Modification Ideas

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

  • Close off the sunroom entirely by adding a solid wall or French doors between it and the breakfast nook
  • Add a half bath in place of the pantry and relocate the pantry to the kitchen desk area.
    Remove the permanent stairs and the loft to create one large room from the sunroom and breakfast nook
  • Turn the living room end into the front of the house. The side would then face south making this layout ideal for a narrow lot
  • The Reverse Option will place the driveway on the right and the living room on the west. The sunroom and its adjacent porch will catch more morning sun

Construction Drawings

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

  • Schematic Site Plan
  • Concrete Slab Foundation Plan
  • Floor Plans
  • Exterior Elevations 
  • Building Section
  • Kitchen Elevations
  • Typical Wall Detail
  • Schematic Electrical Plans
  • Schematic Framing Plans
  • Garage Plans

Comments and Photos

GNB Builders in British Columbia, Canada made some delightful one-story changes with the use of CAD Files. The builder and owners then shared photos with us. There are more photos on the builder's website:

"GNB Builders is proud to have achieved BuiltGreen Platinum rating.  GNB Builder's clients were very progressive in their homes features and building practices to allow for a very energy efficient and healthy home. This home is prepped to go off the grid.

  • Energuide rating is 84 with 160 BuiltGreen Points = Platinum (lower ratings are better in this and some other rating programs)
  • Estimated annual cost for heating, hot water, lighting, appliances $1200

"According to the GNB, here are some of the key Features of this Platinum BuiltGreen Home in the moderate climate of British Columbia, Canada:

  • Passive Solar Design - facing true south
  • Milgard Fiberglass windows - highly efficient
  • Increased insulation, R22 in walls (instead of code min R20) and R48 in the ceiling (instead of code min R40)
  • Thermo insulated mass floor with Rigid insulation - R 7.5
  • Geothermal radiant in-floor heating and cooling - Water to water geoExchange Heat Pump
  • Electronic air cleaner with Electronically Commutated Motor
  • 50 year Metal roof
  • Rain water collection system with a 1600 Litre water cistern
  • Smart framing practices with engineered products
  • Recycled products throughout home
  • Reclaimed wood floors and mantle
  • No VOC Benjamin Moore paint
  • Cement shake board for low maintenance and longevity
  • Light fixtures all using LED or CFLs
  • Dual low flush toilets
  • Prepped for [Active] Solar"

(Recommendations for other climates may vary and Sun Plans may recommend different values for some locations to stay better than today's codes.)

Some of the other photos of the Equinox Homestead designs are from other clients in the eastern U.S. including one home that was on the National Tour of Solar homes.  Thanks to everyone for sharing photos!