Debra Rucker Coleman, Architect
Floor 1
1,176 sf
Floor 2
196 sf
1,372 sf
Daylight Basement
1,176 sf
Entry Faces
South Glass
French Cowgirl 4
The French Cowgirl 4 features a fun, get-away tower with a full size stair case leading up to it. The same stairway connects to the sunny daylight basement which if finished can double the living area to accommodate another generation of parents or children. The large central breakfast bar is perfect for expanded family meals and holiday gatherings. It is a small footprint home that lives like a larger home. The porches expand the livability of the home. Exterior steps lead down to the garden-like south patio that can be terraced with a variety of plants.
"On this chilly winter day, as we sit in our sun-drenched living room, we remain grateful for your French Cowgirl design." - Linda and Bob
First Floor
A quaint airlock foyer with French doors opens into the spacious great room with full southern views and sloping ceilings. The stone accents on the west wall around the entertainment wall could accommodate a fireplace. The central kitchen keeps the cook in the action and the large walk around counter makes buffet serving especially easy. The half bath is in a perfect location for guests as well as the family who want to clean up as they come in from the garage.
Daylight Basement
From the front entry, the stairs lead down to the full daylight basement. This makes the lower level perfect for a sunny home office or other uses where visitors need not come into the main house. On the south side, the daylight basement has a large, open living area in the middle with an optional bedrooms or offices on either end. The north side houses at least one bath and plenty of closets for storage, safe rooms, mechanicals or a root cellar. The laundry at the base of the stairs makes for easy access to the upper floor yet it is situated so that it can also be used by those occupying the lower level. A laundry dumbwaiter or chute could be added in place of the coat closet above. The south French doors open to a sunny south patio.
Attached Garage
The attached over-sized two-vehicle garage has extra storage area along the house wall for storing muddy boots and tools. The east-facing garage doors are sheltered from west storms. Front-facing garage doors allow the home to fit on narrower lots.
Construction Info
The French Cowgirl 4 has a truss-framed roof with vaulted ceilings in all first floor rooms except those below the tower. Six inch exterior walls allow for a variety of insulation options that adapt to hot or cold climates and additional insulation can be easily added. The lower level walls can be constructed with many types of ICF's or poured concrete with added insulation. Thermal mass is located in tile and concrete floors and in some wall mass. When the doors between basement door and tower hatch are open, the passive cooling with the stack effect is maximized in summer. Open web floor trusses make it easier to run duct work and utilities between the floors.
Modification Ideas
Since these ideas may affect energy performance and structural integrity, they should only be undertaken with professional assistance.
  • Add a mudroom/laundry between the house and the garage
  • Stretch the tower across to the south wall to create space for a large bedroom and bath
  • Flip the kitchen and dining locations while redesigning the kitchen to be in the southwest corner
  • Turn the half bath into a large coat closet and add a door into the master bath from the hallway
  • Add a kitchenette on the lower level
Construction Drawings
For this plan, the following are included for Construction Prints and CAD Files:
  • Schematic Site Plan
  • Daylight Basement Plan
  • First Floor with Tower and Attached Garage
  • Exterior Elevations
  • Building Section
  • Kitchen Elevations
  • Typical Wall Detail
  • Schematic Electrical Plans
  • Schematic Framing Plans
Comments and Photos
The photo shows the north side of a modified, one story version of the design from owner- builders Linda and Bob who made quite a few changes with the CAD files including removing the basement and building on a slab for extra thermal mass and a smaller home.
"On this chilly winter day, as we sit in our sun-drenched living room, we remain grateful for your French Cowgirl design."