Debra Rucker Coleman, Architect
Floor 1
1,517 sf
Entry Faces
South Glass
Jersey 'scape
The Jersey 'scape is a larger, south-facing version of the three bedroom, 2 bath Katrina Cottage designed to be later expanded as the family grows. It has everything a small family or retired couple could ask for in a creative first floor plan that feels larger than it is with the open floor plan. There is little wasted space yet room for a wheelchair to navigate most of the house.
First Floor
From the quaint front entry, the visitor gets a wonderful view of the stone hearth wall. (Of course, this thermal mass wall could also be stucco, brick, or tile covered.) The spacious family entry near the garage and back door to the deck has plenty of space for the numerous coats, boots, and other things that tend to accumulate coming and going from the house.
The kitchen has views both east through the window box and south through the dining area which feels like a sunroom space with its many windows and glass door to the side porch. The living area and master bedroom are also sunny year-round areas while the north bedrooms are great places for a study, computer areas, or art studios with their softer north light.
The master sleeping area is isolated yet close enough to the other bedrooms for young children. With a door in the hall, bedroom 2 could even become a private master study. Designed for future growth, the site plan shows some suggestions for adding on while proportionately increasing solar gain.
The extra wide, two-vehicle garage has space for a workshop or many yard toys. The attic can be accessed by the pull down attic stairs to the large storage area between the attic trusses above.
Construction Info
The living room, kitchen, and dining as well as bedroom 3 have vaulted ceilings to make the rooms feel larger. Flat ceilings 8' high over the master area and bedroom 2 provide for a place for attic storage. With the truss roof redesigned or a SIP roof added, those spaces could be vaulted as well. The plan is designed with 6" exterior walls of either studs or SIP construction, but thicker ICF walls could be easily substituted. The thermal mass is designed to be primarily in the stone covered concrete block walls on both sides of the living area, but some is in the tile floors.
Modification Ideas
Since these may affect energy performance and structural, they should only be undertaken with professional assistance:
  • Build on a concrete slab on grade to add thermal mass to the floor. The thermal mass walls could then be eliminated
  • Close in the corner southeast porch to become a sunroom. Stone veneer thermal mass can be added on the wall adjacent to the kitchen
  • Add a full basement if your land slopes to the south. Stairs down can be placed in the side porch area
  • Add bedrooms and expand the house to the west
  • Rotate the garage so that the doors are on the side, and add windows on the south to create a greenhouse space on that end
Construction Drawings
For this plan, the following are included with Construction Prints and CAD Files:
  • Schematic Site Plan
  • Crawlspace Foundation Plan
  • Floor Plan
  • Exterior Elevations
  • Building Section
  • Kitchen Elevations
  • Typical Wall Detail
  • Schematic Framing Plans
  • Schematic Electrical Plan 
  • Garage Plans
  • Custom Energy Specs
Comments and Photos
Janet and Brian, the homeowners, really had a tough time getting rural builders with no experience in energy-efficient construction to follow the basic energy specifications. All the more reason to find a third party Home Energy Rater to work along with your builder. Still, they had a few good words to say about the home's performance once they finally finished: "The good news is that the passive solar design actually works. The heat is set at 60 and we typically run 8 to 10 degrees higher inside the house. We have also purchased a soapstone wood-burning stove and have a cord of wood waiting to be used. That will help during our coldest months."