Debra Rucker Coleman, Architect
Floor 1
1,830 sf
Daylight Basement
1,680 sf
Entry Faces
South Glass
Mitten Haus
It's hard to believe that the cozy Mitten Haus was inspired by a reversed Acorn design with the numerous adaptations. With an extra thick layer of insulation added, it becomes a cozy home for extremely cold climate. (Thinner exterior walls can be used in milder climates.) The simple rectangular shape is broken up with the side garage brought forward which adds character yet still allows for an uninterrupted south-facing roof for adding solar panels now or later. A bright, low-energy home bursting with sun begins at the north-facing front door and continues through to the south living areas on two floors.
First Floor
The airlock north foyer and side mudroom both help keep in warm air in winter and cool air in summer. The French doors open to the main living areas on the south yet a partial kitchen wall shields the view to possible messy food prep. The master bedroom takes advantage of the sunny south side as well while the cooler north side is used for the more utilitarian spaces. A north bedroom can also function well as a study with less glare on computer screens. Bath 2 can also be used as a guest bath.
The kitchen is near the laundry/mudroom and garage with counter and sink for canning or plant care. A small area for boots and coats is convenient for use by both the garage door and back door which also allows for quick access to outdoor clotheslines.
Daylight Basement
The creative stairs near both entries makes the daylight basement easily accessible. There is room for at least 2 extra bedrooms as well as a large recreation room, cozy wood stove nook (which can have many uses for study, crafts, exercising, etc.) and a large mechanical/storage room. The split bathroom can be used by more than one person at a time. The wood stove on the lower level makes cleaning it out and hauling wood more convenient while the nearby stairs allow for the heat to rise to the main floor.
The two car garage with north workshop nook has the garage doors on the front to minimize distance to the kitchen when unloading from outside. The garage has lots of windows on the south side to accommodate a small greenhouse area
Construction Info
With its simple shaped walls and truss roof, the Mitten Haus should be an easy to build home. 18" thick ICF walls allow for extra insulation in a very strong concrete wall. Plants and cats will love the extra deep window boxes at each window. The truss framed roof with raised heels allows for extra thick, economical insulation while the truss-framed floors accommodate duct work and utilities so that the 8' basement ceiling does not need to have fur downs below it for utilities. The first floor has 9', easy-to-build flat ceilings in most of the house with a slightly vaulted area over the living area. The exterior is designed for vertical board and batten cement board siding to offset the wide home. The partial stone veneer foundation and metal roof make for a low-maintenance home that is resistant to fires.
Modification Ideas
Since these ideas may affect energy performance and structural integrity, they should be undertaken with professional assistance.
  • Build the exterior walls with studs and stuff them full of fluffy cellulose insulation or construct the walls with thinner systems which to allow for larger rooms
  • Vault the ceilings over the kitchen and master bedrooms for added character
  • Add a kitchenette and small dining area in the cozy nook along with a stackable washer and dryer in the hall linen so the lower level could be an in-law suite
  • For a one story home, replace the stairs with a large pantry or a small third bedroom or craft nook.
  • Add a root cellar beneath the laundry room
Construction Drawings
For this plan, the following are included with Construction Prints and CAD Files:
  • Schematic Site Plan
  • Daylight Basement Plan
  • Floor Plan with Attached Garage
  • Exterior Elevations
  • Building Section
  • Kitchen Elevations
  • Typical Wall Detail
  • Schematic Electrical Plans
  • Schematic Framing Plans
Comments and Photos
After they move in and get the home decorated and landscaped, clients often send photos as well as comments about their house. Be sure to check out photos of other sun-inspired homes with the main living areas on the south.   Sun Plans designs have a similar feel inside the home.