Debra Rucker Coleman, Architect
Floor 1
1,239 sf
Floor 2
1,072 sf
2,311 sf
Entry Faces
South Glass
Northern Sun
The Northern Sun was inspired by the earlier Four Seasons house plans with the south side still full of windows. The home owner wanted to combine the traditional elements of a large, symmetrical front porch and central foyer with a staircase, but an interior that fit their growing family. The focal point in the home is the two story foyer in front that connects to the two story sunroom & dining on the south.
Note: The first photo shows the back/south of the home. Several clients have had variations of this home published in various magazines. Two have had articles published in Home Power in several articles regarding their net-zero permformance. Links to the articles can be found in the Comments and Photos section below.
First Floor
The two story dining with the bay window has a large kitchen on one side and family room on the other. The hearth (wood stove shown) can be enjoyed by all of these family spaces. The front, north side of the home is a little more formal with the elegant foyer that has a home office (future bedroom) on one side and a nook for a piano or desk on the other side which is also open to the family room. The west screened porch is accessible from both north and south ends of the house making it easy to use for sunset viewing and good party circulation. While it was necessary to place some steps from the garage to the house (due to bonus room constraints) and the front porch (due to the raised porch), the majority of the first floor would be fairly easy to get around in as you age.
Second Floor
The master bedroom upstairs has a spacious bathroom on the north. On the side there is a large closet with a laundry chute to below or an optional washer and dryer. The two children's bedrooms have large, fun closets tucked under the eaves and a bathroom that is shared by both.
Construction Info
The entire second floor has exterior walls that slope up from 8' to 10'. The first floor has 9' ceilings. The thermal mass needed to prevent large interior winter temperature swings is located in the concrete slab floor that can be covered with such things as tile, stone, brick pavers, etc.The combination foundation combines the best of a concrete slab for thermal mass and crawlspace for the raised look and plumbing access.
Modification Ideas
Since these ideas may affect energy performance and structural integrity, they should only be undertaken with professional assistance.
  • Add a small second floor laundry at the top of the stairs by rearranging the master bathroom and closet
  • Add another bedroom or study upstairs by flooring the two story sunroom
Construction Drawings
For this plan, the following are included with Construction Prints and CAD Files:
  • Schematic Site Plan
  • Combination slab and crawlspace foundation
  • Floor Plans  with Attached Garage Exterior Elevations 
  • Building Section
  • Kitchen Elevations
  • Typical Wall Detail
  • Schematic Electrical Plans
  • Schematic Framing Plans
Comments and Photos
Quite a few clients have built the Northern Sun and some have shared photos. Not all of the photos are of the same house and as usual, many variations from the original design are found as the home owners personal the design.

Read about Andy's home in "TIght, Green, Comfortable and Economical" by Karen Chase, Oregon Department of Energy. Here is an article that Andy wrote that was published in Home Power -  "The Path to Greener Buildings". Andy also purchased the CAD files and worked with a local design professional for modifying the design to his preferences.

Read about Jim's home in "Heading for Zero - smart strategies for home design" published in Home Power.  Jim purchased the CAD files and made changes to the home he then named "Heliospiti". He later published had two more articles about the home's net-zero energy performance in Home Power.