Debra Rucker Coleman, Architect
Floor 1
1,448 sf
Daylight Basement
1,224 sf
Entry Faces
South Glass
Prairie Dog 4
Farm house charm summarizes the Prairie Dog 4. The lovely wrap-around front porch is large and inviting without being excessive. With the front door tucked deep on the east side, both guests and family share the same entry which leads directly into the sunny center of the home. The west screened porch may end up being the favorite space with expansive views and French doors to the great room. It is a perfect place to wind down the day. A unique, compact split bedroom design similar to the other Prairie Dog and Fernwood designs with two bedrooms and two baths on the floor and unlimited possibilities in the sunny daylight basement.
First Floor

Like most sun-inspired designs, the first floor has the main living spaces on the south side. The east to west kitchen to living room area is one open space with slightly vaulted ceilings. This extra height makes the room feel large without the waste of high vaulted ceilings. A corner wood stove under the higher parts of the ceiling makes for a dramatic focal point with plenty of firewood storage on a stone-covered hearth.

The kitchen receives morning light and is tucked in a corner, out of the main circulation path, yet it is completely open to the dining and living areas. The large, eat-in island is a cook's dream for overflow preparation. The frig, sink and range are efficiently located on an L, reducing the need to carry large pots and dishes across open space.

The bedroom layout is a split design which creates privacy for both bedrooms. Each has their own bath, but the smaller one can be accessed from the living areas as well. The master bath has a large shower and windows which capture sunsets. The laundry is near the center of the house making it convenient from all work areas as well as the garage entry.

Daylight Basement

A sunny basement is designed with flexibility and is easily accessed from the center of the home. Sun will stream down the stairs in winter. There is room for at least two bedrooms (and up to four) and at least one (or two) more baths. The entire level could be rented out or reserved for in-law or teenage living. Patio doors on the west allow for easy outside access. The mechanical room could also be a storm cellar.


The garage has room for extra storage or a workshop. Like many Sun Plans, the attached garage is designed such that it can be eliminated or constructed later.

Construction Info

The Prairie Dog 4 is designed to be constructed with an economical truss-framed roof, 6" walls, and an ICF (insulated concrete form) foundation. Upper and lower wall construction type can be changed. Both floors have 8' ceilings and the first floor south rooms are vaulted to the center. The north rooms could also be vaulted. Although thermal mass always helps with comfort and minimizing temperature swings, with 7 percent south glass, additional thermal mass is not needed to prevent winter overheating when the low sun is streaming through the windows.

Modification Ideas

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

  • Glass in the west porch if west trees can provide shade
  • Add French doors from bedroom 2 to the porch
  • Turn the desk area near the kitchen into a pantry
  • Build just the first floor on a slab, and take out the stairs
  • Reverse the stairs so the basement is closer to the laundry room
  • Detach the garage for narrow lots
Construction Prints

For this plan, the following are included with orders for 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
Photos and Comments
Thanks Lori for photos and comments:

"Wanted you to know we are just about completed with our construction project and we couldn't be more pleased with the final result!!! The house is absolutely amazing and everything and more than I dreamed it would be. When I am at my kitchen island looking out at the view and feeling the breeze flow through I feel like I am right in the middle of the field.

"The daylight and views are amazing!...The front porch is amazing. It stays cool even on hot days between the shade and the nice breeze that wraps around the house from the SW direction. Eventually we will finish the basement with rough shiplap siding as a family/rec room for the grandchildren and gathering place for parties. Can't wait for winter to enjoy that warmth from the sun.

"Between your gorgeous design and my builders hard work you have both made our dreams come true and we feel truly blessed. I told you about my grand babies passing. The day we received the bad news and knew he was not going to make it, on the way home a beautiful double rainbow appeared in the sky and I told my husband that was a sign from God and my father (who passed on recently) that everything was going to be okay and Calvin would be with his great grandfather soon. We have since then witnessed a beautiful rainbow over our home/field and I truly believe Calvin and my dad are with us and smiling down. I feel so close to God up there.

"Thank you so very much!" - Lori
(Like most clients, they made a few more changes during construction so the photos may not match the house plans exactly.)
Since they have moved in, she told us:
"On the cold, sunny days I turn the thermostat down and the furnace does not kick on until 5-6P." 

"We had a couple of sunny 12 degree days recently and it heated up to a comfortable 72 degrees and we didn't have to put the furnace on until after sunset. Today is in the mid-twenties and it is 74 degrees in the house. I have been marking all "free heat" days on the calendar. I have to say I appreciate the sun much more than I used to. Thankfully we have had a good share of sunshine. Even on cloudy days a bright home is so much more uplifting especially for those of us that live in the north and have long winters!"