Debra Rucker Coleman, Architect
Floor 1
1,128 sf
Entry Faces
South Glass
Young Heart

The small footprint Young Heart features a wrap-around porch and cozy hearth in the middle near the kitchen, dining and living areas. The master bedroom, kitchen and dining areas all on the east welcome the morning sun as does the long side porch. From the north front porch, the early rising and late setting summer sun can be enjoyed even during a rain shower.

Mary and her friends had been thinking about a passive solar home since the 1980's.  "I doubt that any of us lost the dream. I never did  and now I pinch myself that I am living the dream at last.  Thank you for making it come true. May your day be sunny."

First Floor

From the front door, there is a view all the way to the south windows. The long, central foyer near the front door and garage entry has nooks and built-in shelves creating an art gallery or functional space with plenty of room for cubbies for boots, coats and phones. Nearby is the long built-in desk area with flex shelves that allow it to be used for books or the TV, internet and stereo equipment.

This split two-bedroom, two-bath design maximizes privacy between the two private spaces allowing for maximum flexibility for the use of the sunny southwest bedroom. It can be a guest bedroom, study, exercise space or craft room as well as a separate room for pampered pets. The master suite on the cool northeast corner has the maximum privacy yet is still near the laundry and kitchen.

The kitchen will receive both east and south light via the dining area. This keeps it a bit cooler than a kitchen directly on the south side. The dining area flows into the living room creating some flex space in-between that allows for an expanded dining table, extra living room furniture or a yoga nook between the two.

The sunny east side porch can accommodate quite a group as it flows out to a large patio area perfect for cookouts. The French doors connecting this outdoor living area to the home make the home live much larger than its square footage.

Attached Garage

The minimum-sized garage is tucked into the main roof shape for simplicity of framing. It can hold two small or one large vehicle.

Construction Info

The simple Dutch gable roof protects all sides of the house from rain yet still allows for a high center area for the large attic area. The truss-framed roof with flat ceilings allows for a large attic above. Exterior walls are designed to be at least 6" thick, but they could be easily substituted with thicker systems. The crawlspace foundation works well for sites with moderate slopes where neither a slab nor basement is practical. The wall mass behind the wood stoves add some thermal mass, but with just 8% south glass, the home does not need a lot of mass to minimize winter overheating. Shingle roofing and board and batten siding are shown, but other materials can be used.

Modification Ideas

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

  • For flat sites, change the foundation to a slab and slightly increase south glass in cold climates
  • For slightly vaulted ceilings, use scissors trusses
  • Turn the garage into a second master suite with its own bath
  • Add stairs to a basement to the east of the garage, then either make a one-car garage or add another bedroom on the NW corner
  • Add stairs from the foyer to a second floor and make a single car garage
Construction Prints, etc.

For this plan, the following are included with orders for Construction Prints and CAD Files:

  • Schematic Site Plan
  • Crawlspace Foundation Plan
  • Floor Plan with garage
  • Exterior Elevations
  • Building Section
  • Kitchen Elevations
  • Typical Wall Detail
  • Schematic Electrical
  • Schematic Framing Plans
  • Custom Energy Specs
Comments and Photos

Mary was very kind to allow us to visit her home during construction where we took a few photos of the work in progress.  After she moved in, she told us:

"I am delighted with the warmth of the house. It is amazing that the sun begins to warm it so early in the morning. By 8 a.m. the temperature begins to rise above the thermostat setting of 69 degrees. The temperature rises easily to the mid 70s during the day and I enjoy letting in the cooler outside air. I close it up at 75 or 76 and the house holds the temperature overnight. We are just beginning to get down into the 30s....O yeah, sunrises, sunsets and moonrises are AWESOME.

I still marvel every day at the landscape through my windows and feel so much more aware of the changing arc of sunrise and moon rise. Having a well oriented house makes all the difference in observing it.

I am still getting used to so much light in the house all day. I just heard a talk on NPR, Here and Now, about a study done at Rensselaer Institute on lighting and dementia. The upshot was that we need about 4x more than customary to keep our circadian rhythms protected. I think the light gain of passive solar is probably as good as it gets."