In 2010, I built a home for owners who wanted a small home that lives big. We combined the uses of space so that one could see across the home, from the kitchen, through the bar, dining and living areas, and through to the outside. There’s a laundry-powder room off the kitchen, and the rest of the main level is taken up with the master bedroom and master bath. A screened porch is off the back, and accessible from the kitchen.
The lower level is unfinished, but will allow two more bedrooms, another bath, a game room and lots of storage space. The owners achieved more-useful storage by installing access doors above regular doors in closets, rather than from just inside the closets.
To make the compact floor plan (1172 sq ft footprint) feel even bigger, we raised the ceilings to 9 ft.
The owners used unconventional finish materials: corrugated metal lines the entry nook, the eat-in bar and the stairway; they also refinished old doors salvaged from the Habitat Re-Store for the coat closet and pantry.
Energy efficiency is achieved by exceptional envelope tightness, sprayed urethane foam insulation, an energy-recovery ventilation system, and geothermal heating and cooling, along with Energy Star appliances and electronic compact fluorescent fixtures. The Energy Star Report estimates that the home will heat and cool for under $150 a year, and reduce emissions by over 50%.
The exterior is clad in fibercement in a board-and-batten style reminiscent of the home in Grant Wood’s “American Gothic”. The building site required a large retainer wall, and the owners chose massive limestone boulders, that required no mortar, and were quarried nearby.
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