A Craftsman Cottage-Style Not-So-Big House

Simple, compact Craftsman Cottage style. Natural gray limestone on first floor with oak timbers around front window. The rest of the siding is fibercement, in stucco-pattern panel on first floor, lap siding on 2nd story, and shingle pattern in the gables. Using not-so-big design techniques shaved 500 square feet off the initial plans and 50,000 off the initial budget. The reduced square footage allowed budget for custom cabinets, custom stairway, high efficiency appliances, custom interior finishes (such as stone and art glass), as well as geothermal heating and cooling.

This home achieves significant energy savings through efficient green building design and construction. For example, during a very cold Iowa winter, from October 2005 through April 2006, the cost to heat the entire home was $181. In 2005-2006 This home’s heating costs were 83 cents per day, and produced 36,000 fewer pounds of carbon dioxide because of the energy upgrades. Data show this home is performing even better than projected.

Close-up of front porch (above). Indirect lighting in the front porch gives a soft, inviting light (below).

Back side with screened porch.

View from the front entry, past the custom stairway to the dining area. Long diagonal views make the home live larger than it really is.

Dining area with window seat on the left, and future desk area behind it.

Dual countertops fit the owners’ different heights when they prepare food.

Simple use of ceramic tile provide an attractive focal point in the kitchen.

Building an insulated wood foundation. Treated wood joists rest on washed rock. Foam insulation is sprayed inside the “cells” and seal out soil gasses. The foam hardens so fast it can bear weight as soon as it’s sprayed.

Structural insulated panels (SIPs) and roof trusses. The 2nd story gable end is made up of only 4 pieces, and all window and door openings are already cut into the panel.

Spraying foam insulation in the roof.

Geothermal pit with coiled heat-exchange pipes.