Home Plan Detail

Small Sun-Filled Cottage

By: Debra Coleman
Passive Solar Designs


Square Footage

Total living area: 1741'
Basement: 0'
Main Level:1296'
Upper Level:445'
Footprint: 36' 0" W x 36' 0" D


Bedrooms: 2
Bathrooms: 2.5
Master suite location: Floor


Levels: 2
Parking: Garage
Number of car stalls: 2
Foundation: Slab
Lot type(s):
Modifiable to:
Modifiable to:
All others


  • Atrium
  • Deck
  • Vaulted Ceilings
  • Sunroom
  • Wood Stove
  • Screened Porch
  • Upper Study


This unique 2–bedroom home features an atrium in the center of the house. Using the operable windows at the top (or a small fan), hot air is literally sucked up and out of the house on hot days, which can dramatically lower your electrical bills in the summer. The atrium also allows natural light to pour into the center of the house. The outline of the house is a perfect square (36' on a side), and the roof is a fairly simple to construct hipped design, so this house can be quite inexpensive to build. It can be a passive solar house if it faces northwest.

A 12'–wide screened porch and open deck runs from the front to the rear of the house, and the covered front porch is also quite large, so this home was clearly designed for a family that likes to spend a lot of time outdoors. As you approach the house, the roof over the front porch is supported by four 10" tapered columns. The porch is 8' deep and 24' wide, so there's plenty of room for furniture.

As you step into the foyer, there's a powder room on the left, and a little further into the house, a coat closet on the right. Across from the closet a wide door opens to a large laundry room that provides access to the garage (garage details appear below). When you reach the center atrium area there's one hall that leads to the master suite and another that passes the kitchen on the way to the living spaces of the house.

The kitchen has a pair of windows that bump out slightly to accommodate a lovely window box. The sinks are located beneath the windows, which look out to the front porch. There's a good–sized pantry, plenty of counter space and cabinets, and a peninsula counter between the kitchen and the dining area with a raised bar for casual dining and/or serving. The living room, dining room, and the sunroom all sit below a ceiling that vaults all the way to the hipped roof. The dining room has views to the front and side, and a wide glass door opens to a screened porch – making outdoor dining or entertaining easy. A door on the porch opens to a wide deck that runs to the rear wall of the house.

The living room has windows along one wall that look out to the deck and the views beyond. Next to it is a sunroom that is wrapped with windows on two walls. This room also has a wide glass door that opens to the screened side deck. The original homeowners wanted a wood–burning stove in the sunroom so that they could use it even on cold days and nights.

Just beyond the stairs to the upper level there's a door that opens to the master suite. On the right there's a deep linen closet, while across from it double doors open to a walk–in closet. The master bedroom enjoys views to the rear of the house through a trio of windows that fill the far wall. The bath area has two vanities, both a soaking tub and a separate shower, another linen closet built under the stairs, and views to the rear.

The stairs are positioned inside the atrium space, which pops up above the roofline, filling the stairway with light during the day. There are eight 36"x30" windows in the atrium – three facing the rear, three to the right side, and one each facing the front and left side. You have the option of having these windows be operable, or installing a fan in the single window facing the side. At the top of the stairs, a door on the right opens to bedroom 2. This room has a view to the rear, a walk–in closet, and a door in the closet that opens to eave storage. There's a study across from the stairs that can be enclosed with a pair of French pocket doors, or left open. And there's a full bath that you enter after passing a railing that looks down into the center of the house as well as the living room.

Garage Option
The detached garage can house two vehicles and a workshop space, or it can be modified for a third car or tractor. It could even be attached via the laundry room if the layout of the land allowed, and if the master closet window could be sacrificed.

Construction Info
The first floor has 8' ceilings. They can be raised by your builder, but an additional foot in height will require adding two risers (stairs), which will reduce the cabinets in the living area by 10".

Modification Ideas
Place a large second floor bath in the study area and turn the bath area into a study overlooking the great room and atrium.

Floor Plans