Below are photos of the kitchen, siting room, living room, dining room and sun room in a recently completed renovation and addition project in Cornwall, Vermont. Details abound in this home and include a stone fireplace, extensive woodwork and built-in furniture. New windows and french doors take advantage of abundant natural light and stunning Adirondack views. The connected spaces contain the Owners collection of antique furniture, rugs and Asian art acquired while living abroad. The smaller images are the before photos.
I am delighted to have one of my projects featured this week on the design website Houzz. Houzz is a leading destination for home design enthusiasts, professionals and home owners from around the world. With over 50,000 photos and 100,000 ideabooks, Houzz has the largest database of home design ideas on the net; it is the online version of cutting pages out of magazines and stuffing them in a folder.
Writer, Editor and Dreamer Lawrence Karol showcased my Modern Cabin in his ideabook entitled, Houzz Tour: Bright, Polished Vermont Cabin Using local woods, plentiful windows and a keen eye for design, an architect builds a sleek cabin in the mountains of Vermont.
“I don’t know much about playing poker, but I’ve been told that a pair of aces is the best starting hand in Texas Hold ‘Em. Architect Joan Heaton was holding the equivalent of this lucky pair — a keen eye for clean, modern design and a husband who’s a builder — when she began construction on this 800-square-foot cabin in the Green Mountains of Vermont.”
This image is included in the recently published “All New Built-Ins Idea Book” edited by Joanne Kellar Bouknight and published by Taunton Press. The Shaker inspired built-in provides storage for coats, hats, mittens and boots in a mudroom addition. The finish on the custom made cabinetry is old fashioned milk paint on pine. The color, Buttermilk, picks up the yellow tones of the blue stone floor while the cherry knobs, treads and railing provide contrast. In another mud room below, Shaker style cherry pegs contrast with Bayberry milk paint on salvaged cedar paneling. The pine on the ceiling has a pickled finish.
Last week I was contacted by an editor at Timber Home Living and asked to share my expertise on small home design.
“Dear Ms. Heaton,
I’m writing an article on small home design for the April issue of Timber Home Living and would like to include your input. I’ve included a few questions below.
Why do some of your clients build small homes?
How do you approach the program for clients’ small home projects? Start with the “must haves”? Start with the “would be nice” list and whittle down?
What are the challenges of designing a small home?
What do you enjoy about designing smaller homes?”
I was intrigued by the questions and inspired to make a blog post about designing small homes.
Small homes are my favorite type of project because they include only essential spaces and have huge possibilities for relating to the site and surroundings.
One of the things I like best about small houses is that there is an opportunity to capture daylight and views from all sides. You’ll see this in my Modern Cabin; the open kitchen, living and dining room have windows on the south, east and west. Open spaces and limited interior partitions help small houses feel big.
Often a cathedral ceiling and a loft can make a small house feel spacious; this you’ll see in the Rustic Cabin where the living room has a timber framed cathedral ceiling and is overlooked by a loft with twig railing.
On a recent project I was asked to accommodate a collection of books in a small home. We turned the stair landing into a tiny library with five foot tall shelving and a small window above. So even though small home design focuses on the essentials it is not without a few well-placed “frills”.
In order for small homes to function efficiently they need adequate storage space; a pantry broom closet and laundry room go a long way toward keeping clutter at bay.
Outdoor living spaces such as covered porches, patios and decks are an important element of small home design because they increase the living space while providing a connection to the outdoors. Pictured below is a covered porch; the timber framed brackets and roof system create a covered outdoor space for relaxing and enjoying the spectacular view.
My forward thinking clients chose small homes because they value quality over quantity and also because small homes use fewer resources and consume less energy.
I believe that small homes are here to stay.
The addition to this Adirondack home contains a sitting room, four bedrooms, three bathrooms and a loft; it blends seamlessly with the architecture of the existing cottage. The addition, located at right angles to the existing cottage, forms an outdoor courtyard with dramatic westerly views of the Adirondack Mountains. The design of the addition mimics the gable form and period details of the existing cottage such as the stone foundation and patio, flared shingled walls, diamond light windows and elaborate timber framed elements inside and out. The last image shows the site before the addition.
These photos are of the recently completed new Vermont farmhouse. The house sits on a sloping site and has living space on all three floors. The owner lives primarily on the first floor; the uppermost and lowest levels serve as guest accommodations for a large family. The energy efficient farmhouse is of new construction but sits on a pre-existing foundation on a previously developed site. The White Oak timber framed deck wraps the home on three sides. Inside the farmhouse antique Heart Pine floors, Hemlock timbers and milk painted Cedar wainscoting add detail and character.
The interior of the remote cabin is finished in wood and features locally milled pine and hemlock and salvaged flooring. Every board that went into the cabin had to be carried over a river and up a hill. We made thoughtful choices about the overall size of the cabin and the material selections. The Hemlock timber trusses were transported in pieces and assembled on site. The trusses support a roof made of structural insulated panels (SIPs). SIPs are an efficient combination of both structure and insulation. The roof supports a snow load of 70 pounds per square foot. We used v-groove pine on the walls and ceiling but varied the finish.