Portfolio Pieces

Vermont Vacation Home

The Vermont Vacation Home, located in Waterbury, Vermont, is comprised of two barn-like forms. The proportions, simplicity in design and the ratio of wall to window create the barn look. The barns are linked by a glassed area containing the stair. The living space (kitchen, living and dining) is to the south; the living room has a cathedral ceiling and there is a loft over the kitchen.  The master bedroom is on the first floor to the north; a guest bedroom and a bunk room are on the second floor and the basement is finished with a TV room, game space and wine room.

Net Zero Farmhouse

The Net Zero Farmhouse is a three-story, four-bedroom, accessible home with four and one-half baths. The house and garage are simple gable forms; an entry porch and screened porch with shed roofs anchor the house to the land. The volumes are connected in the tradition of Vermont vernacular architecture.

Sited to face due south, the house makes use of both passive and active solar and achieves the goal of net zero with roof mounted, grid-tied, solar panels. Landscaping, including board-formed concrete retaining walls, integrates the house into the sloping site.


Vermont Barn Home

Drawing on the region’s agrarian past, the house takes the form of gabled barns with textured wood siding. Large expanses of glazing are reminiscent of barn doors sized for animals and tractors. Flat roofed structures clad in steel panels add interest and connect the barn volumes.

The juxtaposition of gabled and flat roof forms breaks up the massing. One barn serves as the main living space with the primary bedroom while a second barn contains the kids’ wing.

This project is in the construction document phase.

Vermont Modern Farmhouse

The Vermont Modern Farmhouse takes the shape of two gabled volumes, with ridges perpendicular to one another, connected by a single story glass enclosure. The two volumes have steep “farmhouse” pitched roofs while the other portions of the house have low-slope roofs. The juxtaposition of the volumes and rooflines gives the farmhouse a modern look.

In contrast to the sleek exterior, the interior of the house incorporates materials that are rich with texture and patina such as paneled and plastered walls, timbered ceilings, glass and steel doors, white oak flooring and a rusted steel fireplace surround.

“Joan Heaton has a gift. I am a designer who has worked with dozens of architects all over the United States. Joan is one of the very best I’ve ever known. I chose her to design my dream house and I never looked back. She brought ingenuity, style, and restraint when necessary for budget reasons. I’ve never seen anything like the end product. We never had a “down” moment. Each meeting left me feeling invigorated and in control. She is good at listening to client wishes as well as advocating for her own vision. The output was a blend of ideas that hit all the right notes.”

– Mika


Adirondack Addition

Renovating older buildings is one of the primary principles of green building design. We transformed this Adirondack summer cottage located on an historic estate in Elizabethtown, New York into year round retreat by winterizing the existing cottage and adding a new structure containing bedrooms and baths for family and guests.

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.


“Joan Heaton has been the most fabulous individual to work with! From the moment we started conversations with her, we could tell that she understood our somewhat quirky desires to go with recycled and old elements and styles. She created an addition to a 1920s building that is just seamless and even made adjustments along the way that improved the building and the addition even more. She has been more that just a one-time architect in that she also has helped us with long-term planning for our vacation property in terms of needs for buildings. She helped us find the perfect location and design for a second structure that provides boat storage and exquisite guest space above. Joan is so good at listening to the client and working on solutions that make sense for everyone – she often was the bridge between our very practical builder and our fanciful ideas. It is also important to note that much of our conversations with her were over the phone or by email and she visited the projects while under construction many times more than we did. We could trust her completely to oversee the projects. We fully intend to keep creating projects for her over the next several years!”

Vanessa and Ned

Farmhouse Addition

The Farmhouse Addition consists of a kitchen, dining and vaulted living room, four-bedrooms and three and one-half baths. A separate TV room with a bar joins the addition to the existing house. The addition includes outdoor spaces for entertaining and to take in views of a pond and ski area beyond.

Finishes, both exterior and interior, give the addition a timeless appearance.  Stone veneer on one volume adds texture to the white painted clapboard siding, vertical board siding and a standing seam metal roof.  On the interior, timber trusses and rustic floor boards compliment painted woodwork and cabinetry.

This project is under construction.

Vermont Modern Barn

The Vermont modern barn, a small, simple, get-away home is sited to take advantage of southern exposure and views to the west.  The barn, modeled on the local form, is updated with a structural system of steel beams and big expanses of glass in the windows and doors. A twelve-foot wide sliding door disappears into the gable end wall and a pivot entry door welcomes the owner and visitors. A “bump out” containing four bunk beds accommodates overnight guests.

Read about the barn in Design New England magazine.

“When looking for a design partner for a new home I was building in Weybridge, VT, I was introduced to Joan and her talent.  Joan’s ability to bring creativity, quality, and personality to my project was outstanding. She recognized and encouraged my participation in the process, she listened every step of the way, while still helping me see what I couldn’t see. Building this home has been one of the most rewarding things I have ever done, and I couldn’t have done it without her!”

– Mary


RECOGNITION: 2017 AIA Vermont Excellence in Architecture Merit Award

Mountain Cabin

The Mountain Cabin, located in Waitsfield, Vermont, is nestled among the trees on a west facing knoll overlooking the Mad River Valley. This two bedroom, two bath home provides compact living on one level. Bifold doors at the southwest corner of the cabin open wide to provide access to a deck and connect with the outdoors.

Low maintenance, energy efficient, modern and edgy are among the adjectives the client used to describe her vision for her new home. The Mountain Cabin is all of the above with durable, stained cedar siding, clad windows, and a standing seam metal roof.  Polished concrete floors with radiant heat and a modern wood stove keep the cabin warm while extra thick walls, full of insulation, increase efficiency. Clean lines, sleek built-ins, European appliances and contemporary plumbing fixtures contribute to the modern look.

A separate one-car garage with a charging station for an electric car and solar photovoltaic panels furthers the sustainable agenda.

Read about the cabin in Fine Homebuilding magazine.

“It has been a true pleasure working with Joan Heaton Architects on many projects. Whether it is a new build or renovation we always enjoy collaborating with Joan. She brings great ideas to the table and approaches every job with an open mind. Joan always works closely with the client to help them create the home of their dreams. We look forward to many more projects with Joan Heaton Architects in the future.”

– Brothers Building Company


Hillside Home

The four-bedroom hillside home emerges from the sloping site to take advantage of light and views. The south side captures sunlight and solar energy and the west end focuses on mountain views across the valley. Shifting and overlapping forms create an interesting composition on the land and the juxtaposition of gabled and flat-roofed forms breaks up the massing. Exposed concrete walls and local rough-sawn Pine add texture to the home.

This project is under construction.

Mountain View Home

Oriented to take advantage of sweeping Adirondack views this three-bedroom Mountain View home with an adjacent two-car garage fits its occupants like a glove. Opportunities for both recreation and relaxation abound; gardens and walking trails make full use of forests and fields.

“Joan was the creative force on my journey of site selection, house design, and building. She took a collection of vague ideas, desires and scribbles (in other words, my ‘vision’), enhanced them with great skill and translated everything into a actionable design with a creative mix of materials, a beautiful inside-outside flow, and an orientation taking full advantage of water and Adirondack views. Her style and vision as well as the ability to pivot allowed us to never lose focus and always find the solution. I loved working with her! Joan brought together a cadre of collaborators – builder, landscape architect, artist, interior designer, construction vendors, and others – and managed everyone’s contribution with grace and purpose.”

– Susan


Addison Farmhouse

Renovations to the Willmarth Farm include updating the kitchen, family room, master bedroom, and four baths in the existing farmhouse, stabilization of an enormous, historic, timber-framed, dairy barn and renovation of an existing carriage barn into guest quarters. Architectural interventions comprised of clean, modern lines complement the existing historic fabric. Living spaces in the farmhouse and guest house take advantage of panoramic west facing views of the Adirondacks. Extensive landscaping, including a new pool, ties the farmhouse and barns together.

“Joan’s work speaks for itself. We were initially attracted to Joan’s clean, simple design style and the organic materials of her work. Working with Joan, confirmed her talent for translating farm vernacular into contemporary design. In an easy, efficient work process, Joan was able to translate our ideas for our 1788 Vermont farmhouse and work with the contractor to transform them into a beautiful, comfortable home. She and the contractor worked patiently with us to stay within our budget and time frame. Joan also recommended just the right landscape architect to create an overall outdoor plan connecting the farmhouse to the carriage barn, which Joan repurposed into a 2,000 square foot guesthouse. A lap pool and landscape improved the approach to the main house and provided a number of outdoor spaces to take advantage of our panoramic view of the Champlain Valley and the Adirondack Mountains.”

– Lisa and Bob


Stoneledge Shed

Read about Stoneledge Shed in New England Home magazine.


RECOGNITION: 2021 AIA Vermont Excellence in Architecture Citation Award

“Congratulations on this well-deserved recognition. Your genius vision with volumes and forms is like none other. I loved working alongside you.”


New York Farmhouse

The family farmhouse in Westport, New York, accommodates the owners, their children and grandchildren.  The residence consists of a five-bedroom home and a separate barn with guest quarters. The house and barn sit at opposite ends of a parking court and are connected by an open, timber-framed pergola. The space between the house and barn offers views to Lake Champlain and the Green Mountains beyond. The house is comprised of simple gable forms. Porches to the south, east and west anchor the house to the site. The porches are timber framed; patios beneath the porches are bluestone. The winter porch is an enclosed, heated space that connects the living and bedroom wings. The main living space and two bedrooms are located on the first floor of the house. The living room features a large stone fireplace and timbered ceilings. Three more bedrooms and a sitting area are located on the second floor. The first floor of the barn contains a two-car garage, a fitness room and a bath. The second floor contains two bedrooms, an open kitchen, living and dining area and a bath. Dormers bring light into the second floor of the barn where all spaces have cathedral ceilings. Extensive landscaping includes a tennis court, stone patios, trees, shrubs and plantings.

Carriage Barn

Green design strategies for this carriage barn include siting for passive solar. Its windows are located not only to take advantage of Green Mountain views but also for maximum daylighting and cross ventilation. Designed for multiple uses, the barn contains two cars and a workshop on the ground level; a home office doubles as guest quarters above. The shed along the north side keeps a tractor and firewood undercover.

The exterior colors and textures connect the barn with its surroundings. Extensive plantings and a native-stone wall further integrate the barn with the landscape. Interior, details such as millwork and fine lighting and hardware contribute to the high level of finish in this barn.

Barn Home

The Barn Home consists of two volumes, one for entertaining and one for sleeping, that sit at right angles to one another at the edge of a sloping site. The house has four full and two half baths, and an attached two-car garage with a fitness room above. There are covered porches to the north, south and east; the porch to the east provides access to a hot tub and swimming pool.

Also on the property is a third free-standing barn volume. On the lower level, there is a workshop. A game room, fitness room, bath, and bar/kitchenette are located on the first floor and there is on office in the loft.

A palate to weathered barn siding, large glazing, stone veneer on the foundation, and chimney and board-formed concrete on the retaining walls tie the structures together. Timber trusses on the interior reinforce the barn look.

This project is under construction.