Hillside Cottage: Floor plans Part 2

It’s been a little over a month since I fell in love with shared the first version of the future Hillside Cottage floor plans. Here’s how the process has gone so far…

  • In late October I posted some ideas I had for my garage/loft living space, and I shared them with my favorite architect a couple of weeks later
  • She came up with the first draft of the floor plans and a quick sketch of the possible elevations by late November
  • My heart went pitty pat
  • I took a few weeks to play with the plans, I also enlisted Steven from Caddis Design (who masterminded the Turtle House transformation) for a second opinion on some ideas
  • Two weeks ago I took the plans and ideas back to my architect, and we came up with a list of final changes

Which brings us to these plans, which totally would have made me fall out of my chair when I saw them, if I wasn’t already doing a happy-dance on top of the desk.

First Floor


Here’s a quick look at the original first floor plan so you can see what we changed:


We switched the main entry to the other side of the plan (which is why the entire plan is facing the other way, front always faces down) which gave us a nice entryway that leads to the half bath, a few closets, the workshop, the garage, and upstairs.

We also got rid of the covered porch to create more workshop space, switched the placement of the double and single garage doors, and put an interior overhead door in so the workshop could easily open and use the third bay of the garage– or what I like to call the “future tractor parking spot”. What? Every girl needs a tractor.

Then, as we talked through this plan together we decided to change the direction of the stairs from the patio so that there could eventually be a door out to the possible future house (which, frankly, this cottage has everything I need, but it doesn’t hurt to be planful.) Edit’s brilliant idea was to frame in for a door there, but we don’t have to actually install it. Then, if several years down the road I do decide to build a house there the header and studs are already in place.


Second Floor Living Space


This is fairly similar to the last version, except we added three feet onto the overall length of the structure, and added a nook between the living and kitchen area for a desk. Edit also added an additional 2′ to the kneewalls of the structure to add a little more height, which has the added bonus of more useable master closet space.

I’m definitely building some bookshelves for one of the walls up here, but it remains to be seen which one. The only thing that might get some adjustment is the kitchen insofaras where there are wall cabinets, how much space is needed for a fridge, etc.

And then there’s the really exciting stuff… the elevations.

Front Elevation


If there is a future house ever it will be attached via covered walkway to the right.

Back Elevation


That big blank space may eventually have a shed-roof for some outside covered storage, or I may just build a separate covered area a little ways off. I’m thinking any outdoor patio or bonfire pit will be in this direction as well.

Left Side


Love those garage doors. Don’t want to know how much they cost.

Right Side


Again, those stairs are going to change direction and go down the back. We both loved the way they looked to the front, but having a walkway to the house was more important, and after talking about it, it made sense for those stairs to be going in the direction of any outdoor entertainment areas. Or, you know, donkeys.

I don’t know if there are words to sum up how I feel about this plan, but I can tell you this. I’ve been pretty mentally and physically exhausted thinking about starting a whole other construction project from scratch, but this plan has energized me like nothing else. I am so ready to begin building this thing.

Since I don’t have anywhere to build it currently I satisfied myself with playing around in Photoshop.


My first instinct was shades of gray for this house, but I pulled a couple of other exterior ideas from my Exteriors Pinterest board as well…

Love the stone and board-and-batten (I’m thinking a short stone wall around the entry.)

I’m also thinking the brackets and other details will be more rustic, like this…

And there’s always this more barn-like color scheme which also tugs at my heart strings…

So 2012 is definitely starting out on the right foot as far as my future living space goes. As soon as I find my hammer and a good piece of property, it’s on!

16 Responses

  1. I have an acre and a half in Colorado if you would like to build a practice one! Looks fabulous – so excited for you (and for me being able to watch all your hard work!). Here’s to a productive 2012!

  2. I love it. It looks like a great home and workshop area that would be very comfortable whether or not you build a main house later.

    It does make me think about homes around here that have the garage under part of the house and there are a few big problems: 1. the room above the garage gets COLD and 2. the whole house smells like exhaust no matter how fast you kill the engine…not to mention the health implications of that bad air quality.

    The homes I’m talking about are 60-80 years old so I’m sure this plan is vastly better insulated and ventilated. It’s definitely something to be careful with though.

    1. This is a good point! I’ll definitely be planning the insulation around having the living space above, and there will be a wood burner up there to take care of most of the heating. Robin just posted some great info on high R-value doors as well!

    1. I did a little driving around and found one more potential property but nothing that is screaming THIS IS IT. I’ve still got my heart set on beginning of Feb to have an offer in somewhere though.

  3. Love it! The exterior elevations are especially nice. So many great details for a small cottage/”starter” home. I like the laundry being upstairs and the big doors to the exterior and garage for the shop. They will be very handy. The porch stair switch for a future door is a great idea too.

    A few things to note. Don’t worry about having conditioned area over the garage. If you insulate and vapor barrier properly it won’t be an issue at all. Closed cell spray foam (at least a small layer of it at minimum) would be ideal in that application. As an HVAC engineer IAQ (indoor air quality) will not be an issue if you do that. I would use an insulated and well sealed exterior garage door for the door to the shop though to maintain heat and stop the transfer of fumes. Same goes for the double doors to the exterior for the shop. Inexpensive garage doors are not insulated or very minimally insulated. It’s a shame really. With rooms above the garage (like we have) and semi-conditions room off the garage it’s a good idea to insulate the garage as well as you can to save energy.

    About the garage doors themselves. I highly recommend Clopay’s steel Gallery collection doors. That is what we have:

    Here are some more details:

    They have the highest R-value on the market, are steel which is ideal in snow country, have a very believable looking wood grain pattern if you want them to match the front door and shutters you have shown, and can come with the fake carriage style hardware if you want. The windows let it a lot of natural light but are still double paned (very rare in a garage door). I love not having to turn on a light everytime we go in there. They also meet the federal energy credit guidelines so you can get a rebate back on them. I would advise you hire someone to install them (we found the price to be basically = to just buying the doors separately) as they can be tricky to do. Ours were $1400 for each door and new opener installed to give you an idea. The woodgrain pattern was a big cost upgrade and our odd size cost more than a standard size so keep that in mind. Belt driven openers are the way to go if you have rooms above because they are much more quiet. Made a huge difference in our house!

    1. Got it! Great info, by the way. I wish there was a way to pre-approve all your comments!(I think it’s having two links that sets it off…)

  4. These look really great, Kit! Anything I wondered about has already been addressed so I’m just gonna say I love the gray and the stone wall!

  5. I am coming back to “home” and help you build it or at least watch what is going on. Mamie Very cool.

  6. How cute! I second what Robin says about stopping fume transfer between the living/working spaces and the garage. Last thing you need is carbon monoxide filtering up and doing you in.

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