Debra Rucker Coleman, Architect
Floor 1
1,176 sf
Floor 2
168 sf
1,344 sf
Daylight Basement
1,176 sf
Entry Faces
South Glass
French Cowgirl 3
The French Cowgirl 3 has its extra bedrooms below in the sunny ground floor instead of up where they are less protected from extreme temperatures. The tower, however still provides a place for occasional second floor sleeping or sunset viewing. With so many options for living on various levels, this home lives like a much larger home than its small footprint might initially portray. Both the back, west sunset porch and the east front porch provide outdoor living areas that also expand the livability of the home. Exterior steps from both porches lead down to the lower, garden-like south patio that can be terraced with a variety of plants.
First Floor
A quaint airlock foyer with small French doors opens into the spacious great room with full southern views and slightly vaulted ceilings. The stone accents on the wood stove hearth and the steep ladder leading up to the loft tower add character and interest to this compact, easy to build home. The central kitchen keeps the cook in the action and the large walk around counter makes buffet serving especially easy. Practical people will appreciate the extra door to the first floor bath so that one bath can be accessed from the central living as well. The creative U-turn stairs allow for quick access to the sunny lower level.
Daylight Basement
The full daylight basement has a large, open entertainment area the entire length of the sunny south side. A cozy hearth and plenty of sun assures it will never feel cold and damp. Two optional bedrooms are also possible with room for an ample sized living area, making the ground floor perfect for teenagers or long-term guests. The numerous large closets can serve many purposes such as closets, root cellars, mechanical rooms or laundry. The south French doors open to a sunny south patio.
Attached Garage
The attached over-sized two-vehicle garage has extra storage area along the house wall for storing muddy boots and tools. The east-facing garage doors are sheltered from west storms. Front-facing doors also allow the home to fit on narrower lots.
Construction Info
The French Cowgirl 3 has a truss-framed roof with slightly vaulted ceilings that bear on 8' high north and south walls. This makes the smaller, right-sized rooms feel larger. 6" exterior walls or SIP panels can be constructed with high-density foam or studs can be filled with blown insulation with exterior insulation board. The insulated concrete form (ICF) basement walls can be constructed with many types of ICF's. Thermal mass is located in tile or concrete of several methods and some wall mass behind the hearth. When the basement door and tower hatch are open, the passive cooling with the stack effect is maximized in summer.
Modification Ideas
Since these ideas may affect energy performance and structural integrity, they should only be undertaken with professional assistance.
  • Add a mudroom, laundry and pet room between the house and the garage
  • Stretch the tower across to the south wall for a larger second floor and add a regular run of stairs (over the basement stairs)
  • Flip the kitchen and dining locations while redesigning the kitchen to be in the southwest corner
Construction Drawings
For this plan, the following are included with Construction Prints and CAD Files:
  • Schematic Site Plan
  • Daylight Basement Plan
  • First Floor with Tower and Attached Garage
  • Exterior Elevations
  • Building Section
  • Kitchen Elevations
  • Typical Wall Detail
  • Schematic Electrical Plans
  • Schematic Framing Plans