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Thursday, January 22, 2009

1.5 Story Structures

With recent demand for cost effective structures, I have had success minimizing the construction budget by using a 1.5 story design. The area on the second floor is contained within the attic, eliminating the second level exterior wall framing materials and expense. The Covington Cottage in WaterColor, Florida is an efficient 2085 square feet, locating two guest suites and a home office on the second level.

The great room configuration eliminates the need for dedicated rooms, both maximizing flexibility and enlarging the perception of living space. The two story stair hall spills light into the back of the room, while sharing a peek up into the tall ceiling. The master suite and a built-in bunk area are separated by a double compressed archway to enhance the feeling of privacy and separation. The screened porch off the master makes an ideal sleeping porch.

My favorite details of a 1.5 story structure are the vaulted ceilings and walk-in attic storage. In the second level bedrooms, you have the option of vaulting the ceilings and exposing the structural collar ties. This also eliminates the drop ceiling, as the roof will need to be stick framed in lieu of trusses. There will also be pockets of storage under the eaves, with a walk in attic over the single story portion of the plan. Note the small desk area and bathroom dormer.

Side elevation shows the screen porch details and egress windows for the second level bedrooms. Louvered spandrels are good for reducing solar gain in the great room, adding a nice layer of detail without reducing the height of the porch ceiling. I have found the roof pitch must be a minimum of 10:12 for the 1.5 story configuration to work with the floor trusses below. While I prefer to use three sets of French doors, windows on each side of the entry reduces cost.

This plan has been featured by and is available for purchase. For questions or additional information contact Geoff Chick directly, or visit to see additional projects and complete contact information. Copyright 2008, Geoff Chick & Associates, Inc.