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Dear Friends, Customers, and Clients of Sun Plans,

Fall is in the air – finally! Our work load has slowed down a bit to the steady, slow pace of our gopher tortoises.

Now is the time to begin gathering your information and ideas for your home and filling out the Custom Design or Custom Changes questionnaires to start the custom process. As we’ve stated before, our customers and clients who have the most enjoyable time building start construction about 2 to 6 months after receiving the plans – whether using a custom design or one of our pre-designed house plans.

We are again accepting new work although this is filling up rapidly. We anticipate limiting our Spring 2009 work to those who have sent their initial design information to us no later than Dec 2008. If you anticipate being in our schedule between now and then, please send us an email.

Curious about our web site? Click here.


As the sun rises due east and sets due west, the shade line over south facing windows at noon is slowly rising to allow the sun to begin to gradually warm the home.

Night time temperatures have dropped below 65 degrees nation wide making it the perfect time for passive cooling. Open your windows at night to cool down the house, then close them in the morning to hold in the cool air. With a well-insulated home and at least some thermal mass, the home should remain relatively cool the rest of the day even if the afternoon temperatures soar.

Ben Franklin

The Ben Franklin exemplifies simplicity and practicality while eliciting the warmth and charm of cottages. The compact footprint has everything a couple needs on a daily basis while the kids and guests can privately rule the upstairs. The north-facing front of the home with its simple, but elegant, front porch (large enough for rocking chairs) beckons to take a peek inside. 1.5 STORY, 2099 S.F. FP1&FP2

See more about the Ben Franklin

Lakeside Sunrise

A northwest facing lot with a gorgeous view to the southeast inspired the Lakeside Sunrise which evolved from our Fairy Tale design. The main entry was moved to another side to create a large, welcoming foyer. The center of the home features a two story atrium and large hearth. The southwest sunroom-like corner brightens the living areas year-round and allows sunset viewing. The craftsman-style exterior overhangs minimize summer overheating. The wrap around porch on the northeast corner is the place to be to watch the lakeside sunrises. 1.5 STORY, 2274 S.F. FP1&FP2

Click here to see more about the Lakeside Sunrise

Heartland 2

The Heartland 2 is an east-facing home that can blend with a neighborhood, the woods, or the prairie. The comfortable front porch welcomes guests whether approaching from the southeast or northeast. (Large lots may allow the garage doors to be placed on the north.) The craftsman styling is in the gable roof ends with knee braces and in the shingle siding accents adorning features such as the numerous window boxes. The front French doors allow light into the foyer which leads through a small gallery-like hall to the center of the home where a daylight cooling chimney brightens up the interior. 1 STORY W/FULL BASEMENT, 1945 S.F. FIRST FLOOR

See more about the Heartland 2

Timber Touch

The Timber Touch with its possible 6 bedrooms can hold a growing family and/or many guests who like to stay a while. The downstairs rooms are spacious enough to accommodate large crowds yet maintain a cozy scale for only a couple. The south-facing Timber Touch has three entries which work well with a variety of drive approaches. The side kitchen entry is practical for unloading groceries. The back entry at the split level is perfect for storing coats and boots as well as skis, riding gear, work clothes and pets. It could also become the main entry with a drive from the north. However, the main south entry, with its high mass surfaces of stone or brick around the masonry hearth, echoes the warm timber cottage style of the exterior. You might lose track of time in this house. 2 STORY, 2521 S.F. FP1&FP2

Click here for more on the Timber Touch

Don’t let the garage or carport be an after thought. If carefully thought out, they can offer valuable overflow space:
– With south windows, they can become a greenhouse.
– Being a little larger in one direction, they can provide space for a workshop or outdoor play equipment storage
– A carport can be a great place to hang out clothes or host an outdoor party. It allows for views too from the house as you look through them instead of at solid garage wall. (of course you might also have to look at bicycles, tractors, etc.)
– Some clients like a combination garage and carport that houses the best of both worlds of security and openness
– Use a variety of windows and doors for character, then don’t forget the landscaping!

“Wow,wow,wow! We love the last set of floor plans you sent. They are perfect! We really can’t think of a thing we’d change. I guess that means it’s time to move on to the next step. Let us know what you need us to do and we’ll get right on it. Thanks a million, Craig and I were visting and know we never could have come up with this plan on our own. You’re great! :-)” Conni

“First of all, thanks so much for the sketches. After your note on time constraints we did not expect to see the drawings this soon. The sketches were a pleasant surprise (although you did tell us you get pretty close to your customers desires on the first pass). We could see all of our layout thoughts and exterior appearance ideas in the drawings; it is exciting for us as our “dream house” is starting to develop….PS: while we were walking today, we talked about you and how happy we are that you are able to work with us in this project. ” Steve and Peggy

…and here are some comments from custom design clients…

We love to hear from clients and customers once you start construction. Thanks Mark and Mary for the update on the Fernwood house design. The photo shows how interior scissors trusses look with the bottom chord sloped to create a slight vault.

Sun Plans designs trusses with a raised heel to allow for full insulation to go up against the outside wall. This minimizes thermal breaks. The “wart” that Marks refers to below is the truss company overlooking the raised heel requirement.

“… Our passive solar home project is steaming along and Mary or I visit it twice weekly as it is 105 miles from where we live now….Mary and I have made some changes to suit our needs….The home is on a challenging piece of (property). We will have to do extensive work to channel ground water away, build a retaining wall, fix our driveway…all due to the clay soil conditions….From the beginning I (Mike) intended these albums to convey the process of building a custom home from the home owners’ perspective. I wanted to show the joys and frustrations, ‘warts’ and all, so to speak. Well, this episode has some ‘warts’…or one big wart in any case. Fortunately, we have resolved the issue to our satisfaction.”

Visit the Sun Plans website anytime day or night!

See examples of active and solar homes in your area as home owners across the country open up their homes for touring.
Click here to find a tour near you.

We look forward to helping you create a sun-inspired home!

Sun Plans Inc.
Debra Coleman, Architect, AIA
Author of
The Sun-Inspired House: house designs warmed and brightened by the sun
Sun-Inspired Design: the gold lining of green building

July 2018
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