The Rita

The Rita is a tiny house under 500 SF that will be constructed in Sarasota, Florida.

The Rita respects the design principles of the Walker Guest House:

  • Raised off the ground to float lightly over the land
  • Free Plan
  • Plywood walls, floors
  • Modular kitchen space

The particular form of the Rita derives from its position relative to the Gulf of Mexico and the loft, which will be on the west, or Gulf-facing side.

The Rita will be constructed of wood, designed in a modular manner to minimize cutting.  For example the floor will be 14′ wide so 14′ floor framing members can be used without cutting, and 16′ roof framing members can be used without cutting.

Specifications:

Type: one bedroom with storage loft, meeting FBC and FHA minimum size standards

Construction type:  wood framing (Type V)

Foundation type:  open foundation, using poured-in-place concrete piers

Area:  459 SF

Length:  34′

Width:  14′

Height:  16′

Cost:

Conceptual design sheet $35.00

Full plans and specifications, ready for permit in your municipality:  $5,000.00

Construction cost will vary from location to location.  Consult a qualified general contractor.

To order plans please write rtreep@gmail.com or call 407-408-4953 anytime.

The solid state house

The solid state house has been featured in the following publications:

Builder Magazine, a national publication

Eco Building Pulse, a magazine about sustainable design trends

The New Geography, a blog that discusses and analyzes where we live and work

The reason it has received so much national attention is not that it is innovative.  Innovation comes when a product already on the market can be made better, faster, or cheaper.

Instead, the solid state house is inventive.  Invention comes when a new product is introduced to the market.

The solid state house can be in any form.  This particular design, the prototype, is based on a minimal footprint (one story with loft) where the subtle influences of the site suggest a reaction to wind, water, and sunlight to create a wave form.

wave form

This wave form will become a partial curve, that may be built out of metal or carved foam.

Appliances will include tankless water heater and induction coil cooktop.  Lighting and other powered devices will be LED or low voltage.  The gear room, with the washer and dryer, as well as the air conditioner, will still be analog.

A few images of the solid state house:

Front Entry

The front entry faces north.  Direct sun in the tropics of Florida will graze the north elevation in the morning and afternoon, so a brise-soleil of curved metal will filter the strong sunlight.

The solid state house will be built off he ground four steps, elevating it from the moist soil.

Level 1

On level 1, the entry yields into a combined living/dining/kitchen area.  Efficiency in a very small space requires double-use or triple-use space.  A space divider between living and dining is also the TV and book niche.  Refrigerator nestles  under the stair.  Loft floor is the kitchen ceiling.  The space is cozy, but with a high curving ceiling, it has a grandeur about it.

The kitchen opens out to a deck, facing east.  The house will block the harsh afternoon sun making this shady deck pleasant in the evening.

Loft level

Up on the loft, a desk area overlooks the living room and entry below.  The loft leads to a bunk room – the compactness of this design belies a high occupant load – and a small but functional bathroom at the end.

The roof will curve gently up and over the loft, covering it like a protective hand.

The 2-story space for the main bedroom will help make a small room feel large.

Bedroom with high ceiling

Drywall is not an interior finish for the solid state house.  Wasteful, highly consumptive, and energy-intensive, drywall has no place in this design.  The interior finish will be wood veneer over the curved structure (possibly lauan), and the interior walls will be traditional plaster and lathe.   These walls will be soundproof, solid, and impact-resistant. The lost tradition of plaster-and-lathe is more labor intensive than drywall, which is good for sustainability; it requires craftsmanship and care, two important values to the owner of a solid state house.  It is also very low energy to produce, and at the construction site, it produces very little waste.  No dumpsters full of drywall scraps will be found here.

The loft with public space

Since this solid state house is very small, the elimination of clutter is critical to its spatial nature.  Door frames are eliminated, and the wall bases will be recessed.  The interior feel of the house will be intimate, but will not feel oppressive.

With ribbon windows letting in the Florida sky, abundant sunlight will reduce the need for artificial light except at night.

Axonometric view

2400 Edgewater Drive, College Park

After a 1940s era roof sagged over the sidewalk, the Owner’s representative asked for an updated design that reflected the character of Edgewater Drive.  The new fascia respects the original design, with a glyph over each column, and provides a streamlined, clean appearance.  Special sun shade fabric was chosen to screen the afternoon sunlight while allowing visibility to the signage band along the building’s wall.

Today, the building functions as the heart of College Park’s active epitome district.