Beach House Plans

Our Beach House Plans were designed to maximize views and create delightful living spaces. Each house plan design incorporates a timber piling foundation system to provide protection from flooding and to meet coastal code requirements.

House plans designed for the beach have unique opportunities and challenges. The opportunities lie in making the most of the views and features of your specific site. The challenges lie in designing a beach house plan that will withstand the onslaught of nature over time. Obviously, we want our home to be cool and comfortable when often nature gives us hot and humid conditions.

When designing for waterfront or sound front properties, the view is king. Ideally, all living spaces would have views to the water. Wide expanses of windows have a great appeal and give a strong visual connection to the waterfront. But the same large window areas invite solar heat gain, glare and high energy bills if they are not sheltered, protected and shaded with roof overhangs or porches. Additionally, the windows can be low-emissivity (or low E) and/or tinted. An example of this kind of glass would be “Solargray” by PPG.

Beach house plans, as designed by Michael R. McLeod Architect of Southern Cottages, favors covered porches as one technique to protect against heat gain through windows while also providing a wonderful transition from the environmentally controlled interior of the house to the outdoor areas, shaded and sheltered, where coastal breezes can naturally cool things down. The covered porch is actually an outdoor room, expanding your living space while providing a place for you to live, breathe and keep an eye on the beach while being protected from the hot sun.

Large roof overhangs and porches on beach house plans also help to protect the siding and walls from weathering, high heat transfer and water intrusion over time.

Windows in beach house plans will need to be impact rated where designated in hurricane zones. Your building inspections department will be able to tell you where impact rated glass is required. Often owners will use impact glass in coastal areas, even when it is not required, for the added protection.

Beach house plans built in oceanfront zones and surrounding areas are subject to hurricane force winds and flooding as well as wave action (primarily in “V” zone or velocity zones as determined by flood maps). Therefore, they are built on pilings (usually 8 x 8 or 12 x 12 wood pilings, however, in some areas reinforced concrete pilings are used). The height of the first floor above the base flood elevation is determined by FEMA regulations and local flood regulations. The connections of girders to pilings in coastal house plans are paramount in withstanding the high wind and wave conditions of hurricanes on the coast. All connections, tiedowns, hold downs, anchors etc. throughout the coastal house plan must be designed to withstand these forces imposed upon them and building code requirements for coastal areas.

Another important consideration for your beach house plan design is “weatherproofing” your house. Special care must be given to the detail and installation of house wraps, flashings, weep planes, dewpoint in walls and breathability of the overall wall and roof structure. Plans and specifications provided by Southern Cottages describe how all these materials are to be installed to protect your beach house against moisture intrusion.