Our Lake House Plans can help you build that special summer place for you and your family to get away from it all – a special house overlooking the lake or coastal waterway. But the lake house as a weekend or vacation getaway is only one use of the contemporary cottage. The house plans from Southern Cottages are equally appropriate as a permanent residence. The smaller house plans are a perfect home for young married, empty nesters and retirees. The larger house plans provide ample space for a large family.

Lake house plans 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 lake 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 lake or waterfront 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 lake. 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.

Lake 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 lake 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 enjoy nature while being protected from the hot sun.

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

When designing a home for the lake, it is important to plan for access to and from the water. Often a boardwalk to the shore or steps down from a deck facing the water can enhance the experience. Many people like to have an outdoor shower and enjoy being able to enter the house through a “wet room” (laundry) where bathing suits and towels can be thrown into the washer and it is not necessary to traipse through the house dripping on the floors.

Decks are a great amenity for lake house plans. They provide a connection to the house while still allowing observation of children swimming and general activities on the lake. At Southern Cottages, we have lake house plans with all kinds of decks. We have traditional decks connected to the living or dining areas but also roof decks from the second floor and even a rooftop observation deck on our “Look out Cottage”. All of these features can make the lake house plan a fun place to live and play.

Another important consideration for your lake 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 against moisture intrusion.