Waterfront House Plans

These waterfront house plans were designed to maximize views and create delightful living spaces for gracious coastal living. 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 waterfront sites 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 waterfront 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.

Waterfront 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 waterfront 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 waterfront 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 waterfront, 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 waterfront house plans. They provide a connection to the house while still allowing observation of children swimming and general activities on the waterfront. At Southern Cottages, we have waterfront 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 waterfront house plan a fun place to live and play.

Another important consideration for your waterfront 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.