Location: Orlando, FloridaFlexible spaces, minimal upkeep, and a light and lively decorating scheme: There's a lot to love about our latest project, the shingled cottage featured in this section. It's the first to be completed of three Just Right Showhouses, each a 2,300-square-foot gem (the same size as the average new American home).
We chose the name Just Right because it describes the houses' well-designed rooms, which are spacious yet cozy (not too large or too small) and incorporate amenities that are both stylish and practical. Fine products and interior finishes are a critical aspect of the formula. "Because everything is in a tighter package, each decision means more," says the cottage's interior designer Suzette Bass of Marc-Michaels Interior Design in Winter Park, Florida.
Located in Baldwin Park, a community just a few miles southeast of downtown Orlando, all three houses were built by Houston-based David Weekley Homes. To give them an appealing and eclectic street presence, each was designed by a different architect in a distinct architectural style.
The hip-roof shingled cottage seen here was designed by Seattle architect Bill Kreager of Mithun Architects + Designers + Planners for an empty-nest couple—a fast-growing segment of the population. But its sensible floor plan and easy-care materials and landscaping have universal appeal, proving that being "just right" is more about a lifestyle and a state of mind than a particular stage in life.
Look for coverage of the other two Just Right showhouses—a Mediterranean designed for a couple and a gabled bungalow built for a family of four—in forthcoming issues of Home.
Centrally located on the first floor, the great room is the home's main gathering area. Although the ceiling soars to 14 feet, its vaulted design and large box beams break up the volume. Built-in bookshelves on each side of the fireplace provide display space. Rustic brick veneer enhances the cozy atmosphere.
The great room's fresh yellow-and-white color scheme blends striped, solid, and floral fabrics on furniture and pillows.
Banana Cream silk #245-T. Kohli Silks; 866-805-2929, .
McConnell in fabric #4263-41. Nautica Home collection; 800-539-4636, .
Osborne & Little fabric #ML554-04. DCOTA; 800-573-2682, .
Our Just Right showhouses—a shingled cottage, right, a Mediterranean, right center, and a bungalow—recapture the varied architectural character of historic Orlando neighborhoods. Two-car garages and guest parking, accessed by a common alley, are in the rear. The homes face a pedestrians-only community green space.
An Open Plan
The great room flows into the kitchen and, beyond it, to the breakfast nook, opposite. The island's curved countertop makes an ideal buffet for entertaining. "It's really a party house," says the home's architect, Bill Kreager, "but it also feels good when there aren't 60 people in it."
To fit the house on its narrow lot and reduce landscape maintenance, there's no backyard. But the main living areas and master suite open onto a side courtyard, where teak furniture outfits a dining spot near the kitchen.
Breakfast-nook windows overlook the courtyard and usher light into the kitchen. A gray, quartz-surface-topped angled island separates eating and work areas. White ceramic tiles make up the room's other countertops and the backsplash. Preserving continuity with adjoining areas was key, so designer Suzette Bass linked main-floor living spaces with a sunny yellow wall paint and wide-planked oak flooring.
Many empty nesters will forgo a formal living area in favor of a great room, but few will give up a formal dining room. This one, to the right of the entry foyer, is easygoing yet elegant, with 7-foot-high wainscoting and a bank of windows for plenty of natural light. A niche between the dining room and home office, opposite, holds wine. Painted white wooden shutters control light and privacy.
A 6-foot-6-inch by 8-foot space between the dining room, a powder room, and the kitchen makes a perfect computer workstation. "Creative storage is critical in smaller homes," says designer Bass. "Think of places to tuck built-in cubbies, cabinets, shelving, and desks by carving space from a hallway, an alcove, or an area adjacent to a bedroom closet."
In the master suite at the rear of the first floor, camel-colored fabrics deepen and add dimension to the yellow color scheme. A mirrored wall behind the headboard, constructed with a 1-by-4-inch applied molding and mirror insets, makes the room look much larger than it is.
To conserve space, architect Kreager outfitted the downstairs master bath with a spalike 6-foot-6-inch by 3-foot-6-inch walk-in shower. A makeup counter next to the shower connects to a double-bowl vanity. And for those who love to soak, there's a claw-footed tub upstairs.Traditional glass subway tiles line the walk-in shower. "This house blends the best of old and new" —designer Suzette Bass
The trim throughout the cottage, including this handrail, balusters, and newel post, above, is molded from a maintenance-free synthetic material. The window seat on the landing, a stock Timberlake cabinet, matches kitchen cabinetry. "The window seats, millwork, and wainscoting recall the details that make historic homes special" —architect Bill Kreager
Natural slate is a durable flooring that's ideal for a high-traffic area such as the foyer. Setting the stone tiles between oak strips in an Antique stain creates continuity with the rest of the floors on the main level.
In the breakfast nook, cove molding and strips of 1-by-4-inch flat molding were nailed to the wall at 18-inch intervals to mimic wood paneling. The strips and the intervening drywall were then painted white.
Custom built-ins throughout the house make the most of every inch. In one of two upstairs guest rooms, a window seat-daybed with drawers provides character and much-needed storage.
Everyone wants a television in the family room, but no one wants it to dominate the space. In the great room, a thin-profile TV is concealed behind a movable wooden panel that's operated by remote control.
- Cabinets in kitchen and stair landing. Rushmore Maple Square Mocha. Timberlake; 800-967-9674,
- Countertops on kitchen island. Silestone quartz in Gray Expo. Cosentino; 281-494-7277, .
- Fireplace Escape-36DV gas model. Heat-N-Glo; 888-427-3973, .
- Faucet in kitchen. Michael Graves single handle #187 with side sprayer and soap dispenser. Delta; 800-345-3358, .
- Flooring Bruce Hardwood Rockwell oak planks in Antique finish. Armstrong; 800-233-3823, .
- Refrigerator 36-inch Architect series. Stainless steel with a bottom-mount freezer. KitchenAid; 800-422-1230, .
- Shingles Hardishingle exterior siding panels. James Hardie; 888-542-7343, jameshardie.com.
- Tile in shower. Illuminessence Glass 3-by-6-inch Radiance Glass in clear Cristal. Crossville; 800-221-9093, .
- Windows and French doors Architect series. Pella; 888-847-3552, .
- Window treatments in dining room. Palm Beach custom shutters. Hunter Douglas Window Fashions; 800-789-0331, .