The Carpenter’s House
This smart Craftsman-style home was built with a keen eye for detail and energy efficiency.
Synopsis: Builder Pete Mollica was his own customer and built his home on the top of a cliff in eastern Tennessee. Using local hardwoods and stone, he created both interior and exterior architectural details in the Craftsman style. He used a narrow footprint to create a 2600-sq.-ft. home that’s deceptively small as seen from the front. Based on his experiences with spray-foam insulation, he chose to insulate the envelope by building a double-rafter roof (R-68) and insulating it with meticulous air-sealing, rigid foam, and fiberglass batts. A section drawing shows the main points of his strategy. Web extra: See a slideshow of the house. Photo: Charles Bickford
I started my construction career by renovating old houses in Nashville, Tenn. After working through a few, I found that small Craftsman-style bungalows were my favorites. I completed all the finish carpentry on these projects and always tried to reproduce the details of the period accurately. The lack of ornate machine-cut profiles and the generous use of stained woodwork attracted my eye, and I liked how the smaller scale of these houses made them more affordable. I also liked the almost-rustic quality of the exterior details, which is well suited to homes in a rural setting.
After my wife and I moved back to her hometown in the hills of east-central Tennessee, we eventually found a good site for a new home, which I then started to design. I gravitated toward that same Craftsman-style bungalow, but with a small-cottage feel and modern energy performance. The lot was well suited for a full basement, so I could also create office space and tool storage for my construction business while keeping the footprint small.
The result is a home whose rough charm blends modestly into the wooded site and whose seemingly small size…