Kernel Cottages

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Rosemont-03OCT-2026
Rosemont-03OCT-2026

   When Andrés Duany asked Steve Mouzon to put out the call to New Urban Guild members for Katrina Cottage designs the week after Hurricane Katrina, one objective he had in mind was that they should grow easily. But easy growth turned out to be very difficult to accomplish. Because as the cottages became smaller, the exterior wall space became more precious, being eaten up for cabinets, bathrooms, closets, beds, etc., until there were usually very few ways to expand. So the initial Katrina Cottage designs were small, and they were charming, but they did not expand very well, if at all.

   All of the designs on the following pages are based on Steve’s design for Katrina Cottage VIII. This design was roughed out before the Mississippi mega-charrette, but not fully executed until nine months later for the USA Weekend magazine article on the Katrina Cottages movement.

   This cottage is radically different from all others that came before. So different, in fact, that we designated it as a brand-new type: the Kernel Cottage. Like a seed, or kernel, the Kernel Cottage can easily sprout and grow into a larger house. Most of the remaining Katrina Cottage designs in this book are based on this design; they illustrate several of the ways in which the Kernel Cottage can grow.

   If you don’t build expandability in at the very beginning, it will never happen. So that’s what this design does. The very first design move was to place four “Grow Zones” at each corner of the main room. Each Grow Zone, because it’s located in a corner, has two “sprouting spots” from which it can allow growth through doors, or through windows which can be converted into doors. Grow Zones are maintained as circulation spaces, with nothing except movable furniture allowed into them.

   This cottage has also been used to illustrate another point: Katrina Cottages can be exceptionally green due to a number of design features detailed in a later chapter. Katrina Cottage VIII, for example, would be LEED Gold or LEED Platinum depending on where it is located in a town and how it is sited on its lot.

Katrina Cottage VIII (Fairfax)

classical color web

Plan #M.6.1

Bedrooms: 1 bed alcove

Full Baths: 1, Half Baths: 0

Finished Area: 523 SF

Stories: 1

Foundation: crawl space

Exterior Walls: frame

Architecture: Greek Revival

Transect Zones: T-2 Rural, T-3 Sub-Urban, T-4 General Urban


   Early Katrina Cottages didn't allow expansion very easily because exterior walls were so quickly used up for kitchen cabinets, bathrooms, closets, and the like. This was the first Katrina Cottage designed explicitly to grow easily. Each corner of the main room contains a "grow zone" with two openings. Grow zones are used either for circulation or for things like the Home Office which are furnished with movable furniture, not fixed cabinetry. This means that at whatever point the homeowner wants to expand, they can move the furniture out and do so. Windows can be converted to doors simply by removing the window and the wall below the window… the header above is already in place. This ability to sprout additions in several directions is why these Katrina Cottages were dubbed "Kernel Cottages." This particular design won a Charter Award from the Congress for the New Urbanism. This advance makes it much easier for someone to start really small… because their expansion routes are so clear.


M.6.1 Katrina Cottage VIII sales plan


   $720 + taxes for one digital copy of the working drawings of this design and a license to construct this design once. You can print as many copies as you need to construct the house.


   PayPal handles all our orders, but you don’t need a PayPal account to place an order. All you need is a credit card. If you have any questions about this plan before ordering, please check the Plan Details page. If that doesn’t answer your questions, please call us at 1-786-276-6000. If you’re a builder and want to build more than one of this design, please check with us at 1-786-276-6000 for volume discounts.


© Mouzon Design 2014