The One K House



“How do people live in houses today? How can we build a compelling, modest design cost-effectively? How do we make it as efficient as possible? Where do we go from the ranch of the ’70s? How can a first-time homeowner find good design in a home, along with affordability and room to grow?”

The One K House by architect David Johnson of Skaala attempts to respond to these questions. “One K” refers to the home’s 1,000-square-foot starting footprint. Each of the living functions—kitchen, dining, and living room—occupy one common space focused on the sun and the views. Glazing around this space maximizes solar exposure, effectively meeting much of the home’s heating requirements. Bedrooms and bathrooms are tucked back off the primary views and have smaller, episodic windows. The home’s envelope is built with SIPs (structurally insulated panels), which greatly limit the thermal bridging common to stick-framed homes and offer insulation values greatly above code standards. Installed over several inches of rigid insulation, the concrete floor/foundation provides a thermal battery that will help the house ride the hours from sunset to sunrise. (In fact, during the initial phase of construction, the unfinished shell saw outdoor temperatures in the single digits for three consecutive days, and the interior air stayed in the mid-40s or above, without any mechanical assistance.)


The simple, 20-foot by 50-foot main structure was designed to be not only a straightforward shape from a construction perspective but also adaptable to future interior changes and exterior additions, such as a mudroom/entry or additional bedrooms. Multiple roof and window and door layouts are being developed for base plans, which can be customized for any given site or program. 

Architect: David G. Johnson, Skaala
Location: Penobscot
Square footage: 1,160
Construction complete: Summer 2013

Skaala:,, 774-392-0700

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