Maison D: A no-frills family home at an affordable price

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The two-story Maison D has a total floorspace of 148 sq m (1,593 sq ft) (Photo: Philippe Ruault)

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Are our houses over-engineered? They're certainly expensive, thanks in part to the building materials and labor required to construct them. Maison D, by Fouquet Architecture Urbanisme, makes an interesting argument for using budget building materials to produce a stripped-down family house at a relatively affordable price.

Located in a suburban area of Couëron, near Nantes, Western France, Maison D features the same kind of utilitarian aesthetic we've admired in Spanish homes like the Espinar House and the Pop Up House, but goes even further in the pursuit of saving a buck.

The two-story home boasts a total floorspace of 148 sq m (1,593 sq ft), which is spread over two bathrooms, a car and a bicycle garage, a kitchen and dining area, a lounge, two bedrooms, a conservatory and a covered roof terrace. The interior decor is dominated by unfinished wood and OSB (oriented strand board), with large sliding doors opening the rooms to the outside.

Maison D's structure is similarly basic, consisting of a wooden frame clad in polycarbonate tiles, plus what appears to be some aluminum siding around the garage areas. While it looks like it would be perfectly comfortable – if not a little lacking in privacy – on a nice mild day, we'd be concerned about maintaining a comfortable temperature year-round.

Fouquet Architecture Urbanisme obviously recognized this issue and to mitigate it, the firm installed several large operable windows and canvas shading, while heat is provided by a pellet-burning stove. In addition, the home's layout ensures the living spaces are shielded from solar heat gain and the worst of the cold.

Maison D was completed in 2014 and the total cost of the project came in at a relatively inexpensive €114,674 (roughly US$128,000).

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