Need some fresh eyes and fresh ideas on these plans
I'm feeling like I'm running up against designer's block and I can't see my designs with fresh eyes, so I thought I'd post here and you could critique with fresh eyes and fresh ideas.
The requirements were:
- Big kitchen, disproportionately so compared to the remainder of the rooms. I love cooking, I love canning, I've got lots of equipment and need lots of storage space and I often times have different cooking projects on the go.
-Small house because I don't want to pay for more house than I need, I don't want to clean more house than I need, I don't want to pay maintainance on more house than I need, you get the idea.
- House is for one person but is designed for the very real prospect of an elderly parent moving in sometime in the future, so their mobility around the house would be a design criterion.
-Big fireplace in the central part of the home so as to allow even heat distribution through the main living areas.
-Vestibules at front entry and mudroom, as well as patio off of LR/DR which opens into a solarium (not shown on all plans).
-The exterior walls may look odd on the plans because they are all double walled (just shy of a foot thick)
-Staircase should be circular and/or of striking design.
- The basement will house the laundry room, the utility room and will provide room for after-construction design/lifestyel changes (media room perhaps, family room if I find I need it, etc)
The 2nd Floor will house my bedroom and an office and perhaps a guest room.
Here was the 1st iteration. (On all plans, South is on the right of the screen)
I don't want a rancher. I want a 1 1/2 story.
The problem with this design was that it gave me too much space on the 2nd floor and in the basement. Frankly, I don't know what to do with that much space. So, the bedroom on the main floor had to go.
This results in the following designs, with bedrooms on the upper floor but provision made for an elevator if one of my parents develops mobility issues and moves in with me in the future (a very real possibility otherwise I have a pretty nifty guest suite.)
The problems with this design are the huge amount of wasted space in the entry, space that I filled with closets . Secondly, the fireplace splits the LR/DR and I'm not happy with that.
Below is the 2nd Floor.
I'm trying to fit two mastersuites into the space above the house and I'd prefer not using the space over the garage. The problem I had here was I couldn't see a way to work a bath, walk-in closet and bedroom into each suite while being constrained by the layout imposed by the first floor. The masterbath is constrained by the stairway opening and the fireplace rising up into the 2nd floor space. The space occupied by the masterbath is, I believe, too small for the bedroom and too large for the closet. The short of it is that by the time I work my way down to the 2nd mastersuite I'm feeling space constrained but have left behind me rooms that are larger than they need to be because the room divisions feel artificial (transferred up from the first floor).
At this point, the problems I was feeling with this plan prompted me to start afresh on a different variant.
Before we leave this plan, here is a rendering of what the fireplace (just a temp design to get me through the design phase) looks like smack in the center of the room.
Here is another plan. The whole front of the house is awkward. I'm finding no elegant solution to incorporating a cicular stairway without creating a whole bunch of wasted space and while I was able to cluster the fireplace, the half bath, the elevator, and the down stairs alongside the circular staircase, I'm still left with the desire to combine the space at the foot of the stairs with some aesthetic feature of the LR/DR, by which I mean I want that open space to serve two needs and here that space is feeling unused, it's really there just to create more efficient entry traffic and to clear the way for going up the stairs. The LR, I believe, doesn't make use of that space, unlike the situation in the two previous plans.
On to the next plan.
Here's what I like about this plan. The space is used more efficiently in that the space in front of the entry also serves the space at the foot of the stairs and also adds some volume to the LR, further the transit space towards the kitchen also serves to fill out the LR/DR, the kitchen isn't isolated around the corner and behind the LR/DR but I'm still trying to find a solution for the use of the space at the center of the curved stairway - my imagination is blocked with finding a way to use that space or to eliminate it by reorienting the staircase in such a way as to make the space useful.
Now, onto the second floor.
I blocked out space above the entry to serve as a small closet but as I looked at the shape of the remaining space I felt that I was going to be space constrained in creating two master suites, so I put this design aside and moved on.
This plan is a variant of the one above which had the awkward entry but by rejigging the exterior walls to get rid of one awkward entry, I feel that I've created another, just one that isn't so ugly. The more space I give the entry, for instance, to create closet space and a place to sit down and put on shoes, the more space I create which serves only that one purpose and I leave unfixed the sole purpose space at the foot of the stairs.
So, where am I? I'm prepared to compromise on design criteria where I need to, and I will if I have to, but I'm getting the feeling that what I'm facing is more designer's block than it is a result of trying to meld together incompatible design criteria, for the different designs tended to solve some problems but created new ones, so different combinations of design solve and create different combinations of featuers and problems.
So, is anyone game at taking a stab at suggesting fixes to some of these issues? Can you guys see things that I'm missing? What I'm finding out is that it is much, much easier to design a home that is larger than one that is smaller, in that "More Space"="More Flexibility."