Floor plan review please

juline17January 26, 2014

I would really like some input on this floor plan before we finalize it. I'm largely happy with it, but think the laundry/bathroom can likely be made better.

We bought the original plan and made several modifications, most importantly widening the kitchen and master BR to fit two bedrooms for our two kids upstairs. The original laundry room was made into a mudroom, and the half-bath and master WIC was sacrificed for a large laundry room with ability to hang-dry clothes.

The in-law suite above the garage will be used for frequent guests. The basement will be a walk-out, and will contain an office, movie room and storage (layout not yet determined)

The south-facing deck will be screened, but the two other windows plus a smaller window over the deck (vaulted living room) will make it bright enough (I think...). I've minimized the north-facing windows, and kept the garage-doors towards the east due to cold climate and lots of wind.

Here is a link that might be useful: original house plan

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The open area on the second floor will be used for the kids' stuff (currently toys, but later I'm assuming a computer and a sitting area).

Does this plan flow well, or are there any improvements you can find without doing any major changes to the exterior walls?


    Bookmark   January 26, 2014 at 1:16PM
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I'm confused. I am not seeing a closet in the master bedroom. And is there no master bathroom but rather one large hall bathroom?

    Bookmark   January 26, 2014 at 2:05PM
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I understand why the hall exists between the stairs and the laundry and bath area as the plan is today. It really seems like wasted space to me that could be incorporated into the laundry and bath in a way that would allow for a powder room. I would not want guests using my master bath. People never think they will need to sell in the future, but stuff happens. If you should need to sell ever, buyers will complain about the lack of the powder room.

Without dimensions, it seems there is a lot of under utilized space in the laundry room. If it were my home I would eliminate some of that space and get the powder room back.

BTW--it's unclear, where is the master closet now?

    Bookmark   January 26, 2014 at 2:09PM
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Good idea to plan floor space for toys and kids stuff... it always seems to migrate into the walking paths otherwise. :) Can you explain what is going on with (what I assume to be) the master area? It looks like the bathroom is not en suite, so you will be using it as a powder room as well? Also, I'm not sure how I would feel about looking right into the master bed from the island in my kitchen. I'm wondering if you squared off the corners in that area if you could get a pocket door entrance to the bathroom from the bedroom? Just a thought.

The kids rooms upstairs (or guest rooms) look wonderful with an area between. Are those built in desks in there?

    Bookmark   January 26, 2014 at 2:19PM
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DH managed to talk me out of a WIC for a wardrobe wall with a window seat on the south wall (something like the picture below). I'm not ecstatic about it, but I understand that it makes more sense (and I actually get way more storage this way)

As for the one bathroom in the hallway, I personally don't care if I have to share it with visitors (my current tiny house only has one bathroom). The new house will have another bathroom upstairs (mainly used for the kids -both girls), and overnight guests will have their own in the suite.

A pocket door to our bedroom would be nice though, especially since the door is in straight view to the kitchen. Good point on that one.

The kids will have a closet on the sloped wall right inside the door, and a built-in desk by the window.

    Bookmark   January 26, 2014 at 2:58PM
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Hi Juline,

Just curious- are you committed to this plan already through permitting and I am assuming that you have 'purchased' the plans? Are you editing them yourselves, or have you hired someone? I clicked on your link, and noticed a few things- First- the '8 copies of blueprints' are about double the cost of the prints themselves... that doesn't allow much profit, but there are a lot of unemployed (Ar)chitects right now that might do a quick floor plan without charging much. It sounds like you are not getting what you need from this plan, and want many changes.
Secondly- it looks like the company only sells the "floorplan" (permit plan, minus the site plans and paperwork), so you will have to have more drawings for both the permits, and many more for construction.

(It did just occur to me that you are committed to this plan because it is part of a housing development? in which case, ignore everything I say!)

...but if you are doing this independently, you might benefit from hiring someone to help- not that you would loose the 'purchase' of these floorplans, you could hand them over to an experienced draftsman or Architect, and say "I like this... but not this..." and that person could very efficiently make plans that suit your needs, and neither compromise what your family wants, not what is 'appropriate' for a house in case you ever sell it.

That being said, I would imagine it would be nice to have a door halfway down the hallway to the master bedroom, to close off the bedroom and the bathroom from the kitchen to make it more proper. It seems unusual that the laundry room in in the center of the house, but to change this seems like it would require many other changes. (For example, many people would prefer a kitchen in about the location of the stairs, open to the living/ dining area, this would allow both the master bath and the laundry to share the same plumbing wall (and eliminating the hall), and the master bedroom could be accessed from the great-room, with two doors on the bathroom allowing for entrance from both the master room and a short hallway perpendicular to the existing hall.

Just some thoughts! hopefully not too many!

    Bookmark   January 26, 2014 at 3:33PM
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Thank you so much for all of your input! This house has been in the plans for a couple of years, but I only recently discovered GW:)
We looked at a "zillion" house plans, and finally settled on this one since it seemed the closest to what we wanted. We got the CAD plans as DH is a drafter and we could make all of the necessary changes ourselves. I did mention the bathroom pocket door yesterday, and hopefully he can get that to work soon.

I'll also take a look at the hallway, but I would like to keep some way to get to the basement without having to go through the living room.
As for the laundry room; hmm, I guess I must be a "function over form -gal". I moved it closer to the bedrooms since that seemed much more logical to me.
The kitchen plumbing argument does make a lot of sense though, I'll have to look at the options.

    Bookmark   January 27, 2014 at 1:18PM
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Are you planning on resale of this house? If I were looking and walked into your master, I would walk right back out and scratch you off the list because of the built-in wardrobes. I would feel like I was in a cruise-ship room rather than a house.

    Bookmark   January 27, 2014 at 3:09PM
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This is planned to be our "forever" house. However, that being said, would it be more functional with closet?

I might be able to fit a standard closet on the right wall, with a pocket door to the bathroom on the bottom wall. What do you think?

    Bookmark   January 27, 2014 at 3:24PM
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I think you are in Canada. If built-in wardrobes are not too uncommon where you live, I'd prefer more storage over a wic.

    Bookmark   January 27, 2014 at 4:08PM
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It's an unusual house, for sure.

I like all the windows in the living /dining area.
No fireplace?

Where's the front door? I'm thinking it's next to the mudroom. That's not very inviting. People enter, and they're in a little hallway and must pass the kitchen to reach the living areas. Nothing inviting.

I would want the garage door entrance to pass through the mudroom. Otherwise people (kids especially) will never go in there, and the whole point is lost.

Stairs, stairs everywhere. So many stairs.

The laundry is really oversized. Since it's near the kitchen, I could see half of it becoming a really nice-sized pantry. Or a small seating area open to the entry.

The bathroom space, too, could be better utilized, and I'd move the toilet away from the tub. The tub appears to be seriously oversized -- be aware that these take forever to fill and don't stay hot. If you really want this thing, be sure you install an oversized hot water heater.

I'm neutral on the built-ins in place of a closet. For resale, I don't think they'd affect you either way. I would strongly prefer, though, to have a bathroom that opens directly from my bedroom.

The kitchen's really long. You'll get a good workout every day traipsing from one end to the other.

    Bookmark   January 28, 2014 at 7:38AM
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Thank you MrsPete for all those points. Just one question though; why would you move the toilet away from the tub?

We worked on revising drawings last night, adding a door to the bedroom, however, I can't seem to find a better spot for the toilet without compromising privacy. I would really like to avoid a full view of the toilet from either door. I suggested downsizing the tub, or even eliminating it in favour of a larger steam shower, but that was a rather unpopular suggestion to say the least. *I* thought it was a great idea though;)

We also looked at the possibility of a U-shaped stairs, with both upstairs and basement entrance near the kitchen, while eliminating the hallway and adding a pantry. This option looked more messy than anything I've done before I'm afraid...lol

Any other ideas?

    Bookmark   January 29, 2014 at 1:03PM
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I think you'll need some elbow room next to the laundry sink. Do you have any plans for the empty wall in the laundry? If not, maybe you can try to fit W/D next to the sink, move the bottom wall 1-1,5 ' and have storage on the hall side.

    Bookmark   January 29, 2014 at 1:46PM
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I incorporated some of your suggestions regarding the bathroom and laundry into this revised plan; there's a separate door to the bedroom, and a tall cabinet hides the toilet from both doors (although it's still by the tub -not sure if/how I can change that).
I also added a large pantry into the laundry space (which now has more elbow space at the sink -thanks Sena!). I will still have space to hang-dry my clothes by the door in the winter, and if I get a cover for the sink I should have enough space to fold the clothes as well.

How does this look?

As for the rest of the house, I agree that it's not the most inviting layout to have guests enter a hallway and pass the kitchen in order to get the the living room, however, it I think it's perfect for us as as a family. The kitchen is the first room I usually go to, and everything DH and I need is on the main level while the kids and guests have their own space (granted, by using stairs...)

    Bookmark   January 30, 2014 at 12:08AM
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I think, both the toilet, and the hall door locations are better in your original layout.

    Bookmark   January 30, 2014 at 4:30AM
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I think your plans look very nice and very unique. After looking at so many plans I think you should feel very confident that this is what YOU want and go with your little changes here and there and start worrying about finishes :) I'd like to see the elevation pictures. It kind of reminds me of the HGTV Lake Tahoe Dream Home. Very unique.

    Bookmark   January 31, 2014 at 3:49PM
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Thanks for the burst of confidence - I find it is too easy to start with the self-doubt in this planning process.

Unfortunately I only have the original house elevation (DH refuses to do any more changes until I settle on ONE plan...lol), however, the final result will be very similar (just a bit expanded with different window locations)

Front elevation:

Side elevations:

Back elevation:

We haven't settled on the outside look of the house; shingles vs tin roof, and for siding materials, we were thinking mainly stucco (for durability reasons). I do love the look of accent stone too, but I'm unsure how it would look on this house (and I can just imagine those of you with an architectural eye cringing right about now...lol). Any thoughts would be highly appreciated!

    Bookmark   January 31, 2014 at 6:33PM
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I'm going to be blunt-- I think the house is awkward.

Generally you want rooms to flow from the most public rooms, near the front door, to more private spaces, and then the most private spaces. You have the front door open into the mudroom, which is a moderately private space, then move into the kitchen, which is also not a space typically for family and close friends, and then the more public spaces of the great room, and off of there, you have the master bedroom and bath-- generally the most private spaces in the house.

In apartments and very small homes, the public and private spaces get mixed up because there's no way to avoid it, but usually not this thoroughly. The house you're building is not very small. You can do better than this, and it will make the house more comfortable.

I don't understand having the master bedroom and bath open to the kitchen the way you do. Given that you have guests regularly, do you want to run into them in between your shower and getting dressed in the morning?

    Bookmark   February 1, 2014 at 9:45AM
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I think the fact that it isn't TYPICAL is what I like most about it. Like I said, it reminds of the modern, mountain HGTV Dream Home this year and their kitchen is directly off the entry as well. I am super private when it comes to my master bedroom and I don't want anything around it but if you aren't that way then you will be fine. Having a mudroom more visible would only make me keep it more organized which is a good thing. The outside of the house could go a lot of directions depending on the finishes you choose. So much to think about. Good luck!

    Bookmark   February 1, 2014 at 10:24AM
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Sophie Wheeler

Yeah, you can do SO much better. It's a lot easier to start over on paper than it is to stop the build during the framing stage to correct things. Overall, its like the house is backwards more than anything else. And the master isn't salvageable. It's just too dysfunctional. Maybe put it behiind the garage in a competely different shape, then flip the whole rest of the house front to back so tbat the entry actually works to cary people where they need to go, and the master achieves some privacy.

    Bookmark   February 1, 2014 at 10:49AM
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I was waiting for some more people to chime in that DON'T like it cause I didn't want to be the only one. I don't like it. AT ALL.

It's just weird. Are you sure, absolutely sure, you want to spend your $$$ on a house that's so unusual? It may work for you and your family, but unusual houses are a real BEAR to unload when you have to. Ask me how I know. We bought an unusual house (though not as bad as yours) after it had been on the market for 2 years. It took us FOUR YEARS to sell it.

    Bookmark   February 1, 2014 at 1:33PM
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Tweaks are one thing. The entire flow and organization of the home is less than optimum. It will not live well at all.

    Bookmark   February 1, 2014 at 3:30PM
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I really appreciate your honesty, and it's kind of nice to hear the opposing views.

I still like (certain parts of) my original plan, but trying to keep an open mind and visualize what those of you that hate the plan have the most issues with. I search online plans for inspiration, and after some playing around in Paint, I came up with this revised first floor plan. It keeps the features I like the most (although the guest "suite" will have to be in the basement), and it takes into consideration lot location (north towards the right) and trying to minimize exterior corners to keep costs down.

Am I getting warmer? The roof lines will be completely different, I have NO idea how such a plan would even look.

Here is a slightly modified layout of the same plan (with a mudroom of my dreams;)

This post was edited by juline17 on Sat, Feb 1, 14 at 18:24

    Bookmark   February 1, 2014 at 5:54PM
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Your new floor plan is not showing up.

    Bookmark   February 1, 2014 at 6:07PM
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Thanks Dekeoboe. Should work now

    Bookmark   February 1, 2014 at 6:13PM
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Getting MUCH MUCH better flow. But I'd do a powder room in that mud room area, and rework the master bath layout.

    Bookmark   February 1, 2014 at 6:45PM
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@live_wire_oak something like this? although the kitchen and bathroom layout both need to be reworked of course

    Bookmark   February 1, 2014 at 7:48PM
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I kind of like the last plan you posted. It's too open for me - living, dining, and kitchen, but maybe that's what you want. However, something about the scale of the kitchen seems off. Are the counters/appliances/etc., to scale? They seem tiny as compared to, for example, the dining room table.

I think you might be able to steal some space from the master closet to make the mudroom just a bit bigger. The master closet looks to be almost the same size as your kitchen + island.

    Bookmark   February 1, 2014 at 8:27PM
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Sophie Wheeler

Yeah, that keeps the people entering zoned into the public spaces, and the master more private. The first plan felt like something an exhibitionist would want to own, wandering the hallways naked with no kids around. And yeah, the kitchen will be a really nice feature like thiat, on the back with all of that light.

    Bookmark   February 2, 2014 at 8:48AM
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I truly appreciate all of your input -it has helped me tremendously!

Here is my latest proposal, which I will attempt to "sell" to DH tonight.
All my previous attempts have been quite unsuccessful, to say the least, mostly due to how the roof and deck would work, but I really think this one has potential:

I'll work on an actual CAD drawing tonight (provided it doesn't get completely shut down at home...), but in the meantime, please feel free to rip it apart.
However, if there are parts you like, I would love to hear that as well


    Bookmark   February 5, 2014 at 4:37PM
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I should probably mention that I got the idea from the plan attached below.

The garage was way too small and I wanted a mud room, so I increased the width of the house and decreased the length to (hopefully) keep the area reasonable.

In addition to layout issues in my original plan, the second reason why I'm so eager to switch designs is that I got a builder's quote on Monday for my previous design; it was over $600,000!!! I'm thinking that he added a large PITA fee for the unusual build. My hopes is that that this one will be much cheaper.

Here is a link that might be useful: New house idea

    Bookmark   February 5, 2014 at 4:51PM
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I like your second to last design the best (posted on Saturday.) I like the mudroom off the garage better than your last version, where the front door view is straight into the mudroom (if that's what that long hall area is.) I like both of your last two revisions way better than the first couple of plans with the differently-shaped master bedroom and no closet.

    Bookmark   February 6, 2014 at 10:01AM
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Thank you chicagoans. I'll start a new thread, as we redesigned the house last night and this post is getting pretty messy, however, the mudrum remained by the main entry. Like you, I would prefer it further back for aesthetics reasons, but practically, it works so much better near the front. Now the kids can dress and go straight out the door, instead of tracking dirt through the house or squeeze past the cars in the garage to get out.

    Bookmark   February 6, 2014 at 10:56AM
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