plan review

koogie2January 22, 2014

My husband and I our building our first home. We have changed a stock plan from our builder and we are having trouble finalizing the plan that incorporates all that we want.
The major problem with this draft is that we do not like the 1/2 bath and laundry room layout. I would like a pantry but that doesn't seem possible with this plan. If the staircase is flipped to the other side of the hallway then the upstairs gets changed significantly, and I don't want the basement stair taking up too much of valuable space in the kitchen.
We are okay with the upstairs of this plan, and are mainly concerned about the 1st floor. I would like a decent sized laundry room so I can have cabinets and counterspace.
Please let me know if you see any other major problem areas. As of right now we just keep going back and forth with the builder and it doesn't seem like we are getting anywhere.
Any help would be appreciated.

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Could you move the laundry upstairs since your bedrooms are all upstairs? At the least I would not have a walkthrough laundry room.

    Bookmark   January 22, 2014 at 3:52PM
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I agree with the idea of moving the laundry upstairs. If this is a possibility, that would then leave you the current laundry space for your pantry. It's not quite as close to the kitchen as you might wish, but it's okay.

I don't think the half bath is ideal, but I could live with it.

I don't like the front door. Imagine walking through it, what's in your line of sight? You're looking at half the stairway and you can see into the living room. The whole thing's rather crowded. I can't really see a way to make it better, but I think the entry's a problem.

Does the coat closet matter to you? I ask because it appears to be smaller than the toilet.

    Bookmark   January 22, 2014 at 4:31PM
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Do you need the living room, and does it need to be that large?

If you can make that space smaller, here are my thoughts (but I'm not an expert like many here so I'm hoping others chime in):
- Take space from the LR for a pantry on the top, large closet on the bottom
- Eliminate the current foyer closet, and flatten out the indent on the left front of the foyer
- Move the PR down to the front of the foyer (not the best spot, maybe someone has another idea)
- Make the laundry room bigger and make it a combo laundry / mudroom coat hooks and a place for shoes, since it's where you enter from the garage
- Move refrigerator to the wall near the nook so it's more handy to the table and to the sink, the island then becomes handier for prep, and it looks like the island can be longer
- Move entry to DR down to the bottom of that wall so you have a longer continuous counter above

Definitely post your layout on the kitchens forum for layout advice. It would be helpful to have a scanned image (clearer) or to hand draw the kitchen to scale on graph paper with all dimensions shown (walls, aisle widths, etc.)

If you post your second floor you could probably get better advice for layout on both floors; someone could figure out if a different stair configuration (e.g., L shaped) would work better for both floors.

Rough mockup below.

    Bookmark   January 22, 2014 at 5:10PM
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Once you get your floorplan 90% complete, you should get the following plans created for your review:
(where are the switches and outlets going to be? how do those lights and other electrical items align with the framing plan, and other plans?)
-Plumbing (where's the plumbing going to run? is it going to swish by your head while you are watching TV downstairs and annoy you?, does the plumber have a plan or is he going to send a couple of kids over with a big drill and a sawzall to cut holes and
passageways for your plumbing?)
-HVAC (where's that system going to sit inside / outside? where are those ducts going to run? is there going to be a surprise change requiring a furr down-->change to doors and trim and crown moulding? are the vents going to reach the right parts of the kitchen and other rooms? is all of this stuff that sticks through the walls and ceilings going to be placed in an aesthetically pleasing manner?)

Plans answer these questions.

    Bookmark   January 22, 2014 at 5:29PM
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Sorry, I thought I had uploaded the 2nd floor.
It should be attached now.
I'm on my phone now, going to switch to my laptop to reply more.
Thank you for all the replies!

    Bookmark   January 22, 2014 at 6:37PM
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I like what chicagoans did with the plan. I was wondering if you needed more room in the living room if you could bump out the front wall to the patio. I realize that would change the upstairs but it would give you more room. The other idea would be to open up the wall between the dining room and the living room. It would look like one large room but would be great for entertaining.

    Bookmark   January 22, 2014 at 6:53PM
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I hadnâÂÂt thought about moving the laundry room upstairs. Right now, my washer and dryer is in the kitchen and is not ideal, it would be nice not to lug laundry baskets up and down the stairs.
I agree it is crowded, I think weâÂÂre wanting more than we can have for the square footage which is right around 2500. We bumped out the living and master room wall 4 feet to be even with the back of the house. Otherwise it would have just been unusable porch. We were hoping this would un-cramp the entry and give us a little more space in the laundry room, which is why the living room is large.

Chicagoans thank you so much for the mock-up, I think it is great!! Simple but incorporates what we want. I donâÂÂt need the large living room. I canâÂÂt wait to show it to my husband. Regarding the 2nd floor. I think the hall bath has an awkward configuration. We are planning on using the bonus room as a play room/sewing area and possibly making part of is an enclose office for my husband in the future. With your idea do you think we could move the hall bath between the bedrooms and make the walk in closet attached to the master bath?

NoloRenovator we have not been given those plans yet, we have only been given plans to finalize the layout. I have been so worried about the lay out that I hadnâÂÂt given a thought to those things for awhile. I appreciate the reminder. I know we will be able to walk through with the electrician before he starts if we want to make any modifications.

Again, thank you so much for the replies, I appreciate them so so much. I wish I had joined this board a long time ago.

    Bookmark   January 22, 2014 at 7:08PM
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I also like the "new" pantry /closet . . . except that the in-swing doors take up much of the space in the storage areas. I'd consider bi-fold doors. But instead of splitting the two storage areas equally, I'd make the pantry deeper and make the coat closet into a reach-in.

Master bath: Instead of a linen closet, I'd go with open shelves. Why? To avoid the doors-banging-together problem. I'd also switch the tub and the toilet . . . so the toilet isn't the first thing you see when you walk into the room. Finally, the vanity isn't large enough to support two sinks -- and you'll have no drawers.

OR, perhaps the tub could go where the sinks are, then have the sinks be the first thing you see as you walk in -- that'd give you the benefit of light from the window bouncing off the mirror and making the room look larger.

Bedroom 2 has too many doors all in one place. If you aren't going to have windows on the end-house wall anyway, why not move the closets over to that end? That'll remove the problem of opening the door and running into the closet door.

Yes, I think you could move the kids' bath to between the bedrooms . . . especially if you bumped bedroom 3 to the left and reduced the size of the bonus room. This would allow you your choice of several nice things: 1) a second walk-in closet accessed from your master bath. 2) an upstairs laundry room. 3) a larger master bath. I'd be willing to reduce the size of the bonus room for any of those three things.

    Bookmark   January 22, 2014 at 8:50PM
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This is just my personal preference, but that is a long narrow hallway upstairs, after coming up a long straight staircase. What if the front part of the bonus room becomes a bedroom, and the middle bedroom becomes a bonus room, perhaps a little narrower with a wider hall, or even open depending on your plans for it. You could even fit the laundry in there.

Or how about this: the bonus room becomes the master, the old master is a kid bedroom. Then there is good separation between you and the children,

    Bookmark   January 22, 2014 at 11:50PM
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I agree about the staircase and hallway. We have friends with a very similar plan and it is narrow.
I am going to see about rearranging the upstairs a bit, I think there is definite room for improvement.
I agree abou the size of the vanity. Never having double sinks before, I don't know that we need them? What are your thoughts? Will it just be more to clean? That's why we opted not to have a shower and a tub. I would like drawers. This will be the biggest bathroom I've ever had, so It already seems
like a nice size.
Thank you MrsPete and bpathome for your posts.

    Bookmark   January 23, 2014 at 9:17AM
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I think I like the idea of swapping out the bonus room and the master bedroom. That'd mean you could have an "open area" as you enter the upstairs . . . and the master'd be more privately located down the hall. And the bathroom could remain in its same location, the "hallway and linen closet" becoming a larger closet . . . or a walk-in shower. Yes, I like that idea.

    Bookmark   January 23, 2014 at 10:01AM
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Re vanity sinks: Both bathrooms in our house have a long vanity with one sink. DH and I share one; our teenage boys share the other. Once in a while DH and I brush our teeth at the same time, but we manage to work it out (we really don't mind being in close proximity). The boys are rarely in the bathroom at the same time, so a second sink wouldn't be used anyway.

Recently someone posted about having to replace a faucet at a double sink - and since the one they had was no longer available, they had to replace both faucets, for them to match. Maybe not a huge deal, but something to think about.

    Bookmark   January 23, 2014 at 10:42AM
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Re the double sinks, having lived with both, I could go either way. Ssometimes I'm doing makeup while DH is shaving, and I like to wash the makeup off my hands before picking up the next tool, but more often, we're just moving in and out the space. I like having more counter space and storage.

If you were to change the middle bedroom out, could you make the breakfast room bay window two story, and have a bay or even a window seat upstairs?

If you were to move the laundry upstairs, it could go "above" the hall bath, where the hallway is now. The entrance to the master would be through the bonus room, past the (I hope) bay window. Ooh, look, the fireplace in the family room is right below the "new" master: perhaps a fireplace upstairs, too?

    Bookmark   January 23, 2014 at 1:29PM
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Yes, that was me who had to replace two faucets even though only one was bad. First I couldn't get the faucet I really wanted because the store only had one (and of course my second choice faucet was almost double the cost of the one I really wanted). Then I had to pay the plumber to install two faucets, doubling my bill.

If the two sinks were actually useful, it'd be one thing . . . But none of us ever use the sinks at the same time. I hate-hate-hate the double sinks. It'd be even worse if we didn't have oversized vanities; that is, if we had useless sinks AND no storage!

    Bookmark   January 23, 2014 at 4:44PM
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I agree about the double sinks. We have two and only ever use one. In 20 years we have had to replace the faucet twice. Luckily we have been able to find matching ones so I only had to replace the worn one. The faucet for the sink we never use is like new. I would rather have one sink and a large vanity for putting makeup on.

    Bookmark   January 23, 2014 at 6:20PM
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Thanks for the input regarding the double sinks. I would like more counter space but hubby wants to go with two sinks.
I'm thinking the extra sink will be more useful when our baby girl is older and the whole family is getting ready in the morning.
Definitely a good thing to think about faucets and choosing something easy to match.
I remember we did have a double sink I shared with my brother when we were little. We only used one sink, if we ever did use the other one, it almost felt wrong:)

    Bookmark   January 23, 2014 at 7:28PM
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"I know we will be able to walk through with the electrician before he starts if we want to make any modifications"

You'd better tell your contractor to give you a 2 week notice on that one so you have time to think about it.

It seems to me my contractor has stopped with the lead time b/c i come up with a detailed spec that is more difficult to follow (=more time and money on his end) and not necessarily what he is accustomed to building.

contractors sometimes just want to build the house that's in their mind... you likely want the one that is in your mind. detailed specs and drawings and photos can help relay the message to the guys doing the work.

good luck!

pictures of our finished build hopefully coming in March!

    Bookmark   January 24, 2014 at 3:36PM
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