Plan review, please!

Zoe777January 18, 2014

Please let me know what is wrong with this plan. We are working on new house plan with our architect. This plan what we really like it. We are looking at 1800 sq. feet house for two people, empty nesters. We don't like open floor plans, we have that now, and very unhappy with noise, food smell, lack of privacy. Our lot is 100x100 in residential zone. This plan is kind of idea for our new build.
Thanks in advance for your help.

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The two big red flags for me are:

- Garage (19'4" x 21'1"). I would go a minimum of 24' x 24'.

- Bedroom sizes. 10' x 9' is too small. The smallest size I would ever consider would be 11' x 11'.

    Bookmark   January 19, 2014 at 1:59AM
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Thanks. We will work on bedroom sizes and all dimensions with architect for sure. But I'm not sure we pick a right plan. We need side porch, separate kitchen and living room, front facing kitchen seems nice too. I don't like to face my back yard fence, while I'm cooking. This plan can meet all our needs, but what you think about whole house feeling. Something is not quiet there?

    Bookmark   January 19, 2014 at 5:34PM
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Zoe777 - You said you are empty nesters, does that mean this is your forever home. I only ask because if you will be aging in place it can make a difference on how the layout might work for you.

Everything is personal preference but I like the laundry room closer to the bedrooms. I have had it both ways and it is just easier for me to not have to walk across the house with laundry baskets. I also have never liked entering the house through the laundry room from the garage. Again, I've had it both ways and it's personal preference.

I love the large pantry. I know the kitchen is in the front of the house but it seems like you are facing the great room and backyard while you are cooking (you mentioned that you didn't want that).

I will continue to look at it and see if anything else jumps out at me.

Good luck.

    Bookmark   January 19, 2014 at 9:14PM
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The entry hall is long and narrow, and you have to walk past the kitchen and bedroom hall before you even see the living room. It'd be hard to have a conversation group around the fireplace because it would block access to the rest of the room from the hall,

The kitchen just seems to be in the way, you have to walk around obstacles to get from the garage to anywhere, to get from the bedrooms to the laundry, and so on. Even from the kitchen, you have to walk around the peninsula to get to the side porch or anywhere else. I do like the breakfast nook facing the front, but nothing else in the kitchen does, it's kind of isolated despite being the center of the house. My kitchen and nook face front with a covered porch, and I just imagine working always at the back wall with not much of a view, and it would be dark and boring, having to look through an other room to see outside from the sink. I like my separate kitchen, but I also like a view and easy flow.

That Is kind of a small bedroom, but perhaps you plan to use it as a sewing room or something?

    Bookmark   January 19, 2014 at 11:52PM
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That exactly what we changed on our preliminary plan. Moved laundry closer to the bedrooms. Replaced peninsula with island. And yes I wish I could move kitchen cabinets close to the windows, but then breakfast nook will be next to dinning table. I really like bay window with window seat and a little table for two facing front.
Agree with you on Very narrow and long entry hall.
And yes we are planning to age in this house. Now we have 3000 sq.ft two stories house with main level MB. Open floor plan with large kitchen and foyer. Very nice more like formal house. What I found after being there for few years, second floor bedrooms not in use at all.
Yes I'll use small room for crafts and sewing projects.
Living room being far from entry was bothering me too.
Anyway I'll attach pic with some drawing, there is going to be more changes. Fireplace will move to the wall with windows.
Two car garage will not fit on our lot, but we ok with one. Appreciate all your help.
Please, excuse my English writing skills ( foreigner )

    Bookmark   January 20, 2014 at 12:42AM
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I don't like it. If only 2 people are going to live here, why are there 4 bedrooms? It would be better to get another plan. That extra bedroom is using space that would be better spent on all your other rooms. The other bedrooms are small and your master bath is little. The other bathroom is as little as it can be and still be called a full bath.

I don't like the long entry hall, and I don't like that the first room seen is the kitchen. I don't like the teeny tiny laundry, right in the way when you come in from the garage. I don't like the laundry so far from the bedrooms.

    Bookmark   January 20, 2014 at 10:19AM
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I like your revisions better than the original.

Where will you take most of your meals? In the kitchen or in the octagonal dining area? I ask because there seems to be a great deal of unused space in the kitchen, and the pantry could be placed closer to the garage for ease of bringing in groceries. If you're going to have a table in the kitchen and another in the dining area, try drawing them in, to scale, to see how everything fits. Then place the kitchen window so it works best with the table (if there will be one there.)

Someone asked above if this is your forever home and they make a good point: bathrooms, doorways, etc. could/should be planned for accessibility, for example turning radius for a wheel chair. In this size home, I'd rather have 3 medium-sized bedrooms (or 2 + study) and larger bathrooms and laundry, then 4 smaller bedrooms.

What are most of the garages like in your area? You say you're fine with a 1 car garage, and that's great, but it could impact resale someday if the next buyers want a two car garage and there's no room for one. Lots in my neighborhood are generally less wide than 100' and all but the oldest homes have 2+ car garages, so I think you could find a plan to accommodate that.

Do you do much gardening or yard work? I ask because it would be nice to have a mudroom and/or washup sink somewhere near the garage, so if you come in muddy or dirty you have a spot to leave your shoes and wash your hands before walking through the house.

    Bookmark   January 20, 2014 at 1:30PM
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Appreciate your thoughts, Chicagoans.
We'll eat in kitchen breakfast nook only. I'll try to change our habit to use island for meals. We do that now. Hate it big time. Not comfortable at all plus cold stone gives me chills. But for prep zone island is excellent, and I can watch TV on the wall. I'll add pic in 3d. Dining area only for occasion. We are not formal, but traditionally dining table should be in biggest room in my country. So I think this will work for having big party.
We have houses with one car garage, and it's minus for resale. But this house not for family with kids anyway. More like empty nesters or 55+ house.
Thanks for your great outdoor sink idea. I definatly will include it in our plan. Don't have room for big mudroom.
Small bedrooms my concern too. But DH thinks we need extra bedroom in case one of us gets sick ( needs for hospital bed). It can be dedicated room. Have to think about.

    Bookmark   January 20, 2014 at 5:05PM
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More pictures

    Bookmark   January 20, 2014 at 5:08PM
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I'm making comments based upon your revised drawing:

The "round" dining room is pretty, but it'll only hold a relatively small round table -- will this be adequate for your entertaining needs?

How will you arrange the furniture in the living room? I don't see an obvious solution.

The master bath looks a bit narrow (little space between the toilet and the shower). Given that you're planning to age in this house, will that be enough space, if you end up needing a walker?

You don't have any storage in this bathroom. Where will your dirty clothes hamper be placed? Where will you store your towels?

Note that if someone is using the master closet, the bedroom door is blocked off to other people. I'd consider using a pocket door on the closet (but we rarely bother to close our closet door).

You say you don't like eating at your island because the stone is cold -- I wouldn't like that either. You can have a "heated island" using technology similar to that of heated floors. I'm not saying you should suddenly start liking to eat at your island, just that this is an option, if the cold stone is a problem.

Good switch on moving the laundry closer to the bedrooms; however, I'll suggest something further: You said that you'll use the extra bedroom for sewing and crafts. How about keeping what's now a study (the room next to the front door) as a bedroom . . . and expanding the laundry so that it's a sewing /crafts /laundry room? You could have a nice-sized room with a built-in area for your sewing machine and shelves for your fabrics and other needs . . . plus the laundry right there. I'd put in big windows for plenty of light. And I think I'd make this room adjacent to the master, but keep the washer/dryer on the opposite side so you won't have trouble with noise.

What bothers me about the entry isn't that it's so long and narrow; rather, it's that the entry is wide enough where you walk in . . . but it becomes more narrow as you enter the living room.

Anytime you walk through a door, you want a focal point ahead of you: A fireplace, a window, a door. You want it to be something nice and pretty -- this is one of the things that people don't consciously notice, but it makes a home comfortable and welcoming.

When you walk towards your living room, you're seeing a narrowing space, a slightly-to-the left small door, and the foot of a set of stairs. If this were my plan, I'd cut a foot off the kitchen and bring the bedroom side "to the left" a foot. This'd give you an entry hallway that'd be a consistent width, and it'd lead you straight to the living room door.

I'd enlarge the doorway a bit to make it feel as if you're heading towards a substantial entryway (not just something equal to the bedroom door). And finally I'd enlarge the straight-ahead window.

The result would be that you'd still have a long, narrow hallway . . . but as you walk down that hallway you'd be looking at a pretty window framed by a nice doorway. It'd feel as if you're heading towards something positive, something pretty.

You say your husband wants a fourth bedroom in case one of you becomes ill /needs separate sleeping space. That's a practical thought, but you'll have two guest bedrooms. Why couldn't the healthy spouse sleep in one of those? Are you really likely to have two guest rooms full WHILE someone's very sick?

I agree that a two-car garage would be better, if you ever intend to sell the house, and the difference in cost between a one and two car garage isn't going to be much. Perhaps you could go with a "minimal sized two-car.

By the way, I do understand where you're coming from, saying that one is enough. The first few years of our marriage we only had one car, and when I finished college /started working, and we were forced to add another car, I couldn't believe the difference it made in our budget! The concept of "all adults must own a personal vehicle" is really over-rated. The first thing we plan to do when we retire is ditch our second car. It's one of the things that'll allow us to live comfortably within our means.

However, I'm going to disagree with your comment that this is a house for a retired couple 55+. This is a house plenty big for a family, and if you ever resell the house, you'll have families interested in the place.

Should you build with resale in mind? I think you have to walk a fine line in that regard. You shouldn't build more/less or thing that you don't want just with resale in mind . . . but this is a substantial investment, and you can't ignore the fact that at some point you might need (or want) to sell.

    Bookmark   January 21, 2014 at 10:49AM
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MrsPete! You made my day, wow! Thanks, thanks, thanks. I couldn't sleep last night, cause I felt our choice is wrong. Went trough all my plans collection today again. And could not find anything I'll like. Seems you ok with this plan.
Entry hallway - that exactly what I knew was wrong, but don't know how to fix. One feet from kitchen, and advice about window like focal point- priceless.
My DH is a builder. We built our house 5 years ago with resale in mind, and ended up with huge 2 story house. Now we have huge living room with kitchen, big MB and master bath, and office. If I in mood to watch TV or read book, I have to hide in my Master bedroom. Hubby is watching sport, I have no other choice. And he is a little older then me, so TV sound is getting louder lately. Our house now is very nice, but I don't think is working for us. But is going to be good for resale .
Now I'm afraid I'll go overboard with closed zones.
Regarding sewing/craft/laundry room. I love, love that change. Don't know how come it never came to me before. Thanks again. Bid help.
BTW foyer is 6 ft wide. In wider part.

    Bookmark   January 21, 2014 at 9:06PM
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Shower now is 4x4 ft. What you thing if I give up a tub in master bath. Will have more room for linen closet and bigger shower?

    Bookmark   January 21, 2014 at 9:47PM
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I'm so glad to have been helpful!

Love the edge /that hexagon tile.

Whether to give up the tub is a personal question, which I don't think I can answer. How often do you use a tub?

    Bookmark   January 22, 2014 at 5:28PM
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