One story house - Suggestions please! :)

hamschJanuary 17, 2013

My first post, so please advise if I need to be posting in a different area. Thanks! So, attached is a rough draft of our "forever" one story house. It's showing up small, so if anyone has advise on how to blow it up, would be great. If I need to post with out all the furniture blocks, let me know. Anyway, it's going on a 12 acre lot in the country with a small pond and creek in the back (north) of the house. That's the best "view". To the south is the main road and across the road is a open farm field used for growing grains. We have two small children, boy and girl. We both have large extended families that come to visit from around the state for holidays, birthdays, girls weekends, and potential sleep overs. We also want enough room so when the kids come back home with their families (in 20 plus years), they feel like they have enough space to stay for a long weekend. The kids bedrooms are large and designed to be "Bunkhouses" with built in bunkbeds and a pull out trundle under the bottom bunk to sleep 6 in each room, There will be a tiny stair between the two sets of bunk beds per room to access the top bunks not a ladder (not drawn). My spouse has a work office out of our house, where clients periodically swing by to have meetings. That's the reason for the separate entrance. Laundry must stay by the bedrooms & bathrooms as I dislike plans where laundry is carried half across the house. So hard to find floor plans where the laundry is NOT in or by the mudroom. Not my preference. Playroom is off the north of the house and is also a must (flex space when kids are older) - and there should be some type of door on that room - pocket or french? We will also use that space to flex additional tables to seat everyone for large family meals 15 to 20 people. The stairs heads to the bonus room above the large garage for potential additional storage or another bunkhouse (single beds, not bunks beds) in the short half walls(?) or movie room. My husband is a big football fan, me not so much, so maybe someplace he can go and watch the game without the rest of the family hearing the drone of crowd noise and announcers all Sunday. Kitchen is not laid out yet - I just threw some random cabinets in there, so please ignore that. Wanted to get the basic layout done first. No basement or second floor (except the bonus room space). So that's the thought process so far. Please comment and make suggestions. I only have one shot to do this "right"! Thanks in advance!

Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

We built a large bungalow and have been in it almost two years and have some of the same layout. I would suggest perhaps trying to reconfig the foyer, master suite, laundry and ensuite areas to make the master suite entrance in the hall with the other bedrooms.

My foyer is open to the centre of the house just like your plan and its the part I wish I could now change the most. When visitors come in they can see too much into our private spaces and I really miss the privacy of our last two story that had a much more closed off entrance. I could not imagine my bedroom door being in the foyer as well.

I really like the rest of the plan though, good luck! :)

    Bookmark   January 18, 2013 at 2:39AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

That was the part of this plan that was concerning to me also. Thank you for sharing your experience!

    Bookmark   January 18, 2013 at 8:49AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Nice plan. I agree with xc60 on reconfiguring the foyer/master/secondary bedroom configuration.

The layout of the kids' rooms and their bath seems off to me--giant bathroom and super skinny bedrooms (~9' wide).You mention they're large and will sleep 6--am I missing a second set of bunks with trundle in each? So you're expecting your sons and their wives to either sleep separately or squeeze into a twin bed together? Just my $0.02, but if you're serious about this being the forever home and you truly want the kids to come back home for a long weekend or maybe over the holidays once they're married, you will need wider bedrooms to fit a larger bed than a twin (~12' wide would be the ideal minimum (IMO)). The 17' length doesn't really help you any for 2 reasons: the alcove area restricts furniture placement, the width of the room is still to narrow to turn a queen (or larger) bed the other direction. You could easily pick up 1 1/2' in each room by placing the toilet next to the long side of the tub and pulling the bathroom walls in to make the space 5' wide. 5' is also a standard double vanity size so you can keep the 2 sink setup. Keep in mind too, how many people may be needing to share that bathroom. It may be worth it to make 2 separate bathrooms--1 for each bedroom.

There are loads of threads on just this topic of small secondary bedrooms. Many designers use small secondary bedrooms in their plans as it reduces overall square footage that they can put in other areas of the house or eliminate altogether. However, many homeowners then pay to modify those rooms or they get built to spec and realize the rooms are just too small when its too late to do anything about it.

You could also make the "Linen?" area in the hall into the closet for the bedroom on the right. If you made the hall 3.5' or 4' wide (which I was going to recommned doing anyway), it could be a walk in closet. Then combine the 2 original closets to make a walk in for the bedroom on the left. With the close proximity and great storage in the laundry, your linen closet can be in there.

If you're set on the "bunkhouse" idea, why not use the bonus area above the garage to do it? Or build a 1-1/2 story house (you could leave the upstairs unfinished for now) and finish it later as a bunkhouse getaway.

Overall, I like the left side of the plan, the right side, needs some more attention IMO. The suggestions I listed above work within the framework of what you currently have drawn. However, I definitely think its worth the time and effort of exploring completely overhauled plans for the right side of the plans (ie: master moves to back of house, kids rooms on front side, master in center, kid's room on either side, whatever you can come up with). Think outside of the current box--you may find a more efficient layout that maximizes the square footage you have to work with.

Hope this helps!

    Bookmark   January 19, 2013 at 11:07AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
Sophie Wheeler

With 12 acres in the country, it would make so much more sense to have a separate garage structure for that third garage bay than to attach it to the house. In fact, I'd do a completely separate garage building and just connect it to the main house by a small breezeway or covered walkway. That would allow the main house to have more light and views. The garage as the main feature of the house is a function of small lot suburban living. Think country living here. Outbuildings for non essential living space make more sense when you have the space for them.

    Bookmark   January 19, 2013 at 11:30AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Two things that I would reconsider:

The location of the half-bath for guests. In it's current location guests will either need to go through the kids' rooms (unlikely) or walk through the kitchen and past the mudroom to use the bathroom. It's quite a hike for guests.

I would also reconsider the purpose of two exterior doors into H's office. I understand the porch side door, but I don't see the need for the entrance from the garage. As it currently is drawn there is no door from the interior of the house. I think this is a mistake. While we all plan on our build being our forever home, there are no guarantees. "If" you had to sell in the future that office would be far more useful and appealing with an interior entrance.

    Bookmark   January 19, 2013 at 12:29PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Great suggestions! Keep them coming!!! We've canned the idea of double bunks and went with a single set of bunkbeds with pull out trundle under the bottom bunk and added a queen to each of the kids bedrooms, effectively sleeping 5 instead of 6 people. The kids bathroom is smaller. Reconfigured the master and turned the laundry room. Separate toilet area and shower area in master for efficiency of two people getting ready in the morning. Easy access to the master bath from hall if the other two bathrooms (in an emergency) are tied up without entering the actual master bedroom area. Foyer is larger and can be separated from the rest of the house, if needed. As far as the garages, I see the point of having a separate garage for addition views from the house, but my requirement is that my parking space is close as possible to the kitchen for bringing groceries in from the vehicle(I forgot to mention it snows and is cold 1/2 the year where we live) and my spouse wants easy access to his truck without going outside in bad weather during his work day - access through his office. Thoughts on this new plan? I know it's not perfect yet...thanks again for all the help everyone!

    Bookmark   January 19, 2013 at 12:35PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

My great aunt and uncle had a home with a "detached" garage. The room in between was a screened porch that they used all summer and then put the storm windows on in the fall to use it for most of the winter. A "3 season room". Practically, it worked as a mudroom space between the garage and house. In farm country, a room like that is really really useful to keep dirt out of the main house. But, it was all under the same gable roof as the house. Sorta this idea, with a multi purpose area between the heated house and the non heated garage. If you added a fireplace at the end, it could provide heat for winter and could be a cozy gathering spot then too.

    Bookmark   January 19, 2013 at 1:10PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

My main thought is that by building a big rectangle you're really limiting the natural light and views from the house. Your lot sounds lovely, but where in the house will you be able to see it? Maybe the kitchen window?

Have you considered an L shaped house? You could put the bedrooms in one leg, and the living spaces in the other, and have more windows and a less massive roof.

    Bookmark   January 19, 2013 at 2:12PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

The bedrooms are improved in the second drawing, but I'm not seeing the point in sleeping 5-6 kids in a bedroom when you only have two children. I'd plan bedrooms for the kids who sleep at your house everyday, and pull out air mattresses when the cousins come over.

If this many kids stay on a regular basis, is the bathroom enough? I'm not in the camp of "every child must have a private bathroom", but I think there's a disconnect between the sleeping numbers and the bathroom numbers here.

I wonder if it'd be practical to build small rooms for the children -- what they actually need for everyday life -- and then do a separate bunkhouse out back? It'd fit into a country house theme, and you wouldn't have to heat it all the time.

I'd add another door in the company office so you don't have to go outside to get into the house. Also, will you need to provide your clients with a bathroom?

I like the proximity of the laundry to the bedrooms, especially the master, but that's more space than I'd dedicate to keeping clothes clean, especially since you also have a sizable mdroom.

No pantry? With all this company, I think you're going to want the abiloity to lay in foodstuffs.

    Bookmark   January 20, 2013 at 8:16PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Thanks everyone for your comments! They are very helpful in helping us think through our plan and identify our priorities! So we started with a new plan and ditched the old one. Too many issues to try to solve with the old one. We still like the bigger kids bedrooms, as building a separate structure, heating it, and providing another bathroom would be more expensive than adding a little extra square footage to the current house. A couple of very good friends have back issues and sleeping on a air mattress would make them miserable for the entire weekend, so we would rather add a couple of beds, then have them never want to come and stay at our home or (worse) feel a need to have to get a hotel, so they can get a proper nights rest. Our zoning laws also don't allow a secondary structure for sleeping. We live by a lot of lakes and in the old days, folks would just put up a bunch of cabins on the same property and there was issues with inadequate septic next to the lakes, so no secondary sleeping structure for us. Anyway...the laundry is big, but it's going to be duel purpose as a craft/work room with the table and chair area. The playroom area will grow with us and convert from that to a media room (teenage years) to a possible in-law living area, should a parent need to move in, in the future, after the kids move out. The whole house is handicap accessible except the bonus room upstairs. This house should have a lot more light than the last plan. Someone asked about providing clients a rest room, and no, they probably wouldn't need a restroom, as meetings are generally 1 hour or less. Any thoughts or comments on this new layout. Again, I haven't layed out the kitchen yet, so ignore that except the size and doorways. We do want to keep the bathrooms to 3, as cleaning them is not my favorite job! Comments and suggestions very welcome! Thanks in advance!!!

    Bookmark   January 21, 2013 at 9:18AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I've been following this thread with some interest. Your latest plan is a definite improvement, particularly in that the garage is no longer wrapping around the house.

The biggest issues I see now are the interior playroom and office. Windowless, interior rooms such as those are not inviting places for people to spend time, with their lack of natural light. Typically, such interior rooms are restricted to things like bathrooms, closets, pantries, and hallways, where people tend not to spend much time. Or a home-theater, where the absence of light is an important feature.

The other issue is the bathroom in between the girls' and boys' bedrooms. With your planned number of guests, I think that room is going to be severly overtaxed. At least consider adding a shower to the half-bath, to relieve some of the duty.

    Bookmark   January 21, 2013 at 11:19AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

The front entry is rather uninviting. You step into the entry and you are faced with a solid wall in front of you. Everyone who enters the house that way will also have to walk through the living room to get anywhere.

Likewise, anyone entering the house from the garage has to walk right through the kitchen. How will the person preparing food feel about that?

Also, I do not agree with your statement that The whole house is handicap accessible except the bonus room upstairs. The power room and bathrooms do not look large enough for someone in a wheelchair to turn around in. And getting by the playroom sectional will be tight.

The master bedroom entrance off the dining room is not ideal.

    Bookmark   January 21, 2013 at 12:51PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Hi there! I would look at existing ranch plans to give you a starting point. Here are some of the issues I see in the plan:

I would not want my powder room opening directly to my living room.

The living room does not have the best view, while the utility room is in a prime location.

I could not work in an office without a window. I have a small one office(9x8) but it has a window and it's very functional.

I definitely wouldn't want a playroom without a window.

Agree with adding a shower to the powder room for extra flexibility. Also if you redesign to have the powder close to the playroom, then the playroom can function as a guest room.

I would want some separation from the master bedroom and dining room,

I'm not sure about the flexibility of built in bunk beds. If you have adult guests then your kids can sleep in the same room with one on an air mattress.

If you are going to go through the trouble having stairs to the upstairs, then maybe switch to a 1 1/2 or 2 story plan. then you will have more windows, and a greater number of rooms will be able to enjoy the view in the back.

I would maybe move the kids bedroom and 1 bath upstairs.

How big is this house floorplan?

    Bookmark   January 21, 2013 at 1:11PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I like this plan better, also. Here are my issues with this plan... The 1/2 bath IN the living room. I see the point of access from the garage through the mud room, but a reconfigure to have the bathroom closer to the kitchen for access would be better than from the living room, no privacy....

Also the craft/laundry room. I would rearrange so that the washer/dryer were not in the shared wall of my bedroom, unless you are sound proofing the laundry, I would think it would be noisy for sleeping.

As for the office not having any windows, maybe putting the door into the living, or moving it over into the dining with french doors would give you enough natural light?

The master bath, closet is too cut up for me, I would rather have an open bathroom as one area, with just the water closet. Maybe something like this? I extended the bathroom wall just a bit, made the closet bigger and kept the window. Made the shower a walk-in shower and expanded the vanity so there's more room. Also added 2 linen closets and gave the water closet a window!

    Bookmark   January 21, 2013 at 1:32PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I've also switched up the tub a bit incase you don't like the plumbing on the outside wall and added a little bench by the tub (lol the little square).

anyway, let us know what you come up with!!

    Bookmark   January 21, 2013 at 1:34PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

sorry, i lost the first pic

    Bookmark   January 21, 2013 at 1:35PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

This is another good example of too much focused concern with the interior lay-out of the house too soon. The result will be the "perfect plan" that results in a fat, ill-proportioned house with a huge roof with all sorts of ridges, gables and hips required to accomodate all of the non-aligned walls and a house that is almost as deep as it is wide.

The proper way to design a house is to alternate studies of the interior with studies of the exterior (almost never seen on this forum), incorporating discoveries from one into the other, repeating the process until both interior and exterior are in harmony with one another.

Worse, it appears (if we are to belive the plan as shown), the site amenities and view have not be taken into account, nor has advantage been taken to get natural light (and passive energy) into the house. As a result, this is going to be a dark house with little slits (called windows) to let only a bit of light here and there into the interior.

I know this has been a fun exercise, but if you only have one chance to "get it right", you should find an architect (who is trained and experienced in design) immediately and work closely with him or her. Start over and start soon to get it right.

Best of luck with your project.

    Bookmark   January 21, 2013 at 4:49PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

If you're running a business, people will occasionally ask to use your bathroom -- even if they're only in your home office for 5 minutes, they may've been out running errands for 5 hours previously. I agree with you that cleaning bathrooms isn't the most fun tasks AND they're very expensive to build; however, you could solve this problem by moving the half-bath over near the office. That way it could serve clients AND guests.

I agree that the entryway isn't welcoming. Anytime you walk through a door, you want your sightline to be on a window (preferably) or another door). You want the person entering the room to feel that he's not walking into a dead end. This isn't a functional plus so much as an emotional plus, but it'll make a huge difference in your house. Start to pay attention to doorways around you, and you'll see.

Couldn't you save money by putting those utility items into the garage? Then you could use that utility spot for your home office, which would give you sunlight AND an office just off the kitchen -- convenient location.

Another option is to bump the home office to the other side of the living room. This means that someone entering the house would have a clear sightline to the windows at the back of the house, and your living room would be open to the dining room.

I really think the bedrooms /bathrooms need help. The kids' bedroom thing just isn't well thought-through, and the master bath is too chopped up.

Is the playroom also the media room? I'd suggest that you want more separation between this room and the other parts of the house. Why? Sound travels. What's going upstairs in the bonus room? This would be ideal for a playroom /media room.

The garage is much more functional in the new plan.

Note that you have no rear exit doors.

Recessing the washer/dryer as you've drawn it is going to be expensive . . . and it means that when you need a new set 10-15 years from now, you're stuck with that particular size machine -- regardless of what technologies may have developed in that timeframe.

I would lose the island in the laundry room. Any room that contains an island must be relatively large. Even though this is to serve as a craft room /laundry room, a U-shaped cabinet set-up would give you essentially as much cabinet space . . . in less square footage. I'd lose the ironing board and plan on laying out an ironing pad on the countertop (but, then, I rarely iron).

    Bookmark   January 21, 2013 at 7:07PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I agree with many comments above.
My comment is about the laundry/craft room.

I used to have a large laundry room/craft room.
My experience was that it didn't work as a dual purpose room.

If I entered that room, I was compelled to start a load to wash.

Even if i'd been able to ignore the laundry that was staring at me (big family), it was way TOO HOT to do any crafting/sewing while the washer/dryer were running, which was always.

    Bookmark   January 22, 2013 at 9:49PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

hamsch, if you live in an area that has a building code you will find that "habitable" rooms without windows must be mechanically ventilated. Many people find such rooms moderately to extremely uncomfortable and it is definitely not a good environment for children.

It would help me if you divided your comments into paragraphs and enlarged the floor plan.

Otherwise all I can say is that the plan lacks a central organizing feature so the spaces seem randomly placed.

    Bookmark   January 23, 2013 at 7:10AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Sorry this got overly long and probably needs some editing, but I'm out of time, so here it is.

To my own fault, I haven�t explained our thought process concerning our layout in any previous posts, but we actually have given a lot of thought to the function of the plan. We really do understand why we want things in certain areas and what rooms we want in relation to others. Exterior is important too. My biggest preference for exterior is no large garage off the front. Our first plan had that, now they are off the end, which is my preference. We have been looking at the exterior as we design the interior although I haven�t posted any of the exteriors of these preliminary plans, as we are in just the start of the design process. Anyone that is annoyed with a non-final plan process - this thread is NOT for them.

So some history, which I�m guessing for some, is the same as ours, after much time spent looking at a million (or so it seems) house plans and actual homes, finding none that exactly fit our wants/needs we decided to layout our own home, with the end result of building our next home. Having done that process, we understand our wants and needs must not be the same as the typical family.

The house: We want to stay around or under 3000 square feet of living area on the main level. We want a one level house. Garages can be extra square footage outside the 3000 square feet. We can "make do" with a double garage, but prefer a triple garage for an extra vehicle or for storage of the boat, lawn mower, bikes, etc. Above 3000 square feet is too much to clean and would start to be unaffordable � both for initial cost and on going maintenance/heating & cooling and property taxes. Both adults in our family work full time (40+ hours a week). None of the housekeeping is hired out and won�t be in the future (well, unless we win the lottery or something!) We need the house to be more functional than a show piece. We are NOT intending to build a mini-mansion by any means, but still want it to look as nice as possible (isn�t that why we post here - to try to get the best of form and function without the high costs of architects fees? No offense intended toward architects, but design costs saved could mean something extra off the "want" list can be included � I sure other would argue some are worth their weight in gold�each to their least for now I am happy with any advise or real world experience that I can use to weigh the pros and cons of things and I will make a choice on what�s best for my family and me. Will consider a architect for final plan review...maybe.)

A little about us, the first thing most of the family does when they return home from work or school is take off our "work or school" clothing and put on a pair of yoga or sweat pants. No one "dresses" for family dinner. We do eat a family dinner each night, but it�s come as you are comfortable (bringing your manners, of course). We go home for comfort and relaxation, food, entertainment, and hobbies. We want our home to reflect that casualness. There won�t be any room "off limits" or too nice to touch anything in. No fancy balls or black tie parties at our house. We would be more likely to have a Halloween or Super Bowl party.

I will go room by room, trying to describe what we are looking for.

Entry: The people living in this house will hardly ever "use" this area. The mudroom will be the main entry for us. My spouse operates a work office out of our home. We have clients come to our home for business reasons. Meetings can be in the evening or day time. Early morning meetings are rare. These happen three plus times a week in the busy season. We do not want clients to "see into" the private areas of our home. (We might place a very large mirror on the wall opposite the entry to make it seem less like a "dead end". If you are family or friends, you also use this entry, but will be welcomed to see all the other areas of the house and will spend the least amount of time standing in our entry, maybe will even let yourself in. Clients - not so much and we want to keep it that way. Does anyone have clients coming to their homes? How do you handle their enter exit and bathroom needs? Do they get to view your private living areas from the front door? Any more advise?

Front Work Office: Must be close to entry for client traffic. We do want the kids have quick assess to the adult working in this office, should they need something when the other adult is not home. At times of year my spouse works long hours. There will be times of the day when my spouse is working already in this office early in the morning and the kids will be getting ready for school or playing in the flexible living space (before school starts and after school). The adult working in this office, must be able to "hear" � through the open door, what�s going on in the next room, but the office must be closed off when there is a meeting with a client. The other adult is home if there is client meeting and the children are also home. Sometimes there are evening meetings, where the other adult and children are in the home when the meeting with the client occurs. We want to be able to use the rest of the house when the meeting is going on without being a disturbance. This room will function as an extra bedroom for resale, where the foyer side doorway could be removed and closed in and the door on the flex room could be widened. Spouse would love access to the garage, which we did in the original plan, but not sure that that request can be filled within our sq. footage requirements. This is low priority for the rest of the family.

Formal Living Room: Must be off entry so family and friends can come right in and sit down for a visit. Will be used primarily by adults (not that the kids won�t be allow, it�s just they will have their own space � see one paragraph down). Space use will be for week night evenings to relax and unwind, with an adult beverage, read, watch TV/movies, visit, and surf the internet. We will read books to our children in this room or the flex living room. I don�t foresee a lot of other toys coming into this area of the house, (If possible - those that have small children know what I mean!). We want the Flex Living Area and this Living area both to be able to be closed off from the other half of the house should it be required to be noisy in one area and quiet in the other.

Flex/Kids Living Room: Must be close to kid�s bedrooms and on the main floor. Flex room to grow with us. Will go from playroom (child) to media room (teen) and will flex as additional living area during family gatherings. Night time it will be a quiet buffer space from the other living areas of the house, so the adults can watch a movie in the formal living room and not disturb the children sleeping. Right now the kids are too little to be on a floor by themselves (some have suggested using the bonus room as the flex space, which is not feasible at this time, for this reason). Must be able to at least "hear" the children playing from the kitchen or living areas when the doors are all open. Won�t have toys in the bedrooms, at least while we still need to give time outs. This will be primarily causal family space and free for the kids to use. Their space to mess up and clean up most of the time. Must have storage for toys/games out of sight so we can use this space as extra "living" area when family and friends gather. Many times our guests will split up into conversation groups depending on the topics people are interested in discussing. Many times it�s guys in one group and gals in the other, but not always. We can see groups of people separating into two living areas. We want fairly easy flow to the kitchen for snacks/beverages. We don�t mind if we need to walk a little way. (Gives time to think, am I hungry for fruit or that last slice of cake?) Does anyone have a play room off the kid�s bedrooms? Does this work and do you like it or would have you put it a different place or eliminated it all together? Is it on the second floor and do they use it? Thanks Renovator8 for comment about the ventilation. Danhei - thanks for your comments about non-windowed interior rooms - very helpful!

Kids Bedroom: Must sleep more than 1 kid, these bedrooms are designed for the future. Potential for one child�s family (spouse and two kids) to come back and stay in or for guests now to stay in with their families. Yes, our kids will need to sleep on cots in the flex room, while the guests use their room. We do this at my parents� house and it works just fine. One whole child�s family in one room. My children and nieces/ nephews (especially younger ones) want to be close to mom and dad in a strange house anyway. Anyone have opinions on window seats? They look pretty and functional, but do they really get used? Would love to hear from some folks that have them in their homes. Anyone put in a bunk house? Would love to hear from those that have put one in. Do they like it years down the road? Has it worked the way they wanted it to?

Master: Just needs to contain a bed. We only use our bedroom for sleeping.

Master bath: We do want a master bathroom, as we don�t have one now, with soaking tub. We aren�t getting any younger (not that we are old now) and sometimes it would be nice to soak a sore muscle now and again. Must be in close proximity to laundry room. It looks as if to property lay out a master bath you need a room about the same size as the bedroom (!).

Master Closet: Needs to have one large and one smaller closet. Must have room for clothing for 4 seasons out of the year (winter sweaters and summer shorts), business attire, and formal wear. Must be in close proximity to laundry room.

Laundry: Needs to be large enough to be functional and ergonomically correct (as much as possible), as laundry is a material handling task. Pedestal on under the washer and dry is a priority. This room must be close to the bathrooms (where clothing comes off) and closet areas (where clothing goes on). I will not carry dirty or clean laundry across the house to a "mud room" by the garage entry. This is also a priority. We hang most clothing on hangers, so lots of hanging space is a must. Since laundry is on- going in our house, I wait until the hanger area is full, and then take the clean clothing back to the rooms. We also use baskets for underwear and socks � one basket for each person. We do wait until we have a full load prior to washing so a sorting area must be available. Laundry is not folded in any other room but this one (others we know fold laundry on the kitchen table or couch because the laundry room is under size. I do not want this.) Melsouth thank you for your comments about your experience with a craft/laundry room. Very helpful! MrsPete - thanks for the comment on the washer/dryer sizes - good point!

Kitchen: Must not be viewed from the front door and I don't want it anywhere close to the main house entry. Large and functional for gathering and cooking/baking. Ideally, have an eat at island and baking center area for making cookies, cakes, pies, and other goodies. Close access to the outdoors and garden (fresh picked peas!) We cook (from scratch) most days and will have a large veg and flower gardens. Our kitchen now is tiny. The kitchen must be physically as close to the garage as possible. This is a number one priority. From living in a house where the kitchen is the furthest possible spot from the vehicle, "schools" a person very quickly on this requirement. PS It�s way below zero degrees here today, now bring in 5 loads of groceries and 7 gallons of milk (Ya, it sucks). (Oh, and yes, I should just buy a milking cow.) Some have commented about people walking through the kitchen from the mudroom to get to the rest of the house. I haven�t solved this one yet. Anyone that has a house where the mudroom is off the kitchen and the kitchen is the walk way to the rest of the house? Has this been a problem or not?

Ok, so I must confess my philosophy on shoes and pets. If you are offended easily, please skip this paragraph. None of this is intended to offend anyone, these are just my own opinions and how my family lives. This is not intended to judge others or the way they live. We live in a free country and each can make our own choices. Ok, so here it is on shoes and pets. Neither is allowed in the living areas of my house. I know this is absolutely shocking for most Americans, including some of my own immediate family. My opinion is that both "can be" dirty and I don�t love cleaning that much that I want extra dirt/pet hair all over my home, if at all possible. I have nothing against animals or shoes, I just don�t want them "in" my living space (they will be allowed in the mudroom and entry areas). We do plan to have a dog when we move, but not a "house dog". The dog will have a warm dog house of its own and plenty of room to roam outdoors, but will not enter my house (pending some medical emergency only). Guests will also be asked to remove their shoes. Clients, though, can go right in the office, so they will not be required to remove their footwear and the flooring in the office will be conducive to frequent cleaning. Dirt is welcome to stay on the shoes, but not further than those spaces. And I did mention I had two kids, and those that have kids, know how dirty they can be. My point is, I already have enough dirt to chase after, and I try not to add more.

Mudroom: Must be large enough and functional! Have four seasons where we live, some seasons shorter than others, but none the less, 4 seasons, so we have lots of outerwear and footwear. In our current starter house, we have a 5x5 space for entry and mudroom and it totally sucks. A bathroom must be close to the mudroom for use before car rides. Must have an area to drop my purse and wall space to post a large calendar, track grocery lists, mail, etc. For keeping the family organized and so family members know what�s happening for the day/week/year. Guests don�t necessarily need to see this area or know what our schedules are.

Dining room: Must be able to flex from 4 to more people (20+). Our family rotates holidays at each other�s homes. Some families traveling across the state to see us and could stay for the weekend. Access to porch off back of house for grilling in spring and summer from this room. Dining room must be right next to the kitchen. I am not willing to carrying food across the house to a "formal dining room". Formal dining rooms wouldn�t fit the number of guest we have for the holidays anyway, so really why bother. The dining room will be formal or informal depending on the table decorations and place settings. We are pretty causal family and do not have client dinners at our home. We do love having family and friends over though. For our gatherings, we are more of a barbeques or potluck type, then 4 course dinner type of gathering. Although 4 course dinners do happen on occasion.

Bathrooms: We do not want more than 3 total. When we have overnight guests they will need to take turns - our overnight guests pretty much are family and very close friends and understand bathroom etiquette and if there are three in line to take showers, you don't get to take an hour in the bathroom. Preference is for small functional bathrooms (see comments for master bath). Thank you to all that commented about bathroom placement. We've found it difficult to find the perfect place for the powder room, where a high level of privacy is given. More work on this in the next plan. The girls room will have a "hair and make up" area with mirror and outlets to free up the bathroom faster. That should help a little with the back up in the bathrooms when guest are present.

Bonus Room: Potential expansion in the future or just storage. To be determined yet or could be axed at some point in the future.

dekoeboe - Your right about the handicap accessible point - most of the doorways are 3' doors, but not all "spaces" allow turning around - more of a drive in - back out situation. No one currently is in a wheelchair living here, so shouldn't be a functional issue hopefully in the next 20 years.

Revised floor plan should be posted in the next day or two. Thanks again for everyone's time to look and formulate some opinions and posting replies. This might take a bit, but I am confident we will get to our "American Dream".

This site is also a welcome source of knowledge!

Stay warm out there - it's going to -40 degrees tonight here! Burr!

    Bookmark   January 23, 2013 at 8:44PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Front Work Office: This room will function as an extra bedroom for resale, I don't see how this could work as there is no accessible bathroom for this room.

Flex/Kids Living Room: Is this the room labeled as the Playroom?

This will be primarily causal family space and free for the kids to use. Then why is it an internal room with no natural light?

For our gatherings, we are more of a barbeques or potluck type Where will you be grilling and how will you get to the grill? I don't see a back door anywhere.

    Bookmark   January 23, 2013 at 9:52PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

New floor plan has not been posted yet. Coming soon.

    Bookmark   January 23, 2013 at 10:25PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

H, there is little more to be said here, after your lengthy posting.

It's clear you have a personal direction and are following it. That's certainly the American tradition for making houses: clearing land, building a shelter and raising a family, while tending the fields or herds, or both. So good on you!

As someone who has been in the architectural profession for years before moving on to other opportunities, all I can say is that designing a home is more than simply assemblying and linking a series of rooms.

And the search for a "perfect plan", which we see here so frequently, is often a frustrating illusion.

Dealing with needs vs. wants, budgets, aesthetics, financing, appraisal and resale value issues, site constrains, regulatory controls, bidding, construction and related legal issues, schedules, and finally, occupancy is a complex equation even for something as straight-forward and relatively simple as a single-family residence. It is an endeavor often best with someone experienced in the process, such as an experienced architect and talented builder, especially when they can work together.

Perhaps you believe in home education, home medication, home legal counsel, and the like, not caring for or perhaps not trusting professionals in these and other disciplines. Many folks believe strongly in these personal approaches, in an increasingly impersonal world, and so, more power to them. Or perhaps not, perhaps this is just a quest to take personal responsibility for your new home.

Whatever is motivating you, good luck and best wishes for your project. There's always good experience and advice here when you need it.

    Bookmark   January 23, 2013 at 11:49PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

We have two years to do this planning process before we are slated to build. Have owed the land we are building on 8 years already. I'm hoping that two years is enough time to deal with all the needs vs. wants, budgets, aesthetics, financing, appraisal and resale value issues, site constrains, regulatory controls, bidding, construction and related legal issue.

I do believe in modern medicine and public school systems and personal responsibility for your own destination (with the help of a higher power).

We are in needs vs wants stage with a look towards budgets, as you need some sort of layout before you can determine costs and re-evaluate. We also have a talent builder whom has not seen these plans yet, as the closer we can get to agreement between the adults, the easier it will be on the builder. We understand there will be some "wants" that get left behind for various reasons.

Thank you for your well wishes.

    Bookmark   January 24, 2013 at 9:04AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

hamsch, do you plan on bringing your plan to a designer/architect to finalize things? I was in the same boat as you, I kept looking at plans reworking our design, posting it here for feedback, and then reworking again.

Finally we switched gears and worked with a designer. the process was supposed to take 10-12 weeks, but took more like six months (for various reasons). It was more money than we wanted to pay, however in the end it is was worth it because our house is much more functional, and all of our needs/wants were taken into account.

Regarding your plan, I think the second iteration is a huge improvement, but there is still work to do.

Entry - I see your point about not having clients see into the rest of you home, and the way I have seen this taken into account in other plans is by having a separate entrance to the office. If you push the front door forward into the house, you reduce the foot print of the too large entry and you can have an entry into the office. The plan would still need to be reworked to get the bathroom closer as I think that is a necessity, and then you can also work on making the main entrance more inviting for guests.

Flex/Kids Living Room and extra office � These rooms really have to have a window. I�m sure the plan can be reworked to manage that, but it may involve hall space that brings you over your 3000. That may not add additional cost if it also helps to simplify your roof lines and decreases the width (while increasing the length)

Kids room � how about using a bunk bed that has a double on the bottom, twin on the top, trundle underneath?

This plan, while very different, could act as some inspiration, not exactly what you need, but maybe still helpful.

You could put doors on the library and use that for a second office, and use bedroom 2 as the office that clients visit, adding a door right onto the porch. If you give up having doors on the play area that could be the family room, and then you have a formal living room. The rooms here are all quite large and several could be cut down. Closets could be made smaller, and a mudroom added.

    Bookmark   January 24, 2013 at 12:55PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

This isn't the right plan for you, however it shoes how all the rooms you need can have windows, and the office has both an exterior door and a bathroom.

Here is a link that might be useful: Inspiration

    Bookmark   January 24, 2013 at 12:58PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

The internal unventilated rooms and lack of organization make this plan unredeemable. You really need to start over.

    Bookmark   January 24, 2013 at 1:17PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I think the main issue is the house is too boxy. The surface area to volume ratio needs to change. Try to go away from the square shape and make something more rectangle, L or T shaped. Have you considered splitting the bedrooms? Master/laundry/office on one side with the kids bedrooms and playroom on the other side?

Take a look at this plan:
Study can be playroom
Living room can be work office. If desired this room can have a separate entry.
Master bedroom sitting area can be converted to laundry/craft area.
Guest room can be second office which is a bedroom for resale.

Obviously it would need to be edited for your needs. But it's a good place to start.

Here is a link that might be useful: Single story Farmhouse

    Bookmark   January 24, 2013 at 2:15PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Newest plan...bonus room stairs in the house got the ax. I think I could take 2 feet out of the middle of this house. Haven't placed the 2nd home office. We need the utility room to be off the back of the house because placement of the air conditioning unit. Anyone like this lay out better? I moved the bathroom over but may move it back to make the flex room larger. New master bedroom/bath layout.


    Bookmark   January 24, 2013 at 2:25PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Improvement, but I still think you are heading in the wrong direction with a few items.

I know you need your dining room to fit 20 people, and I can appreciatte this as I need the same thing! That said, you have an incredable waste of space in the dining area. You need to have space for daily use, and then be able to expand to surrounding space. Look at how that is accomplished in the attached floor plan.

Having two front doors will not look good from a front elevation perspective, however having a door directly into the office could work, see my above post.

Why does the utility room need to be near the AC? Can your utilities go in your attic? (this is common in my area, though not always recommended by those on GW).

What is the purpose of the wasted space going towards the bedrooms?

I see your thought process, but I really think you are at the point where you need to consult a professional.

Here is a link that might be useful: Dining room example

    Bookmark   January 24, 2013 at 2:43PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

double post

This post was edited by Laura12 on Thu, Jan 24, 13 at 15:08

    Bookmark   January 24, 2013 at 2:52PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Have a look at this plan that another member of GW created for me.

You could put a door directly into the office, put a half bath where the closet is facing the study, switch the futured bedroom and utility and turn the garage sideways.

Here is a link that might be useful: Summerfield's Design

    Bookmark   January 24, 2013 at 2:54PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Summerfield's plan is a good example of a design by someone who understands how to organize spaces so they compliment each other and create a sense of home. None of your plans come close to doing that. Please find a designer of this caliber and let him/her design a great house for you.

    Bookmark   January 24, 2013 at 5:16PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

double post

This post was edited by Renovator8 on Thu, Jan 24, 13 at 17:18

    Bookmark   January 24, 2013 at 5:17PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Laura12 - nice design Summerfield did for you! It looks like what you were looking for, was similar to what we need also. What did the front exterior rendering look like?
I 'm a visual person but have a hard time "seeing" what a built wall might look like - thank goodness for drawing programs that allow you to view what you've laid out in 3D - so helpful! Interesting idea about the bunk bed that has a double on the bottom, twin on the top, trundle underneath. I will have to do research on how that might be constructed. Thanks!

pps7 - Thanks for the link. Those types of posts are helpful. Great example of getting light into many spaces. I will use that.

Being a newbie here - can someone clarify, is this web-site only for those that have hired architects to design their homes? If so, I am very sorry and will discontinue posting here.

    Bookmark   January 24, 2013 at 7:31PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

No, this website is not just for those who have hired architect to design their home. Those that post here are just interested in good design and we are lucky to have a few architects who post and offer their wisdom.

Can you post a larger image? I can't read any of the room sizes.

What happened to the office for your husband that needed to be accessed from the front entry?

    Bookmark   January 24, 2013 at 7:43PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Summerfield never did a front elevation of that plan for me, and I ended up going in a different direction once we talked to a professional locally.

The key for me was accepting that meeting all of my needs and wants was simply not possible. We ended up moving the playroom upstairs to the bonus room, not ideal when our kids our little, but we will be be fine. We also included a media room upstairs that can be closed off for movies and sporting events. I really wanted a large laundry room and seperate mudroom, but in the end it didn't fit and I had to let go of that idea. Space for crafts etc is in the bonus room upstairs. Bedroom #2 by the master is a nursery now but in the future will be an office, or maybe an exercise room.

This site is not just for those who have hired a professional. It is a great place to get advice and ideas at all stages of your planning and building. Personally I found everyones advice from GW to be very helpful in finally coming up with a plan that works for us. That said, I think a professional is an essential part of the process. At first I tought we could manage without one and just get a drafter, but I was very wrong! It isn't possible to do this on your own as you can't create construction drawings and everything required by the county/city/town. I've learned from reading everyone elses stories that it helps to find a professional you are gonig to work with on your deisgn early, and you seem to be at a point where you could use some help beyond what can be offerred here. It is impossible to design a house with as many complex needs as what you have without a professional. I know you said you have lots of time, but it could take some time even with help to get final drawings!

This post was edited by Laura12 on Mon, Jan 28, 13 at 12:12

    Bookmark   January 24, 2013 at 8:00PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo


Thanks for posting your floor plans and experience in your building process. You have a very lovely home! Well done! Interesting your garage is a similar layout to my original plan. I will have to have a discussion with my spouse about where we go from here. Thanks!

dekeoboe - We were in the process of moving walls when I posted that last layout. Looks like the door to the office got accidentally deleted. It should be on the entry wall of the office. I tried posting an enlarged layout and the website rejected it. Any advise for posting a larger layout would be welcome!

    Bookmark   January 24, 2013 at 8:51PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I have been where you are.. Drawing a new plan every few days and always wanting a better solution. I have linked our final floorplan and elevations. Our plan is larger than you are hoping for' but it can be made smaller by eliminating two bedrooms and the dining room and overall shrinking some of the spaces... They are all fairly large. Perhaps our layout and flow can giv eyou some ideas.

Here is a link that might be useful: Our final plans...

    Bookmark   January 24, 2013 at 9:37PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

hamsch, the forum is for anyone who wants to discuss the design of homes in general and their home in particular. Many members are in the process of designing and building a home for the first time and many have build before.

Most homeowner members offer suggestion about improving a house plan and will often offer examples from their house or houses they like. A few members are builders and architects and they usually offer a different perspective on designing a house both in detail issues and broad design issues and are often more critical since that is the process by which that gained their knowledge (ie, the hard way). One very talented amateur designer, Summerfield, sometimes offers an entire plan and even an elevation but hasn't been active lately.

Most members will offer constructive advice for any plan but professionals often must choose between offering an entire alternate design or warning the poster that they are over their head and need to seek outside assistance. When a professional does not have the time or the program is too unclear it would be unkind of them to not offer the latter advice.

    Bookmark   January 25, 2013 at 8:38AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

We did most of our home design ourselves, although we did work with an architect at the end through the design-build company that is going to build our house.

I think we came up with a design that will work well for us, but we're building a much simpler home than a lot of people here do.

If that's the path you want to take, I would suggest you stop drawing floor plans for the moment and do some reading, so you can become familiar with the basics for making a house that is comfortable for people. "Designing your Perfect House" by William Hirsch Jr. was incredibly helpful for us. While he encourages readers to work with an architect if they can, he's written the book with the aim of making it "an architect in a book" for people who can't take that route.

I would also encourage you to spend some time in a windowless interior room, and think about whether or not it's a room you like being in. Uncomfortable rooms don't get used, and so there's no point in paying to build them. Yesterday I was in a doctor's waiting room that was windowless, and despite the high end finishes and decor, it wasn't a pleasant space. People like natural light and being able to see out.

Another thought-- if you're building in a place that gets to -40, why aren't you putting in a basement? We don't get quite that cold here, and our builder told us there was almost no cost increase in putting in a full basement vs. a crawlspace because they already have to excavate so deeply to get below the frost line.

With a full basement, you could put the utility room and "play room" downstairs, reducing your total foot print, eliminating the interior "flex space", and get another window in your kitchen. You could also have your child guests sleep in the basement with your kids (making their rooms available to adult guests), and then you wouldn't need to plan to sleep quite so many in the kids' rooms.

    Bookmark   January 25, 2013 at 11:23AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

zone4newby - Good ideas! Our site does provide a constriction on those though, our property is near wetlands and lakes. We don't want to deal with water in a basement area. Our area can get 6 to 10 inches of water in a day (it's happened twice in the last 10 years - so many people had water and mold in the lower levels, so we know we would have issues if that happens on our lot. This will be a slab on grade home - sealed air ducts will be in the ceiling and in floor tubing for in floor heat will be in the concrete floor. We don't want stairs - only exception would be for a bonus room - space that in old age we wouldn't need to be used or accessed much, or at least by us. We have lived in homes with stairs our whole lives and are trying to avoid them for our older years. I know this type of home is not the norm. Many build a two story minimum with basement.

Point taken on the interior rooms with no natural light. We see how important this is. Will need to rework rooms on exterior walls with windows.

Thanks for the book recommendation. I will have to check to see if I can buy it online for some good weekend reading. Much appreciated!

    Bookmark   January 25, 2013 at 8:23PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

What about having the play room in the bonus room?

    Bookmark   January 25, 2013 at 9:40PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

You will be required by code to ventilate the windowless habitable rooms and in that might cost as much as $3,000 to $5,000 depending on the climate.

A better approach would be to spend that money on an architect who could design a house that would not only avoid additional HVAC equipment but would undoubtably be more pleasant to live in and would have an increased resale value many times the initial expense.

    Bookmark   January 26, 2013 at 11:18AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Renovator8 - Thank you and as I posted previously, lesson learned - the rooms that did not have a windows before will have one in a revised plan.

Laura12 - Similar to you (if I remember correctly), we have small children that still need close supervision so having their primary play space a level up is not ideal at this time. Will put the playroom/flex space right next to the dinning room/kitchen, as your earlier post suggested, with a set of french doors (or pocket doors ?) so that the space can be used for additional seating when we have family holidays and partially (or fully) closed to contain all the mess in an area on a daily basis.

Of course, as you all can see, all subject to change as we move through the process...

Thanks again everyone for the real world experience, thoughts, and ideas.

    Bookmark   January 26, 2013 at 1:36PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

another idea would be to have the playroom in the space for the home office, and for now have your home office in the playroom, and then later move your home office downstairs, and their playroom upstairs.

    Bookmark   January 26, 2013 at 1:49PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo


    Bookmark   January 27, 2013 at 11:06PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Exterior comments?

    Bookmark   January 27, 2013 at 11:14PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Hopefully this one is bigger and more readable.

    Bookmark   January 27, 2013 at 11:42PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Huge improvement, though you still have a ways to go :)

- You don't want to walk into your home and see straight into the half bath.
- The space for your dining table is still out of proportion, how wide is that space?
- Your utility room is taking up prime floor space
- Walking through the doors in the family room to get to the main part of the house is awkward. Especially since you don't have a hallway though this space.
- Having clients walk through the garage to get to a bathroom isn't ideal.
- Very small windows in auxiliary bathrooms.

    Bookmark   January 27, 2013 at 11:59PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
Sophie Wheeler

hamsch, what do you do for a living?

Your time and money would be much better spent doing whatever it is than by trying to learn open heart surgery with a butter knife. Then spend that hard earned money an a professional to assist you with something that they do MUCH better than you do. I don't understand your reluctance to deal with an architect. Do you travel to CA in a bigrig to pick up lettuce for your salads or do you leave that to the professional? Do you tear down your car's transmission and rebuild it, or do you leave it to a professional? Do you try to design and sew your own clothes or do you buy them off the rack or from a tailor?

There is no shame in not being able to DIY every aspect of your life. And unless you are merely interested in building a giant square box, you do not have enough skill at creating anything habitable with your software, or even just graph paper. If it amuses you to spend your time doing thousands of layouts, I guess it's a hobby. But, it poisons the ultimate interactions that you will need to have with a professional and robs you and your family of the best result that you could achieve if you went to that architect much sooner.

    Bookmark   January 28, 2013 at 12:17AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

The entrance area is very bad indeed and there is still no organizing principle for the house but at least there are no interior windowless spaces.

The use of a different cladding material above the gutter line makes a low building appear even lower. For such a modest house I would take a more straight-forward and honest approach and shingle the entire thing using decorative shingle shapes and special features to add interest.

Fake shutters add nothing to the house.

An angled building should be looked at in perspective view rather than front elevation view.

A formal Colonial fan light above the entrance door is at odds with the casual Craftsman portico posts. Borrowing from different architectural styles is OK but the elements should reinforce some kind of unifying approach or idea. Choose should choose between formal and causal, estate and cottage.

The "mutton chop" cornice returns are typical of "spec" developer houses; it would only take a bit more detailing to make the house look like it was designed for an owner. If you like the Modern or Contemporary Styles you should study them.

IMO the big blank front facing gables are unattractive. For centuries pediments have been treated with some kind of feature. It was the American tract home developer/builder who introduced a blank field of siding especially over the garage doors. Spend some time googling architect designed houses. If you must copy; copy the best.

Here is a link that might be useful: Boston architects

    Bookmark   January 28, 2013 at 8:17AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Laura12 -

Yes, your right the family room is going to be an issue. We might have to push the north wall out and run the hallway through there.

Utility and small office can be interchanged once we hear from the HVAC guys to see which is best for them.

Dining space needs to be expandable for extra guest and tables - we will use the family room to for extra seating, if needed. I tried to use the example you provided in designing this space. Don't have the exact dimensions, will need to get those.

    Bookmark   January 28, 2013 at 8:27AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Out of curiousity, do you plan on doing this plans 100% on your own, or do you plan on speaking to a deisgner or architect?

    Bookmark   January 28, 2013 at 12:17PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I think you probably ought to talk to a professional. Your new plans are better, but they're still not really workable-- to get from the garage to a bedroom, you have to walk through both the kitchen workspace and the family room. Then you've put the utilities in the heart of the house, and only left space for one tiny full bath that is supposed to serve the 10 people you plan to have sleep in the two kids' bedrooms + the kids who have been displaced.

If you are going to design this yourself, you need to be willing to do your homework, instead of generating one floor plan after another. I am not an expert, but I think the plan to host 10+ people for the weekend regularly needs to be addressed by more than just finding space for beds. You'll need more bathroom space, an adequate hot water supply, it may impact the size septic system you need.

It's fine to say "they'll have to take turns" but 12 people at 10 minutes each means allowing 2 hours to get through the morning routine. If you put the shower in a separate room from the vanity, at least people could be shaving/brushing teeth while someone showered...

    Bookmark   January 28, 2013 at 12:46PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Laura12 - Undecided at this time yet. If I am doing a terrible job at designing this house, I can always "fire" myself at little to no cost. If I work with an architect that doesn't meet my needs or just plain don't care for their style or ideas, I'm guessing it will cost me some cash to get out of it. Out of curiosity, why do you ask?

Zone4newby - Thanks for your comments. You are right, this plan isn't nearly perfect yet. As I posted earlier after Laura12's comments, both of you are right. The family room does need to be reworked so a hallway runs past, not through that room.

Not sure though how to get from garage to kitchen without the kitchen being a walkway unless I run a hallway the length of the house. I was trying to take advantage of the existing natural walkways in the kitchen, instead adding additional space to the house. Any thoughts on this?

Hosting 10+ people will be on occasions. Normally there will be 4 living in this home. Hosting extra people is not a weekly event or monthly event, probably more like 6 times a year or less.

There is a second bathroom area off the mud room with a shower (designed more for cleaning up from the outdoors) while not perfectly ideal, it would work for the time as a secondary bathroom. Halving the shower time needed.

Laura12, the bath window is small in this room, but is just to let some light in, and not diminish too much privacy, as it will be covered or frosted anyway.

It's really hard to see, but the middle bathroom off the entry does have a pocket door between the shower and sink and sink and toilet to facilitate semi-private multiple uses, as you alluded to.

To everyone: Thanks again for being patient with our design process. I guess I could always pull our 5th wheel bunkhouse recreational vehicle up next to the house and everyone could stay in there! LOL Thanks again everyone for your feedback!

    Bookmark   January 28, 2013 at 6:27PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

You need a central axis that you are designing your house around, which would be a hallway. Yes, it will add space, but you need it.

You can't plan a house around something that happens 6 times a year. You need to plan a house around your daily needs and then figure out how to make it work for those extra occaisions.

I asked about you seeking professional help because you have been dodging everyone's advice. You need to fire yourself and hire someone to help. You cannot design a house this complicated on your own.

    Bookmark   January 28, 2013 at 6:38PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

The views are in the back but you have the laundry and utility room there in stead of the bedrooms. the master bathroom bump out might eliminate any view from the master bedroom.

Move the hall down and extend it to left past the family room to the dining room. move the kids bedrooms to the back and the laundry,utility, master bathroom to the front. move the powder down and to the right. basically below the hall bath. extend the foyer and intersect the foyer with the hall.
Ideally the entry door would be centered on the family room windows.

    Bookmark   January 28, 2013 at 9:06PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Your latest plan definitley needs a central hall that routes traffic throughout the house, so I tried adding one all the way from the garage to the laundry room by the master bedroom. You should try to find a way to incorporate that third bath near the office, too. Here it functions as a guest/client bath but also isn't too far from the mud room. Every hall is 4' wide and almost every door is 3' wide, with the exception of a couple closets. I also tried to fix the flex room. By adding pocket doors to the dining room wall, you could watch your kids play while working in the kitchen, but still be able to close the room off or make another dining area for gatherings. This plan doesn't fix all your probems but I hope it helps.

    Bookmark   January 29, 2013 at 12:54AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
Sophie Wheeler

Nicke360, that is a HUGE improvement. Yes, you're right, it doesn't fix everything, but it creates organization and workability out of chaos. There's still the central idea of the angled garage making the whole thing awkward with wasted space as well as the wierd bumpouts, but now at least everyone can get from one side of the house to the other or from the front to the back.

hamsch, that's what a professional can do for you. And that's why we've all been saying to engage the services of one.

    Bookmark   January 29, 2013 at 7:21AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo


Thank you for the floor plan modifications! I really like all your improvements. Thank you so much for sharing your talents! I am very grateful!

    Bookmark   January 29, 2013 at 1:00PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

First, it's quite possible to build a house without hiring a professional architect. I have several family members who've done big rennovations and even whole-house builds -- with good results. The keys to success: You need to be committed to a fairly simple floorplan, and you need to have a knack for it. Hamsch, I don't mean to be rude, but you're looking at a complicated floorplan, and it doesn't seem to be coming naturally to you.

My suggestions:

Study basic floorplans that work. Don't just look them over; study how the rooms are placed together, seek out details that'll work for your family. Since you want a one-level house, ranch style makes sense for you. Also, an American four-square is highly adaptable.

Focus on how effective rooms fit together. Focus on time-tested ideas. While your house will be a combination of all your ideas and will be uniquely designed for you, you're probably not going to do something radically different -- at least not with success. House building has been around a long, long time, and the best concepts (i.e., islands with seating, using closets as sound buffers, laundry rooms just off the garage) have been used. You don't need to recreate the wheel; rather, pick out the things you like best and combine them.

I'll echo what someone else said: Build a house for your everyday life. Figure out how to incorporate your six-times-a-year company . . . six times a year. Even if they stay a week each time, that leaves you with 45 weeks when it's just your family. Lots of people have commented that the extra beds (for your kids to walk around /live around 45 weeks a year, when they aren't being used) and the shortage of bathrooms for these massive numbers of guests is a big disconnect.

Quit focusing on details; rather, focus on the broad strokes first. Paying no attention whatsoever to how it'd all fit together, draw a map with the following:

- Draw your land, labeling North, South, East, West.
- Where's the least desirable spot /worst views? Draw a circle there, and label it Garage.
- Which room is most important to you? Probably your living room or your kitchen. Where are your best views /most desirable spot? Draw a circle there and label it.
- Continue with this process 'til you have a bubble map of your house. Now you know the best locations for your rooms. Remember that since you want a one-story house, you need to work "wide" rather than "square".
- Label each bubble with "must haves"; for example, I'd write in that my kitchen must be adjacent to an extra-large pantry, and I want a window over my sink. Do not go overboard with details like "must have a large wooden hood over the stove and pull-outs for spices". Those smaller details come later.
- Redraw your bubble map, making the rooms more "to size". For example, draw your living room as a larger bubble than your laundry room.
- Now, and only now, should you start thinking about details like doorway locations, window placement, etc.
- To save money, keep your plumbing close together, make all your room dimensions divisible by 4' (because standard sized building materials tend to come in 4' increments). This may be the point that you're ready to bring in a professional.

Changing the subject slightly, I'll echo what another poster says: This is an exercise in compromise, and you have to recognize that you cannot have everything you want. No one, not matter how talented, no matter what the budget, no one can get everything into one house.

    Bookmark   January 29, 2013 at 6:20PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Why does the the Foyer have a 10 ft wide opening into the Living Room? Why is it even connected to the Living Room?

    Bookmark   January 30, 2013 at 8:36AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Nick made a huge quick improvement without many changes. But another approach is needed to avoid that long bowling alley hallway. Totally agree w advice to I'd views and start w bubble diagrams.

    Bookmark   January 30, 2013 at 10:33AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Inspiration for the idea of a bunkhouse room...

    Bookmark   January 30, 2013 at 2:55PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

That makes sense in a family with 6 kids, which is what the blog is showing. It does NOT make sense for guests a few times a year.

Put double beds in the kids room, maybe a trundle underneath and send the kids to sleep in the bonus room...

    Bookmark   January 30, 2013 at 3:15PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Whether it is possible to build a house without an architect is not the relevant issue; the issue should be whether or not you want to "go to school" on your own property or would rather spend some money to get a house that is even better than you had hoped for. It's like cheap insurance or the bargain of a lifetime you didn't expect.

I won't bore you with my experiences in that regard but it is common for a client to tell me their project is perfect and I always tell them it should be considering how hard we worked on it. Any good building design is primarily due to the power of the collaborative process.

You can't collaborate with yourself and all collaboration partners should be very familiar with you, your family, and your property. That can't happen over the internet or by email or by reading books and perusing other people's design work. These are not casual remarks; they are the product of 40 years of working with clients.

    Bookmark   January 30, 2013 at 4:49PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Renovator8, are you for hire? I've been lurking this site for several years and LOVE your knowledge of homes. I really don't keep up on what people do, but would like to know if you live in the midwest?

    Bookmark   February 4, 2013 at 6:13PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I know I am late to this game (story of my life!) but I have a few ideas. We were in your shoes 22 years ago, only I found 1/2 of a plan that I like and took it to a professional to have them finish it. Money very well spent.

Summerfields design for Laura12 had a bedroom wing with some good ideas. The playroom in between the bedrooms was perhaps excessive but gave an overall nice bedroom wing and a good starting place.

The bump-outs in the kids bedrooms need to go. Any change or angle is $ in drywall. concrete forms, roof etc. More importantly it cuts up an already small and awkward bedroom. Where is a desk or dresser going to go? There is no wall space in many of these plans.

I totally understand the need for an office available to client's as my DH and FIL both have this.

Keep chugging away, You will get there!

    Bookmark   February 4, 2013 at 10:44PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

hamsch wrote: "We do plan to have a dog when we move, but not a "house dog". The dog will have a warm dog house of its own and plenty of room to roam outdoors, but will not enter my house (pending some medical emergency only). [snip] Stay warm out there - it's going to -40 degrees tonight here! Burr!"

Wait, what?

    Bookmark   February 5, 2013 at 2:04AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

rnmomof2 - thanks for the encouragement. We have been studying other plans and have come a long way since our first post, and probably have a way to go. Summerfields did have a good plan. Everyone was right and the kids bedrooms were awkward - We have cut the window seats in the kids rooms and re-layed them out. When we are closer to final, I will post the plans we have been working on.

Arti- we will have a dog, but doggy will have a warm place to stay outside the main house, (heated garage) since it gets cold here, with at-will access to go outside/inside.

    Bookmark   February 5, 2013 at 1:51PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

New here and wondering where to find the program you used to layout your floor plans?

    Bookmark   February 12, 2013 at 10:19PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
Lori (loribug26_gw) Wagerman_Walker

LM@O at Artichokey
I am really enjoying this thread. Lots of great advice in here!
Carry on...

    Bookmark   February 13, 2013 at 11:39AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Bought instead of built...very new one story no basement on 10 acres with large post frame shop. Love no stairs! So glad in this market we didn't build. Would have been a big mistake. Tons of extras at no cost to us.

RhettDrive - Home Design software

    Bookmark   February 14, 2014 at 10:56PM
Sign Up to comment
More Discussions
Anyone have experience with Dow's Thermawrap R5.0?
We are in the planning stages of building a home in...
Interior Doors - any experience with this company?
Does anyone have any experience with
Modifying Master Bedroom Entry
This plan includes a nice hallway that runs across...
Custom floorplan looking for some feedback/suggestions...
Basement: I've been leaning toward making the theater...
Would you give this to the architect - take 2?
I posted a floor plan last week to get input before...
© 2015 Houzz Inc. Houzz® The new way to design your home™