Please review floor plan!

britwootenFebruary 17, 2014

Hi! I have been following for a long, long time but this is my first post!

We are getting ready for our first (and probably only!) build on our one acre lot. We are limited on the width of a house plan as our lot is only 120 feet wide and we have to have a side-entry garage. If I remember correctly, I read on here that 30 feet is sufficient for side entry driveway, plus add in easements, and I think the maximum width of the house is 80 feet. Luckily the two houses on either side of our property have plenty of space around them, so we won't be right on top of each other!

So with the width restrictions and my own long list of home requirements, we cannot find a stock plan and are therefore going with a custom home plan. We are meeting with a few architects in the coming weeks, but we would really like to get feedback on or ideas before we meet with them.

So, my list of requirements are as follows: Side entry garage, decent sized front porch, large enough dining room to seat 10, 4 bedrooms, 3.5 baths, single story, small hearth room (a few chairs is sufficient), butlers pantry, walk-in (or large) pantry, covered back porch. I am also a little OCD about locations of bedrooms. I want my bedrooms off of a hallway (not opening into living spaces) and not off of the kitchen. Oh yeah, I also don't want the garage to jet out in the front of the house.

All of that to say this is what we have come up with. There are some things that I am sure some of you will consider strange, so I will very briefly explain why we chose it, but PLEASE PLEASE be my devils advocate!

-Large guest room (in comparison to other bedrooms) - we have lots of weekend guests and we really want a space that they can comfortably live in for several days. The closet is pretty small, but it will remain empty (will not be used as storage), so it should be plenty of room for travelers. I am a little worried about closet size for re-sale, but we can't figure out how to get a larger closet in this footprint. Also, FYI: we don't plan on selling this house (ever!) but realistically we know that things can change. So while were are building for ourselves, we have to consider re-sale to some degree.

Master bedroom closet: it is a bit long and narrow, but I think it is a small price to pay if I can get everything else I want! It is plenty big for us, but the shape is a bit unusual.

Master bedroom bath: I would prefer a slightly different layout, but we cannot come up with another way to fit in a separate water closet, shower, his and hers vanities and a claw foot tub in the space. I have found a picture of a similar layout that I like.

Small closet area by master entry: this is actually a very small hidden closet (behind a small bookcase). This is where our gun safe will go, as well as a few shelves on the beck wall where wee can store a few things.

I am most worried about the partially covered patio off of the back. I am concerned that the space will feel very small with the long walls on either side. However, I am insistent on a rear garage (not a fan of garages jetting out the front). With that and our maximum width of 80 feet, I am not sure we can avoid this u shape. I am hoping with some lovely landscape, maybe we can turn this into a nice, secluded garden area and make it feel intentionally cozy. This might just be wishful thinking :)

The door on the angled wall in the kitchen leading into the pantry will be two narrow side by side swinging doors to make that space more accessible and convenient.

The stairs lead to bonus above garage.

Lastly, I know the porches will block a lot of light, but that is a price I am willing to pay as we use outdoor spaces ALOT!

Please give me any and all feedback you have! I would love to hear the good, the bad and the ugly!

The rooms are not huge by any means, but big enough for us and we really want to stay under 2700 square feet, (right now this plan is at 2680). Quick question: when calculating square feet, do you count the interior walls? We counted everything inside the exterior walls. Is this correct?

I really appreciate any one who has a few minutes to share their expertise! I know everyone is so busy and I truly appreciate any help!

Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I am no expert so keep that in mind as you read my opinion but I think your LR might end up being cramped when you place your furniture. You'll have to leave a path behind the furniture between the kitchen and main entry and bedroom wing, so the furniture will pushed up into the room a few feet and the room is already a little small for a living room. It would be fine my family of three but not ok for most families. Just something to consider. Otherwise, I like the layout and especially love the porches. We are outdoors people too.

    Bookmark   February 17, 2014 at 8:35AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Agree on the living room being too small. Especially keeping in mind your weekend guests.

Two options I see: expand the living room back to the dotted line (I assume it's a roof line) which would give you probably another 6 x 17 feet. OR, even though I'm not a fan of open floor plans, you could delete the wall between the kitchen and the living room. This would give you more space and flexibility in arranging your furniture, omitting some of the need for defined walkways to get through.

I am not sure your laundry room is workable the way it's drawn. It's really really tiny.

Also, you have very few closets. Where will your vacuum live? What about coats and shoes at both the front and garage doors?

    Bookmark   February 17, 2014 at 9:49AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

When calculating square footage, interior and exterior walls should be included.

    Bookmark   February 17, 2014 at 11:04AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Thanks everyone! I am concerned about the small living room as well. I am not a huge fan of open concept (which is why I am insistent on at least a small hearth room), but I will try pushing out that back wall and see what I can do.

As far as closets go, I really do need to add a closet on the kitchen side of the house. I was actually hoping to use that garage storage space for a large storage closet, but could not figure out how to have an interior door that did not block furniture placement in the hearth room. I will think through that! Thank for reminding me!

Laundry room: I know this is not a large room by any means, but would it be sufficient? I know I am giving up a large laundry room, but I was thinking that having the laundry room on the bedroom side of the house was a tradeoff to having a larger room away from the bedrooms. Maybe I should reconsider?

Square footage: really?! I have to include the exterior walls? So if I remember correctly, brick is 10 inches thick from outside to inside, but vinyl is several inches less. So you are penalized on square footage because you are using brick (not to mention that brick is more expensive anyway)? That stinks! Oh well, it is what it is :) Thanks for answering my questions!

Thanks again everyone! I really appreciate your feedback. I will work with what advise you gave me.

    Bookmark   February 17, 2014 at 11:49AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Your laundry room is BARELY sufficient. And, as the size of appliances grow, the next time you go to buy a set, you might find that you'll have to turn them, or stack them. It really ought to be at least 6" wider.

And, it is an awkward size in that the depth of the room means you are just using up floor space with the room that isn't really functional floor space, imo.

And, how will the dryer vent?

Your master closet is also a waste of floor space--it is just a glorified (one/small door) reach in.

I don't think you'll like the "corner" that you'll need to make to get your master furniture into the master hallway--that is a tight turn.

You don't have any door swings noted, so I can't say, but if all your small room doors are pocket doors, you'll be safe. Any other type, and you'll have issues (master toilet, shared kid bath toilet/tub room, guest bedroom toilet/tub room, etc).

Where will your shower towels hang?


Good job making a J&J that functions well though. If you are going to have a J&J bath, it is best to have a single door to the toilet area. And, you've done that. :)

    Bookmark   February 17, 2014 at 12:11PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Playing Devils Advocate here: I can understand not wanting to look at garage doors on the front of your house. How much are you really giving up in the layout of your home to have that garage clear at the back? With a lot about 363 feet deep, I am assuming you have a good 200*120 section behingld the house? Her your rooms with the view are the master and the living room. It seems like your backyard view will be greatly minimized when you are in this home. You have a much larger front porch than back deck, so maybe that is where your views are? It just seems like your garage being clear at the back is higher on your priority list than room placement/view. However, I have been trying to get as much back yard views as I can and make everything else "fit". I understand wanting to use decks/porches, but this should be in addition to using the rooms in the house.
I think I missed what climate you are building in? I am in Nebraska, so a driveway that big would require a tractor to haul snow out. Hopefully snow is not a concern where you are building!
One thought I have that others may not see is on your gun cabinet. I would turn the door to the inside of the bedroom so it is closer to the bed if access is needed against intruders.
Don't total square footage measurement just stink? Adding 10 inches to the perimeter stinks! I know when I have added up the inside of the room dimentions I want, I come to 1350 (main floor). I'll be lucky to be under 2000with walls/hallways/bumping out to reduce overall cost from corners/etc!

    Bookmark   February 17, 2014 at 1:12PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I share the others' concerns about the living room size.

The hearth room, too, will be cozy when you figure in that 1/3 of that room will serve as walkway from the garage.

I like the kitchen, pantry, butler's pantry. Sizes look comfortably large but not overdone. The kitchen area is your greatest strength.

I know you said you don't care for open floor plan, but I wonder if the dining room is going to feel "detached" and "enclosed". You have room for a large table in the kitchen area -- how often is this dining room going to be used? I'm seeing more and more one-dining area houses. If this were my house, I'd consider ditching the dining room and opening up some windows to the casual dining area. This would allow you the square footage to make the living room more comfortable.

Guest room -- you're giving the guests more space than the kids? And only 1.5' less than you yourself, the home owner! That's not how I'd have allotted the space. I don't like the guest closet; it'll always be knocking against the entrance door, and IF this ever needed to be a "real bedroom", this isn't much space. I also wouldn't "split" the guest bath -- splitting costs more money and this is already a small bath; I'd rather see it in one space.

If you bump Bedroom 2 forward to "match" Bedroom 3's forward wall, you could place Bedroom 2's closet against the bathroom . . . and give Bedroom 2's current closet to the guest bedroom. And you could open the tiny closet to the hall as an always-welcome linen closet, or an open bookshelf.

I do like how you've split the jack-and-jill. Much more simple than people here ususally make these rooms, yet it gives you all the benefits of a jack-and-jill.

I agree that the laundry is pretty minimal. I agree with the previous poster who pointed out that machine sizes vary, and 10-15 years from now when you need to replace your current machines, you don't want to be limited by a tiny laundry.

I also think your master closet is vastly undersized. You're using all the square footage of a walk-in, but you're really only getting the storage of a reach-in -- in my book, the whole reason to build is to have these functional areas work comfortably. Any old living room will do, but it's the functional areas that drive you nuts.

Likewise, I don't like your master bath a bit. It's on the edge of the house -- good! You can have light from two sides -- so you can do anything with its shape. Don't build an uncomfortable bowling alley.

Without having sketched it out, I think I'd look at turning this bath 90 degrees . . . and splitting the closets into two, allowing that little indentation hallway to split the closets. Then as you enter the bath (which would be wider), you'd see the tub straight ahead of you and have your other items evenly divided behind the two closets. I think this concept has merit. Regardless, you need a little more space in the bathroom /closet area . . . I personally would give up a bit of the bedroom to make these items comfortable.

One final concern: I see that the plumbing is strown across the whole house. Ideally bathrooms would be "backed up against one another" or located adjacent to the kitchen. Keeping your plumbing compact is one way of keeping your costs down. Also, the farther your plumbing lines run, the more likely you'll have an expensive leak in your walls at some point in the future, and if your plumbing is all "compact", it can all be closer to the hot water heater, which means faster service.

I think the big thing here is allocation of square footage. This house seems to be about guests: A large place for them to sleep, a large place for them to dine . . . but it's at the expense of everyday life. If I could do only one thing here, it'd be REALLOCATE THAT SPACE. I personally would reduce the guest bathroom and eliminate the dining room . . . then I'd use that space to make a larger, comfortable living room and a comfortable master bath /closet.

    Bookmark   February 17, 2014 at 1:47PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Will there be a basement in this house?

Are you sure you need the toilet room in the master bath? its going to be dark and tiny and claustrophobic. If you loose that, you may be able to rearrange the space a bit better.

    Bookmark   February 18, 2014 at 11:08PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

We are meeting with a few architects in the coming weeks, but we would really like to get feedback on or ideas before we meet with them.

Since you are meeting with some architects, why are you doing a floor plan? It is better if you give them your lists or wants and needs and have them design the house. That is what they do for a living. It is easier to start the whole process from the beginning rather than try to fix/rearrange someone else's work.

    Bookmark   February 19, 2014 at 9:18AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Thank you again everyone for your feedback! It's amazing how I missed such obvious things! I will answer a few questions, and then I will post what I have worked on with all of your suggestions a little later... still working on it! You all are so kind to help a complete stranger!

Hmmmm.... where to get started?

You are right, we have a lot of space dedicated to dining and sleeping for our guests. Most of our travelers have a child or two, so we were hoping for enough space that we could use a blow up mattress in the room if necessary. I have reconsidered this, however, keeping in mind we will not be using this space nearly as much as our living room :)

Dining room: We really do need two eating spaces. We entertain a lot of people pretty often. It is not uncommon for us to have 15 people for dinner (most weekends) and we have more than that at least 6 times a year. I am tired of dragging out card tables, covering them with table cloths, trying to find a place to put them, and sending the kids to the garage to eat! Ha! I do, however, think the hearth room was pretty pointless at that size so I re-allocated that space.

I really took to heart how blocked our back view would be! Yes, you are correct, most of our property will be in the back and the front of the house will be a street view. Of course I knew that, but I kept telling myself it wouldn't be so bad... wishful thinking I suppose! I am now trying to move the garage to the side of the house, which is a challenge with such a narrow lot, but we will see!

Architect: We are not going to be able to afford a full blown architect and still have the down payment we want. Therefore, we are utilizing a structural/civil engineer that actually was also a draftsman and worked on house plans before he went back to school to be an engineer. He also designed and built his own house. He is very knowledgeable but admits not nearly so as an architect that does this every day so we have a few meetings set up to just talk about what does/does not work with what we have in mind (flow, etc.) Nothing terribly technical, but we need to know that the bones are good. I know this is not ideal, but we are working with what we have! Luckily we know an architect well enough that is willing to do this for us.

I will post the floor plan I am working on a bit later...

    Bookmark   February 19, 2014 at 3:25PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo


How is it going? I am curious to see your progress.
I saw this picture of a kitchen and thought that you could do something like this at the wall between hearth room and great room. Not sure if you want a table or if a seating area is more important.
It is best to have more windows at your back porch wall so what if you place the fire place as shown in the pic?

Here is a link that might be useful: Hearth Room

    Bookmark   February 25, 2014 at 9:54AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I just realized I never responded to your last message! So sorry! I typed a response but must have never sent it. I AM IN LOVE WITH THAT PICTURE! It is exactly what I wanted and more! I worked on the floor plan for weeks trying to figure out how to make that arrangement work, but I think I have come to the conclusion that it is too wide of a kitchen area with our width restriction of 73 feet. So sad!

    Bookmark   March 20, 2014 at 11:38AM
Sign Up to comment
More Discussions
Can I get a closet in/next to an 8'x8' ensuite bath?
I have 8'x8' inside the walls for a bath, and I'd like...
Floorplan review please
I would love to get feedback on this floor plan. The...
Master Bath revisions
Which revision do you like better? There can only be...
Dark hardwood vs lighter hardwood floors
I'm trying to decide which type of floors we should...
Would you trust a builder to create a blueprint from your own sketch?
We have heard of people building custom without using...
People viewed this after searching for:
© 2015 Houzz Inc. Houzz® The new way to design your home™