Opinions of this plan?

Robin GoodrichFebruary 4, 2013

We have officially closed on land and ordered a house plan! It is the Cherry Creek from the housedesigners.com and I would like any opinions you may have. This will be our first home, so insight from more experienced home owners would be helpful! We plan to make the family room windows into french doors and eliminate the door in the breakfast nook. One thing we're not sure about is the dining room. The plan originally called for columns (which I hate), so we were going to close it off like this picture shows. Now we're thinking it should have walls, but with wide doorways on family room and foyer sides. What do you think?

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The plan has almost every current building cliche except a humongeous utility with a battalion-sized bank of cubbies! Seriously where do coats go for visitors?

The dining area depends on the extent to which you want it to be open to view/screened. With the changing ceiling treatments, you will want to have cased openings wherever they occur so that changes in ceiling heights, treatments will look logical.

I dislike kitchen designs that put the pantry and the refrigerator at opposite ends of the kitchen, maximizing the travel to obtain food stocks for preparation. I would always put pantry and refrigerator close together.

This is a deep plan which may create a rather large, bulky roof mass. Does this plan allow for good siting on your property?

Good luck on your project.

    Bookmark   February 4, 2013 at 9:14AM
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Here are some problems I see at quick glance:

1. Study: Not sure it will get much light and the view will be of a post on the porch. Very odd.

2. closets in the secondary bedrooms are too small to be walk in. Make them reach in.

3. Really dislike master bath design.

To answer your questions:

1. I would do a cased opening to the foyer only and leave it closed to the family room

2. eliminating the door from the eat in and moving it to the family room is a good idea, however I would only do one French door. Leave the rest windows.

    Bookmark   February 4, 2013 at 9:39AM
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At first glance I liked it, but as I look more closely I see a number of red flags:

- You're going to have to walk through the kitchen /through the breakfast room to enter the master bedroom. I think you'll grow tired of that in a hurry.

- You only have one real possibility for bed placement in the master bedroom. And it leaves a whale of a lot of space at the foot of the bed -- plus you have the sitting area in the master bedroom. The foot-of-the-bed space isn't usable (except as a walkway). I personally wouldn't splurge in this area.

- The tub is an odd shape -- is it one of those Japanese soaking tubs, or is it just drawn oddly? Also your "standing space" in front of the master bath vanity seems small. You have a window IN the shower. It would be easier /cheaper to place that window just outside the shower, near the vanity instead.

- You should knock a hole in the wall between the master bedroom closet /laundry room so you can drop dirty items straight into a bin.

- Does your lot size dictate that you need the angled garage, which then necessitates the angles in the casual entry area? Those angles are expensive . . . for no real value.

- The island is too large to reach across comfortably; thus, it'll be hard to clean.

- VirgilCarter has a good point about the pantry/refrigerator's proximity. You'll save steps if you put them both on the side of the kitchen closer to the garage.

- I agree with you on the columns: I hate them. However, your dining room is rather far from the kitchen, and I wonder if that's going to be uncomfortable to live with.

- As for an opening into the family room, consider the placement of furniture in the dining room. This is a fairly large dining room. As it's drawn now, you can have your china hutch against the family room wall, leaving you space for a really long dining room table. If you remove that wall, you have a wide room but you're forced to place the china hutch against the bedroom wall, meaning you're limited to a smaller table . . . in a large room.

- The windows need some attention in the children's bathroom. You could easily include a small window into each sink area. In one it'll need to be a small window, probably up high. And I'd move the window from above the shower to over the toilet.

- I question the validity of the drawing. The two secondary bedrooms are both labeled 14 x 12, yet one of them appears to be square, while the other is rectangle. The few inches difference wouldn't account for this. Ditto for the breakfast nook; the proportions of that rectangle don't appear to be 12 x 10.

- These are very big rooms, which is expensive to build. It's also expensive to maintain. I have huge rooms right now, and changing any little thing costs a fortune. For example, 5-6 years ago when I changed my kitchen cabinets, laminate was over 3K; granite was out of the question -- well, out of the question, given that I do want to send my kids to college. Carpet for my 27' family room was also around 3K. Ditto for the flooring in my 22 x 22 office. When your rooms are this large, you find yourself forced to wait for things, or you're forced to settle for lesser quality. My next home will not have over-sized rooms.

Since I'm a teacher, I'll give this house plan a grade: C. Average. It's trendy and has large rooms, but it isn't particularly efficient or well thought-out. I think you could find a dozen houses very similar to this one -- and you could have them without the hassle of building.

    Bookmark   February 4, 2013 at 9:52AM
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Welcome Brooksms,

The first house we built was 2500 sq ft. It was a stock plan and it wasn't nearly as well designed as this home. I am not an expert but I like this house. It's a done deal, right. So, enjoy the excitement.

It has 4 bedrooms, lots of decent sized closets, a nice dining room and a large kitchen.

I agree that you should only put one operational door in the family room, especially since the family room is not huge.

I would put a door in the laundry room instead of a window.

Unless, you have a larger family room in the basement, I would skip the fireplace. It will cut into a lot of your space. We rarely use ours anyway.

When you are ready, take your kitchen plan to the kitchen forum. Lots of good advice over there as well.

    Bookmark   February 4, 2013 at 10:15AM
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Robin Goodrich

Thank you all for the opinions...this is very helpful! This is basically how the house will sit on the lot (ignoring old septic plan lines). We did think about making the garage more of a right angle, which would be fine if we pushed the house back a little on the lot.

    Bookmark   February 4, 2013 at 10:37AM
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Siting and orientation for your property appears fine. Is the back of the house north-facing? If so that means little natural light will penetrate your house and you will be unable to use natural light for a passive energy strategy.

The front elevation of your house, and the major view of visitors and passerbys, will be dominated by the very large, and overwhelming garage. Breaking it up in plan and adding the pergola over two of the doors will help reduce the scale and bulk, but you will still have a major challenge to divert view and attention from your garage to the front of the house.

Good luck on your project.

    Bookmark   February 4, 2013 at 1:17PM
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The lot is more than wide enough to support a side load garage if the home is properly designed for it.

    Bookmark   February 4, 2013 at 3:33PM
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*I wouldn't move my door from the nook to the family because I would want my kitchen to grill traffic to be on the tile, and not the family room carpet.
*The J&J bath and closets could use some revamping, agree that they closets are really small.
*I'm not sure I would want windows in the tub/shower or in my master shower.
* I definitely wouldn't want to walk by the master water closet(why is it labeled linen?) on the way to my closet. I would rearrange the whole bath to move the tub to the outside wall, water closet to outside wall, as I like a window in that room. I would then move the vanity area to where the stool/linen is giving you more room at the counter.
*I would put the garage at a right angle to the house and vamp up the powder room. If your guests will use this area, it is quite a distance from the family/kitchen area.
*The Dining I would open up, keeping the ceiling areas as virgilcarter mentioned. I would then extend the wall between the foyer and dining adding a closet to the foyer.
*I agree that I wouldn't want to walk through the kitchen, nook area to get to my bedroom. I also wouldn't want my guest having a clear shot into my master..
*Good luck, it looks like you have a lot of nice suggestions that you will have to evaluate.

    Bookmark   February 4, 2013 at 4:09PM
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Regarding the openness of the dining room, I'd leave an opening to both the living area and foyer, or leave it open entirely. If you leve it closed to the living area it will feel dark and closed off. Also, if you ever entertain larger groups the 12' length will leave you very limited on space, if that wall is gone then you can expand into the living area.
- Master Bath - are you sure you are okay with the tub in the center of the room like this? It is very cramped...
- Do you have stairs up and down? If not I'd use the space for downstairs for a hall closet.
- View from study windows is unfortanate. Nothing that can be done without serious re-working of the plan
You've ordered the plan already so I suppose you have already decided that some of the shortcomings on this plan are okay with you, such as walking through the kitchen area to get to your bedroom and having the garage take up so much of the space to the front of the house.

Some things that I would change are:
- Master Bedroom - remove the sitting area and extend the master bedroom to be the entire size of that space (square off the sitting area with the MB exterior wall).
- Rework the kids bathrooms and closets. The closets are too small to be useful.

    Bookmark   February 4, 2013 at 4:52PM
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I really wouldn't like having the master access in the nook. It's not private enough, both because guests will be able to see into your bedroom if the door isn't closed, and because there wouldn't be enough acoustic separation. I'm a big fan of sleeping in on Saturday, but this plan would make that hard. And other marital activities on a Saturday morning could be pretty awkward if your kids are eating breakfast just on the other side of the door.

There are a lot of nice things about this plan, but the placement of the master is a dealbreaker for me.

Also, the foyer seems unfortunate-- it's a big space, but there's nowhere to put a chair for someone who wants to remove shoes, or hang a piece of art, or put a small table with flowers...

    Bookmark   February 4, 2013 at 6:28PM
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Welcome to GW!!

I really like your plan overall, but I do think there are some areas that could be improved upon/changed for more efficient use of space/changed to save $$$. There are certain areas of your plan that are very similar to the one we designed for our home that we have now been in for 15 months.

-Agree totally with moving dining nook door to family room. French doors are quite expensive--I would go with a 36" door on the far left, a matching one on the right for symmetry(this one could be a stationary door), and a twin or triple long window in the center. Since it's an open floor plan, I'd suggest keeping the flooring the same in the kitchen area as the family room eliminating the carpet scenario pointed out in a previous post. Here's an exterior visual of what I'm talking about:

-I like the dining room separate from the family room personally. However, I can see the value of keeping it open with or without columns to make the space feel even airier. This is one that will truly come down to personal preference.

-Secondary bedroom closets' size is fine for walk-in, but will not work as drawn--the closet door needs to slide as far to 1 side as possible leaving room for L-shaped hanging space. Our kids' closets are roughly this size (yours are slightly shallower) and there is plenty of space--its all in how you design it.

-I think you may have enough space in the jack and jill bath to have 2 baths back to back--30"-36" vanity, toilet and standard tub/shower combo all in a row. Here's a visual on the baths and the closets for you:

-Unless you will really use it, I would take the sitting room off the master bedroom. Those are extra corners that cost $$$ for a space that typically does not get any use.

-Do you really need an exterior door in the master? Security wise, it's not a good idea. Cost wise, it's not a good idea. Privacy wise, it's not a good idea. There are numerous threads on GW about this--it may be worth a quick search.

-Master bath/closet area needs some help. We actually started out with a similar layout and our designer was able to rework the space to make it more efficient. Here's what ours looks like:

-It may be cost effective to slide the secondary bedroom side of the house back so the back bedroom is in line with the back family room wall and the front doesn't stick out quite as far. Without seeing exterior, though don't know how feasible it is to this with current roof lines.

-Entry into master bedroom through nook may be an issue. Depending on what you do with master bath/closet area, you could shift the door over and make a small entryway. That would allow easier access to the master entry and allow for greater privacy vs. having a direct line of site into the bedroom.

-If possible, I would extend the rear porch out further. If you're planning for seating area, dining table etc, the extra space will be needed. I can tell you our dining area of our porch is 12' deep and the seating area is 16' deep. The 12' works great, & while the 16' does fit our furniture, I do wish we had another foot in the seating area.

-I would post the kitchen in the 'Kitchens' forum for advice.

-On the topic of the kitchen, I will point out the island is a great size for storage--it allows for cabs on the kitchen side as well as on the family room side and still has seating space. We have this setup and love it. No, I can't reach to clean all the way to the seating side from the sink side, but I do have 2 legs that work just fine and I simply walk over to the seating side to wipe it down--no big deal.

-Another question is, do you really need 3 dining areas? You didn't mention how many are in your family, but right now, it appears you have seating for 4-5 at the island, a dining room & a dining nook. I would definitely look at the possibility of either eliminating the nook and pulling the wall in to allow more space on the porch, or just extending your kitchen all the way down into that space.

-I'm not wild about not having easy access to the kitchen when you come in from the garage--you have to go through the mudroom, down the hall, through the foyer, & around the stairs to get there. That's going to be a royal pain when schlepping in groceries. I would see if the space under the stairs could be reworked to allow for a walk thru under there. The door for the basement steps can easily be slid down some to allow for this (provided you are having a basement).

Just my $0.02--Hope it helps! I think you've got a great start and look forward to seeing your progress!

    Bookmark   February 4, 2013 at 10:48PM
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Robin Goodrich

Wow, so many great suggestions! Here is a link to the plan with rendered photos so you can get a better idea of what the exterior would look like. I have really gotten a lot of great ideas...a lot to think about. Thank you!

Here is a link that might be useful: http://www.thehousedesigners.com/plan/cherry-creek-4531/

    Bookmark   February 5, 2013 at 6:33AM
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I have seen two houses very similar. Both have HUGE roof lines. One house has the garage turned 45 deg so the driveway is not in the front of the house. This design has little natural light in the front of the house. your orientation on the lot will mean eastern sun only. The ceilings are soaring and every move/cough is echoed throughout. It has a massive fireplace that takes up so much floor space the great room does not have much furniture. The bathroom for the bedrooms was reconfigured from a jack and jill. The master has one wall for the bed and it is right on the kitchen. The house is beautiful, but all the architectural details take up so much interior footprint - columns, fireplace, deep arched doorways, angled walls, etc.

One change to consider is putting a door between the laundry and master closet. Otherwise, you will have a very long walk to the laundry.

    Bookmark   February 6, 2013 at 2:15AM
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