A little floor plan advice

ELSdeuceFebruary 2, 2014

We've gone through several revisions to get to this point with our floor plan. Hoping the collective wisdom of the forum can help us clean up a few more areas.

We aren't completely happy with the closet and powder room layout. We are also thinking about straightening the back wall by adding a foot to the family room and taking a foot from the kitchen. We would add that foot back to the kitchen by pushing the garage out a foot and shifting the kitchen wall with the refrigerator back a foot.

Thoughts on the plan or my potential revisions? Thanks in advance!

This post was edited by ELSdeuce on Sun, Feb 2, 14 at 9:01

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Here's the second floor. The revisions to the first floor should make both the bedrooms flanking the jack and jill the same size.

    Bookmark   February 2, 2014 at 9:00AM
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What if you move the frig closer to the sink and stove somehow. Put the pantry where the frig is and rotate the island 90 degrees, and make the island longer for more storage.

    Bookmark   February 2, 2014 at 9:41AM
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I agree that the closet and powder room are a problem. The hallway you must use to access them is too small, and the doors bump into one another. I don't see a fix here. I think you need a whole new idea or location.

My choice for fixing the above problem: all your bedrooms are upstairs, so your laundry room is very inconvenient. You'll have to carry laundry downstairs and all the way across the house. I'd make the current laundry room into a good-sized bathroom (this is your only downstairs bathroom, so it'll get a good bit of use) and move the laundry upstairs.

The kitchen needs a lot of work. First, the island is too small to be useful. I'd consider going the other direction with it so it could be longer. Also lose the cabinets on the garage side. They're too far from the rest of the kitchen, and you absolutely don't want to divide your refrigerator from the rest of the work triangle.

You could use the current refrigerator location for the pantry (or a second pantry). A pantry can be located a bit out of the way. Or, given that the laundry is so big, you could extend the pantry back to the wall . . . And still be able to put the half bath in this area.

If you leave this spot as laundry, you have a lot of wasted space in the middle of the room. You could turn the machines to the other outside wall and have space for a small folding spot.

I rarely want to add doors, but I'd add another to your study. You have acoustical privacy between the family room and study, but you'll want quiet from the entry room side too.

I'd also want more windows on most rooms.


I think I'd remove the wall and let that tiny rec room harnass the space in the balcony (balcony? What does it overlook?). This'll bring a more open feel to the upstairs and will enlarge the rec room.

All the secondary sinks are tiny. No space for storage, no elbow room, no space for towels. I have lived with that sink, and I hate it. The bedrooms are all generously sized, so you can easily steal enough space to make the bathrooms comfortable. Losing 1/2 -1 foot in any of these bedrooms will be nothing, but gaining that same space in these minimal bathrooms will be the difference between comfort and irritation.

The jack and Jill secondary bath has too many doors. It'll be a hassle for the users. I'd just go with one simple bathroom (with a decent sized sink) with two doors into the two bedrooms.

The master bath has the opposite problem: it's too wide. I like the layout of your items, but they're way far apart. Scoot the left side in, and you can make that hall linen closrt into a walk in, which will be very useful. Or it could hold games for the adjacent rec room. Or it could become that upstairs laundry room.

Where will you hang shower towels?

Imagine walking into the master bath. You open the two double doors . . . Where's the light switch? It's behind the door, of course, so you must close the door and grope around in the dark to find it.

Be aware that you're building your master above an unseated garage. You must pay close attention to the insulation, or your room will be cold.

    Bookmark   February 2, 2014 at 10:04AM
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I agree - put the laundry upstairs. And, the stairs/closet/pr area looks too tight considering how big the house is.

I would worry about the downstairs closet/storage. Have you thought about where your vacuum, brooms, cleaning supplies, winter coats, boots, hats, etc will go?

If the width of the house can be played with, perhaps make a two car side entrance and a one car front entrance - that would open up the possibilities for your mud room, kitchen, laundry area.

    Bookmark   February 2, 2014 at 10:34AM
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Annie Deighnaugh

The kitchen is not efficient as laid out. You don't have enough room to get by the staircase to even get into the PR and closet area which had its own problems, and the butlers pantry is too narrow to be useful.

There is also something uneven about the layout of the floor plan. Try putting some furniture in there and see if it works. I think you may find that the amount of space devoted to various functions and how you get there is not optimal.

    Bookmark   February 2, 2014 at 11:41AM
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This much plumbing adjacent and above the living space will require some serious sound treatment if not cast iron pipes.

Is there a compelling reason for the MBR to be where it is? The best place for it is usually over the living space to get plumbing out of that area and the worst place is over a garage because of door noise. But it can work if you have a designer who knows how to provide effective sound abatement.

The kitchen doesn't appear to have any continuous counter work surfaces and the island appears to be too small to be used as a work surface.

If you were to draw the stairs in elevation you would find that a 9 ft ceiling and a 14" floor thickness will give you a 7 5/8" riser and 12 risers to the intermediate landing will only allow the stair carriage to be about 7-0 AFF where it turns to cross the hall. That would look stingy in a 2 story hall.

The stairway should be a bit wider and the hall a lot wider.

The house appears to be designed with cars as the first priority and the relationship of interior spaces a distance second.

    Bookmark   February 2, 2014 at 12:51PM
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Sophie Wheeler

''The house appears to be designed with cars as the first priority and the relationship of interior spaces a distance second.''


This isn't a ''home''. It's a garage with some incidental living space. For a group of single people, not a family.

    Bookmark   February 2, 2014 at 1:08PM
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Looks like you all have nailed our conundrum We've been designing a house with a side entry garage to fit a narrow lot. I think I'm going back to the designer tomorrow to get some plans for a front entry garage. It isn't worth making significant design concessions to the living space to have a side entry garage.

I really appreciate all of your thoughts and comments.

    Bookmark   February 2, 2014 at 1:15PM
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Sophie Wheeler

A front load garage will only exacerbate the issue. The culpit isn't how the garage is placed. It's the poor flow and awkward spaces that the humans occupy. At least the garage is honest in it's utility. The living spaces just don't have that same honest connection to utility. The errors aren't resulting from overly concentrating on form either. It's more like there simply isn't the knowledge of connectons on board and how that affects flow.

The kitchen is a prime example. Someone designed that that doesn't cook. It's all chopped up, and none of the segments has a proper relatonship to any of the others. And there s that tall obstacle of a pantry right in the middle of what should be continuous counterspace. It interrupts the flow and makes the person in it work much harder than they have to. And that's the entire design in a nutshell.

    Bookmark   February 2, 2014 at 3:52PM
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Wouldn't a front load garage allow some extra width for the foyer and stairs? That seems to be one of the most significant issues and I can't see anyway to fix that with a side entry garage.

    Bookmark   February 2, 2014 at 4:29PM
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Annie Deighnaugh

I really think you should look at some stock plans for ideas. The fundamental layout is not any different from most of the homes built in our area over the last 10 years. I don't see anything here so special or unique that it should be a problem.

    Bookmark   February 2, 2014 at 5:35PM
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Are you bound by your posted dimensions? If you could go 10 feet deeper, you might find you have more options you like. If you go to Eplans - you can put in your width and depth and 3 car garage and other desires and it will filter plans for you with those requirements.

    Bookmark   February 2, 2014 at 8:25PM
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How wide is your lot and what is the side setback dimension?

    Bookmark   February 2, 2014 at 10:22PM
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nighowlrn - I am only bound by the width. Our lot is somewhat narrow at the front, but each side angles outward toward the back of the lot.

naf_naf - I don't have the exact width, but our builder has given us a maximum of 54 feet wide to fit a side entry garage with a comfortable driveway width.

    Bookmark   February 3, 2014 at 5:52AM
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Annie Deighnaugh

You might search for plans that are built by builders in developments as very often they have narrower and deeper lots. For example Toll Brothers has lots of floor plans on line which you can review for some ideas on room layouts.

Here is a link that might be useful: toll bros

    Bookmark   February 3, 2014 at 7:12AM
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Wide house on a narrow lot.
Yeah, I see the problem!

I suggest you google "NARROW HOUSE PLANS". You'll find plenty, and that'll give you a better starting point.

    Bookmark   February 3, 2014 at 7:35AM
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FWIW, the jack and jill layout won't work unless you have an unusual toilet-- you can't have a pocket door in the same wall that contains plumbing. Also there's nowhere to put a lightswitch-- it would have to be in a wall that has a pocket door (which doesn't work) or in tub/shower area.

If you doubled up the walls, you could do it, but I think it's still an awkward layout. I think in the same amount of space you could give each bedroom its own bathroom like the one you have off the hallway.

    Bookmark   February 4, 2014 at 8:55AM
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A comfortable driveway for a side load garage is 24' minimum so I am assuming it.

If that is the case a recessed front load garage can give you more house front (1, 2 & 3).

If what you need is the space of a 3 car, you could use a tandem garage (3).
See attachment.

Here is a link that might be useful: House-Garage proportion sketch

    Bookmark   February 4, 2014 at 3:12PM
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ELSduece, I love the plan and wouldn't change anything, except maybe the fridge placement.

I think overall it is a very efficient design. Unlike the other comments, I think the design de-emphasizes the garage because it integrates it into the envelope of the house. You will hardly notice it from the outside, and from the inside all it does is take up space.

I would heat the garage to at least 50 degrees to avoid problems in your bedroom. It shouldn't be too expensive for infloor heat designed to only get the garage to 40's or 50's.

Your Jack and Jill toilet plumbing will drain into the floor. Your water line can go down the exterior wall, even with it's current arrangement. Almost all of our plumbing (sinks, water from well) come up through our floor, so even the water can come up from the floor.

I love how you arranged the powder room and closet downstairs. You won't be able to see into it. It will not be wheelchair friendly, so keep that in mind. It's a great size. We love small bathrooms.

Laundry room next the kitchen is a great idea. My wife insisted on it despite all of our bedrooms being upstairs. The practical reality is that she goes from the kitchen to the laundry room alot (I was banned from laundry years ago, but I am allowed to fold... my own cloths... not hers or the kids). Bringing down and up the laundry is less of a problem then constantly going upstairs to check the laundy, especially for someone like my wife who is constantly checking to dry cycle to take out certain clothes at just the right time.

I'm sure your designer wanted the dryer on the exterior wall to make venting easier. You don't have space to fold or iron in the laundry room. We don't do any of that in the laundry room anyway.

Plumbing may cause noise downstairs, but you won't likely have frequent noise from those bathrooms when you have guests. In my experience this is more of a problem when you have an upstair's laundry room.

I like the openness of the kitchen, but the fridge placement does make for an odd work triangle. I don't know what to tell you there. My parent's kitchen is the same way and it is tolerable for them.

There are some great comments here about space, but in my review of the critiques on plans from this site it seems like most people act as though you have unlimited sq.ft. to work with. I think you've done a great job creating an efficient plan; I wouldn't advice messing it up to incorporate many of the ideas here.

Love it!

    Bookmark   February 6, 2014 at 1:05PM
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