Very Preliminary Plans Please Critique

cocomac20February 18, 2013

We received this plan from our builder and are taking a few days to mull it over before we meet with him. We have never built, and are so excited to begin the process. We do not have kids and are hoping that we will be in this house for a very long time to come. I am only posting the main floor, but we will have a second story. My main concerns with this plan:

1. Will the kitchen get enough natural light, and I always dreamed of having my sink at a window.
2. Was hoping for the laundry area to be closer to the master bedroom.
3. Will the covered porch kill our natural light in the entry?

Thank you so much in advance for anyone willing to comment. We want to make informed, wise decisions and your help is greatly appreciated!

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Do you plan to have kids?

It seems like a really large house for two people. And I think your concerns about natural light in the kitchen and entry are well-founded. I would turn off the lights and stand 13-20' from a window to see how much natural light there is. I live in the sunlight deprived upper Midwest, so it might work ok in your area, but it probably won't be too sunny.

How did you come to choose this plan? It seems like it should be possible to design a house for 2 people that has the laundry where you want it and window in the kitchen.

    Bookmark   February 18, 2013 at 1:11PM
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Thank you for your response! As I said, it was a very preliminary plan where we basically talked to our builder about major wants and he went from there. We have also had some concerns about the size, as we may not have kids in the future. We want the home to function well and I just want a place for everything:) We have always lived in older homes with very little storage, so that is a priority. We are also in the upper Midwest, so I appreciate you suggesting what you did regarding natural light. Thank you again!

    Bookmark   February 18, 2013 at 1:18PM
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There are porches on both sides of the great room so the potential is for the light not to penetrate to the middle of the house at certain times of year, I would think.

This is also a complex plan, which in turn, requires a complex roofline. Roofing materials and membranes have gotten better but I think with lots of valleys in roof, which generally are related to inside corners, there may be more areas for leaks to develop.

The simplest house needs only 4 exterior corners, I count 23 corners, about 9 of which are inside corners around the perimeter.

    Bookmark   February 18, 2013 at 2:50PM
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palimpsest: We do like the idea of having a back porch and have also considered a pool in the future. I am just thinking out loud, because I admit I am so new at this, but do you think having less of an overhang on the rear porch or moving it would be a better solution? I honestly wouldn't mind not having it if we were going for the pool, then maybe we would be able to eliminate the corners created by that porch.
Thanks so much for your thoughts!

    Bookmark   February 18, 2013 at 3:00PM
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I think it has a great deal of wasted space. The entryway is a "just for show" area . . . then the stairs, which are a space-hogging U-shape, take up more space in the back. The master bath has a big empty space in the middle.

I do agree that your kitchen is oriented away from the natural light; that's going to be a big deal.

Truthfully, I'd keep looking.

    Bookmark   February 18, 2013 at 3:41PM
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I assumed you were building in the South-- that looks like a Southern style plan to me. The big porches, no coat closet in the front entry, no basement stairs...

I'm a little sensitive to the issue of natural light because our last house had only Southern and Northern facing windows, and all the Southern facing windows were heavily shaded.

Your plan has lots of storage? Mine's all windows, LOL!

But I would keep looking too-- I think you can do better than this.

    Bookmark   February 18, 2013 at 4:40PM
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I'll take a different approach from the comments above, but I'll arrive at close to the same place:

--I think the plan is well zoned and organized by its various functions--sleeping is on the right, living is in the center and service/support is on the left;
--Chances are the interior spaces are truly impressive and well thought out, one to another--finally a stock plan with a great room that is really Great;
--For two people, this plan is huge--the rooms are huge, the construction cost will likely be huge as will the mortgage. Cost to build, operate, maintain will likely be high. Hope you plan on a regular house cleaning service.
--You don't indicate orientation of the plan on your site, but assuming south is the side with the large covered porch, it will definitely block any direct natural light from entering and act as a sort of "dark tunnel" for views from the Great Room. Any other orientation will be a failure. Unless flying bugs are a problem in your area, you would be much better served by substituting a pergola on the south elevation, designed specifically for your site's latitude which would preclude direct Summer sun, but allow Winter sun to penetrate into the Great Room.
--Interior kitchens are always darker than rooms with windows. This can be mitigated to an extent by using light colors and materials throughout the kitchen (no stained walnut or cherry cabinets if you want it to be a "light" kitchen);
--This is not a plan where the laundry can be relocated to the bedroom side of the house and still maintain the "clean" organization of bedrooms and bath. On the other hand, if aesthetics aren't important and you have enough money, then anything can be relocated anywhere.

Bottom line: this has the potential to be a very impressive house if you don't mess with the plan too much, but it also has the potential to be a very excessive (and expensive) house. Hope this helps.

Good luck with your project!

    Bookmark   February 18, 2013 at 5:22PM
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Virgil: Thank you so much for taking the time to respond to my post. We are incredibly new to this and appreciate any knowledge people care to share! When we received the plan, we also thought it was quite large for us, especially having a second floor, as well. We have had so long to think about the possibility of building that it gets overwhelming when trying to come up with the "perfect" plan.
I like your idea of a pergola and hadn't thought about it previously, so thank you for pointing that out. I had dreamed of a kitchen on the corner of the home to get as much natural light as possible, but I just don't know how to achieve that with the garage placement.
Thanks also for the reminder that anything can be achieved if you have the money to do it! That sure keeps things in perspective:)

    Bookmark   February 18, 2013 at 6:35PM
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