New Plan - large porches??

Parkview603February 5, 2013

I am posting yet again. We have been through several plans that didn't work for whatever reason. We THINK this is it, the best plan for us. We are about to order from the designer with our changes he needs to make.

We met with our builder and he is looking into costs on the back porch and what material we should use - concrete or something else. It will be screened. Both front and back porch will be covered. The house will face the south. It is on 6 acres next to my parents.

Do you see any big red flags? I know it has a 2 story family room, but my husband really wants this despite the common pitfalls. We will have radiant floor heating and extra insulation upstairs to help with noise.

We have added our furniture, sorry if that makes it hard to see the dimensions.

I'll post 2nd floor next.

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Here is the upstairs plan. We have 2 young daughters. Right now we can't decide if we will finish the 3rd bedroom/bath upstairs or just leave it to finish if we need it (if we have more children, still undecided.)

We also have a walkout basement that will be finished when we install our pool, about 5-7 years from now. It will have spaces for entertaining when the girls get older and have friends over. Not needed now.

I would love to add more than one picture per post, is that possible?

    Bookmark   February 5, 2013 at 1:08PM
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The porches are lovely -- very Southern.

Front porches though tend to be just for show. As such, a 53' front porch is pretty expensive. The back porch is likely to get much more use, and at 53' you'll have plenty of space for an eating area on one end, a sitting area on the other end. You might consider a swinging porch seat on the back porch.

Do you really want the WHOLE back porch screened? You could do one end of it in screen and keep the other end open. Our porch was made to be screened (posts in the right spaces to just add standard-sized screening), but we never did it. We chose not to do so because we grill frequently, and we like being able to step right out to the grill. Also, it allows the dog to come up to the back door -- which she couldn't do if we had screened it. The screen will cut down on the quality of your view of the back yard too.

Materials: I've had concrete porches and I've had wooden porches. I've been satisified with both; however, the wooden porches need to be sealed every two years to prevent rotting (unless you use one of the new, expensive wood-like products). Also, how high off the ground will your porches be? If the porch is "deep", concrete may not be particularly practical.

    Bookmark   February 5, 2013 at 1:29PM
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Thanks so much for your input. I agree, the front porch is for show. We do sit on ours in our current home (it faces a pond) but really it is to keep the southern styling.

As for the back, I was against screen all together because of the view. I like the idea of a partial screening, like you mentioned. With the little ones, I thought it would be nice to have the back doors open and let them come in and out in the nice weather (they love to play on our current back porch but it is not screened or even railed, so I have to be right on top of them for safety.)

I attached a picture of the back so you could see what it will look like with the walkout basement.

    Bookmark   February 5, 2013 at 1:49PM
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A screened porch is a lovely feature, but I would want to have it on the side of the house. Perhaps off the kitchen and breakfast area. Porches are quite nice, but they can block light and views from the major living areas.

Would you consider moving the garage and mud room areas forward and having the porch on the side? One other item, your kitchen sink and range are divided by your walkway. You may want to post your plan on the kitchen forum.

    Bookmark   February 5, 2013 at 1:51PM
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I like the flow of the main level, but there are things I'd want to change, if it were my house.

My concerns: The kitchen will be dark. The laundry couldn't be further from the bedrooms-- it's a lot of extra hauling. If it were my house, I wouldn't have the breakfast area wrapped by the porch-- it would be nice to get more light there and to be able to see out without having the view restricted by the screen porch.

How are you going to work having a covered porch off a two story space-- will the porch roof be one story or two?

Also, I have never seen the space under a deck in a walkout finished in a way that was especially pleasant-- they tend to be dark, buggy places, and with your Northern exposure, I think that will be especially true under your back screen porch.

    Bookmark   February 5, 2013 at 1:57PM
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Cottagewithroses - Thanks for your input. I posted our plan on the kitchen forum but didn't get many replies. I think it needed to be more defined and not the entire plan without exact dimensions. I don't want to move the garage but I am open to a partial screened part...will look into that, thanks!

zone4newby - I agree with your concerns. I am nervous to not have a sink under a window. I think I like having a partial screened porch, NOT being where the breakfast room is. Then I can see out. Did you see the photo I posted? The porch roof is just one story. It is the same as the front elevation. Thanks for your comments, I will pass them on!

    Bookmark   February 5, 2013 at 3:55PM
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Having lived with a DW around the corner from the sink, it's something I try very hard to never do to anyone else. I HATED it. And the traffic patterns through your kitchen are awkward. It needs some major work.

As far as the porches go, I'd want an exterior on grade entry into the mudroom from a back porch, but it doesn't seem that it's possible with it being a walkout underneath it. Perhaps a downstairs mudroom in the basement also needs to be addressed. With a sink and fridge. Otherwise, how would you plan on grilling out? I don't see any way to do this with any comfort unless you have a portion of the porch done as a raised patio instead and have that be close to the kitchen entrance.

For a two car garage, 24x26 is small if you also plan to use that for storage of lawn equipment etc. And since you have such a grade change, how do you plan to address that with the room you will need to be able to add the steps in the garage to get into the home? That will take away room from your parking and storage so you'll either have to go much larger, or plan to have this as an "actual" 1 1/2 car garage.

For the upstairs, putting a bedroom above a garage means paying very good attention to air sealing and insulating the garage properly. Most builders do a slap dash job of it. And, for the occupant, it will still be noisy when the garage door is engaged. You'd do better to eliminate the tall ceilings in the master bedroom and use that space for the bedroom and put the storage area above the garage. Having a high ceiling in a bedroom is much less important than having a comfortable bedroom for the kids. You spend 90% of the time in there with your eyes closed after all!

    Bookmark   February 5, 2013 at 4:13PM
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For the kitchen: I would move the opening to the dining room to the right and eliminate the corner cabinets. Corner cabinets are wasteful and should be avoided. Move the ovens to the left a little bit and make the pantry closet a little bigger. With this change you can put in a proper rectangle island which will be much more functional than the L shaped one.

As far as the porches- I would make the front one smaller- maybe just covering the center part of the house. For the rear one, I would shift it the right and put in a screened in porch behind the mudroom/laundry. It would be 24 x 12. Then I would put in a uncovered porch behind the eat-in dining and family room. You will need to bumpout the eat in a little bit to accomodate a door. Maybe end the porch where the family room ends. It will ruin the symmetry and I'm not sure how it will affect your walk out plans, but we gave priority to the first floor.

    Bookmark   February 5, 2013 at 5:29PM
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I love large porches. I think both porches look great!

I have a covered porch on almost the entire back of my house that I am building now. I just have the right corner as a screened porch though.

Some on GW are very concerned about loss of light. I respect that opinion but am not as concerned (btw we have a covered porch on our house now but on a much smaller scale).

    Bookmark   February 5, 2013 at 8:28PM
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"I love large porches. I think both porches look great! "

Me too!
I would LOVE to have both of those.

    Bookmark   February 5, 2013 at 8:55PM
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Thanks for taking the time to comment - it was very helpful!
We will meet with a kitchen designer to discuss a better layout. I agree, it is not good. The original plan had 2 islands and we thought that was expensive and had wasted space. But this isn't much better.

As for grilling, you can't see it on the image but the way our land slopes allows us to have a partial walkout. So there will be a small concrete patio that is accessible from the door leading out from the mudroom. We will grill there and that is also where the kids can come in and out from outside. I wish we had our half bath closer but we decided to move it closer to the living room. Eventually the basement will have a bathroom that will serve the pool and outside area.

As for the garage, our basement will also have a one car garage door/stall. It will house the lawnmower and other equipment. So we are ok with the garage size due to that.

Finally, the 3rd upstairs bedroom is still just a maybe. We only have 2 girls and they will share a bathroom. We liked that this plan had space and a good spot for an additional bedroom IF we have a boy someday. But I also like the idea of having it over the master bedroom. I like tray ceilings but they aren't terribly important to me in the long run.

Thanks again for all your ideas!

    Bookmark   February 6, 2013 at 9:36AM
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I copied and pasted your comment to my husband. All great ideas! I like changing up the kitchen so we will see what he thinks.

Right now I think we are toying with the idea of having the back porch be partially screened. I don't love the look (because we do love symmetry) but I want more natural light to come into the kitchen/breakfast room.

    Bookmark   February 6, 2013 at 9:40AM
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building_a_house and LuAnn_in_PA
Thanks for the compliments! We currently have a large front and back porch and love them. Admittedly, we don't have screens so that does concern me. But we do have young kids and I imagine them coming in and out and being able to leave the doors open is very appealing to me.

We had a plan that had neither and we just couldn't commit to it. Finally I admitted it was because I love a true Southern style home with rocking chairs and green ferns on the porch!

I am sure you have seen it, but I attached a link to our inspiration house. This particular floorplan didn't work for us but the exterior is very similar. I love the details on this porch!

Here is a link that might be useful:

    Bookmark   February 6, 2013 at 9:47AM
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I love the look of the Arbordale house! Unfortunately the floorplan didn't work for us either :(

We are porch fans also and will have a 38 foot porch on the front and rear of our house (full length minus the garage).

Good luck on your build. I am sure you will love it!

    Bookmark   February 6, 2013 at 3:19PM
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amtrucker22- Thanks! Do you have any pics to share!?

    Bookmark   February 6, 2013 at 3:50PM
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Our house is still in the framing stage, but here is a picture of the front porch -

My bump outs on the front of the house was not a forum favorite but we love them. Both the front and the rear porches are 8ft deep. Not quite as deep as yours but I think they will be functional.

Here is the front elevation -

Here was our inspiration house (which does not have an attached garage). -

We like the southern look also. Unfortunately we can not classify our taste into a single architectural style. We just know what we like and what works for us.

GW people have helped us fine tune our plans, pointing out things that work and don't work. We didn't follow all the advice but we took what we could and are building a house that we think will suit our needs for a long time to come.

    Bookmark   February 6, 2013 at 4:37PM
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As for grilling, you can't see it on the image but the way our land slopes allows us to have a partial walkout. So there will be a small concrete patio that is accessible from the door leading out from the mudroom. We will grill there and that is also where the kids can come in and out from outside.

That is a really steep right to left slope you must have if you can be flat outside the mudroom and have a walk-out basement. Is the photo you posted of the back of the house what the back of this house would look like? And the mudroom is behind where the porch ends on the left side?

Will your daughters play in the backyard? We have a walk-out basement with a covered deck, sort of like your back porch. Ours is only 8 feet deep, but from inside the family room the deck blocks most of the view of the backyard.

    Bookmark   February 6, 2013 at 10:19PM
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LOVE LOVE LOVE! That is a gorgeous house, thanks for sharing!! What part of the nation are you located? The lot looks beautiful.

I attached the link to more pics of the house. Our land slopes so that the side grilling area will not be two stories. It will be ground level. The walkout basement is a partial walkout based on how the land falls.

Chances are they will play more in the side yard - we will have a pool in the direct backyard. Hopefully they would not be out there by the pool unsupervised. So other than watching them go in and out of the screened area, I will be outside with them.

Here is a link that might be useful: High Country Farmhouse

    Bookmark   February 7, 2013 at 10:54AM
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Thank you Parkview. We are in the Florida panhandle.

The house in your link with the 3 dormers is one of my all time favorites.

    Bookmark   February 7, 2013 at 4:33PM
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Bumping up again to see if I get any more feedback. Thanks so much to those that replied a few months ago. Our house is currently for sale and we hope it sells in the next few weeks! As soon as that happens, we will break ground!

    Bookmark   May 14, 2013 at 11:08AM
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I've often thought that if I had a screened porch, I would add skylights in the porch positioned above key windows to obtain more light in the house, but still benefit from the advantages of the porch. Sooo love your exterior! - Penny

    Bookmark   May 15, 2013 at 9:33PM
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peegee - that is a great idea! I will add that to the list of things to consider! Thanks for the love!

    Bookmark   May 16, 2013 at 9:58AM
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