Please take a look at my friend's house

mrspeteFebruary 28, 2014

My non-computer-saavy friend and I've been looking at this house plan together, and I'd appreciate your comments. I'll pass them on to her.

Her desires are rather like mine -- small house, 3 bedrooms, 2 baths.
Back of her house will face south.

First, here's the original house plan exterior. Cute little house. I think it's 1690 sf or thereabouts.

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Sorry, I can't figure out how to load more than one picture at a time.

This original floorplan is cute, simple, compact. She's trying to stick to a fairly low budget: Hopefully under $150,000. We're in a low cost of living area, and I'm thinking this is possible -- with careful choices.

    Bookmark   February 28, 2014 at 1:33PM
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The original upstairs.

In a moment you'll see that she wants some minor alterations to the downstairs . . . and that'll affect the "back bedroom" a bit, but no changes except what falls into place naturally from the change in footprint.

I personally am not sure the bathroom couldn't benefit from a bit of a change. It seems . . . awkward. She's fine with it, but if y'all have thoughts, I'll present them to her.

    Bookmark   February 28, 2014 at 1:34PM
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Now, for the alterations she and I have discussed:

- Flatten out the back of the house. The purpose: To allow space for two reach-in pantries, which is also very much in line with my own priorities.

- Move the back door to the dining area. The thought: This makes for easy furniture placement in the living room and allows the door to serve the living room and kitchen. You might notice that I didn't draw doors -- I just wrote in the word. Please don't let this throw you.

- Alterations in the master closet, which was a bit undersized . . . and the master bath, though we haven't managed a bath layout. Must include a standard-sized tub, large walk-in shower, and a linen closet. Looking at the picture, I think I made the "enlarged bath" a little narrow; it can go a bit wider.

- One other tiny detail, which somehow didn't come out on this last drawing, though we had it in previous drawings. An extra window on the corner of the master bedroom so that light can enter from two sides.

I'm thinking these are minor alterations and will probably bring the house up to about 1800 sf. Though that is a rough guess -- I haven't drawn this out on the computer.

This post was edited by MrsPete on Fri, Feb 28, 14 at 13:52

    Bookmark   February 28, 2014 at 1:41PM
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And finally -- if you're still with me after all these drawings -- where to add a garage? Her preference is an attached garage. We've picked two possibilities:

- Place the garage to the back and enter through the kitchen. This looks good because it won't throw off the design of the house, and everyone likes to enter near the kitchen/pantry when they're carrying groceries. The negative is that if guests pull all the way up to the garage, they'll have to walk across the whole house to reach the off-center front door.

- Place the garage to the left of the house, which means the casual entrance would share the front-door entrance. I personally like this because it means you're using the same entrance you've made nice for guests. A potty in this spot is convenient. And it means guests would park in the driveway area and the front door is conveniently placed for them. But would adding a garage here throw off the cute cottage vibe?

- Or can you present a third option for me?

I've just drawn the garage as a square for the moment. She has a large lot and will have the option to make the garage a front-loader or a side loader.

    Bookmark   February 28, 2014 at 1:48PM
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I like it.

It still doesn't look like the new mater closet has enough floor space to have hanging space on all three walls. I also wouldn't put too much effort into connecting it to the laundry, it is after all, just around the corner.

Configuring the master bath is going to be interesting!

I like the addition of pantry storage in the kitchen.

I don't like the lack of a coat closet.

Love the rear porch.

    Bookmark   February 28, 2014 at 1:56PM
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Does she have room for a side load garage? If so how about putting the garage on the left, and making it extra deep to accommodate a vestibule with a closet for the foyer. The rest of the deep part could be for storing a mower, bikes, etc. Something like below.

I'd change the swing on the foyer powder room door so it's not opening to a view of the toilet. Better yet, a good pocket door there.

I think the lower right corner of the kitchen will be awkward with the ref right next to the pantry. I like the addition of the pantries, and I bet the kitchens forum people can help layout that corner.

    Bookmark   February 28, 2014 at 2:38PM
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10'6" in the breakfast area means it is a bit tight. Assume a narrow 30" table will be needed to have some walking space and narrower under counter stools only if any at the island.

    Bookmark   February 28, 2014 at 3:25PM
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This is such a cute, charming house. I think a good deal of the charm is derived from the relatively simple roof forms vs. many of the larger plans we see on here. It would be a shame to complicate that with the attached garage... Would your friend consider a detached garage? It could even still be connected via a breezeway...

Here's an example of a similarly cute detached garage from houzz... link

    Bookmark   February 28, 2014 at 3:32PM
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Side load or not will be informative. If side load, I'd balance out the house like chicagoans and put it on the left. If front load, I like it behind...

One note on the elevation...

There will be an issue where the forward roof dumps water on the porch roof that directs it to the forward/bedroom wall (see where I am saying)? In our area, "gutters" wouldn't be enough to solve that leak hazard. And, it will be an issue for ice/snow if you live in that type of climate (or, even if you didn't think you did (Atlanta))...

The upstairs bathroom could forgo the dormer all together and be less awkward.

    Bookmark   February 28, 2014 at 4:50PM
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It is a lovely house! Could the laundry move to the outside wall so it can be vented right outside? If it needs access from other than the master, perhaps it could have a door to the kitchen?

I agree that the upstairs bathroom window is useless from inside, and kind of sticks out from the outside. Could it be either a) a skylight or b) half the height, just the too half, so that it doesn't stick out so far?

Chicagoans' garage addition is nice; it would even work as a front load, or rear load if the neighborhood is like that.

    Bookmark   February 28, 2014 at 6:48PM
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Personally, I would prefer an arrangement where the master bedroom is not "front and center." I also would prefer doors to the porch from both the living and breakfast/kitchen areas -- but I like exterior doors more than others.

The exterior is cute and I like caben's idea of a detached garage and connector -- your friend could use an enclosed breezeway/mudroom entering off the foyer. That might allow a "pocket garden" between the house and garage and windows flanking the fireplace. Would the house be on a slab?

    Bookmark   February 28, 2014 at 8:06PM
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larecoltante Z6b NoVa

It would be a shame to put a garage on the back of this cute cottage and block southern light. People avoid the north side of buildings and congregate on the southern side.

The idea of a detached garage is a good one. Is your friend in an area of the country where that's manageable? (As many of us wait for yet another snow storm to arrive Monday...)

Nice plan with clean lines.

    Bookmark   February 28, 2014 at 9:44PM
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I've seen this plan before. I agree with's such a cute house, but I would not want the master bedroom windows so close to the front door.

It seems like this would be the place for a den or the dining area. Also, the powder room seems very tight...and your view as you walk in the front door is of the side of the fireplace.

I love the facade, but I don't think the inside matches the charm of the outside. Sorry...

    Bookmark   February 28, 2014 at 10:56PM
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So many responses so fast!
My only regret is that I won't see my friend 'til Monday.

'Til then, my thoughts on the comments:

lmccarly, I agree that the master closet needs a little more width -- this wasn't something that was carefully drawn. Just something we cut-and-pasted at work. However, that "working area" can all move forward a foot or two, providing the necessary space.

Connecting the laundry was something she LOVED. Also, though the two might be close together, if they're not connected, laundry must be carried through the bedroom and bathroom to reach the closet -- that's through three doors. It's close but not convenient.

I hadn't really missed the coat closet. I'll bring it up to her. We are in the South and don't really use coat closets much. Still, I should mention it to her.

Chicagoans, I like the picture you drew -- definitely food for thought, but if she's going to stick to the $150,000 budget, I doubt things like extra-deep anythings are going to work out. And budget is king in this project.

I agree that the kitchen-meets-pantry corner is awkward and needs . . . something. But I don't know what. Taking it to the kitchen thread is an excellent suggestion, and we'll do that . . . once she's satisfied that this is the plan. No need to get into kitchen details 'til the overall thoughts are solid.

Lyfia, You make a fair point about the width of the dining area. It'd all be fine while the chairs were tucked under, but once you add people . . . the clash would be between the table-sitters to the right and the island people. Of course, I'm not 100% sure where she stands on island seating.

Caben, I agree that the exterior's charm comes from its simplicity. I personally do not admire over-done rooflines that attempt to mimic European mansions in 3000-4000 SF.

The picture you posted is lovely and would absolutely fit into the "feel" of the house. Though my friend has talked about an attached garage, this might sway her, especially since this would provide some coverage /protection for entering the house.

Kirkhall, I see your point about the roof being a "water shedder", but I don't know what to do about that -- beyond really good gutters. We are in a mild climate and rarely get much ice and snow. Atlanta, yes, recently had horrible snow, but although they're to the south of us, their weather is always a bit more severe.

I see exactly what's wrong with the bathroom now! It's so simple that I can't imagine WHY it wasn't obvious to me before: Remove the silly little divider door and move the sink to the other side. It becomes a simple, three-pieces-in-A-line bath (which is the cheapest to build). However, I think I'd keep the dormer. It does allow in natural light, even if it's not ideal. And I do like the way it looks on the simple roof. Plus the little "indent" would provide a spot in a small bathroom for her grandchildren's reach-the-sink-stool or a basket of tub toys.

Oh, and the garage: She has plenty of space, so the garage can be side load or front load.

Bpathome, laundry to the exterior . . . interesting idea. The whole bath-laundry-closet area is the weak point in the whole design. If this "keeps out" guests who might want to do laundry, she could go with a stacked machine upstairs in the nice-sized laundry closet . . . but that takes away valuable storage space and is unkind to the budget.

I don't know what I think, but I'll present the idea to my friend. I think we all agree that laundry is BEST when vented to the outside.

Oaktown, We did talk about the master being "up front" for about 30 seconds, but since she wants the main living rooms to the back, something has to be pushed forward. Personally, I'm fine with it.

I don't have a particular love of lots of exterior doors . . . more doors = more messy places to clean, more doors to lock, less energy efficiency, more cost (for building and for security system, if you have one).

I like the idea of a breezeway /mudroom entering the foyer. A little desk area in that spot would be nice. We'll investigate that thought, though -- again -- it must be weighed against the budget.

Most houses in this area are on a crawlspace. Cheaper houses are on slabs. No one does basements in this area; our soil is not conducive to basement-success.

Larecoltante, If she puts the garage at the back, it'll be to the back-and-side. It won't cut out light.

Lavendar_lass, I agree that in a larger house the master would probably be the dining room (and would be open to the foyer as well as the kitchen, but as I said earlier, for this build, budget is king and the square footage needs to stay small.

Good point about the site lines as you enter the house. If the half bath disappeared and the foyer were a bit wider, the door could scoot over perhaps 3' and that problem would disappear . . . but then we need access to a downstairs bath. Will think on this one.

Thank you all for your comments, and I wecome more!

    Bookmark   March 1, 2014 at 8:46AM
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One more thing on the roof, because I'm not sure you got it, all the way...

Even without "weather", that little corner formed by the right hand portion of the porch roof to the upstairs bedroom wall will collect...things--debri, pine needles, tree leaves, bugs, dust/dirt/mud/etc.

I think to "fix it", you might have to extend the gable roof over the porch, then, to keep the cute factor, make the porch gable cut back forward of the main house gable. Do you know what I mean? I'm hoping, if you don't, someone who is good at sketching (Renovator) can come in and sketch the issue and a solution.

    Bookmark   March 1, 2014 at 1:19PM
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Kirkhall, yeah, I get the problem, though I didn't see it myself.

On a scale of 1-10, with one being "Be aware that this is a potential problem, dont allow a big tree to overhang this ara, and pay attention and watch for trouble" . . . And 10 being "This will definitely cause trouble in a short period of time. Definitely do something else". How bad would you rate this problem?

    Bookmark   March 2, 2014 at 5:43PM
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Since bumping out the kitchen wall allows for the pantries to be over 3 foot deep I would consider making the one on the outside wall to be the laundry, put a stack unit so the backs are on the outside wall and make the door open both from the kitchen and the closet. Then the door by the bedroom can be eliminated and used for more closet space. The rest can be all bathroom.
As far as the garage, guests wouldn't use it anyway, right? So I would place it where it makes sense to enter closest to the kitchen, then do a circular drive out front, or have the drive run fairly close up the kitchen side of the house directly into the garage, with a wide walkway across the front of the house to the front porch, maybe set off with a low picket fence.
Edited to add part about kitchen I forgot...might also consider making it an "L" - can't do too much of a u with the pantry/laundry there, but without an island might be able to add enough cabinets up to the porch door to make the eating area bigger. Maybe.

This post was edited by peegee on Sun, Mar 2, 14 at 23:05

    Bookmark   March 2, 2014 at 10:56PM
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The facade is so charming...I hate to see it altered, especially with a garage off to the left side. If the bedroom is going to stay up front...what about a garage connected to the back, with a laundry/pantry that looks like a breezeway?

Actually, the garage would be attached, but look like it's detached. I think that would balance the look of the cottage and give you a proper powder room and entry.

I had to put a window seat by the fireplace and a bookcase (with TV above?) on the other side. Also scooted the stairs over just a bit (upstairs, too) but there should be plenty of space to walk under them, to enter master.

Just a few ideas :) From Kitchen plans From Kitchen plans

This post was edited by lavender_lass on Wed, Mar 5, 14 at 12:46

    Bookmark   March 3, 2014 at 2:09AM
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I've realized that if I ever build a house, I will never be able to sell it, because I dislike most of the "in" things. For instance, unless the kitchen is just HUGE, I mostly hate islands in kitchens.

I would lose the island, slide the sink up under that nice window with the dishwasher beside it, and slide the fridge around. I'd also move the laundry to the outside wall as bpathome suggested, which will save your friend future headaches trying to keep the dryer vent run clean.

That leaves a slightly awkward entrance to the MB though that I'm still thinking about :)

    Bookmark   March 3, 2014 at 3:27PM
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In my climate, it'd be an 8ish... unless she is fond of going up on the roof section above the porch to clean it out regularly.

You are in the south, right? aren't bugs an issue? I'd think anything that allows things to pile up on a roof against a wall of the house would be trouble in almost any climate.

Unless you have no leaves, needles, dirt ever in the air.

    Bookmark   March 3, 2014 at 5:10PM
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If you don't have snow, I would rate that roof problem at about a 1, unless you have a big tree there. It wouldn't be that difficult to have someone climb up there (pay them) and take a look at it once every couple of years. And FWIW, I really like the front dormer :)

    Bookmark   March 3, 2014 at 6:34PM
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Trees don't actually have to overhang the roof to be a big problem in that area. Even the tree in the drawing of the house in the first posting would present a problem. I am sure if you drive around you will see houses with this problem with an accumulation of leaves and pine needles.

    Bookmark   March 3, 2014 at 7:42PM
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Definitely more than a 1, in any climate.

    Bookmark   March 3, 2014 at 7:46PM
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If you're north of Atlanta, you must get plenty of rain. I absolutely would not do that part of the roof as designed--it's just not worth it. I used to work in a place that had a V-shaped roof (shallower than that, as if that makes a difference, which it doesn't!) that was supposedly designed to carry off the water. We had leaks every year, in spite of whatever repairs were done. Things get clogged up. Do you really want to take a chance that just ONE storm/clogging would do extensive drywall, MDF, floor damage? Water ALWAYS wins.

Why create a problem when it's foreseen? We have to pay someone to get on our roof about every other year to clean our woodstove duct. If you don't burn wood hot enough, or if you burn wet wood, creosote forms or the filter plugs up. I can see out the window when it's time, several times a year, to have the leaves cleaned from our gutters. Ever since our neighbor had his ladder slide out from under him while cleaning out his gutters--as he'd done for decades, causing him to break both feet, we've paid someone to clean our gutters. I'd really rather not worry about these things or incur the extra costs, especially in a new house!


    Bookmark   March 3, 2014 at 8:49PM
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We didn't anticipate our problems, but she now knowingly has a choice.


    Bookmark   March 3, 2014 at 8:51PM
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Couldn't you just redesign that a bit and make the main gable and the gable over the door one continuous roof line? That would take care of the problem, without losing the charm...we have many homes like this in our area :) From Snow White album From Kitchen plans

    Bookmark   March 5, 2014 at 11:48PM
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Lavender, I was hating the idea of changing the roofline, even with solid evidence why it was a good idea. I thought this roofline was just so charming and cottage-like . . . but I also love the picture you showed. I am such a visual person. I have to see things -- thanks for that picture!

Everyone else -- I've summarized your thoughts, and my friend is sifting through them. Will get back with more ideas soon.

THANKS to all!

    Bookmark   March 6, 2014 at 8:32AM
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Will your friend be having gutters? I don't know where your friend is located, but here in central NC we often get rain at the rate of 3" per hour, so gutters are really nice to have. The reason I ask is because the drawing does not show any gutters and IMO the look of a house is changed when you add gutters. I think that is why they are often left off of drawings like this.

I have a question regarding the upstairs bathroom. What is planned for under the window? If possible, I would put the sink on the same wall as the toilet to use it as screening, which would mean flipping the doors also. I wasn't sure if there was a reason it wasn't done this way.

    Bookmark   March 6, 2014 at 8:52AM
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I'm glad you like the picture! :)

What do you think of the changes I made to the first floor? If you move the powder room and put the garage on the would give you more flexibility to make adjustments to the roof line, if necessary.

    Bookmark   March 6, 2014 at 1:15PM
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Yes, LL, thank you! That is what I was trying to describe in my original response, but I don't have computer skills for drafting it. Thanks!

    Bookmark   March 6, 2014 at 4:00PM
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Me neither! LOL But, I love that cottage picture and have saved it for a long time :)

    Bookmark   March 6, 2014 at 10:58PM
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