Revised plan

ohana6February 6, 2013

We are posting yet again :)
Any helpful comments/ideas would be appreciated.

Things we want to change from this plan:

- make kitchen 2ft narrower so family room gets wider
- make dining room a little bigger
- enlongate left wall in foyer (not sure)
- placement of master bed entry door
- guest house needs to be a lot smaller (900sqft max)

Thanks in advance

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I wish folks would use the standard architectural convention of always orienting their plan so that the main entry is towards the bottom of the sheet! That way the eye can "enter" the plan from the bottom of the sheet and move through it in a consistent and knowing manner.

In the case of this plan, I can't begin to find the major front entry.

    Bookmark   February 6, 2013 at 4:59PM
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A confused mishmash of unworkable ideas. You can't tell the guest house from the actual house. There is no clear organization to the plan. You can't tell where the approach to the home is, where guests are to park, and where the guest or family entry to the home is located. It's lacking in clues as to it's most basic functions! I see the garage, but cannot tell how it's supposed to relate to the entryway or guest house, or even which side of the house is supposed to be the "front".

And what is with putting all of the bathrooms and closets on the corners? That is the most desirable location in any home, and you're using it for your morning ablutions and that's it.

If your guest house has to be 900 square feet, then that's a 30'x30' square. Start there for it. That will be the most efficient use of space. If you can't lay out a 30x30 space efficiently, then you have zero hope of ever doing an actual full sized house. Confine your efforts to the guest house ONLY until you get a layout that works for it, and you undestandwhy it works. Then and only then start wading in the deeper water.

Or just hire a pro instead of spending 3 years trying to get it right.

    Bookmark   February 6, 2013 at 5:01PM
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I did get an architect ;)
Yes would be helpful if the plan was oriented the usual way but I figured if my 5 year old can understand so would the "pro's".
I have no problem whatsoever getting constructive critiques but please please please if you have nothing constructive to say just save your time and mine and keep your rude comments to yourselves. Always the same people!!!

    Bookmark   February 6, 2013 at 5:19PM
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22' is a pretty wide room. Why do you want it bigger?

Have you tried placing furniture in this space? It seems too large for a residential room, to me.

I think you would save a lot of time and aggravation if you hired an architect. Trying to design a nearly 7000 sq. ft. home yourself just doesn't make sense financially.

    Bookmark   February 6, 2013 at 6:12PM
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Is this a plan your architect designed? Because if so, I'd find someone else. The guest apartment doesn't work as it is, and it's too big? Putting together a decent 2 bedroom apartment in 900 sq. ft. isn't that hard.

I don't mean to be rude, but if you ask for opinions, you're going to get opinions. I think your plan needs more than a couple tweaks.

    Bookmark   February 6, 2013 at 6:21PM
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zone4newby thank you for the response. Yes 22ft is plenty thats what we want, in the plan is at 19-9", I guess its hard too see since we marked over it.
And yes we do have an architect. its hard to just find someone else when you already have 10k invested in an "architect" ;)
I didnt mean to be rude either, it's just not very helpful saying "hire an architect" and this plan sucks when i have hired one and i cant just walk upi to him and say people at this forum online think your plan sucks. if the critique is 'elaborated' then its easier to say "hey whats going on here this seems to be all wrong bc of this this and this". this is our first build, we have seen houses designed by our architect and were very pleased, thats why we hired him.
We are not architects we only know what we have researched and what he tells us. thats why we thought about putting it up here so we could get different opinions thats all.
hope that clarifies.
thank again

    Bookmark   February 6, 2013 at 6:59PM
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An architect drew this plan? I'm no expert, but I see numerous red flags:

- I don't have a problem with unconventional houses or those that don't fit the current trend, but this layout has no flow. I can't see how furniture would be placed in this space, and -- once you do place furniture -- people are going to have to walk through conversation/activity areas to get from room to room. With big windows on one end and huge space, the great room is going to have an odd feel. It just doesn't work.

- I cannot imagine the roofline that'd accompany this house.

- What's the line by the front door area?

- The plumbing is spread across the house, which is going to be very expensive. One of the standard rules of design is that kitchens/baths are "backed up to one another" to save both money and future maintenance. This isn't always possible, but NONE of your plumbing adjoins.

- I must second the complaint that the bathrooms and closets have been given the prime window locations. Unless your views are unattractive or neighbors are super-close, I'd move these around.

- To enter the upper left corner bedroom, you're going to have to walk around the kitchen table -- not ideal.

- I think that's a mudroom and a laundry room by the garage entrance. Two long, narrow rooms, each having nothing on one wall. I'd open these up as one larger room. It'd still be an interior windowless room, but it'd be larger and more useful. You could place a long bench in the middle, which would be useful for sitting down to remove shoes or setting down laundry baskets.

- Exterior doors are expensive. Do you need TWO ways to access the back yard directly from the master bedroom suite? Likewise, do you really want one of the children's bathrooms to exit directly to the outside? Are you going to feel secure about that at night?

- The master bath is "choppy" and isn't going to be attractive in the long run. Is that a toilet and a bidet in the closet? Consider a Toto toilet instead, which performs both functions in one appliance.

- Are you sure you want NO tubs in the whole house? This would hurt future resale possibilities. Even if you say, as so many people do on this board, that you're planning to live in this house for the rest of your life, you may have trouble financing an unconventional house. Before the bank will loan you money, they want to be sure it's a house they could resell. (Not saying you'd fall into foreclosure, just pointing out that the bank will consider this possibility before loaning you money.)

- You have no fireplace. In my area, a house this size with no fireplace would be unsellable in the future.

- What're your plans for the guest house? It's quite extensive.

- I think the root of the design problem is this: You're trying to draw a large house, and you're trying to make it a modified square. A house with this many rooms -- assuming you want to keep it on one floor -- isn't going to come together unless it's more of a rectangle with a central hallway.

- Similarly, most of your rooms are squares. Rectangular rooms tend to give you wall space, which is useful for furniture placement. In contrast, square rooms just give you walking-room, which isn't as useful.

I have to agree with LiveWireOak that this is a mismatch of ideas that don't work. I vote for starting fresh.

    Bookmark   February 6, 2013 at 7:37PM
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I'm sorry, but I wholeheartedly agree with the others. If this is architect designed, he must have been last in his class. You need to fire him. It's hopelessly amateur.

The space has no organization or logical flow from one space to the next. Part of what a home does is telegraph it's functions to you visually. When you drive down the street, the driveway leads you from that public street to a more private area off street. Then from that, you should access the home from a well defined entry that gives you a feeling of welcome and is easy to spot. No mouse trying to find the cheese look that this has. That entry should have a flow to the spaces in the home where you would receive your guests and entertain them. Not dump them directly in the private family space. That's awkward and uncomfortable.

The rooms should also have a connection with the outdoors through windows and sightlines to attractive views as well as with doors to connect you with exterior living spaces like patios or gardens. This home has the choice spaces that have the possibility of windows from two directions devoted to the least used rooms in any home. That's extremely poor prioritization of prime space and it's poor organizational skills from whomever drew this. Those least used spaces like bathrooms and closets should be interior rooms that are placed as privacy buffers between bedrooms and the public rooms in order to minimize sound transmission between them. It's almost like someone deliberately tried to create the worst possible plan here. The reverse of the ideal. Turned on it's head.

The home is closed in and shut off from the exterior, gazing at it's navel. And that navel is unattractive and awkwardly proportioned. The length to width proportions are "off" for a comfortable use of the space. It's too big to have just a single conversation zone and not big enough to divide into two well defined zones. And there is no focal point or gathering point. It's cold and unfriendly as is drawn. A tall ceiling will only accentuate this.

And the kitchens are just plain awful. One is too small and cramped to try for that G shaped layout. It doesn't even have space for one person. And the other, although larger, is so poorly laid out that it might as well not have more room.

Start with the property, and the view of the house that you will see when approaching it. How do you create a sense of welcoming and provide the space needed for guests sweaters and coats. Where is a place for you to plop down your mail and car keys. Which door will you enter? What about your guests?

I agree with starting with a more simple form of home design in the guest house. A guest house has certain limitations that should make it easier to organize the space for sleeping, eating, and bathing. Start the baby steps there.

    Bookmark   February 6, 2013 at 7:47PM
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I hate to sound like a broken record, but I too wholeheartedly agree with the rest here. The plan lacks any real organization and terrible flow. There are huge rooms that are 23 ft wide and then pokey little bathrooms, hallways, etc.

For example, if I were building a house of this size I would want the master vanities to have a little bit more space.

My counsel would be find other plans you like and use that as a base with a NEW architect. Again just IMHO!

    Bookmark   February 6, 2013 at 8:09PM
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Yes would be helpful if the plan was oriented the usual way but I figured if my 5 year old can understand so would the "pro's".

You want free advice, but can't bother to make it easy for people to read your diagram. I have to either rotate my laptop 90 degrees or turn my head in order to read what is written.

    Bookmark   February 6, 2013 at 10:34PM
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I drew you a sketch, which incorporates your parts but makes them flow more logically. No criticism, please, on lack of proportion. This was a 15-minute first-draft, and I don't pretend the bedrooms/bathrooms are a reasonable size -- only that they're in a reasonable spot and that this is an improvement.


- I'm still not loving the entry, but it is easy for a guest to see where to enter.
- The bedrooms are grouped together, yet the master still has privacy.
- Bedroom 2 is a little removed from the rest by its own hallway.
- Bedrooms 3, 4 and 5 are grouped together (as they were in the OP's plan, but now they're not shoved behind the kitchen), and they share a hallway and two baths. The bath near Bedroom 3 could be switched a little to give direct bath access instead of hallway access. The bath between 4 and 5 could become a jack-and-jill.
- Cubbies or closets could be placed on the mudroom/Dining room wall to provide storage off the garage.
- The laundry and pantry have been combined into one larger room, and the room can have a window.
- You have a covered porch right off the kitchen, which will be good for grilling and outdoor meals, but I made a portion of the outdoor space into patio, which will provide better lighting in the great room /master bedroom.
- The guest house can be accessed directly from the garage, or through French doors (or sliders) off the covered porch. This provides some separation/privacy for guests. The kitchen is more of a kitchen-ette and provides eating space only at the island. Guests are convenient to the main house laundry and won't need their own.
- Oops, I see I didn't give Bedrooms 6 and 7 doorways -- you'll have to imagine that.
- The four-car garage has become two two-car garages, which prevents giant-roof symdrome and is more attractive. My paper wouldn't fit into the scanner, so you can only see the edge of the second garage.

    Bookmark   February 7, 2013 at 10:07AM
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Mrs. Pete's plan is a HUGE improvement. Private and public spaces are divided, there aren't any inexplicable walls, the guest apartment looks comfortable and doesn't have any unusable space...

I really like the idea of a covered porch linking the guest apartment and the main house.

    Bookmark   February 7, 2013 at 10:23AM
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MrsPete thank you so much for taking th etime to draw the sketch!
The first thing i see might be a problem is the witdh of the house (85ft max for us).

Let me try to explain why our plan looks the way it does lol
we would like a somewhat split bedroom plan. on the master side 1 bed for sure maybe 2 but preferably no more. we live in south florida an uncovered patio is not usable space bc you would literally toast in there.
we have great front (golf course) and back views but the side views are nothing spectacular (other lots 50 ft away) thats why im not too concerned about having baths/closet on the side of the house.

we need a large breakfast area since we are 6 and always have in laws over.

also in florida is very common to have caban baths, since we will be spending most of our time in the backyard/pool its very convenient being able to access the bathrooms through the outside. not so worried about security since these will be hurricane proof doors, it takes a lot to get through them.

im definitely taking off that wall btw the mudroom and laundry room and making it one large room.

in the master bath the drawing by the toilet is a urinal (his only request)

no fireplace in south florida its warm as it is ;) and no need for coat closet either. we just need a table by the entrance where we can drop our keys.

the guest house is for my in laws to live in.

hope that explains, i will however study the sketch you drew. and definitely sitting down with architect and going over a lot of what has been said.

    Bookmark   February 7, 2013 at 10:31AM
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zone4newby we are trying to keep the guest house towards the front bc since my in laws will b living there by them being in the front provides us a somewhat more private backyard :/

    Bookmark   February 7, 2013 at 10:34AM
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Note that a master bedroom doesn't have to be literally on the other side of the house to be private. The picture I drew gives privacy: You have the master bath and the closet as "sound buffers". Also, the master bedroom is accessed via its own hallway. It would have a private feel, though it is still on the "bedroom side of the house".

We don't "need" fireplaces here in the Carolinas either, but not having one would cause problems with resale. This is a regional thing.

A urinal! The only way that could be better would be if you placed it in the shower! What man wouldn't love that?
I see that I neglected to draw in the half-bath. I'd put this in the laundry/pantry area. Use a door instead of a window in that area, and you'll have your "outdoor bath" without putting an exterior door in a child's bathroom (because security doesn't always mean people can't get in).

One benefit of locating the bedrooms together is that you can have the plumbing clumped in one general area. This will cost MUCH less than having bathrooms spread all over the house. Note that in my picture you have sort of a "line" of bathrooms running through the bedroom wing. Similarly, the kitchen/laundry/guest house plumbing is all located close together.

Breakfast area: Place a table in the corner of the great room, just across from the island. Or bump out into what's labeled as the covered porch.

Will your in-laws live in the guest house full-time, or just for extended visits? I ask because if it's full time they'll need more storage /space.

You say you have 85' to work with? You're building a house this size on a little lot? AND a pool? Is that going to work? If you're set on this lot, I think you may be forced into a two-story.

    Bookmark   February 7, 2013 at 1:25PM
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It is for good reason that criticism is the method used in the education of architects and it is expensive both in personal and financial terms but it works.

The price you must pay for free advice is to accept criticism without complaint. The obvious alternative is to find a professional designer with more skill.

    Bookmark   February 7, 2013 at 1:56PM
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Thank you thank you thank you :)

The thing with the master being on the other side is bc the kids are noisy :) at least if the are on the other side I don't need to bother them so much about keeping it down ( they love loud music!)

We plan on having a firepit in the backyard.

Definitely talking to architect about bringing plumbing closer together.

The cabana bath is a must for us. We will have an outdoor shower however with 4 kids its quite hard to keep them from coming in the house wet. The cabana bath seems to help.

Yes, the in laws will be there full time.

The lot is a little over an acre but its width is ~ 130ft and the setbacks are 25ft on each side that's why the limitation :/

Thank you so much for taking the time.

    Bookmark   February 7, 2013 at 2:02PM
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Ohana- The master bath looks so much better! Great idea having access to the back :)

I'm not sure about that wall in the foyer either. I think I'd take that out, so you have more room in the dining area. But, the other wall (against the in-law suite) would make a great area for built-in dish storage. Also could be used as office or craft storage, if you use the dining room for other purposes.

I can see the architect didn't draw in all the windows, but I would definitely want lots of light where you have the eat in kitchen area. Maybe a skylight or solar tube over the island, to balance out losing a little light with the porch.

    Bookmark   February 7, 2013 at 3:50PM
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I want to be the first to congratulate MrsP for her sketch with the title "Great Room of Epic Proportion", hereafter to be known in the building world as the GREP Room! In all my life (and global travels) I have never seen such a room (much less such a wonderful term), but I can recognize creativity and innovation when I see it! So congratulations!

I urge you to hurry and trademark this wonderful term before the next annual homebuilder's convention or the term will be grabbed and used mercilessly, without any thought of attribution, much less compensation.

The things we learn here! Really!

    Bookmark   February 7, 2013 at 5:57PM
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