Revision to preliminary plans- Feedback please!

kateshomeFebruary 28, 2013

Would like any feedback to our new plans, first and second floor. We don't want anything too big, just my husband and myself, but grandkids do live in the area and are around a lot. This plan comes in a little over 2800 sq. ft. Thanks for any feedback, good and bad, I can take it!

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A straight-forward plan that should work very well for a retired couple, for as long as you can navigate stairs. The plan is well proportioned and should result in a handsome and appealing exterior. On the interior, there is nothing in excess and the interior dining and living spaces should be very eye-appealing.

Stand by for a pheora of recommendations to add a battalion-sized mud room, lockers for the high school football team and other critically essential ingredients required for a home to be the Builder's Gold Star Home of the Year (BGSHY).

Congratulations on your design. If you can resist the magnetic appeal of BGSHY you should be very happy in your new home!

    Bookmark   February 28, 2013 at 5:31PM
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Virgilcarter - Thanks for your comments. We are wondering if the foyer might be tight, especially right by the front door. Would love to hear your thoughts.

    Bookmark   February 28, 2013 at 7:06PM
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VC-- So cynical! A retired couple doesn't need a mudroom for football gear for 4 boys. --In all seriousness, we all have different talents and feedback on this forum. Everybody's feedback is valuable, and that is the benefit of the forum--a variety of eyes, experiences, and emphases. The OP can then decide what is important to them from everyone's input. (Plus, devaluing others' input before it is even stated is presumptuous and rude, and not good forum etiquette.)

That said, a retired couple, who plans to live in the house a long time, might want to have a house that is amenable to not being able to navigate the stairs. I am young have already had one incidence of temporary disability (back injury from picking up my 9mo old wrong) and I was glad to have a main floor bed and bath (tub/shower) those few weeks of rehabilitation.

You sure you don't need a space that could flex to that purpose? Or, a prospective place for an elevator?

This post was edited by kirkhall on Thu, Feb 28, 13 at 20:12

    Bookmark   February 28, 2013 at 8:03PM
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kate, IMO your entry is fine. It provides a small and defined "foyer-like" space, which transitions to a larger space from which one can see and access the dining and living rooms. If you entertain large groups on a regular basis, you might talk to your architect about widening the area a couple of feet. Otherwise, I think its fine. It would certainly suit my wife and I.

I'm so glad to see a plan that is well proportioned and simple. There are so many of the over-inflated, bulky plans floating around. Yours is a good example of common sense.

I'm sure you must have already gone through the analysis of a one-story (or at least one bedroom on the first floor) compared to a two-story house for retired couples. So we should respect your decision.

Good luck with your project.

PS: My previous comments were meant as humorous, not cynical or critical.

    Bookmark   February 28, 2013 at 8:17PM
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One comment on the mudroom.

It is a good size, but it won't function large(r) because of the way the closet doors open. You won't be able to put a little bench in there or have a coat rack on one of the walls, etc, because every wall has a door swinging right into it. In other words, that nice size space is kind of wasted space.

You might consider sliding doors on the closet, or expanding the closet out to function a little more like a walk-in closet (still no space for a bench, but if you never intended for a bench, at least with a WIC style closet, you'd be able to "recover" that space as closet space instead of blank space). Just a couple thoughts.

    Bookmark   February 28, 2013 at 8:33PM
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Kate-just curious - do you envision 2 seating areas in your great room? It is very spacious and I'm wondering what your plans are with the bump out in the front.

I like your plan a lot and was trying to figure out how to stick a main level master on it for myself, lol! I like the flow from kitchen to dining to great room and it looks like it will have a lot of natural light.

We currently are in a ranch home and recently vacationed in a home with bedrooms and laundry up and I mentally noted how much I enjoy not having to do constant stairs at home (as my knees were crackling on my ascent). I'm only 40 and already feeling meh about stairs but you may very well be used to them. I suppose I wouldn't be traveling them constantly without kiddos and a barrage of laundry to tend to also. Just my personal observation.

I like it!

    Bookmark   February 28, 2013 at 8:34PM
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Thanks all for your comments!

Kirkhall - We have put thought into a first floor master but have decided against it. May change our minds though as we get older. We have always lived in a two story home with all the bedrooms on the second floor and like that arrangement. You are correct about the mudroom. We we wondering if we could move the closet to the garage wall and then bump it more into the garage and put a bench where the closet was. I would like a bench in that space.

Virgilcarter - FYI -we got the idea for this floor plan from the house we had to demolish that was on the lot. It was more closed up but had a similar flow. I took your previous comments as humorous!

Autumn.4 - I am hoping to get two seating areas in the great room. Or at least in the bay window area to have a couple of chairs and a table for games/puzzles. We are used to two floor living and we get a little more exercise! We may change our minds as we get older, but we hope that we would always be able to navigate stairs once in the morning and once at night.

    Bookmark   February 28, 2013 at 9:07PM
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Just a word in support of the upstairs master. I know they aren't for everyone, but I like them, and in my family people who live in homes with stairs are typically able to handle stairs into their 80s. In the end, as long as you have a bathroom on your main level, a master upstairs only requires going down the stairs in the morning and climbing them again in the evening.

    Bookmark   February 28, 2013 at 9:45PM
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Kateshome, I like the plan. It would make sense to plan a future location for an elevator.

My Grandmother lived with stairs (steep and narrow in an old home) till her mid 80's. Now at 94 she is in a nursing home and her room is in a section with a short staircase, because she does better than the "younger girls" at the home! Hope I've got some of her good genes.

    Bookmark   March 1, 2013 at 12:50AM
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I am very new here and can't claim any expertise, but I think this is a lovely plan. I like the way you have staggered the kitchen, dining and living areas to take advantage of views through each room without having one long bowling alley. Love the sunroom and the proportions look just right. I can't make out the actual dimensions though -- can you share?

    Bookmark   March 1, 2013 at 7:02AM
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Lori (loribug26_gw) Wagerman_Walker

LOL @ virgilcarter. :)

    Bookmark   March 1, 2013 at 11:29AM
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I am wondering if the downstairs master bedroom is a regional thing? We live in Western New York and most homes have all the bedrooms upstairs. Some new builds do have a master on the first floor. But we are building in an established neighborhood and want to have our home look like it has always been there. 99% of homes in this area have all bedrooms upstairs. I know plans are very subjective and what works for one family doesn't necessarily work for another. I do certainly understand where you are coming from suggesting that we consider a first floor master or an elevator. I am curious though are master first floors common in other areas of the country?

Caymaiden - We are pretty happy with this plan. The measurement of the sunroom is 16' 4" x 12'. Thanks for your comments!

    Bookmark   March 1, 2013 at 1:05PM
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I think where you are building really depends with the master up or down. In TX it is very common to have it down. Most with large lots here go for 1 story houses too. In our neighborhood that is all custom homes there is only 3 families that has built a two story house at the moment out of 14 homes. 2 of those have the master down. The third I don't know, but do not think they do based on the shape of the house.

Since you expect to live there for a long time I would consider what you can do in your build to facilitate if you ever need help getting up the stairs. Ie make sure you build the stairs so a chair lift could be added for example. Although having the space for an elevator that now could function as a closet is a good idea, you may feel it is wasted space or not what you'd want to choose if the time comes when you might need it.

    Bookmark   March 1, 2013 at 1:38PM
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First floor (second) masters are common and popular in my area for new builds. Old is what it is, but with the aging population, 1st floor options are important to buyers. I'm in the Seattle area.
If it is a large house, there will often be 2 masters--one up and one down. In a house your size, there will be a bedroom/office/guest room--something that can flex to a room that is usable in the cases of temporary or permanent disability and a bathroom that has some sort of bathing capacity. Additionally, for a house your size, it is popular because it is often a house people might downsize to (or it would be a starter home, in which case your layout would function well for most young, healthy, couples with no or young children.) The downsize population might be turned off by your layout if there wasn't some place on the main floor that could flex to a temporary "master".

    Bookmark   March 1, 2013 at 1:51PM
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kateshome, it doesn't matter what's "common" in some geographic location or other. This is your custom home and it should be designed for your wants, some of your needs and your lifestyle.

Clearly, the most economical package to build is a design with living spaces on the first level and sleeping spaces on the second level. Such a 2-story design minimizes foundation footprint and roof framing. It also makes the HVAC and other utilities easier to distribute and to operate.

An all single story design maximizes the foundation and the roof framing, lengthens duct and utility runs and is more costly to operate because it has the maximum exterior "skin".

Between these two alternatives are myriad options for some bedrooms down and some up.

At the end of the day, the only thing that matters is what fits your lifestyle best. What's built in Texas and Maine is irrelevant. What the resale market is said to prefer doesn't matter. I'm pretty sure no one will come to your completed house taking a survey to see where you bedrooms are located.

Just a thought or two.

    Bookmark   March 1, 2013 at 4:15PM
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That is what I was going to say.

One point of building new, and not buying existing, is because you want it to fit you. If you want to live in the type and style of the homes you are building near, why not buy existing (it is much less expensive, in almost all areas of the country, to do so). But, presumably, they don't offer something you are looking for.

For you, that might be the open floorplan of the main level. For someone else, it might be a 1st floor bedroom suite.

    Bookmark   March 1, 2013 at 6:12PM
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What "everyone" is building changes over time, but good design holds up.

I've been surprised to see how many people here want a main level master next to the kitchen or the great room. I've always felt like sleeping next to the main living space was something I would be stuck with at some point, but not something I would volunteer to do now. I strongly prefer the separation of spaces you get when all the bedrooms are upstairs or in a separate wing of the house. But clearly my taste is not universal! That's probably a good thing. :)

    Bookmark   March 1, 2013 at 6:46PM
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