house plan review

homeagainFebruary 21, 2014

I was a frequent poster on these forums until 1.5 years ago when my life drastically changed. I won't go into the details but I'm trying to start over and I'm hoping to build a new home this year for my kids and I. I have a child in college and one in middle school. I need to keep the plan small but I want quality finishes. I used a graph paper template in excel and here is what I've come up with so far. I hope to have two bedrooms and a bath or even 2 baths on the second level with a small sitting area but I haven't gotten that far yet in the design. I do not have land yet. I need to stay in the same area so my youngest does not have to switch schools and the neighborhood I am considering has long, narrow lots with alley access behind for the garage.

Thanks for looking. I'd appreciate hearing your thoughts.

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I like it, but I think you're planning a LOT of bathrooms for such a small house. I would move the bathroom in the back bedroom so that it is up against the stairs, push the bedroom back into the corner of the house, and have the bathroom open up into the hallway. Then I'd eliminate the tiny powder room, in favor of a coat closet or mudroom space. It sounds like most of the time there will only be you and your younger child living here. It doesn't make sense to me to have 3 bathrooms on one level to serve 2 people.

I also think you should play around with furniture placement--- I think your dining table may be a significant obstacle

    Bookmark   February 23, 2014 at 11:17AM
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I agree on playing around with furniture placement and taking into account walkways.

I second the question about all the baths downstairs. I assume you will have a bath upstairs too with the two bedrooms there? My guess is your son is going to want an upstairs room so the downstairs one will likely be unused a lot.

In the kitchen I would switch the clean up sink and the range and put windows on each side of the range instead. This gives you better use of the long island and the prep sink. No back to back use of the same space this way either.

    Bookmark   February 23, 2014 at 12:17PM
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Thanks for looking and the feedback. I can bump out the dining room out quite easily.

The reason for so many baths is I am trying to build inexpensively but not by cutting materials and quality.(I know baths are expensive and that statement doesn't make sense.) I am only going to have the builder finish the first floor, therefore for the first 6 months or so my son and I will be living in just this space so I want him to have his own bath that is not shared with guests. And I want guests to have a bath that is not a messy teenage boy bath. While we are living there I will have the second floor, essentially an attic like space, completed for my daughter and a second bedroom for my son so that he can move upstairs for more privacy. The first floor bedroom will then become a study/guest bedroom.

Here's my vision of the exterior...

    Bookmark   February 28, 2014 at 8:32PM
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Do you really want the Mbed in the front facing the street instead of in the back of the house facing the backyard?

    Bookmark   February 28, 2014 at 11:12PM
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The picture you posted is absolutely lovely.

I think you need to clarify your main goal:
- Is it, "Build small house with nice finishes"?
- Or is it, "Build loads and loads of bathrooms"?
I think those two ideas are in conflict.

I think I'd want to put my bedroom downstairs (with one bath, possibly a half bath but probably just one bath arranged so my bath would be the downstairs powder room too) . . . and then a little nook somewhere to tuck away a desk. And then two bedrooms and a bath upstairs. With one already adult kid and one teen, I would want to build with the idea of this being a "just me in the not too distant future" house. A house with this arrangement is also highly re-sellable, whereas all those bathrooms with this amount of "public space" is out of balance.

The answer to guests sharing a messy boy bathroom is not to build more bathrooms -- it's to insist that the boy clean his bathroom.

Last thought about bathrooms: If it's just you using the bathroom, why double sinks?

Okay, THIS is the last thought about bathrooms: If you decide you want all of them, you can reduce their cost by putting them close together. Reduce the number of walls that will contain water runs.

I do not share the concern about the master bedroom being "out front". If you're going with a narrow house plan, something has to be in that position. Plan to install window treatments that will provide privacy.

Why are you limiting yourself to narrow plans if you don't yet have a lot? The choice of lot and plan need to be made together. You also need to know in which direction the sun lies.

If you are financing this build, the bank probably won't go for you two-stage building plan.

What kind of square footage are you looking at?

    Bookmark   March 1, 2014 at 8:05AM
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Thanks for the responses. I've been playing with the plan a little per your suggestions.

We currently live in one of those HUGE neighborhoods that have homes in all price points. We were the first to build here 9 years ago. The homes and lots have gotten progressively smaller as the years have passed and the only neighborhoods currently under construction in this development have long, narrow lots with virtually no yard and an alley behind to access the garage. I promised my son if at all possible we would remain in this development because it is convenient to school, has an abundance of parks and walking trails and all his friends live here. However, it is highly sought after as we have the best school system and therefore expensive to live here. All homes sell for about $200 a sq ft including lot. So the smaller the better!! I may be able to get a lot with no homes behind it as a new section just opened but it is doubtful as lots are only sold to builders. So no point in making views a priority. I will be able to pay 50% down but want a VERY small mortgage. That is why I am planning to build this home as a 2 bedroom 2 baths with an unfinished basement and attic. The attic will quickly become 2 more bedrooms, a loft type area and hopefully 2 baths but will not be mentioned as part of getting a loan. The loan will be based on just this, the first floor.

So here are two more ideas. I did play with moving the master to the back but that made the plan significantly bigger. If anyone has ideas on how to accomplish this better than I did I would love to hear them.


    Bookmark   March 16, 2014 at 3:42PM
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This would change the plan from an almost perfect rectangle and make it more expensive to build.

    Bookmark   March 16, 2014 at 3:44PM
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