First floor plan!

carsonheimMarch 7, 2013

Hi folks. I'm looking for some feedback on our first floorplan that I've received back from architect.

There are a couple of things I'm not crazy about on it, like the rear access to master suite and laundry room. Also, the view out my kitchen window is RIGHT next to the garage.... Not super keen on that.

Anyhow, I'm hoping all you experienced folks will take a look and give me feedback. I have thick skin, so let it rip!


Here is a link that might be useful: link to floorplan

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I like it overall! I think the entry to the master is nice-- it's well separated from the more public parts of the house.

Who will live here? If you have kids or teens, I'd want the back stairs closer to the master, both to get the stairs closer to the laundry and so you have an easier time monitoring who/what goes upstairs and when. If you're only sharing this house with adult kids or guests, then I really like the placement of the back stairs.

With your garage location, will you have a parking area for guests in front of the house, or will guests be walking from the garage entrance all the way around to the front door? It would be a shame to build such a nice foyer and have all guests enter through the garage.

    Bookmark   March 7, 2013 at 10:03AM
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I see a couple red flags:

Your foyer is huge -- it's literally as big as your living room and your dining room. Do you really want to devote that much space/money to a hallway?

Similarly, you've put a U-shaped staircase at the back of the house. This is an expensive /space consuming type of staircase. I can see using it in a place where it'll be a focal point -- in a foyer, it'd be lovely draped with Christmas greenery and white lights -- but why spend this much to hide it back by the back door?

Overall, I think you've devoted too much space/money to staircases.

Your kitchen has great storage, but the work triangle is too spread out /interrupted by the pantry door. I think the problem is that you're trying to work in too many cabinets. More cabinets aren't necessarily better: I currently have miles and miles of counterspace, but I find myself constantly working in the same little 4' spot -- the only spot that's well-lighted and convenient to the stove /sink. The rest of the space goes unused. I see the same mistake in your plans.

I would move the stove to the right, towards the area that is now the pantry door. This'd give you one good long L-shaped cabinet. Move the pantry entrance to the left. Leave the left wall of the kitchen blank, or enlarge the opening into the family room. The counterspace on that left wall would never be used anyway, but the extra space around that large island will make your kitchen feel much more open and comfortable -- right now you have only a minimal space to walk around the island, and it's not going to give you a comfortable feel. And, again, with ample storage in the pantry, the large island and the adjacent mudroom, you didn't need those counters for storage anyway. If you're thinking you need a spot to set out a cake under a dome or a bowl of fruit, I'd consider a small cabinet over in the breakfast area. This'd keep those things out of the main work area of the kitchen -- yet wouldn't crowd things. Keep in mind that when we respond positively to a "magazine kitchen", the things we tend to like are the space and the light. You can cram in more, more, more cabinets and larger islands, but then you lose the thing that made your inspiration pictures "right".

AND this'll give you a much more direct route to the dining room. Just think of how many trips you'll make through the great room to carry dishes, glassware, silverware and food into the dining room -- and then back to the kitchen again. The upshot is that you'll never use the dining room because it'll be so inconvenient. With your design, you can create a more direct route through the pantry without sacraficing storage space.

At the very least, I'd plan a pass-through between the pantry /dining room so that you could "reach things through" to a landing area in the dining room.

I'd enlarge the window over the kitchen sink. Your other kitchen light is indirect, and more sunlight is always nicer. I agree that I don't love the window being right next to the garage, but enlarging it will give you more light. I'd be interested to know what direction this window will face; that'll make a difference.

You have two doorways into the dining room, but they both look small. I think you'd want a more open, gracious entry to this room. It'll make the room feel more inviting.

I'm okay with the "back entrance" to the master bedroom. While it's a bit unconventional, it's a straight shot from the garage to the bedroom. If you're not sold on it, you could just as easily scoot the laundry room to the back and enter the master from a small hallway. You'd have the laundry on one side of that small hallway, the closet on the other side. It'd still be convenient.

I'm not loving the size of the master bathroom. While I can't see the small numbers, I'm thinking you have at least 8' of empty space in the middle of that room, which serves no purpose. At the same time, nothing's particularly grand about the room. The toilet closet, the tub and the closet door look small. The smaller of those two vanities looks positively claustrophobic squeezed in between the shower and the closet. This bathroom has loads of space . . . but it's all out in the middle for walking space. I fear it'll end up being a large room with small items squeezed around the perimeter. For what this bathroom'll cost, I'd expect a better layout.

    Bookmark   March 7, 2013 at 10:28AM
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Great feedback thusfar!

I'm putting together a document of notes for my architect.

MrsPete - The dining room is accessed via the butler's pantry, so I won't need to access via the family room. I'm actually planning on making that a solid wall for the back of the bar. We love to entertain and have a lot of booze :)

I agree about the size of the entry to dining room from foyer. I'll have him change that as well.

I'm also not a fan of the bathroom layout. I have something similar now and feel like it is a lot of wasted space....

Keep the comments coming folks. This is my first time building and although I've read a ton of books and this board like crazy, there's nothing like the voice of experience that so many of you have to offer!

    Bookmark   March 7, 2013 at 1:55PM
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Ah, I missed the butler's pantry entrance to the dining room.

I think the problem with the bathroom is that it's a square, which lends itself to so much wasted space in the middle. You'd do better to use a longer rectangle.

    Bookmark   March 7, 2013 at 4:53PM
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I love the fact that the laundry is connected to the master closet. We tried to do that and our home was just too narrow to pull it off (only 50ft. of building width due to lot limitations). I think it's such a nice feature to keep all the clothes "clutter" in one place.

The only thing I noticed that I would change that hasn't been mentioned is probably a personal "quirk" - I would remove that bump out that is part of your closet and use the space to make another built-in on the other side of the fireplace. I'm huge on symmetry, certainly a cosmetic rather than space utilization issue. Your closet looks large enough to me to lose some space, but that is going to depend on how much stuff you need to put there!

    Bookmark   March 7, 2013 at 5:27PM
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What are the walkway dimensions in your kitchen? It seems like the island is far removed from the main part of the kitchen.

    Bookmark   March 7, 2013 at 5:53PM
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I don't like the door swing from the garage to the mud room. It looks like a possible hazard if someone opens the door while someone else is descending the stairs at the same time. Also, if the door is open for a few minutes while unloading groceries from the car it completely blocks the stairway. I suggest reversing the door so it swings against the mud room bench or cabinets.

    Bookmark   March 8, 2013 at 12:58PM
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The island bothers me... too far 'up' to be useful, and placed oddly in relation to the opening.

    Bookmark   March 8, 2013 at 1:52PM
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Wow, you guys have so much GREAT input!

zone4 -- it's just me and my hubby living here. No kids, but we will have a second floor and a laundry shoot down to the laundry room. No teenagers sneaking out late at night, so no real concerns about the rear stairs.

With respect to guest and parking, our driveway will come across the front of the house, and guests can park there. Although most of our guests normally park on the street and walk up the walkway to the front door.

Mrs. Pete -- we are reworking the kitchen significantly. Moving around some appliances, reducing the size of the island as well as moving it "down" toward the work area. Re: pantries -- I had an L-shaped butlers pantry in a former home and it worked really well. Those short little 3-foot BPs don't give me enough storage. I have a TON of small appliances, gadgetry, cooking stuff and china.

Also, with regards to windows, this plan has got no windows added to it yet... just the one over the sink. I think I'm going to do like three windows across on that wall -- this will bring in great light as well as provide access to nice views that we have.

Re: master bed and bath, I'm also doing some rework on that. I agree that the master bedroom is too large, and I really don't prefer square bathrooms. I'm also trying to reduce the overall square footage of the house, and I think this is an area where I can do that.

Texas_cajun -- You and I think alike! I was planning on having the bumpout in the closet reduced and adding a matching built in bookshelf there! :)

kas4 -- good suggestion on the door swing. I'll take a closer look at that.

Feel free to keep 'em coming, folks!

    Bookmark   March 8, 2013 at 7:00PM
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Overall, it looks pretty good to me. It's provides all of the traditional and expected rooms in a house this size.

The great room is large but once you put furniture in and leave space for walkways it may be tight or limiting. It'll depend on the furniture layout you plan.

Depending on the exterior you are going for, it may look awkward or be difficult to put a window on the master bath side with the shower/sink/closet there.

I like how the refrigerator space is recessed into the mudroom allowing for a larger unit.

    Bookmark   March 8, 2013 at 8:27PM
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