Request for Layout and Design Help
Good morning GardenWeb experts! I need your help and advice on some layout and design options for a home we are building. We live in the Oklahoma City metro area and have included several magazine pictures of the house we want to build. We want a home that functions well for our family, with lots of curb appeal and charm. Style-wise, we like traditional (not particularly country) but with a little modern here and there. There are things we are struggling with and would appreciate your expertise. In reading through the blog, we can see that your comments and suggestions are invaluable. Please weigh in with any ideas for improvement.
Lot size: 80� Wide /145� Deep
The lot is in a planned subdivision of about 100 homes near the top of a small hill. There should be minimal traffic passing in front of the house. The back of the property abuts to a subdivision with larger homes. Those lots take longer to sell, and the developed lots are far from our property. So, for the foreseeable future (7-8 years), we should not have neighbors there, only trees on the adjoining property. Construction is slab.
There are 4 major issues and then some minor issues we are trying to address.
1) Add a 3rd car garage to the house. The best design our builder and architect have come up with is the attached front elevation picture. We still feel as though the design could be better. Specifically, we do not like the roofline of the 3rd-car garage. We love the look of the house with the 2-car garage only (see the bricked front elevation) and want to preserve the balance of that design. (Note that we cannot recess the 3rd-car garage back any further from the 2nd because we will block first floor windows.)
2) Eliminate the half-wall design between the family room and kitchen. The current plan is to completely open this area up with no dividing posts or support beams in the middle breaking up the space. We would put in a header beam and then wood panel the two support posts at the ends of the kitchen. Is there a better option than completely opening this space up? We love an open floor plan, but in terms of design and character of the house, does another option present itself?
If we do open the entire area, what are our kitchen layout options? One island, two islands, what shapes, sizes? We cook most meals at home and holiday bake. Usually only one person is cooking at a time, but someone else tends to be loading or unloading the dishwasher. I�m worried about the look of the refrigerator (ours is a side-by-side, counter-depth) right next to the double-door pantry. Are there too many tall doors close to each other? Our builder has pretty much talked us out of the prep sink in the island. He estimated $3,000 for the sink/disposal/plumbing, etc. We love the look of the island sink, but will still use the main sink for cleanup and prep. If we do not install an island prep sink, we definitely want to include a pot filler in the design ($300).
Another consideration is that we would like to have island seating for breakfast and light dinners. If the island (7�6" x 3�6") cannot accommodate seating for four, however, we can be okay with just the 2 bar stools at the end of the island (as in the picture). We would consider seating at the counter with the sink/dishwasher on the family side if the seating includes something more interesting like slipcovered chairs or benches. Our kids (daughter 13 and son 8) mostly do homework in the formal dining room and only occasionally in the kitchen. We have a round wooden table and chairs for the breakfast area.
Do you see a better layout or design option? Suggestions for improvements?
3) Layout the master bathroom. We plan to install a free standing bathtub and include a glass shower with glass door. In the original house plan, the entrance to the master bedroom was right off of the family room across from the stairs. To create privacy, we redesigned the entry to the master bedroom to have a bit of an alcove before reaching the door to the master. By doing this, we reduced the floor space in the master bathroom? Is that space too small now? Do you see a more workable layout? Oh, and thanks to this site, we now know that the toilet closet door should swing outward. (It is common where we live to have the closet at the rear of the bathroom.)
4) Eliminate the half bath upstairs. It will save money, and we don�t think we need it. We would use the additional space for closet storage of games and toys. If we eliminate the half bath, how would you layout the space upstairs? We want to keep both bedrooms and closets large and the loft area on the north side should stay the same, but are open to redesign of the remaining space. Also, we would like to add a linen closet in the landing area.
1) In the master bedroom, how many windows and what placement would you recommend on the east wall? We plan to place our bed on that wall.
2) We were really hoping that the pocket door going into the laundry room would line up with the outside door (added for pool access), so that we could look down the hallway and see outside. The current plan does not allow for that. If the doors do not line up, how should we offset them so that it doesn�t look like a mistake in measurement or design? In the laundry room, we also need a sink large enough to bathe a small dog and a drop/sort area for mail (but not a desk). Baskets in lower open cabinets will hold fresh towels, and we will leave an open floor space (maybe counter and upper cabinets though) for a small dog bed, food, and water. How would you layout the laundry room with these parameters in mind?
3) In the family room, we are thinking of building a fireplace without buildins on the sides. The fireplace would be as low as possible with the t.v. above. The storage closet in the master alcove would house the t.v. components. Honestly, we would prefer not to have the t.v. above the fireplace, but don�t see another design option. In addition, we would like to be able to view the t.v. somewhat while in the kitchen, and be able to sit comfortably on the couch to enjoy a show. Do you see another option?
4) Should the concrete porch area outside of the breakfast room be covered or not? We want to maximize light in the kitchen, but do not want to have to close the curtains during the day (south-facing windows). After walking through a similar, but unfinished, version of the house with the breakfast area covered, we were happily surprised by the amount of light actually in the kitchen. The magazine photo of the breakfast area shows an uncovered porch. One final consideration is that if the breakfast area is covered, the subsequent roofline limits the length (or tallness) of windows in the south-side bedroom. We could still have 2 but both would be higher. What say ye?
5) In the upstairs bedroom next to the bonus room, we really want 2 windows. The only way we see to do that is to either eliminate the porch outside the laundry room or use a larger, taller slider window. While we don�t mind a slider for a bonus room, we really don�t like them for bedrooms. (Bunk beds also need to fit in this room. Any placement ideas?) Which would you choose?