GC and husband agree with everyone else...too many porches!

lavender_lassMarch 29, 2012

For all of you who warned me...I think you have too many porches...you were right! LOL

Anyway, I think I can cheat a bit, if I combine my sunporch and greenhouse...into one big (but still divided) area. Then, the back area can all be deck...still not sure if it's open, covered, or has an arbor...that will probably depend on the budget!

So, here's my terrible 'paint' attempt at modifying my plan. Sorry, this is not easier to read, but I'm out of white out...but I will try to do a better plan, later today. Just wanted to get some input from all of you, first. Thanks for looking :)

In the kitchen, the fridge and oven/microwave are on the wall, next to the door to the sunporch. Again, sorry this isn't easier to read! From Fairy tale cottage

Right now, there is no door shown from the sunporch to the outside. That will probably be decided upon later. I don't want this to end up the 'other mudroom' so it will probably only be a summer door...and not used in the winter. Parking will be in the front left and back left, of the house...not opposite the porches. Long story, but it's the way the current driveway and parking are located and it works well with the sunporch...which is on the south corner of the house.

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Oh, and that patio is not that big. Summerfield was being very sweet to add it for me, but it's actually much smaller, since the well is in the corner, where the far chair is, by the sofa. This will be mainly a walkway, between the two sets of steps and maybe a little water feature, in the corner, by the bathroom/bedroom area. Just enough room for a table and a couple of chairs, in a shady spot...with some shade plants/flowers against the house.

    Bookmark   March 29, 2012 at 12:48PM
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Here's my cut and paste...still far from perfect, but hopefully easier to read. The dining table on the porch is too big, but I was running out of chioces! Hopefully, Summerfield will take pity on me and update the plan...but any feedback 'as is'? Thanks in advance :) From Fairy tale cottage

That's a linen closet, freezer and sink, by the powder room. The cool farm sink will probably go in the greenhouse. I don't think my dining deck is to scale, but again...best I could do for now.

    Bookmark   March 29, 2012 at 6:01PM
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You probably still have too many porches/decks, but I'm jealous of them. :)

A couple things to consider:

I think I mentioned this in a previous thread, but I don't think you need two exits to the outside from your mud room. They are so close to each other and go to nearly the same area. You could eliminate that small covered deck attached to the mud room and just access that area thru your greenhouse. You could have a path from the greenhouse to the larger deck.

What kind of door is between the pantry and the mud room? It looks like a door that will never be closed and/or will be in the way.

    Bookmark   March 29, 2012 at 7:43PM
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I don't think I would get rid f the two doors in the mud room. I would hate to ave to walk through the greenhouse every time I wanted to enter or exit the mud room. I would probably take-out the door into the pantry and dining room from the greenhouse. I have a greenhouse and it gets HOT even with ventilation and fans. Our greenhouse is attached to our detached garage and in the dead heat of the summer, the heat from the greenhouse seems to flow Into the back of the garage it is so intense. I live in TN so perhaps your weather is better. I do love your plan!

    Bookmark   March 29, 2012 at 9:05PM
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Thank you both so much, for the responses! Before I answer specific comments (which I do appreciate) what do you think of the kitchen layout? It's based (loosely) on Laura Calder's kitchen. The more I watch the show...the more I wanted to add a french door out to an eating area...but a porch is a lot more useful year round, than a deck :)

Lolauren- I'm glad you like the porches! I wasn't sure what you meant before, but now I see what you mean about exiting through the greenhouse. That would work in the summer, but not as well, in the winter. When it's -27F (yes, it gets that cold some years!) my poor plants would be frozen.

The door between the pantry and mudroom should probably swing in towards the mudroom. It would stay closed, mainly to keep the kitties out of the mudroom. Also makes a great vestibule, to keep the heat from going outside, every time you open the back door, in the winter.

Etr- Oh, it would be nice have the milder climate, in the winter. I used to go to the Memphis Zoo, when I was a kid (we lived on Blytheville AFB in Arkansas) and I remember the winters were much shorter :)

The greenhouse being attached to the porch is more of a way to keep the tomatoes and other food/plants separated from the seating area...and to access them, without going out in the snow! We're hoping to grow a few things in the winter and have a place to start plants, in the spring. We have really hot summers, but our frost free growing season is only 3 months long. Without a greenhouse, my gardening season is pretty short!

    Bookmark   March 30, 2012 at 2:16AM
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You do have too many porches, deck, covered deck's, patio.

How many people will be living there? Those are maintenance nightmare... Most stains only lasts for few years...

    Bookmark   March 30, 2012 at 6:26AM
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Shif- LOL! Actually, the 'before' was too many porches, but it seems the 'after' might be, too :)

My husband and I tried mapping everything out, in the farmhouse...and we both decided we really need a back hall. Neither one of us was thrilled with carrying the laundry, through the dining room. We also thought a tub shower in the hall bath might mean we wouldn't have to add a bath upstairs. It's mostly unfinished attic space, for now...but could be a guest bedroom and/or office, in the future.

So, this is my 'cut and tape' of ealier plans, trying to get some idea of what the back hall would look like. The only way we could see to do it, is if we moved the master bath out to where we did have the hot tub. It's a little more expense, but probably well worth it, in the long run.

So, the sun porch is off the kitchen and has access to the greenhouse...which is really just more sunporch, with a door...so the cats can't eat my little veggie starts and anything that might be more poisonous to them. They'll love the sunporch in the winter, though :)

We also kept the laundry in the mudroom...partly for the kitties and partly due to the mess. This way, we can have hampers and a broom closet there and keep the back hall more for pantry/freezer space...and the clean up sink. This is the old sink, from the farmhouse and has drainboards on each side. Perfect for cleaning vegetables!

Any ideas, comments, suggestions? Thanks for all the help, so far :) From Fairy tale cottage

    Bookmark   March 30, 2012 at 5:56PM
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I played around with this again, this morning...and I think this back hall arrangement makes a little more sense. The sink is by the other plumbing and there's room for a desk area, by the freezer. From Fairy tale cottage

    Bookmark   March 31, 2012 at 12:52PM
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whats your orientation?

shading from outside the house reduces
the cooling load in the summer..
don't know where you are located
but in the south we do lots of

if you can afford them..keep them!

best of luck

    Bookmark   March 31, 2012 at 2:49PM
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Ok - I disagree but that is coming from designing our home which has a grilling deck, family deck, dining deck, courtyard, sun terrace and a master deck plus two lower level patios. I would not give up any of them. We do have 360 degree views so that was a factor in designing so many different outdoor spaces. YMMV but if they fit in the budget, why not??

    Bookmark   March 31, 2012 at 8:12PM
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Not commenting on the porches since I like porches, but if your sun porch is covered (I'm not familiar with the term "sun porch") then your kitchen is going to be pretty dark during the day unless you have skylights planned or a whole lot more kitchen windows than there appear to be.

My kitchen backs onto a covered patio and even with around 12' worth of windows it's still not quite as bright as I'd like it to be during the day.

    Bookmark   April 1, 2012 at 1:21PM
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Agree about the sun porch - I think your kitchen will be very dark. I also am not a fan of windows looking into another room, whether it is screened porch, sun porch or whatever. Just not a great view. I went through a house like this and it was even darker than I expected in person. Plus, I wouldn't give up a view out of a kitchen window to look over furniture, through a room, and out windows 12 feet away ;)

    Bookmark   April 1, 2012 at 2:07PM
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I totally agree with athensmomof3

    Bookmark   April 1, 2012 at 6:00PM
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Thank you for the responses! I appreciate all the input :)

Energy rater- The house faces southeast, so the corner of the sunporch is facing directly south.

Michelle- Thank you for the 'porch support' LOL. Seriously, it's nice to know that someone else loves porches and outdoor spaces, too. We also have a beautiful view, but it's not just in one direction, so it's nice to have outdoor spaces in different areas.

Chiefneil, Athensmom and Archie- I don't think the kitchen will be too dark, since there are three big windows and a french door. Even if we do lose a little direct light, I think that it's worth it to have an 'indoor/outdoor' area that can be used year round. In the summer, we can open the windows and the porch is screened...the rest of the year, windows on two sides (facing south) will bring in a lot of light. With our long winters, it's wonderful to have a sunny place to sit, even when there's three feet of snow on the ground...or a week of cloudy/rainy days. That's what we've had lately and I am so ready for some sunshine and weather above 40 degrees!

    Bookmark   April 1, 2012 at 6:19PM
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Maybe consider clearstory windows over the sink - it could have a very vintage look

    Bookmark   April 1, 2012 at 8:13PM
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Thanks, Archie :)

I'm still looking into the possibility of skylights. I think they'd be too hot (facing southeast) on the front, but maybe a good idea, on the greehouse end. I'd need to be able to cover them, in the hot part of the summer, but it would be nice in the winter!

The kitchen/porch addition would be a side gable, like the living room side, on this inspiration picture. The house is not quite this 'cute' but the rooflines are very similar...and I love the swing. From Lavender Lass farmhouse pictures

    Bookmark   April 1, 2012 at 8:43PM
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I am trying to do the same with my addition: porches off the windowed areas. We are doing sets of Solatubes to offset the light loss and not create a heated area or leak issue (as my contractor states most skylights eventually are.). You may want to wait and see if you'd like more light or plan them now for spacing in addition to your current lighting plan. Beautiful home and Summerfield, I wish I had your talent!

    Bookmark   April 1, 2012 at 10:58PM
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The whole architectural purpose of porches is to keep the hot sunlight away from the interior space in order to keep it darker and cooler. They are hot climate necessities, and you rarely see them in native cold climate home styles unless they are being used as a small transitions between interior and exterior spaces to provide a covered entry spot. Blocking the light is not something that people in Finland or Iceland want to do. It's a desirable goal in Mexico or the Phillipines.

The reality of having so many porches in a cool climate will be a cool house in the summer where you won't need air. That's great----for 3 months out of the year when you might possibly use AC. What about the 6 months when you probably need heat? In the winter, your home will be colder and darker and drearier. Even with the sun lower in the sky it won't penetrate 15' through a porch and window to give you good bright light or any solar heat gain. All of that light and heat gain will go to the porch. I've lived with this scenario for 20 years personally, and we chose to remodel to eliminate the oven/sunroom attached to the home in favor of living space with more insulation and insulated windows. Only in someone's inexperienced idea world does so many porches make for a light and bright house. Reality is a totally different story.

If you want a sunny and bright kitchen, then combine the porch/kitchen/keeping room into one larger living space. Or, to eliminate square footage and make the home more affordable, which is the whole point that your contractor is trying to make by whittling down the plans, eliminate the porch entirely and rework the kitchen and dining area to have more windows and light. Make it a bit larger. Make the dining area on the southwest corner and make it the bright and sunny gathering space at the heart of the home with a comfy banquette and a table that can extend with the woodstove a bit more close by, like in one of the many earlier plans. A single dining and gathering space. The loss of storage in the kitchen from adding windows can easily be made up with all of the pantry and storage areas that you have indicated.

Something like this cut and paste would give you better combined storage, yet also give you the light into the actual home.

    Bookmark   April 2, 2012 at 1:01PM
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GreenDesigns- I appreciate you taking the time, to offer an alternate version, of our farmhouse plan :)

Unfortuantely, you seem to be running into some of the same 'challenges' we faced, in earlier versions. The wood stove is too close to the entry, into the kitchen...which is a safety concern. The banquette (while I like them) makes the dining area feel more like a nook, rather than a dining space that's not 'in' the kitchen. The mudroom is very large (which is nice) but no vestibule off the back...so the heat goes right out, when the door is opened, in the winter.

Also, the dimensions of the open kitchen, don't allow for existing walls (load and non-load bearing) and roof lines. The scale of the rooms is a problem, too. I've wrestled with this, in almost every plan...but it's hard to take existing space (living room and bedroom) and then add on a few huge spaces, to the other side.

Finally, there is no longer a sunporch or a greenhouse, in this plan. The plants can't be in the kitchen, since the indoor kitties will chew on them...and there's no way to close off the space. Also, where would we start veggies for the garden or have tomatoes off the vine?

That being said...the large kitchen and pantry/laundry are very nice and would work well, in a new build...but are more difficult to meld, in an older home.

Oh, and the porches were 10' deep (maybe a bit more) but certiainly not 15'...again the scale would be wrong. Keeping the house cool in the summer, is not a concern. The old farmhouse has great insulation and is cool all summer (since our summers aren't that long) and warm in the winter. The fireplace and wood stove will help, too. The porches are more for sunshine and plants, which we see all too little of, for half the year.

As to light, living up north, it's dark by 4:30 in the winter...so we plan to have lots of lighting, especially in the kitchen and other work areas. I'd rather have the plants and the sunshine on the porches, than worry about losing a little light, in the other rooms.

Again, thank you for taking the time to offer this alternative and I appreciate your input :)

    Bookmark   April 2, 2012 at 3:42PM
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this is what I was thinking about

Here is a link that might be useful: kitchen window pic

    Bookmark   April 2, 2012 at 4:32PM
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Archie- Thank you for the link! That would have worked so well, when I was considering having the sink, against the wall to the laundry room. No direct view, into the other room...but still lots of light :)

Here's my inspiration picture, of Laura Calder's kitchen. To see more of her kitchen, I provided a YouTube link, too. From Fairy tale cottage

Here is a link that might be useful: Link to Laura Calder on YouTube

    Bookmark   April 2, 2012 at 5:37PM
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Just curious? You show one bedroom would this be hard to sell in the future? No guest room? No second bathroom?

    Bookmark   April 2, 2012 at 5:52PM
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Marie- There's room for one or two bedrooms upstairs...and probably a small bathroom, if we needed it. There is a master bath and a hall bath, downstairs.

Since it's a family farmhouse...not much chance of resale, but we do want to have some guest space :)

    Bookmark   April 2, 2012 at 6:09PM
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Just wondering - have you ever been in a house with a room looking over a sunroom? It is dark and dreary, even in the south with lots of light. Before I did that, I would seek out one to look at and be sure I liked it. The one I was in was VERY dreary - and lovely to look at otherwise with light cabinets, etc. Just ick though looking through the porch . . .

    Bookmark   April 2, 2012 at 7:22PM
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Yes, I have...and it was beautiful! :)

It's more of a glass/screen porch, than a sunroom. White windows and trim, light wood floor, lots of wicker, pale blue walls...plants and a few flowers, floral cushions, etc. Very girly, which sunporches should be! Sunrooms can be a variety of styles and have a lot more wood/brick and 70s style...at least in our area.

    Bookmark   April 2, 2012 at 7:36PM
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The one I was in was decorated very light and bright too - south after all. Just no daylight which was a major strike against it. I must have natural light in all rooms, preferably from two sides :) Artificial light is no substitute!

If you aren't reselling, you need to build for YOU. I have just seen multiple versions of your plan, and I thought most didn't cover up outside windows with closed porches. That would be my personal preference . . .

    Bookmark   April 2, 2012 at 8:47PM
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Athensmom- Actually, in my earlier plan, the kitchen looked out over the laundry/utility area. It was the one thing I really didn't like about the plan :(

You have got me thinking, though...about more light on the porch. Skylights might be a good idea, after all. Still playing around with a few ideas...

And Marie- You've got me rethinking my guest space! All afternoon, I've been considering your post and older friends/family coming to visit. It would be a pain for them to have to come downstairs to use the bath...so you all know what that means...we'd be upstairs! LOL

Seriously, you both have given me a lot to think about. Let me sketch some ideas and I'll get back to you, later. And Archie...I'm still thinking about a place for some clerestory windows! :)

    Bookmark   April 2, 2012 at 9:18PM
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Well, after sketching a few ideas...I think a few skylights on the sun porch/greenhouse might be a really good idea! As for the guest space, we might have a powder room or 3/4 bath upstairs. It depends on the rooflines/addition, but I think we'll have room for a small bath, over the back hall :)

Oh, and clerstory windows...I'm thinking that a high window or two, above the tool area (in the mudroom) would let in a lot of light, but there would still be room below for pegboard, with tools!

    Bookmark   April 3, 2012 at 7:57PM
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Yesterday, I put a link to Laura Calder's show...making pumpkin cake. Nice, but today, I found chocolate! This looks SO good, I thought I would share :)

Here is a link that might be useful: Link to Laura Calder YouTube chocolate show

    Bookmark   April 3, 2012 at 9:05PM
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Is this sun porch/greenhouse intended to be inside or outside of the building envelope? From what you have said, you have a lot of need for good heating. Windows are not energy efficient. Even if your outer walls are well insulated, if those windows are part of the building envelope, they are going to be a lot less insulated than your walls. This is going to increase your heating expenses.

    Bookmark   April 5, 2012 at 11:53PM
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The greenhouse will not be heated, with the rest of the heating system. We plan to have a separate heater for that space...and I think we will add some skylights.

So...still working on 'the plan' and while we really like the living room, dining/kitchen/keeping room area, the sun porch and the bedroom...we're not convinced that this is the best place, for the master bath location. Instead, I'm trying to come up with a way to add the master suite (nothing too big) behind the hall bath...where the hot tub porch is located, on the old plan.

What you see here, is the existing farmhouse (MOL) with the sun porch added to the side. Since the rest of the space will be new construction, we don't have the existing load bearing walls and additions to deal with.

And, we're thinking about putting the mudroom, behind the sun porch and moving the greenhouse to the detached garage. It would be off the the left and if the greenhouse were on the front, it would face southeast...which is much better than southwest and northwest light. Then, the sun porch would just be a glass/screened porch and the 'high humidity' area would no longer be attached to the house.

So, where there is the space on the back/left of the house (except behind the office/bedroom 2) we want to add the master suite, pantry, laundry, mudroom and a screened porch, for the hot tub. This area could probably go out a total of 25' to 30' from the kitchen (maybe 15' to 20' behind the hall bath). Anyone have any ideas? Here's the part of the plan we're really happy with...just need to make some changes to the rest of it :) From Fairy tale cottage

    Bookmark   April 6, 2012 at 3:22PM
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Boy what a change - is the master upstairs? - maybe put a circular staircase down to the hot tub?

    Bookmark   April 6, 2012 at 6:31PM
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Sophie Wheeler

Greenhouses don't have "skylights". They have triple wall polycarbonate roofs and walls, or at least they should in your climate. And then you use whitewash or shade cloth in the summer to avoid too much heat buildup. Even with triple wall polsycarbonate, you will not be able to grow winter tomatoes in a greenhouse in zone 4 without significant supplemental heat, supplemental HID lighting, and hand pollination.

I suggest you purchase a cheap Harbor Freight greenhouse and get a taste of owning one before you commit to actually having a big one attached to a structure. They are the best bang for the buck going and are a great value. If you like the WORK that owning a greenhouse entails, then you can buy a second one and attach it to make one large one and change to the triple wall poly. Your fantasy is likely to once again clash with reality.

Here is a link that might be useful: Harbor Freight Greenhouse

    Bookmark   April 6, 2012 at 8:04PM
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Archie- No, this is what we like about the plan, but we want to add the master suite to the back...but it's not shown. Any ideas?

Holly- Thank you for catching my error! Sorry, that should have said the sun porch, not the greenhouse, would have the skylights. As I said above, we're moving the greenhouse to the front of the detached garage and leaving the sun porch (really a glass/screen porch) off the kitchen....with the skylights, as Athensmom suggested.

So, this is far from perfect, but just a general idea of what we're thinking about for the master and mudroom. This is Summerfield's plan (MOL) which I cut and taped. Obviously, any messy areas are all mine...Summerfield is far too much of a professional. And, not everything is exactly the same scale, but faily close...mainly in the back addition.

If you have any suggestions/criticisms, lay them on me! I'm sure this could be much better, especially in the details...but I wanted to get something up, to see if anyone had any ideas. Thanks, again :) From Fairy tale cottage

    Bookmark   April 6, 2012 at 9:05PM
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Oops! I think I was inhaling too much white-out! LOL

The hot tub porch should be 'flipped' so that the hot tub is on the left and the chairs are on the right, with access from the mudroom and maybe the master bath.

And, since the mudroom is totally out of scale (I'm not sure how that happened!) the sun porch should be a few feet further to the left...not quite so skinny. It looks like it's 8' across and it should be closer to 12' at least.

I was thinking something light and airy, for the sun/screened porch, like this... From Kitchen plans

Or maybe this... From Fairy tale cottage

While the 'greenhouse' would be for starting plants and maybe outdoor dining (kind of cool) but not a 'serious' greenhouse, as defined by Hollysprings. Since it would be on the front of the detached garage (accessed by a short walk, off the mudroom area) the greenhouse would be more of a three season room that the cats do not have access to, but I can get a start on the veggies, in early spring...and maybe open the doors and have dining in the summer :) From Fairy tale cottage

    Bookmark   April 6, 2012 at 10:41PM
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How do you envision using the area behind the kitchen from the mudroom to the book corner? This whole area is not going to get any natural light. That may be okay with you, depending on how much time you intend to spend in this area.

    Bookmark   April 6, 2012 at 11:35PM
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Dekeoboe- You're right about the dark back hall. I hope this is a little better. The master suite is similar to one Summerfield did a while back...and the hot tub can be accessed from the master bedroom or the mud room.

Still needs some fine tuning...but I ran out of tape! Thanks for sticking with me on this :) From Fairy tale cottage

    Bookmark   April 7, 2012 at 5:47PM
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I would be concerned about no window in your kitchen on the front of the house. To me, windows make the home and having an area with no windows across the front of the home - particularly one as long as your kitchen seems to be - will take away from the curb appeal in my opinion. Can you swap your sink and range? the front of your house would be more appealing and your kitchen would be much brighter. I love the triple window above your sink and that would be such a pretty feature in the front.

    Bookmark   April 7, 2012 at 10:08PM
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Athensmom- I was pretty convinced that the windows on the long side of the kitchen (16' x 10') made more sense. But, with the porch on that side (and the french door) I can see the advantage of moving the sink to the other wall.

If I put the range on the long wall, it should still be fairly easy to add the hood/vent, since there's no room above that part of the house. Maybe the range...with a couple of smaller windows (one on each side) should balance the light from the sink area. If I move the sink that far from the fridge, then I'd probably need a prep sink on the island. What do you think?

    Bookmark   April 8, 2012 at 3:08AM
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I am not one to ask about kitchen functionality and prep sinks, but I love moving the sink. 10' with no windows on the front of the house may look funny. I love the idea of the windows on either side of the range if they will fit - and I have seen narrow ones that look great there - then you get light on two sides which makes for a beautiful room. You also have the additional benefit of having the strong focal point of the hood/range, which the windows wouldn't give you (you are not looking into a view from far away, but another room - you will likely see the view at the sink but it will be lost most of the time I am afraid).

Some of the kitchen gurus may chime in about functionality but I am big on aesthetics so that is my 2 cents ;)

    Bookmark   April 8, 2012 at 9:03AM
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Can you afford to give up upper cabinet storage space if you were to put small windows on either side of the range? If you can, I think that is the way to go.

Switching the sink and the oven really messes up your functionality. You would definitely need a prep sink, as you stated, to avoid that functionality loss.

    Bookmark   April 8, 2012 at 12:00PM
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I'll admit straight off that I've only looked at the drawings and haven't read any feedback. I know you have been working on this for a while and I have seen numerous layouts over the last couple of years and they are always changing. I don't fault you for that as I spent a year looking at online plans before deciding to draw my own plans for our future dream home. I re-visit mine every few months, as we are waiting for the market to recover more in our area before moving forward. I tweak a little here and there but the basis layout of the house has never changed. I don't mean this as a negative dig but it seems that you are not quite sure what you want or where you want it.

I did my initial drawings using Microsoft excel. Open a spreadsheet. Click the little box in the upper left hand corner to highlight the entire sheet and change both your rows and columns to the same pixel size. This will give you a true graph paper to work with and then everything you do will then be to scale. Use the border function to draw boxes, copy and paste if you don't like the flow and before you know it you'll have a functional floor plan.

As I don't know your room sizes this is a rough beginning. I changed a few things. Swapped the sink and range, added a prep sink to the island and swapped the bath with the outside entry as I would not like a view of the toilet from the front door.

    Bookmark   April 8, 2012 at 3:31PM
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Thank you all for the comments! I think more light in the kitchen is a good idea...and the prep sink makes sense, too.

Thanks for the drawing, Homeagain :) We did move the bathroom, so I agree with you, there. Also switched the fridge and wall oven, thanks to comments on the kitchen forum. I'll do some more work on this during the week, but I really appreciate all of your input!

    Bookmark   April 8, 2012 at 6:12PM
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