New plan, new builder, question about columns

CamGMarch 5, 2013

(Sorry in advance for the length.) The many people of this forum have been a tremendous help to me in designing our own plan over the last year. Unfortunately, we ran into issues with the builder we had been working with for the nearly the last year, and within a few weeks of breaking ground, had to part ways. We are completely burned out on this house designing process, and our custom plan was probably beyond what we wanted to spend except for that one builder, who promised to do the plan for significantly cheaper than the other bids we received (which perhaps should have been our first red flag, but that's immaterial now). We're ready to be done for another reason, we were ready to simply move on: last night, my wife gave birth to our second (both mom and girl are doing great). The two are 14 months apart, and we will have very little free time in the coming months to think about house designs, bids, etc.

Yesterday (just before my wife's water broke), we signed a contract for a heavily-modified version of a local builder's stock plan. We're really happy with the plan, the price, and the builder, which are three things we were never able to connect before.

The plan does not comply with much of the excellent advice we have received on this forum (it has large, front facing garage and faux-craftsman-like columns) but after a great deal of thought, WE'RE happy with it, and that's what matters.

At any rate, here's the question: I had the builder add a column to the front, and we're trying to decide the proper placement. I don't have an elevation yet, I'm hoping to have this decision made prior to the elevations being finished. I can't move any of the windows in the house, but I can move the front door and the front pillars. The following are the two choices as I see them: (these pictures are photoshop versions, but generally reflect the placement of pillars according to the actual plans I'm drawing on. I'm sitting in the hospital now and won't have a chance to scan the plans for some time, so hopefully these provide enough of an idea to make a decision.)

Option A: Have two pillars flank the front door, leaving a long open space next to it (but then the window won't be centered in the pillars)

Option B: Have the pillars all equadistant, with the front door and front window centered between pillars, and have about 8" of space between the left-most pillar and the garage wall.

The movement of the front door really makes no difference to the floor plan, as there is a 6' deep front hall running between the garage and the living room, so this is really purely an issue of aesthetics from the exterior. I suspect Option A will always bug me because the first story window is not centered between the pillars. Thoughts?

Again, thank you everyone for all of your help, I'm sorry we will be unable to use much of it.

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Congratulations on the new arrival!

Space the pillars out evenly - no question.

    Bookmark   March 5, 2013 at 5:07PM
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This falls into the realm of personal taste, but from an architectural history point of view, it might be more logical and visually "reasonable" to have the columns equally spaced as in the second example. What that does to the door and window is up to you, but centered on the two spaces would also be reasonable.

Congratulations on your new baby and good luck with your project.

    Bookmark   March 5, 2013 at 5:08PM
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I like how the columns create a more defined entry in option A but the uneven spacing of windows/doors/columns would probably bother me more. I think option B is the best given the circumstances. I've seen the evenly spaced columns in other homes and it looks just fine.

    Bookmark   March 5, 2013 at 5:21PM
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Can you post the floor plan so we can see the actual location of columns in relation to the door, window and porch?
You are showing perspectives - and perspective changes depending where you are standing.

    Bookmark   March 5, 2013 at 5:27PM
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Sophie Wheeler

What about adding a 4th column? Scoot the first column over closer to the garage, and then the even placement of them frames the door and the window.

    Bookmark   March 5, 2013 at 8:12PM
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Hey cam - sorry to hear about the original falling through. I shuttered when I read that after all that work you had put into it.

Just wanted to quick say congrats on your new daughter and happy to hear both are doing well. Definitely a bright spot for you!

    Bookmark   March 5, 2013 at 8:26PM
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Thanks everyone. I was definitely leaning towards the equidistant columns plan.

Holly, that's a great idea, but my concern with that is two fold--first, these columns are bloody expensive, but second, our porch isn't terribly deep, and if these are 18" x 18" at their base, it does not leave much room behind each column. Four columns would leave little space for chairs between the columns, and I'm afraid would look a bit busy.

Thanks Autumn, we are thrilled with the little girl! But there are definitely some bright spots form the house planning, as well. Frankly, the plan we're getting is not clearly worse than the one I created, and in a few ways is better. And, had I not struggled over that plan and received acres of great advice here, I would not have known what to change about the plan to make it really work well for our family.

Here is a cut out of the floor plan of the front. I know this builder has had problems with people copying this plan illegally, so I'm not sure I'm comfortable posting the whole thing without his approval.

The plan is scanned a bit crooked, but assume it's straight (and I had to reverse the plan to match our house). I've drawn in the lines and measurements to the center of each 18" column base, the window, and the door. Off to the left is the garage; the room on the front right is the living room, and there is a 6' deep entry hall as soon as you enter the front door. See how I really don't think it changes too much to have the door move the door around--it might change the view through the sidelites and what you see when you first walk in, but I think that is minor compared to how the house will look from the street.

    Bookmark   March 5, 2013 at 9:48PM
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(I deleted the front steps in the plans accidentally, I assume they will go in front of the front door, but not sure exactly how wide at this point.)

    Bookmark   March 5, 2013 at 9:50PM
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option B.

And, don't let the steps get forgotten. Make sure they are part of the plan from the beginning.

Congrats on the new baby! Hope for some sleep for you all!

    Bookmark   March 5, 2013 at 10:03PM
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Okay, another question: what pattern of window grids (properly called muntins, I believe?) should we get? Thinking about the perimeter style like that at All double hung windows.

This post was edited by CamG on Wed, Mar 6, 13 at 13:55

    Bookmark   March 6, 2013 at 1:17PM
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Ccongratulations on your little girl! Hope she is a good sleeping gal and stay away from reflux and colic.

In option B could you use the space to the left of the door for a small window to let in some light?

    Bookmark   March 6, 2013 at 1:30PM
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I am partial to muntins in the upper panes only in double hungs... In my house, we have a combination of the prairie (upper pane only) that also has a cross in the interior of the prairie outline. Does that make sense? And, our bottoms are clear.

    Bookmark   March 6, 2013 at 2:56PM
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