Critique my first floor layout

minneapolisiteMarch 30, 2012

Here is the latest version of our floor plan.

At this point, we're feeling pretty confident about it, but I'm hoping you guys can point out things that we might be overlooking. :)

Here is a link that might be useful:

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Not sure what your needs are. I like the stair placement so that you can get upstairs from the mud and foyer without going through other rooms...nice flow.

Few Thoughts:

-There seems to be alot of windows missing.
-Are you okay with guests seeing your mudroom? It is open and the powder room is beside it. That area could become quite messy.
-Are you okay with not having a bedroom and full bath on the main? I know in my area it is needed for resale.
-The island seems to be very unusual in shape. I think you have enough room to do a more rectangular one that is bigger and has more storage.

    Bookmark   March 30, 2012 at 6:07PM
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What type of climate are you in?

How is your family made up? (kids? retirees?)

Can you label or describe your appliance placement?

Your mudroom seems oversized for the space out of necessity of the door swing, which seems very inefficient here. It is the correct door swing to go into the house, but your cubbies are behind the door. Either you won't realistically use them much, or you will always have your garage door wide open to get in/out (and hence the reason for such a LARGE mudroom--door swing--without much usable space.

Your DW competes with the oven/stove (assuming the dashed lines are DW). If you are trying to load dishes, it can't be done while someone is stirring a pot/cooking dinner... Are you a one cook and only one cook household?

Also, I am concerned that your sink placement is going to require that the person standing there will block the main path from family entrance/floor bathroom/ to the rest of the house.

BTW--do you want your guests to be using your only powder room on the floor by walking through your mudroom? I know my mudroom wouldn't be kept tidy enough for me to be comfortable with that. Perhaps you are a one person or one couple house without children so you do not have that concern.

However, I am guessing, since you don't have a bedroom/shower on the first floor, that you aren't a retiree couple, as most would want to be sure to build for their later, less agile, years.

    Bookmark   March 30, 2012 at 6:10PM
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I'm addressing some of the questions you guys posed...

* Our family currently consists of myself (28), my husband (30), and our infant son. We hope to have at least one more child. (The 2nd floor will accommodate 4 bedrooms.)

* We skipped the windows on purpose, these will get added once we're done moving walls around

* We're okay with guests seeing the mudroom. :) My husband and I are extremely tidy, but we have realistic expectations about kids' stuff being a little messy, and I'm not one to be embarrassed about that sort of thing.

* A bedroom on the first floor is not really important in this neighborhood. The draw of this neighborhood is that it houses the #1 school district in the state, so it's mostly younger families (not retirees). If it becomes a necessity for us, we could add on in the future (but we anticipate moving to a smaller townhouse when we're retirees.)

* We're in Minnesota, so we have an "all seasons" climate, from hot summers to frigid snowy winters.

* I updated the image to label the kitchen appliances.

* The mudroom is oversized on purpose to accommodate our "Minnesota" activities, like bundling everyone up in snowsuits before heading outside.

* REALLY good point about the stovetop and dishwasher interfering with each other. We usually cook dinner together (and hope to someday get our kids involved) so this is something we definitely need to correct!

* I will talk to the builder about room for people to walk behind someone standing at the kitchen sink. I prefer having my sink facing into the entertaining space, since I often have dinner parties and like to chat with my guests while I wash dishes. :)

    Bookmark   March 30, 2012 at 8:32PM
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Is there any option to have the garage to mudroom door be an outswing door (into the garage)? I think, in your case, that might work better; but then, I am unsure of your garage depth and dimensions in general.

    Bookmark   March 30, 2012 at 10:24PM
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Run this kitchen design by the Kitchen Forum ..... I think you could have a better kitchen, functionally. They will be able to offer you lots of suggestions.

When you take things out of the fridge to prep, you will likely bring them to the sink. There doesn't appear to be much room on either side of the sink to spread out your prepping items. I second the suggestion that you go with a rectangular island.... you would have a lot more prepping space and a lot more storage. (You would avoid that triangle of unused space too.)

Your fridge appears to be a counter-depth fridge.... typically more expensive, less options to pick from, and they have less storage (They look better, though.) If you are planning on that, ignore this comment. If you aren't, it's something to look into.

    Bookmark   March 30, 2012 at 11:21PM
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How about revising the kitchen island and the mud room area something like this?

BTW, I expanded your fridge to approximate a non-counter-depth model...just in case! If you plan aisle-space enough for a regular fridge and then get a counter-depth, you'll just have an extra wide problem. But if you plan aisle-space assuming you're definitely going to get a counter-depth fridge and then wind up having to get a regular model (maybe because you're way over-budget by the time you're ready to order appliances and have to cut expenses every way you can) you will have an aisle that is just too narrow and it will bug you forever.

    Bookmark   March 31, 2012 at 3:36AM
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Nice work Bevangel...Those changes work great! Hides the locker mess from living areas view and opens up the kitchen area nicely!

    Bookmark   March 31, 2012 at 9:58AM
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I like those kitchen changes a LOT.

I am toying with the powder room / sun room a bit, as well as the foyer area.

I still think the kitchen appliances need to be re-arranged, and I wonder if the great room might be a bit TOO big.

Here's the latest sketch. More thoughts?

    Bookmark   March 31, 2012 at 3:31PM
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I like the foyer much better! I was going to comment on it in the first drawings but by the end of the thread, it's very nice!

    Bookmark   March 31, 2012 at 3:36PM
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You might want to consider having your pantry door reverse swing AND outswing. Why? So, you can hang aprons on the wall that would other wise be behind the door; or put a big tub of Costco rice on the floor that would otherwise block the inswing door; or... Most likely, you will always close your pantry door after you've gotten what you needed, so having an outswing door can work in this location. Something to consider.

    Bookmark   March 31, 2012 at 8:09PM
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Kirkhall's suggestion re making pantry door swing outward is excellent. In addition to hanging aprons, you can also get racks that will hold spices and other small items and attach them to the inside of the pantry door.

Re turning the powderoom into a guest bath... without dimensions it is hard to know for sure but it looks like you're only allotting about 2 ft of width for the tub or shower. (It looks like the same width as the kitchen cabinets which are pretty much standardized at 24".) If so, that isn't enough. 30" is pretty much the minimum size and then codes require that the center line of the toilet be a certain distance from the edge of the tub/shower. As I recall the distance is 15" but it may be 16". You might need to go back to just having four lockers in your mud room instead of five.

Re rearranging kitchen appliances...
Do you need the extra wide door from kitchen to sunroom in order to get a piano in? If not, I'd make that door width a standard 32" or 36" wide and then move the fridge down next to the sunroom door. That puts it in the most convenient location for getting drinks, the butter, etc. when sitting at the dinette.

You'd probably need to back the island a little further away from the wall cabinet to make sure that you keep a minimum of 3 ft between the island and the front of a regular fridge (which often sticks out from the wall about 36" to 38")

I'd probably leave the stove just about where it is now because moving it to the other wall (the only other logical place for it) would mean everyone passing from mudroom to great room would be walking right past the stove. I prefer less traffic in front of my stove.

I would however move the wall oven to the center of the bank of cabinets on that wall instead of having it up against the mudroom door. A wall oven along a high traffic aisle isn't nearly as dangerous as a cook stove b/c the oven door isn't usually left open for any length of time so the hot surfaces are mostly closed away. Plus you don't pot handles or open flames for a careless kid with a backpack hanging off his shoulder can brush up against. With the oven centered on the wall, if someone did want/need to walk past while the oven door was open, they could easily do so by stepping into the open area in the middle of the kitchen. Where the wall oven is now, when you do have the oven door open, nobody can come in or go out of the mudroom.

As for whether great room is too big, without some dimensions, it is kind of hard to judge whether it is large or small or medium-sized as great rooms go. Even with dimensions, nobody but you will be able to judge whether it is too big, too small, or just right for YOU!

    Bookmark   March 31, 2012 at 9:19PM
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After much discussion and revisiting the model home upon which this floorplan is based, we've done a little more tweaking.

We decided against a first-floor bedroom--it's just not necessary for our needs or for resale in our neighborhood, and in 30+ years when we're retirees we'll probably choose to downsize and relocate.

I think we're "at peace" with the formal foyer situation and the mudroom situation now (thank you, bevangel, for the brilliant revision!)

I'm still uneasy about the kitchen layout. I posted this in the kitchen forum, so hopefully the geniuses over there will help me solve that riddle. :)

Other than that, I'm feeling REALLY confident about the floor plan, so woot. :)

    Bookmark   April 1, 2012 at 10:43PM
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I hope you didn't miss my earlier comment regarding pantry door swing. It has some merit.
Also, now that you have an angled hall closet... You really are not gaining anything with it's size due to the door placement. You'd be better off either making it standard depth (and not as deep as the pantry) with a regular door, or put your door in the angle of the closet. Why? So you can get 2 hanging racks instead of one. As it is, you can only put a hanging bar across 1 wall of the hall/entry closet. The door uses the rest of the space. If you put the door in the angle (and have it open OUT, not in), then you can put 2 bars in, one on the pantry wall, and one on the back wall where this layout would have it be.

    Bookmark   April 1, 2012 at 11:09PM
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Oh yes, we did see your comment about pantry door swing and agree hands-down that that is ideal!

Good point about the hall closet, but for how we plan on using the closet I think this will work. I want to line it with shelves, basically like a second pantry.

We anticipate using the front closet for storing "things" (throw blankets, board games, etc.), not coats. Our coats will go in the mudroom closet, and guest coats will go on hooks along the wall above the bench.

    Bookmark   April 1, 2012 at 11:14PM
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I wonder if this layout w/ access to the bathroom via the sunroom would alleviate some of the kitchen flow issues? It would also allow me to shut the door on mudroom clutter, if that becomes important in the future.

    Bookmark   April 2, 2012 at 8:33AM
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I really hope you will consider the suggested island. The one above is just really weird, for lack of a better word. It's like it's inverted or inside out. The dishwasher doesn't work in that island anywhere and the sink is just too much in the way. It may not look this way to you on paper, but it would not function at all when built. I wouldn't want to wash dishes with that design. If you already addressed this, then just disregard my comment. I just really think you'll regret this layout in real life.

    Bookmark   April 2, 2012 at 10:06PM
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Yeah, I agree that the island needs some work (in fact, the whole layout of the kitchen needs some work). I posted this over in the kitchen forum and getting a lot of good feedback over there. :)

    Bookmark   April 3, 2012 at 9:45AM
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Do you have room for a side load garage?

I'm thinking that the mudroom is located awkwardly and could be almost combined with the foyer to create a single home entry zone with better storage and the powder room all together. Maybe swap the mudroom with the study?

Maybe something like this. It centralizes the public and family entrances, which doubles the available storage space, yet the pocket door keeps the messier family entry private when needed. The location of the powder room keeps the traffic out of your kitchen. Putting the study next to the kitchen allows supervision of young ones, and there are two paths to reach it. The french doors to the sunroom can open and allow larger audiences for piano events. The kitchen is divided into more useful zones that minimize your walking, and through traffic is virtually non existant. The cleanup zone is close to the eating zone, as is the dish storage. All of the storage is centralized, and you never really have to move more than a few steps in order to make meals. Yet there is room for multiple helpers either next to the cleanup sink or on the other leg of the island and sharing the corner prep sink. You can have two people prepping a meal while one loads the dirty prep stuff into the DW and yet another sets the table.

    Bookmark   April 3, 2012 at 12:44PM
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I found this picture of a kitchen with the same layout as mine (L-shaped interrupted by a door).

I like how simple the appliance layout is, and the fact that NONE of the appliances interrupt the pathway to the bathroom.

    Bookmark   April 3, 2012 at 10:18PM
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Except, that you should consider off-setting the sink from the stove--as mentioned before. You need more than a one-behind kitchen...

And, this layout has very little prep space.

You can do better with kitchen forum feedback.

    Bookmark   April 3, 2012 at 11:45PM
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