Three months later ...

HarmonApril 25, 2014

After initially selecting a floor plan back in January, I posted it here to get some feedback. After considering all the (mostly negative) input which helped gf and I determine our priorities in our new house, we decided to look at other plans. I posted some of those plans here and received excellent feedback from lavender_lass, naf_naf, and many others. After considering all of that input, spending many lunch hours at the architect firm's offices, multiple meetings with our builder, and lots of driving to view different houses that had used various plans, we have now settled on this floor plan.

Would appreciate some tweaking suggestions for improvement. (This is the second set of plans our builder, and eventually us, has paid for so we are not buying a third. We are also not going to do major structural changes like moving the garage to the back of the house.) I am hoping for suggestions that will improve what we have. For instance I just noticed tonight that there is no landing space next to the oven/microwave (located next to sink). Perhaps the cooktop could be slid down towards the fridge, oven/microwave placed in the corner facing the living room, and they could share a landing space?

FYI - The diagram is mostly accurate except on the left side of the house "Bath 3" will become the utility room and the WIC off of the study will become a powder room. Roughly 1' each will be taken from the master closet and study to make this space big enough for those changes.

Thanks in advance for your time & suggestions!

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Well, it is very hard to read...
But offhand, I am not thrilled that you can see into the upper right bedroom from all the way across the house (and a very public area of the house). Are you dead-set on the J&J bath in the upper corner? (I know you said no major changes, but that corner appears to already have had some changes...) I'd want to change the location of that bathroom to a hall-accessible bath (and back entry accessible bath) and pushing the bedroom to the exterior wall (for potential second windows.

But, that is me. It depends at least a little who will be "living" in those bedrooms and their ages, and how frequently.

Make sure to have your master toilet room with an outswing, pocket, or pivot door so that it is safe to use (and easy to close the door without having to stand over the toilet).

For best kitchen comments, we really need to see it closer up and probably also best to post on the kitchen forum.

    Bookmark   April 25, 2014 at 1:17AM
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Thanks, Kirk. Great suggestions! I know it's hard to see. I should have a better copy in a few days and will post it when I do.

(1) Seeing into the bedroom. Yeah, our builder mentioned that too. It's a product of me wanting a wide fridge & freezer combo (66" opening required) which caused us to extend the wall between the kitchen and hallway. Unless I give those up (which is a possibility) I don't see a good way around it with the current setup. Do you?

(2) Re the J&J bath. You make some good points. In the previous floor plan we went from J&J to one large hallway accessible bath and now back to J&J. It will only be my future wife and I for awhile. (We don't have any kids but plan on one or maybe two.) So those bedrooms and bath will likely go unused for at least the first couple of years.

I had not thought too much about the significance of hallway or back entry access, but especially since we don't have kids yet, it would be nice for that bathroom to be more accessible to us and to guests. My gf and builder might team up and kill me if I start moving rooms again, but I think that swap could be done fairly easily.

(3) Maybe a dumb question but I've heard the out-swing door for safety in the toilet room before but don't understand why. Can you explain?

Thanks again ... very helpful! Any additional feedback would be appreciated.

    Bookmark   April 25, 2014 at 1:51AM
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This is my powder room from the plan we built 10 yrs ago. Built exactly like this with the Inswing door. The hinges are in the inside. If my elderly mother with her cane or my disabled SIL use this room I just pray they don't fall against the door.

No way to get to them with the hinges on the inside. Really dislike this room.

    Bookmark   April 25, 2014 at 9:10AM
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Do the stairs go up or down? And what is up or down? I thought you were building a one story house. If so, those stairs will be more expensive than a straight run would be. Something you might want to think about if the upstairs or downstairs is used infrequently.

I can't see the sizes, but the master closet appears to have a lot of wasted space in the middle.

    Bookmark   April 25, 2014 at 1:58PM
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One thing I will offer up about pocket doors used in toilet rooms or PR; assume they will be open 100% of the time, because they usually are. The net result is a lot more toilets on display than before the pocket door craze.

I have come to really respect door swings! I know that for me, in my inexperience, I felt pocket doors were the answer to everything ... why have any other kind given the room they eat up!

We are renovating a summer home and I am much less likely to use a pocket door given my experience in our primary home.

    Bookmark   April 25, 2014 at 2:46PM
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I have 3 pocket doors in my house and like every one of them. To each their own. Yes, they stand open often--but that is especially nice in a master bath where you really only need it for privacy and not to block the view of the toilet. If you had a hall bath you were trying to obscure, having a pocket door would maybe not be my first choice.
I also like pivot doors (swing either direction) for these sorts of things.

On why not an inswing door?

In a small room, the only place a person who is incapacitated to fall is on the only available floor space of the room--right infront of the door, where the door needs to swing. Inswing doors also have the hinges on the interior of the small room, so they are inaccessible for removal of the hinge pin to open the door.

Frequently, the only way to get into a small enclosed room with an incapacitated person on the floor is to brute force it or rip through the door, which EMTs and Firepeople will do, but it takes valuable time and is destructive.

Also, unfortnately, the toilet is not an uncommon location for an unwell person to be when they are incapacitated (faint, stroke, heart attack, etc).

Showers are another location where slips/falls are common enough that inswing doors are prohibited by many/most codes unless they also swing out. Code officers have not caught up to the trend of toilet rooms and inswing doors yet, but the reasoning still stands.

Does that help?

    Bookmark   April 25, 2014 at 3:50PM
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Also, Harmon, take a look at this other thread that just went up, for a place that pocket doors on the bathroom might be especially nice, but won't contribute to the "seeing the toilet" from the hall issue noted above.

In their hall bath that is sectioned, with vanities in the front and toilet/bath in the back, a pocket door at the hall location would probably be just fine. In reality, that door will rarely if ever really NEED to be closed. From the public spaces, the sight lines are to the wall of the bathroom, and not the working parts of the bathroom. And, the toilet is further removed from the hall. Having a pocket door at the location of the toilet/vanity partition would also not be a bad idea. Its door should definitely swing into the vanity room, not the toilet room, for the same safety reasons I posted above.

Here is a link that might be useful: here is another layout with reasoning for/against pockets

    Bookmark   April 25, 2014 at 3:54PM
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red lover & Kirk - Thanks! I think I understand the door problem now.

dekeobeo - The stairs go up to an unfinished bonus room. I agree with the wasted space in the middle of the master closet. At this point I'm unlikely to win any battles to make it smaller (plus I'm not sure what we could do with the space if we made it narrower) so any ideas on how to make it more usable?

Interesting on the pocket door debate. I'm not a big fan of them, but not ready to rule them out yet. They seem to have their purpose.

Thanks again for all the advice ... keep it coming!

    Bookmark   April 25, 2014 at 7:03PM
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I have another concern with having the hallway opening on the right side of the house up so far. The breakfast area is relatively small (10'6" x 11'9" I think) so I'm concerned that a table and chairs there will at least partially block the entrance to the hallway. Thoughts?

I think I'm slowly talking myself out of the Frigidaire twins even though I love the way they look. :(

    Bookmark   April 25, 2014 at 7:12PM
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I'd like to see the front view elevation. With a bay window AND a round something AND an indentation AND a -- what do you call that? --- bump out on the garage, I'm fearful that it's going to be overly busy. Admittedly, I like simple exteriors, but this seems to have the makings of a mash-up. I'm also having trouble identifying the front door.

I do agree that the master closet's overly large. I'm staying out of the whole toilet-in-a-closet door discussion: I'd eliminate the door altogether. This toilet closet appears to be very small, and in addition to being difficult to clean, it's going to be even more uncomfortable than most of these things. I would steal some room from the oversized closet to make the bathroom more comfortable.

I'd consider moving the fireplace to the interior wall -- this would allow larger windows into the family room. More natural light is always nice.

Obviously you need a door to the back of the house, but I'd move it out of the breakfast room. The table will prevent you from opening the door, or -- even if you can open the door -- you'll have to scoot around behind the table. Very inconvenient. I'd go with a door on the right side of the great room instead. This'll be one step out of the kitchen, but it'll still be convenient to walk out to the grill area with a plate of meat.

The kitchen is large and a good layout, but I'd want space for a larger table.

I'm not loving the long, narrow hallway that'll be your every day entrance from the garage. If you could bring the kitchen forward just 1-2 feet into the "indentation" between the porch and the garage . . . then you could have an entrance straight into the kitchen (in what is now the crux of the cabinet L). This would avoid that long, narrow walk . . . it would mean carrying groceries straight into the kitchen . . . and that hallway could be used as bedroom space.

The refrigerator you're talking about is wider than I am tall. For two people.

The two secondary bedrooms are nice sized and have good closets, but I'd simplify the bathroom. If you end up having two children in there, you will not appreciate separate sinks and multiple doors -- you want to SEE small children, and you want to minimize the number of doors behind which they're able to lock themselves. I'd go with a simple one-room bathroom with doors into both bedrooms. This would mean you could be in either bedroom and still be within voice range of a child who's brushing his teeth, or you could supervise a child in the tub while listening to another who's putting on his PJs in the bedroom. Removing these "compartments" will also allow the bathroom to be larger, and you'd probably be able to include a linen closet, which could hold a hamper.

This post was edited by MrsPete on Fri, Apr 25, 14 at 22:00

    Bookmark   April 25, 2014 at 9:58PM
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That's great that y'all are really trying to think through your plan thoroughly.

Just my $0.02 on J &J bathrooms... There are a couple of scenarios that make them unappealing to me. For ex., what happens when little Johnny goes in to use the bathroom but forgets to unlock the door on little Janie's side when he's done? (And while it's a minor irritation when it happens once, it becomes a much bigger inconvenience if it happens repeatedly).

Another possible issue is something that came up recently when some friends of ours were house hunting. They have a teen son and pre-teen daughter. When they were considering purchasing a home w/ J&J bath between the kids' rooms, their son brought up a good point-- he was uncomfortable w/ the thought of his little sis being able to access the (bathroom) door directly into his room. (His actual comment was, "But what if (Sister's name)--or one of her friends?!--opened that door while I was changing?!?!" , accompanied by a horrified look, lol). I think it's a valid point and one of those things often not fully considered when our kids are younger-- but they do grow up ;-)

    Bookmark   April 25, 2014 at 11:55PM
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Thanks for all the awesome suggestions! I've been drawing a little today on the right side of the house. Thoughts on this versus what I posted before?

    Bookmark   April 26, 2014 at 2:46PM
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Or without the extra wall in what I envision being a mud room area (and with more realistically sized closets)? Not sure what you put in a mud room, but seems like people like them. Maybe a bench, shelves, hooks, and/or charging station?

    Bookmark   April 26, 2014 at 3:31PM
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in the block with the two beds and a bath, put the closet on the bath wall, and the tub behind it - a tub on an outside wall gets cold.

have you thought about the issue of kids' bedrooms right off the garage with the master across the house? Wait until you've go teens...

it looks like a gorgeous home.

    Bookmark   April 26, 2014 at 6:01PM
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Have you seen KHiggins1's house plan? It's currently on this site, and it's very, very similar to your plan -- but the details and proportions are better. It'd be worth your time to look at it.

    Bookmark   April 27, 2014 at 9:34AM
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Note: khiggins1 plan is the one I linked to above in this thread, with the discussion of pocket doors.

    Bookmark   April 27, 2014 at 11:54AM
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Thanks for all the great suggestions & link to the similar floor plan! I haven't had time to respond much, but trying to digest everything and work at least some of the ideas into our plan.

    Bookmark   April 29, 2014 at 7:21PM
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Yes, that's exactly what you put in a mudroom...and between the garage and hall bath is an excellent location.

I like the plan. Add a prep sink to the kitchen island (closer to fridge end) and I think it will look great!

Oh, and what about a little 'courtyard' off the kitchen, accessed from the garage? Great place for a little kitchen garden, if you get any light! Maybe a metal fence rather than a wall, depending on light to that area...but great for herbs and a few veggies or flowers :)

    Bookmark   April 30, 2014 at 2:37PM
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