First house plans Please Review

sparky4sparkyApril 10, 2013

I am new to the site found it a couple of days ago. I am getting ready to build my first house. Just finished the planning phase of my project and locating a builder for the project. Love the valuable information here on the forums. I have been reviewing messages last couple of days. I would appreciate any feedback and any thoughts from those who are further along in the process. This will be built in Michigan. I had two thoughts. A home I could live in the rest of my life so built larger hallways and minimal steps. I also wanted an indoor endless pool for swimming.

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I'm afraid the plan is too small to see (even when I click on it).

I love the big garage. Will you be parking more than 2 cars in it, or is the rest storage? The windows on the back will cut down on storage space (I'm thinking a wall full of deep shelves).

You mention minimal steps, but the first thing I see (I think) is steps from the garage to the house. I've seen houses with no step here.

    Bookmark   April 10, 2013 at 9:43AM
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Trying it again see if it gets bigger. I was told by several builders it would be difficult to remove steps from garage. I had hoped to find a way to solve the problem. I thought in the future I could add a ramp and saved some space for that.

    Bookmark   April 10, 2013 at 10:05AM
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Wanted to attach my elevation as well.

    Bookmark   April 10, 2013 at 10:10AM
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It's a little bigger, but I still can't read anything. What's the room just as you come in from the garage? At the top, is that a screen porch or a sunroom, with a patio to the right?

It seems a long way from the garage to the kitchen (I always think about how far I have to carry groceries).

Do you have main floor laundry?

    Bookmark   April 10, 2013 at 2:38PM
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Random comments:

- Why a pocket door on the master bath? They are difficult to operate and you have room for a standard door.

- Have you considered a separate small room for the master toilet? That way more than one person can use the bathroom at the same time.

- You should be able to fit 2 sinks in a master bathroom of that size.

- I understand that the steps in the garage cannot be eliminated, but I would hate that it's not a straight shot from the mudroom to the car. Why the landing and 90 degree turn? Is the landing a code requirement? Our current house has a step down in the garage without any landing.

- Your kitchen seems to have very little usable counter space with no long runs. The cooktop takes up most of the island and there is hardly any room on the sides to set things while cooking. We have a cooktop in our current island and absolutely hate it because the island cannot be used for serving.

    Bookmark   April 10, 2013 at 3:07PM
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Another issue with the island cooktop is ventilation. Do you have a great big hood over the island? If the cooktop isn't on an outside wall, at least if it's on an inside wall you can run the vent through the wall and out the roof.

    Bookmark   April 10, 2013 at 4:42PM
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I am setting up a downdraft instead of a large hood. I am also having the island be two levels. Also going to get a smaller grill top. Current one in plan is 48". Should take care of both problems. Might help to know I am a single guy who will occasionally have people stay for a while but designing as if it was for me. This should explain why no double sink or location of toilet.

Point taken on garage stairs I was trying to anticipate myself disabled one day needing a ramp thought landing would make that useful. I would love another solution to step issue.

    Bookmark   April 10, 2013 at 4:57PM
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I'm still not sure why the steps are necessary. My friend built a house with no steps from the garage to house (with wide doors, etc - planned for accessibility).

Your pantry looks like wheelchair use would be a problem. Is it structural? If it were me, I think I'd eliminate the pantry, extend the kitchen wall in the direction of the pantry, and open up the entry. I'd also re-work the kitchen with something other than an angled island - it looks like a lot of space from island to cabinets.

Is that a washer and dryer in the master bedroom closet?

I wouldn't like going through the bathroom to get to the closet. I'd move things around a bit so the closet door comes off the bedroom.

I wish I could read the print on your plans! I'm curious abut the bifold doors at the top of the bedroom (by the stairs).

Downdraft hoods are notoriously ineffective - check out the kitchens or appliances forums for advice.

    Bookmark   April 10, 2013 at 5:50PM
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I can't see the tiny picture, so my comments may not be on-target today:

I think the need for steps from the garage will be determined by the land. You'll likely end up with at least one step. Why? Because even if your land is pancake-flat, they're going to build "up" somewhat to build the house -- the garage isn't as "thick". If you tell your builder you need to keep that to a minimum, he -- who can see the landscape -- can tell you better than we can.

There's no reason you couldn't have a ramp NOW instead of steps.

I agree that it's better to have the pantry /kitchen adjacent to the garage. Sure, you can carry the groceries, but isn't the point of building to make everything as simple as possible? Especially since you intend to age in this house, it seems like a wise choice to minimize that "everyday" walk.

I would not do away with the pantry. You don't have huge storage in that kitchen. Yes, it'd be tough with a wheelchair, and you might want to consider that. Keep in mind, though, that you're statistically more likely to need a walker rather than a wheelchair, and a walker would be fine in that space.

I'd do away with the closet doors in the mudroom and go with a solid wall of shelves to the ceiling. More efficient, you can see it all at once. It'll also be cheaper than building closets, and I don't see the mudroom as a place to splurge.

I'd flip-flop the master bedroom and the bathroom. This'd give you more windows in the bedroom AND bring the plumbing closer to the kitchen (which saves you money on the plumbing runs). I would not add a second sink. No purpose.

I'd go back to the drawing board on the kitchen. Your prep space (where you'll spend the most time) faces the wall. I'd move the range to the wall. Also, I'd keep that right-end cabinet straight instead of angling it in. I see no purpose, and straight runs are cheaper.

    Bookmark   April 10, 2013 at 7:06PM
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You are going to need a really good builder and a really good HVAC contractor in order to be able to correctly deal with all the humidity generated by the endless pool. Have you considered putting the pool in it's own building? Perhaps by leaving it in the same location and just extending the roof about 4 feet to give you a breezeway of sorts between the house and the pool building.

The elevation shows a double front door, but the floor plan shows a single door. Go with the singe door.

Do you have a back elevation?

Why is the garage so deep?

I can't figure out what the front two rooms to the right of the front door are suppose to be. One of them is long and skinny. Have you figured out your furniture placement in this room?

Are the washer and dryer in the master closet?

What is upstairs?

    Bookmark   April 10, 2013 at 8:01PM
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My parents have an endless pool in their basement and the whole basement (2300 sf of it) is musky and humid. Good advice above about proper venting.

Agree that kitchen needs reworking. Unless you are a pro chef who will be sautéing while talking to guests like on some cooking show, don't put the stove top in the island. A sink would be better, or better yet, nothing. Would not enjoy sitting at the island and getting splashed (by water or hot grease).

Generally people say not to have the master door right off the living room. If you say you plan on being single, maybe that's okay, but consider if there is a way to hide that door a bit, at least for resale.

Otherwise I think it's a neat plan.

    Bookmark   April 10, 2013 at 8:15PM
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THanks for all the advice. I agree the kitchen needs rework. To answer a few of the questions. The garage is double deep on purpose with a single garage door in back and double in front. 1/4 will be shop. I actually expect to be able to drive all the way through my garage and around. Also just use the external ramp for mowers and yard equipment. As you come in there is a mudroom with a bench/cabinet for sitting. Continuing on the left is the office where the front door is.

The pool is in a three season room. External to the house. No HVAC in the room. It snows a lot in Michigan. Roof alone wasn't doing it. But it is external to the house and will have a cover when not in use. I am hoping no issues there. It will be a screened room that can take storm windows in the winter.

The kitchen was set up to take advantage of the ultimate triangle or whatever some people call it. Limiting the distance traveled between fridge, sink, grill. I do actually plan on cooking for people and having people involved. I may go the direction of a hibachi style grill there. But either way it does need to be redesigned. I will give your input some thought.

Someone asked about the big extra closet in the master. It is actually a server closet. I am a computer guy. Running all wiring in and out of the house through here. Servers and some automation will use this as the main source of information. Some hard wired connections as well.

    Bookmark   April 10, 2013 at 8:55PM
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to annhk. I appreciate your advice but that room great room and kitchen actually most of my house has 14' ceilings. I can't imagine bringing a hood down 10 feet or so for support. Perhaps that means the grill moves but if I keep my current design I don't feel I have many options.

Yes that is a washer and dryer in my master bedroom closet. Maybe not for everyone but I don't see the point of moving clothes from a dirty hamper to another room somewhere else. It will look nice behind some cabinets but I say why not a washer and dryer. I will have extra washer dryer hookups in basement. There is no upstairs as well. Only basement. The ceiling height is around 14' throughout house. In some places I bring it down to 8' feet.

This post was edited by sparky4sparky on Wed, Apr 10, 13 at 21:04

    Bookmark   April 10, 2013 at 8:59PM
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Since you are new to the site, you may not have found the kitchens forum. You'll want to. If you like to cook/expect to cook, you'll not like that kitchen. AT ALL.

They, in the kitchens forum, can help you immensely, with a good picture and/or dimensions of your space.

That is a big house for 1 person, esp with 14 foot ceilings. Will it be cozy enough?

    Bookmark   April 10, 2013 at 11:52PM
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I would design the mudroom so that it could hold the washer/dryer. If at some point you do find yourself living with someone in this house, you might like having the option of getting the washer/dryer somewhere that is accessible to you without stairs AND accessible to someone else, without their having to go through your bedroom. Also, if you end up selling, it might be a more attractive option for potential buyers.

I'd also set things up so that the server room can be accessed without walking through the master, if for no other reason than that it might be less awkward if you find yourself working from home with a female employee/associate.

I see you're building in Michigan. What direction will the house face? How do you feel about natural light? We're building in Minnesota, and our last house had a South facing front porch that meant the main level of the house got almost no natural all winter. It was kind of depressing.

I'll add a link to the Naval Observatory's website-- you can put in your location and they'll tell you the sun's angle and azimuth for any day of the year. I suspect that there will be several months where the windows in the back of the house get almost no direct light.

Also, I think the 14' ceilings will be cavernous and hard to heat. I can't read the dimensions of your great room, but it looks like the width is right around 14', and having a room that is roughly the same width and height may feel off. I'd go down to 12' or even 10' (especially because this is your "forever" house, and when you retire you may want to spend money on something other than heating 7'+ of air above your head.)

Here is a link that might be useful: US Naval Observatory Sun or Moon Altitude/Azimuth Table

    Bookmark   April 11, 2013 at 9:46AM
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I appreciate the continued comments. Going to post my kitchen over at the other forum. I have some 3d drawings of it. I definitely want the bigger house and bigger rooms. Understand about the heating issues etc. I have a cozy home now. Lack of garage space lack of living room space etc are major issues for me right now. I don't need more rooms. Which is why this plan is really a two bedroom and an office. I need all of those places to be much bigger than they are. The house will be facing south. I appreciate the link for the sun angles. I am definitely going to use that. I am not big on natural light but definitely want some. In Michigan that is hit or miss.

Server closet is not something I would expect would regularly need access to only if something went wrong would someone go back there. It is important that there be an exterior wall access as most things like phone, cable, dedicated internet line can come into that area. I don't necessarily care where it goes but that seemed to be the only spot where I could control climate and have exterior wall.

    Bookmark   April 11, 2013 at 11:11AM
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A couple of thoughts:

If you have children, ever plan to have children, or might sell your house to someone who has children or plans to have children :) , the laundry room off of the master is a very bad idea. Once kids get to a certain age, they either help with laundry or do their own laundry. Last thing I want is my teen son washing his baseball uniform at 1:00 in the morning going through my bedroom. arggghh

Also, the room that shares the door to the garage - I would extend that room out to the edge of the porch (give up the porch space and it won't be too expensive since you already have the roof), and place a proper hallway going to the garage. I would then locate the closet against that hallway door (providing some sound insulation), and put a larger window on the front. That tiny window isn't very attractive, anyway.

Good luck!

    Bookmark   April 11, 2013 at 12:24PM
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A simple addition: add a man door to the garage.

    Bookmark   April 11, 2013 at 4:02PM
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My inlaws have a pool like that, it is in their basement in a room that is separately zoned. The biggest problem is that the room air feels too cold as you swim. So a 3 season room in MI with no HVAC is a problem, in my mind.

    Bookmark   April 11, 2013 at 9:18PM
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What room is receiving light from the seven clerestory windows in the front?

    Bookmark   April 11, 2013 at 10:33PM
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It goes into the office and mud room. There are cut outs In the upper office wall allowing light to carry on to hallway.

    Bookmark   April 12, 2013 at 7:35AM
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