back again - please critique new floor plan

laurensmom21April 7, 2012

Hello again! Well after 6 months of going back & forth with my architect, we're back to square one. No fault of his - he tried to give us what I thought I wanted, but it was just too big. So now I'm trying a whole different layout in hopes of getting things to a more manageable level.

Here's our stats:

Love coastal shingle style although we're nowhere near a coast, 3000ish sq ft 2 story, master on main level, 3 bedrooms upstairs. Building on 10 acres of flat pasture. 3 kiddos ages 8, 6 & 4. Very casual lifestyle, want large gathering spaces, but not too open. I imagine us spending tons of time on the screen porch.

This first floor is at just over 2300 sq ft. I haven't done the 2nd floor yet but there will be 3 bedrooms up. Disregard door swings & windows, etc... I'm just trying to get the flow & room layouts down right now.

Please let me know your thoughts - good & bad. I've been at this constantly for the past year and am just ready to start building!!! thank you :)

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Sorry, this plan isn't doing anything for me...

Where is the pasture in relation to your plan? Where is the backyard/outside play areas? Do you have animals that are yours in your pasture? Where do you see the mud coming into this house?

Is this a side load house? or, is that side a very functional side as far as the farm part is concerned?

Do you entertain ever?

What are the stairs by the garage? Are you thinking of having a bonus room over the garage? Is there something there at a different level?

Just trying to get a feel.

    Bookmark   April 7, 2012 at 1:56PM
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I don't like where the toilet in the master bath is. It is really far away from the bedroom. The person who sleeps on the window side of the bed has to go more than 30 feet to use it. That is along way away in the middle of the night, or when one is ill.

    Bookmark   April 7, 2012 at 2:41PM
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Really hate the laundry room. It's WAY too far from the bedroom. If you have bedrooms upstairs, they're even farther from the laundry room. And what's that thing on the lower wall with what looks like 2 chairs sticking out? If it's a desk, there's really no room for it. Your laundry is more-or-less a hallway.

I don't understand the front door. I'd hate to have guests coming in that semi-formal entrance and being able to look to their right and see my kitchen mess.

All the zigs and zags of the outer walls make it look expensive to build.

    Bookmark   April 7, 2012 at 4:10PM
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Sophie Wheeler

Sorry, but there's not much I care for either. The garage on the front like a snout is especially egregious. The kitchen layout on the front of the house isn't attractive or user friendly and the office in a closet bit is unusable. The stairs are awkwardly located. I certainly wouldn't want my bedroom near the herd of thundering elephants that kids can be! The master bedroom itself is a little big, but the closet is on the small side for two.

Why aren't you working with a pro anymore?

    Bookmark   April 7, 2012 at 8:58PM
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lauren, I spent what seemed like forever (it was actually over 6 years!) drawing up the plans for our house. My earliest plans were, in retrospect, awful (I didn't know what I didn't know!), so try not to be too disheartened by the comments people make about your plans; they are trying to help you.

I looked back at your previous "final" plan from your post on Feb 10 at 9:39, printed off that one and this, and am looking at them side-by-side. I'm not clear on several things. If you're building on 10 acres of flat pasture land in Illinois, why is the orientation of the most important rooms to the southwest? Seems like that would put a lot of unnecessary heat into them in the summer, and that they'd get hit by some strong winds in the spring and winter. All of this will increase your heating & cooling needs/bill. And the most desirable elevation, the southeast, is entirely taken up with the bedroom suite. Can the orientation of the house be changed?

Could the master BR suite and study be switched and the MBR then moved back to the right of the screened porch behind the present study, and the garage be moved so that its SW wall is where the present study/deck wall is? The laundry, bath, and office can be reworked if these other moves could be made.

I'm also trying to understand why guests pulling up in the driveway would have to go all the way around the garage to get to the front door. Can you post or draw a sketch of the lot, road, and possible driveway access choices, and possible building locations on the lot for the house?

To get rid of so many corners to save on costs, try drawing a rectangle with a wing bumping out on the right side to the SW & NE. Place the 5 main rooms. Then, instead of bumping out a room to get more space, try moving the whole side or back wall of the house a few feet or inches as you play around with the minor rooms. Once you get the rooms more or less settled in place, you will find that moving pieces of short & long room walls by inches (many times, as I'm sure you already know!), you can fit everything in to a much less expensive footprint.

Also, even though most houses have the fireplace on an outside wall, it's much better to have it on an interior wall from an energy efficiency point-of-view.

Also, I know there is a different feel to a screened porch, but realistically, wouldn't you get more use out of a 4 season room? You have to build a foundation and roof for a screened porch, so that's already a major expense. Adding an insulated wall and lots of windows would cost more up front, but get you much better living space, IMO.


    Bookmark   April 8, 2012 at 9:53AM
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yikes. I thought I was getting close, but I guess not. I do appreciate all the feedback although it's hard to hear sometimes.

I'm posting a very rough drawing of our lot and where we'll probably put the house. We're envisioning a circle drive in the front for visitors and family will park towards the back in the garage. It's not on this plan, but I'm hoping to incorporate a family entry toward the back garage side.

To answer some questions:

We don't farm, but eventually would like to get a horse or some other small animals - thus the hopeful future barn/outbuilding.

dh really wants the garage on the right hand side. We also want the screen porch toward the back of the house, but I'd also like the screen porch to have some sort of access to the mud room (for shoes, sunscreen, jackets & various other stuff) so I was trying to tie all that together somehow.

We envision putting the kids swingset in the back of the house left of the barn, so I'm wanting to keep my views toward that area so I can watch them. We also wanted the family room to have a nice sunny spot (our current living room is dark and the sunny spot is in the dining room so we want to avoid that).

The kitchen is my nemesis because I MUST have windows above my sink... but I do NOT want those windows to overlook the screen porch. So that really limits where I can put my kitchen! The little office area is just a computer nook to where I can catch up on email etc.. and a place where the kids can be on the computer and we can monitor them. I'm envisioning sliding barn doors in front of the nook when not being used.

Yes, I am putting a bonus room above the garage to be finished at a later date...hopefully an art studio or mom cave :)

We very rarely entertain and when we do it's just family.

I do agree about the toilet - I'll have to rework that bath area.

I would love to have the screen porch be a 4 seasons room, but the problem is sq footage and stupid taxes! We already pay a ridiculous amount in taxes on our modest 1900 sq ft ranch. We're trying to keep the next house around 3000ish sq ft. Screen porches don't figure into my sq ft number so I told dh that I could have as big of one as I wanted - ha :)

thanks again for all your input!

    Bookmark   April 8, 2012 at 9:39PM
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Laurensmom- I see where you're going with this...and I like the overall idea. Would something like this work? Here's a link to eplans...hope this gives you some more good ideas :)

Here is a link that might be useful: Link to eplans home

    Bookmark   April 8, 2012 at 11:27PM
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Seeing the lot layout really helps to understand why you have laid out the house as you have. However, I still wouldn't want all of that SW & W exposure in the main rooms. I'd think that the screened porch and deck would be awfully hot. I previously had a south-facing deck (Michigan), and it was so hot from about 10 a.m. to dusk, that I could almost never use it during those hours during the summer.

Will there be a window on the SE wall of the FR? If not, I'd move the MBR back and line its wall up with the FR wall. Then I'd make the long side of the MBR be the opposite direction for better placement of furniture. Like you, I'd want the stairway to the 2nd floor by the MBR, because I want to know when the kids are coming up and down during the night, whether young when they want mommy/daddy, or when they're teenagers and might be up to who knows what! I'd square off that corner to match up with the master bath, and reconfigure that bath. All of this would get rid of 4 corners which equals $$ in your pocket.

I have my kitchen on the front with a triple window as you do, and love it there. The problem for yours is that the door into it from the entry hall makes the view for anyone coming in, the usual mess in the entire kitchen. The kitchen could use some reconfiguring, so maybe you could get the door further back on that wall by making the entry longer and narrower. Also, I wouldn't want everyone (sales people, UPS, Fed Ex, solicitors, etc.) coming to the front door to be able to see the entire living room. Does anyone in your family sit around in pjs, skimpily clad, etc.?

I'd reconfigure the bonus rm stairs, and move the down stairs from the front entry and put them back here. At the same time, I'd rework the mudroom, bath, office area.


    Bookmark   April 9, 2012 at 8:51AM
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Yeah, sorry, I don't think this plan is going to work, either. Sorry! My biggest concern is your kitchen. It's actually a hallway with appliances and counters. You will get annoyed VERY quickly with everyone walking thru your space while preparing meals. I know, because I have a "hallway" kitchen now and kids that are the exact same ages as is SO frustrating!

I'm posting one of the early revisions of our first floor to see if it helps you form some ideas. Sounds like we have similar wants/needs in our houses. I know it's not exactly what you're looking for, but maybe it'll help?

Good luck!

    Bookmark   April 9, 2012 at 9:37PM
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Many years ago there was a beautiful architect designed plan posted by someone from, I think, the midwest. I thought it was gorgeous and it kinda got stuck in my brain as I would love to do something similar when the kids are all on their own.
I don't remember exactly what it looked like but I tried to do a rough layout for you. This is not to scale, even though it is on graph paper. Just something I threw together to give you an idea of room flow as it seems similar to what you were trying to achieve above.

    Bookmark   April 10, 2012 at 7:24PM
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I actually found the file that I had saved on an old laptop. I won't post the original plan but I've updated the other to be a little more like the original.

    Bookmark   April 10, 2012 at 8:15PM
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thank you again to all of you. Finding the perfect plan to raise your family in is so hard & stressful and I appreciate each of you taking the time to offer support, comments, and ideas.

Lavender - thanks for posting that plan. I do really like the kitchen & living layout, just not sure how I feel about the master being directly in front and the side entry.

Anne - thanks for your suggestions. I'm trying to get the living areas more toward the west. But I still want to have some great light, so that's a trade off maybe. I do like your idea of moving the downstairs to the mudroom area and maybe bumping the front door back some to create a more intimate foyer. Yes, I was thinking of putting a window on the SE wall of the family room - maybe a window seat of sorts?

Kelhuck - thanks for your thoughts. I'm definitely going to think about the kitchen a little more. I like it like this because it offers windows in both the dining area & sink area, but the traffic pattern might have to be tweaked. Thanks for posting your plan too - it looks lovely! Have you started building yet?

homeagain - thank you so much for posting those! It's amazing how similar they are to the one I drew up! I think I prefer the angled garage like you have it.

I think I might start again and redraw some other ideas that I'm having. I'll be sure to post again to get feedback :)

    Bookmark   April 10, 2012 at 10:09PM
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