One Story Plan Critique

TammyTEApril 11, 2014

We've got a one story plan with a basement for the children's bedrooms and their bath. Please tell me what you think.

Here are things I wondered about at first glance.

-Is MBed wide enough? (We have a king size bed.)
-Should shower and tub be facing each other to get more privacy for getting out of shower and maybe make more room for hanging towels?
-What about that 2� of space by mbed? Is that for a chase?
-Should my desk go in closet space by office and have doors to tuck in? I really wanted a spot for a desk for myself. The office will be used for homeschool desk space for the kids, bookshelves, crafts and such. I would like a spot for a desk where I can know what's going on in the rest of the house along with the office. I was hoping I could get it on that angled wall coming in from the back garage entrance but it's too tight.
-Is 3�4" enough space in kitchen walkways?
-Should we lose that closet by kitchen sink?
-Can the washer and dryer turn to that there is more room on the side for dirty clothes storage?
-Is the 3� opening to back hall big enough?
-What is the roof pitch of the house and garage? Can that tie in better?

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Here's the basement:

-Can some of the utilities go under the stairs so that door can move down to make the hall area bigger by bathroom door?
-Move small bedroom closet door to center of closet?
-Closet in storage room?
-Door to main bathroom. Should it be a pocket door or just an opening?

    Bookmark   April 11, 2014 at 4:40PM
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Here's the exterior:

    Bookmark   April 11, 2014 at 4:42PM
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In the master, if someone is in the closet picking out clothes, and the other needs the toilet, or vice versa, you all are okay with that?

In the bedroom, that isn't very wide. We had an 11x14 bedroom, and there was barely room between the foot of the queen bed and a dresser, and there was barely room for nightstand on either side of the bed. No walking space. Go bigger.

The laundry looks a little room for the laundry that's not in a machine? How many kids do you have? Go bigger. You might want a utility sink, and folding space. There's no room for the hamper waiting for clothes in the dryer.

Sounds like you already know this plan is too tight for you.

    Bookmark   April 11, 2014 at 9:17PM
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Thanks. We are trying to keep the SF down as much as possible. :(

I agree with everything you are saying. I could get a bit more space in the master by making the living room a bit shorter. No problem with the toilet/closet situation...other than my clothes stinking. Hmmm we need to make sure we get a good fan for the bathroom. I've never had a closet off the bathroom before.

The laundry...I have no clue how to gain more space in there. We have five children. We homeschool and have food allergies which require 3 scratch meals a day plus snacks. So the kitchen is pretty important, as is the laundry. I could maybe get a second laundry space in the basement for the kids.

I'm also wanting a pantry and more mudroom space but something's gotta give, ya know? Just trying to figure out the lesser of two evils.

    Bookmark   April 11, 2014 at 11:09PM
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Could you simply have the laundry downstairs? Then you could have a utility sink, air-drying space, sorting space, folding space, destination cubbies for completed laundry. Yes, it's away from where you are much of the day, but are the kids ready to help with laundry yet, at least shifting from washer to dryer? And then you could expand the mudroom into that space, or maybe even have a stackable for upstairs laundry, like yours, kitchen towels, cleaning cloths, etc, and a small utility sink.

You didn't ask, but would you consider adding a door from the study to the front hall? With lots of people using the room, a bit of flow for people -- and air! -- might be nice.

    Bookmark   April 12, 2014 at 12:48AM
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tammy-is that 34" (sorry some weird symbol showed up so I wondered). If so, 34" is really tight and I know you have kids. We had 34" between our fridge and the edge of our counter in our last home and it was a major traffic jam all the time.

If however that says 3' 4" or 40" then I think that is more doable. We are going with 42" this time around and it's much better. If someone is standing in the aisle at least there is a chance someone else can get through. :)

    Bookmark   April 12, 2014 at 8:47AM
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It's 3 foot 4 inches. Don't know where those symbols came from. :)

Hmmm laundry downstairs....The kids are old enough to help now and a lot of the clothes are theirs. I like to line dry items though and I can't imagine lugging heavy, wet loads up the stairs. A large laundry room sure would be nice though. that's something to consider.

    Bookmark   April 12, 2014 at 9:10AM
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What I can't get past in your plan is the barrier island between the sink and the fridges... Maybe mock that up and make sure you are okay with having to go around the island anytime you need to get something from fridge/ice, then water from sink...

Or, put a prep in the island.

Also, your laundry room as oriented is a waste of space. You'd do almost as well to just have a laundry depth closet... I think the room needs to be at least 6 (better to be 7) feet wide to turn them the other direction. Do you have that space?

    Bookmark   April 12, 2014 at 11:17AM
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Kirkhall - Yes there is supposed to be a prep sink in the bottom left of the island. Still deciding where to put the trash though. I've got a thread in the kitchen forum for that but would love input from you too. :)

Laundry - Yeah, I think I would gain at least a bit of space if I turned the washer and dryer. I guess I could steal that space from the office.

I still don't know where to put my desk area though. I don't really want it *in* the office. I would like it out in the open part but not really where it can be seen easily. Here's how I had it when I drew it up for the designer:

    Bookmark   April 12, 2014 at 11:29AM
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Or what about this?

    Bookmark   April 12, 2014 at 12:43PM
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If you steal from the schoolroom, the kids will be jostling elbows. In the first plan you posted the measurements read 15x12 (about), but it was really only not-quite-12x9. Not much room to steal, really. And, in the recent layout your desk is right in an active walkway. You're probably better off with the original, and changing that closet to your desk. Question: would you use it as a desk, or as a credenza/home central area, and actually do writing work elsewhere? You might like a small table with wheels, like the old typing tables, to roll where you like.

Will your basement have an egress? I think you need one if there are children's bedrooms. Perhaps you could put a laundry line just beyond that door? You'd be schlepping wet clothes through the hall and out the door and down the steps anyway in the original plan, so moving the laundry downstairs but near an outside door wouldn't be so different. And in inclement weather, you could hang it up down there.

    Bookmark   April 12, 2014 at 2:11PM
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At this point the basement will have egress windows but no door.

I could take the laundry through the dining out the back door.

Desk - I spend quite a bit of time at the desk. I go back and forth between there, a child at a work station, a child at the dining table, kitchen, laundry, child in the living room. I have a lot of recipes on my computer so I would like it to be fairly close to the kitchen. I do have a laptop but usually prefer it at the desk. So yes, either in that closet space off the dining or where I've currently got it would be ideal places.

Another would be on the back wall but I don't really want my (messy!) desk to be the first thing people see when they walk in the house. LOL

    Bookmark   April 12, 2014 at 10:32PM
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A king sized bed is 76x80 ... Or 6'4" x 6'8". So if your bed is centered in a 15'9" wide room, you will have 4'8 1/2"' on each side. Measure off how big that is and decide whether it's "enough". I have less than that and find it comfortable. As for the length, in an 11'11" room, you will have 5'7" at the foot of the bed. . . You should account, of course, for a headboard and footboard, if you have them. In my opinion, if your bedroom contains just a bed, dresser and nightstands, you have ample space. If you're expecting to squeeze in a desk or a seating area, then no.

I don't know how you'd get the tub and shower facing one another, but I do see that both will have no place to hang towels. Also, consider that if your shower has a swing-out door, it will hit the bathroom door. If you move the tub closer to the door and put the shower in the corner, you could have a larger, pie shaped shower. You do have a great deal of empty, wasted space in the middle of the bathroom.

I think the closet by the office could be made into a great hidden desk, and it is centrally located. However, is it currently pantry space? I wouldn't want to give that up. The living room closet could also be a good closet space, though less convenient to the kitchen.

I do not care for the two pictures squeezing a desk into the back hall doorway. As person sitting in that doorway area will prevent traffic from flowing to the bathroom, laundry, and back door.

I do not like the kitchen. It's large and full of expensive cabinets, but it is inefficient. This design "traps" people in the U, and the island is a barrier to everything. You've fallen for a common fallacy: youve tried to get a good kitchen by planning a big, cabinet filled kitchen. Big and efficient are not synonymous terms. In this space, I would lose the small pantry by the sink, go with an L and an island (keeping the sink and stove where they are), move the fridge over near the range, and make the "back wall" of the kitchen (the one that backs up to the hallway) into a long, bifold door pantry. An L plus island will give you a comfortable amount of cabinet space, yet will eliminate the extra steps ... And the pantry will give you easy-access, nothing lost in the back of the cabinets storage. Pantries cost a fraction of the cost of cabinets.

The back hallway doesn't need to be over 5' wide. This is just a passage/ storage area. Not a place to splurge on space, not when you're questioning space in other, more heavily used spaces. Definitely use a back door with a window to bring some light into this spot.

Turning your laundry machines won't help -- but it will prevent you from venting directly to the outside. Ideally you'd be able to rearrange to get a little more space in there, and I think you can steal from the hallway and the office ... But you could go with a stack up machine. Since you like to hang laundry, definitely go with an HE machine. The big plus is the spin cycle; it spins more strongly and gets more of the wetness out of the clothes.

With so much of the laundry being generated in the basement, I agree it'd be nice to have the laundry down there, but I also agree that I would not want to carry wet clothes upstairs. If you go with this arrangement, consider a dumbwaiter to do the hauling for you. You have ample space in the oversized back hallway.

No fireplace?

Will you place a TV on the wall shared by the living room and the master? If so, don't skimp on sound insulation.

4' is generous for a staircase, I'd steal enough to widen the master closet just a touch. As it is now, you have a walk-in that gives you only barely more storage than a reach-in. To be efficient, you need to have storage on both sides of the closet. Same thing for the downstairs closets.

I like the exterior. Simple, nice.

I hate the downstairs bathroom. A tub in a room by itself? And you have to walk around a corner to reach it? It's going to look awkward. I understand that you're going for a compartmentalized bathroom that can be shared between the kids, but this is just too spread out and proportioned. If I were using this space, here's what I think I'd do:

- Flip the smaller bedroom and the bath. This would allow for more of a jack and Jill between the two bedrooms,
- Give each bedroom a room with a single sink and toilet connected to the bedroom. Two toilets shared by five kids is a comfortable number.
- Create a bathing room with a linen closet for towel storage accessible from those two sink/toilet rooms. With five kids, I'd consider a stand up shower instead of a tub. With five kids, they're going to be moving through batht time quickly, not lounging in the tub.
- Don't forget to allow for hampers, hanging towels, etc.

No to pocket doors. They're appropriate for doors that are rarely ever closed. They'd break within a year if used on a bathroom shared by five kids.

    Bookmark   April 13, 2014 at 10:55AM
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Just now saw your reply MrsPete. I appreciate all the thoughts!

I'm unsure of what to do with the kitchen. I made up a list of everything and where it would go in this kitchen, while paying attention to zones and prep and such. (I posted over in the kitchen forum if you want to take a look at it.) I am very open to how to make it function better especially if it would be cheaper!

I'm not sure where a TV will be. Not even entirely sure there will be a TV in there at all at this point. Probably it would be on the shared wall like you said though. Thanks for the sound tip.

I've thought about a stacking laundry option. I am 5'3". Do you think I would have trouble reaching things on top?

I love to hang out clothes but realistically it doesn't happen as often as I would like between weather and my poor planning. ;-)

Good idea on switching the bedroom and bath in the basement. I'll look into that. I had already thought about putting a toilet and small sink in the shower room. I have four girls and I know I prefer to have a toilet near the shower once a month, iykwim.

Nope, no fireplace. I don't think it's in the budget. We might do a wood burner later.

I'm thinking the desk will probably go in the space where that closet is by the dining/kitchen. I'll move the door to the office coming in from the foyer. It's not ideal but it opens up space for the closet to move over and have a desk space there. Yes that is a pantry. The foyer closet will move up into the house and I'll probably put the piano on the back wall of the house between the living room and dining room sets of windows.

    Bookmark   April 14, 2014 at 4:45PM
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MrsPete - I just tried making the L kitchen and I can't figure out how to make it work. I moved the range up a bit to make room for the fridge but there doesn't seem to be a way to get the pantry along the bottom wall. I made the width of the island 3' instead of 4' but that didn't seem to help because the fridge is in the way for a pantry. Is this what you were describing?

    Bookmark   April 15, 2014 at 2:30PM
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Here's a revision she just sent of the basement.

This bathroom seems to work better. What do you all think? I hadn't asked her to switch the bath and bedroom at this point and was waiting to see what she came up with.

Do you think there should at least be a small sink in the tub/shower room since there is a toilet in there? I would think there would be room where that closet is to the left of the toilet, or turn the toilet 90* and put on the left wall where that closet is and put the sink where the toilet is? Maybe a pedestal?

    Bookmark   April 15, 2014 at 7:17PM
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Here's what she sent of the main level. I made some quick changes in paint because she didn't get those. I'm thinking the pantry would only need to be 18" deep. That makes a little indention in the office maybe for a book shelf? We need lots of space for our bookshelves. Then my desk would go in the 4' spot next to the pantry.

I took out the angled wall in the back hall. do you think this flows better?

She added some room to the laundry. If this still doesn't seem like enough space I am looking into stacking machines. I am 5'3" though so I need to test it out to see if I can reach everything well enough.

I know some think the kitchen is still not functional. I am still open to thoughts on that. I posted the L style above and was having trouble with it. Would love insight.


    Bookmark   April 15, 2014 at 7:25PM
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My mother's reach in pantry is about 5 or 6' long, and the shelves are about 8" deep. It holds an amazing amount of stuff and small appliances. So if you'd like an L, you could scoot the fridge about a foot toward the range, have a shallow pantry on the long wall, and the space beside the fridge could be a closet or deeper shelves in the back hall there.

My college roommate's family had 6 kids. The kids' bath was basically two separate half baths with one tub/shower room attached. I thought it was ingenious.

    Bookmark   April 15, 2014 at 8:49PM
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Tried again. My biggest concern is the back entry hallway. It is exactly 5' wide. I've got an 18" deep drop zone by the laundry. There's the little cubby right by the door. We could hang coats on hooks along the hall wall but I'm concerned this will end up a big mess. Fall, Winter and Spring brings lots of muddy tennis shoes, boots, coats, jackets, snow suits (these could be kept elsewhere), gloves, hats, scarves...just so much and what seems like not much space. My dh wears size 14 shoe. My 11yo daughter wears same size shoe as me and is still growing. My 9yo son isn't too far behind her. So we will need space for shoes, not just little cubbies you see on pinterest. LOL

Am I making too much of this? I just don't want to build this new home and have it all junked up with coats and shoes.

    Bookmark   April 15, 2014 at 9:18PM
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I just posted this in the kitchen's forum as well:

I like that this gave me some more room in the back hall. I also made the laundry bigger and the school room smaller. (I mainly plan for that room to just be a quiet place for kids to work on seatwork away from the little tornadoes running around the rest of the house. They do math on the computer. Things like that. Also for storage of all the binders, books and such hidden away.)

Back to the kitchen. I am planning for an all fridge and all freezer. So that's why I have allotted 5' of space for the fridge unit. I guess I could put the blender over to the left of the range. I use a lot of spices when using the blender so they could be handy for both the blender usage and the stove top. It would be near the sink. I would just have to grab a few things from the fridge or freezer. I don't think it would be much less convenient than right by the fridge because I would have to walk around to the front of it anyway to get it open since it would most likely open to the right. Also, then I would have to have two sets of spices for some things or else walk over to the stove. Same for measuring spoons.

I think I would still want a prep sink in the island. There are so many times that the main sink is being used for dishes and someone needs to prep veggies. Where to put it? Seems like right across the fridge would be good but then that person is in the way if someone else needs fridge access. Also that would take away space in the island cabinets for dishes.

If I had the prep sink on the bottom side of the island would that be crazy? I would get anything out of the fridge that needs prepped and set it on top of the island right across from the fridge. Then the rest of the job is spent on the bottom side of the island cleaning and chopping. Also, where would I put the onions, garlic, potatoes, bananas and apples? I was considering baskets under the island on the bottom side facing the pantry wall. That would work if I was prepping over there. Would there be room for a sink and all those storage spots? It would only be 18" deep on that side as the island is 3' wide not 4'.

Now the space to the right of the range. I could put all the produce storage baskets over there I guess. It could also be a counter spot for crock pots and electric skillets/griddles.

Where to put the trash?


    Bookmark   April 15, 2014 at 11:34PM
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You should be fine with a 5'wide hall. Add boot trays for the shoes all year long, and mount baskets on the the wall, and hooks hooks hooks. Here's an idea: have you heard of rain gutter bookshelves? How about a rain gutter bin for the mittens, sunglasses, hats, etc.? I've never seen this use, but it just came to me looking at my mudroom (which is mostly

    Bookmark   April 16, 2014 at 8:28AM
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We have used gutter shelves for the kids along the side of their bunk beds. They liked them pretty well. It was mostly for books.

That could work. I have used those over-the-door shoe organizers for gloves and hats in the past. Just not sure how I would hang something like that in the hall. I need to look for pics of mudroom halls for inspiration.

    Bookmark   April 16, 2014 at 2:19PM
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Tammy- The overhead 'beam' is ending in the that what you want? On the kitchen forum, I suggested this version. Maybe it would work for you?

Piano is 'below' dining table and the desk is by the kitchen. This puts the piano into the living space, rather than isolated in the foyer. I don't know that I'd want to play it out there...but maybe that's just me.

It will mean you need to be organized to keep desk clear, but if you're home schooling, I don't think that will be a problem :)

Later, if you decide you don't need the 'school room' that could become your office and the desk area could become a buffet. Just a few ideas... From Kitchen plans

    Bookmark   April 16, 2014 at 3:07PM
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Oh and I'm not sure what to do with that space behind the back entry door. It's not very convenient when you first come in the door. Any thoughts on what could be stored back there?

Or should I use some of that space in the kitchen like a build in shelf on that end of the counter? Or heck, maybe both? The top would be the built in shelf off the kitchen counter and the bottom space would be open to the back hall?

    Bookmark   April 16, 2014 at 3:24PM
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Tammy, I was going to draw you a picture of what's in my mind . . . but you drew it yourself! I was even thinking of the little "indentation" by the back door.

That's exactly how I was picturing the pantry -- lots of storage space conveniently located, and cheap to build! I was imagining the refrigerator over by the pantries, but I like where you placed it by the sink. I prefer the smaller island placed parallel to the table - while the larger island would be nice, this one looks better and allows good access to the whole kitchen.

I do not care for the desk placed in the kitchen; I'd rather see it out of the kitchen mess at the end of the table; I'd have nice shelves above it for cookbooks, etc. And it would be a good place to charge phones, ipads, etc. A table in this position will be accessible, but out of the main work area.

Benefits of this plan:

- The main cooking action is confined to the corner, and people won't cut through the cook's space.
- A cook's helper can work on the opposite side of the island without being in the way.
- With the pantries, you've vastly improved your storage.
- You've reduced the cost of your cabinets and countertops.
- You still have one corner, which is pretty much inevitable -- but you've eliminated one. Corners are potential problems: At best, you install a lazy susan, which is expensive and not so functional. Even the countertops are hard to reach.

The one thing I'd still do: I'd take a foot from the hallway and make the kitchen a little wider. No, you don't 'specially need the foot in the kitchen, but a little extra space there is always welcome . . . whereas, it's really unnecessary in the hallway. No, wait -- I see that you already did this in the second picture.

Big improvement in the function of this kitchen.

    Bookmark   April 16, 2014 at 4:13PM
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Consider swapping the laundry and powder room. Powder room fixtures would go against schoolroom wall so they would not be visible from living areas. Put the W/D on that right exterior wall. Mudroom entry door can be hinged on the other side if you like.

    Bookmark   April 16, 2014 at 4:38PM
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Lavender-That's not a beam, sorry. :) It's just an invisible line for me to know how big the living room is. Like my unprofessional drawings? LOL Thanks for pointing that out though, could have been bad if it was a beam! Hmmm Hadn't thought of the island facing that direction. I need to look that over. It might solve some issues I'm having. It would also open up a spot to put a pretty hutch for the dishes instead of storing them in the island. I was looking forward to something like that.

oaktown-I've been thinking about switching the laundry and bath. Still considering. If I hinge the entry door differently I thought it would make the path to the bath awkward. (Someone usually heads straight for the bathroom when we arrive home.) I guess if I switch the two rooms then that would help with it though.

MrsPete-What would you put in the indention behind the door? :)

    Bookmark   April 16, 2014 at 4:59PM
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You could change the back door to hinge on the other side, then you can use the indentation for...elbow space when you walk in, bins for "stuff", water bottles, a broom (I don't know about you, but I can sweep my back door area 5 times a day!)

    Bookmark   April 16, 2014 at 5:21PM
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Here's a smaller island and the bath and laundry switched.

I'm unsure how to do the island. As it stands right now I have the trash facing the big sink, the prep sink facing the range with a 12" wide cabinet that would have drawers for knives and cutting boards, grater.

Then I have a 12" deep cabinet facing the pantry on the bottom left corner. Maybe a spot for some baskets to keep apples, bananas, onions?

There is a 24" cabinet in the middle facing the table. I have no idea what to do with that one, other than maybe table stuff like napkins, tablecloth. Or it could house some fresh produce as well, but I'm not sure I want it on that side.

The 24" cabinet facing the big sink could be tupperware items for leftovers. Then they would be taken over to the fridge. everyday dishes and silverware would be in a cabinet or, even better, a pretty hutch to the left of the dishwasher.

Would that island look weird with cabinets and drawers facing all those different directions?

I do like the bath and laundry switched with the entry door hinged opposite. Makes that indention space more useable.

    Bookmark   April 16, 2014 at 5:21PM
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I do like the laundry and the half-bath flipped.
I'd add a small window for the half-bath.

    Bookmark   April 16, 2014 at 7:49PM
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I just have to ask (and no offense meant) but do you have to have the exterior look like this? It looks great from the outside, but the inside is being pulled into shape by the facade.

Consider the window in the stairway...wouldn't that look better centered on the staircase? And the kitchen...if we could push that laundry/powder room forward a few feet you would have SUCH a nice island!

The closet really doesn't need a window and the school room would REALLY look nice with a big window seat. Maybe with bookcases on each side and storage underneath? From Kitchen plans

I think your plan is great! But it could be even better with a few changes and possibly considering making the house more of a rectangle, rather than these wings on each side. It might give you a higher roof line to meet the garage gable, too. I don't know if you get snow, but for us that would be a consideration.

Balance and symmetry is wonderful...but a cottage facade design allows for asymmetrical windows, more leeway for the interior...and maybe some window boxes!

I probably got a little carried away with the flowers (so ready for spring!) but I think you get the idea :) From Kitchen plans

This post was edited by lavender_lass on Wed, Apr 16, 14 at 20:52

    Bookmark   April 16, 2014 at 7:50PM
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No it doesn't have to look like that at all. It's just what it ended up looking like when the designer sent it to me off of a plan I had given her. :)

I'll send her this info and see what she says. We are trying to keep cost down as much as possible. Do you think this would change it for the better?

    Bookmark   April 16, 2014 at 9:51PM
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I don't know if the price will stay down or's just filling in the rectangle, but it would be more square footage.

What I would be considering is WHERE you have the square footage. I think you NEED a large kitchen, due to your situation. I'd rather have the square footage there and trim off a few feet somewhere else, if possible.

I know you want an island and you need a lot of storage. Could the school room be downstairs? Maybe have a satellite school area in the small office space? I know you want to see the kids from the kitchen, but that would give you more room for laundry, bathroom and maybe a mud room.

    Bookmark   April 16, 2014 at 11:03PM
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I guess that would be something to ask the builder doing the quotes. :)

I'm sure there will be some school stuff stored in the basement that is not currently being used, but I would really prefer to have everything for the current year in one place, or at least on one level. We mainly use those computer stations, a table and the couch.

Yes, I would LOVE an actual mud room instead of just a hall.

    Bookmark   April 19, 2014 at 10:16AM
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I was looking at the basement do you plan to use the big open area? Is it for indoor hockey and ping pong, or more of a family room? (We used it for hockey and ping pong!)

    Bookmark   April 19, 2014 at 10:27AM
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