Plan and elevation for review!

Dan.HApril 1, 2014

Getting close to finishing our plan, appreciate any feedback!

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other views

    Bookmark   April 1, 2014 at 8:08PM
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first floor

    Bookmark   April 1, 2014 at 8:09PM
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second floor

    Bookmark   April 1, 2014 at 8:10PM
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Upstairs, the hall bath needs only one sink. Even if the playroom becomes a bedroom, they'll rarely be in there at the same time. Counter space will be more appreciated. In the master bath, put the shower door on the side, not the end, so you can reach your towel...if those walls are drywall, not glass. Be sure to put sola tubes in the hall and master baths and laundry, maybe even in the hall, for natural light.

Downstairs, what is the door under the stairs? A basement? How about passage to the study? I love flow and secret passageways.

    Bookmark   April 1, 2014 at 10:19PM
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Sophie Wheeler

Completely overwrought exterior. Just way too many materials being used and too many gables. The old man pants hiked up under the nipples high floodline of stone is especially inauthentic and adds expense without adding a thing to the design. The jogs in the garage don't disguise the fact that it is a garage. They add expense without return in aesthetics or functionality. The gable attempts a stab at symmetry and fails. It's balance that should be strived for, not symmetry.

The pantry needs to go in the mudroom family entry complex. The island needs a prep sink. The downstairs powder room needs a shower at least for futureproofing, and so the study can serve as a guest room. The dining area seems small proportionally, but it's difficult to read the dimensions. The upstairs needs one good shared bath rather than two awkward semi jack and jill baths.

Overall, this is a home designed with a disconnect between the interior and exterior, rather than an organic plan where the two were designed in interactive harmony.

    Bookmark   April 2, 2014 at 8:06AM
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What do you do for a living?

    Bookmark   April 2, 2014 at 10:13AM
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I like your house plan. I think you should go ahead and use a pocket door on the first floor half bath or at least make it swing out to the hall. Your big shower in the Master Bath will be nice. I think your exterior will be nice too. Good luck, I hope you are building soon.

    Bookmark   April 2, 2014 at 10:46AM
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First floor:
The wall between porch and garage should continue until it meets the kitchen wall then you have more area to include the pantry and you also will have fewer bumps in the garage but it'll be best to just continue the kitchen wall all the way to the front.
Second floor:
The bedroom closet (bottom right) is too narrow.
The toilet enclosure is too narrow.
The master bathroom deserves a window.
Ask your designer to figure out a way to improve these things.

You only have 13 risers. You need 14 for a 8' ceiling and 16 for a 9' ceiling (first floor).
I doubt you will have room for transoms if your ceiling is 8'.
You have 3 different kind of gables out of 4 (front elev). That is two much.
Get rid of the stone or use stone at the chimney, plus what holly said.

    Bookmark   April 2, 2014 at 11:27AM
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I was thinking that the current pantry placement works pretty well, with easy access to food and small appliances and extra/oversize dishes and paper towels during meal preparation and dining. In my house, a pantry near the family entry would find the odd boot or tennis racquet or weird batteries sneaking in. I understand the thinking behind putting it near the entry, for ease in putting away groceries, but how often do you shop for non-perishables? And I don't want to clog the entry putting things away, sorting through perishable/non-perishable mixed in a bag (common when there's a new bagger at the store) while people are still coming in the house.

For the bottom right bedroom, could you turn the bathroom so it runs along the right-hand wall, and make the closet a walk-thru to get to the bathroom? Gives a little more shoulder-space.

The open entry seems like it'll be rather shaft-like, 6' wide and 19' high, and it's a tight U turn at the top of the stairs. Imagine carrying a dresser or even luggage through there. Can you swap the stairs over to the front of the house, and have one turn, so it ends up at an open landing? The playroom would move to the right, abutting the right hand bedroom. The study would adjoin the living room.

    Bookmark   April 2, 2014 at 1:33PM
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My wife really wants to have 2 sinks in the hall bath, the house she grew up in was set up this way and she and her sibling used it together regularly. Regarding the master bath, we don’t have the details drawn, but we were thinking about having the shower nozzles shooting from the left wall towards the right wall (enough space for two showers next to each other). There will also be rain heads mounted from the ceiling. If we go with this configuration, we would not want to have the door on the right wall, but I am open to other designs. Where would you mount the shower nozzles if you placed the door on the right side?

Regarding the solatubes, that is a great idea! I just looked them up and I think this would be a good addition.
The door under the stairs will lead to the basement stairs. Having a second door leading into the study may interfere with planned built in bookshelves, but I will bring it up to the designer!

Also, how wide would you suggest making the front entry way if we stay with the current stair configuration?

Too many materials? There are two, siding and stone. Nearly every new home has a mixture of stone and siding and I think it looks nice. To each his own.

I’m not sure I understand your old man pants comment, are you saying that you don’t like the stone coming up above the bottom of the windows? Would you rather have it aligned with the bottom of the windows?
If we get rid of the small gable on the garage the front of the garage looks very plain. We tried a few things and the small center gable looked the best to us. Do you have any other suggestions for the garage?

I disagree with your pantry placement, we want it in the kitchen, not in the mudroom complex. This works better for the way we live.

The dining area is 15’ wide, we have measured several tables and this appears to be plenty.

The nice part to an inswing door is that we can leave it slightly open when not in use so it is easy to tell when it is occupied. If we use an outswing door, we would likely have to leave it closed at all times so it is not protruding out into the hall. Maybe the pocket door is the best of both worlds??

The problem with continuing the kitchen wall to the front of the house is the loss of garage depth (and increase in finished square footage which costs $$). I could expand the front half of the house ~1 foot into the garage. This would allow me to increase the width of the entryway, addressing the entryway width concerns that bpathome mentions. What do you think?

On the second floor, what width would your recommend for the toilet enclosure? Any ideas on how to add a window to the master bathroom? We would love to have one but it doesn’t seem possible due to the garage roof.

I don’t see 3 different kinds of gables on the front? The porch gable has a different pitch, we could change that to match the other gables.

Where on the front of the house would you use stone?
The first floor has 9’ ceilings, I will discuss with the builder about the number of risers.

    Bookmark   April 2, 2014 at 9:32PM
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For the entry, What if you move the mudroom and powder room to the right into the garage a foot or more? Looks like you have the space. But I'm just thinking that, among my friends with similar double height entries, it's hard to decorate, hard to heat, and feels like an elevator shaft. That's what they tell me, anyway.

In the dining room, the length is fine, but it's only 7' wide at the LR wall. Is that enough for a dining table,and room to walk around, around the island, into the pantry, etc.?

I'm not educated on reading materials on elevations. Is that shingles on the gables and the garage bump out?

For the upstairs bath, is the double sink for two+ kids? Do you plan to use the playroom as a bedroom eventually? My boys are never in the bathroom at the same time, and I'd rather have more drawers for their stuff than two sinks.

Re the stairs, in my house they come down to a wall, and there are always handprints and smudges down there where people ricochet off. No, really. You have a window at the top (so handorints are easily spritzed off) but just think about it, that's all I'm saying.

    Bookmark   April 2, 2014 at 10:40PM
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The toilet enclosure is hardly 2'6" now (without drywall). It should be 3' wide.
Yes you will increase finished sf but you will also simplify foundation. At least you should make the wall between porch and garage, straight.
The stairs is something "major". Is the house going to be in the country?

    Bookmark   April 2, 2014 at 10:59PM
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Re the master shower, I can't speak to the shower heads, I'm just worried about drying off when I step out! Where will you hang your towel? And you step out right in front of the bedroom door. I'm sure you'll close it, but still...and the little rug for your tootsies, is it the same one you're walking across every time you go in and out of the bathroom?

Are you planning on a door in the shower, or just a doorway? I hope it's a door!

    Bookmark   April 2, 2014 at 11:30PM
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Dan - It looks to me like you have siding, shingles in the dormers and stone on your facade. Many homes are built with this look but I personally think it's very hard to pull off.

Presumably you will have three different colors in your materials (siding, shingles and stone) plus a roof color, a trim color and a door color.

When you start using all those different colors, you'll have complicated undertone issues. Sample materials that look like they coordinate will change in the sunlight and also change when placed next to other colors.

I spent hours looking for the perfect tan trim color for my brick house. When the painter painted the first few windows I was devastated because the combination of bright sunlight and brick made my trim look pink! I stopped everything and ran back to the paint store and ate the cost of the pink paint.

You will be trying to coordinate siding, stone, shingles, roof, trim and door color. You will have five different colors on the front of your house. Plus three different textures. You won't have the luxury of running back to store if one of these nine moving parts doesn't work out.

This post was edited by deee on Thu, Apr 3, 14 at 9:01

    Bookmark   April 3, 2014 at 8:13AM
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RE master bath window: It can trade place with the master closet. then you have a lot of options for the window placement

    Bookmark   April 3, 2014 at 8:21AM
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Hey guys, some great suggestions!

I think moving the mudroom and powder room to the right into the garage a foot is a good idea, it will open up the entry way nicely. I have this one the list to discuss with our designer during our next session.

We have placed dining room tables in the virtual space and it seems to work well. I have attached an interior picture below so that you can an idea of what the interior layout will look like. Our cabinets will go to the ceiling, but the picture is fairly representative of where we are today.

Regarding the master shower, I see your concern now with the towel hanger and the rug to step out onto. Thanks for pointing this out! I think we may need to reconfigure the shower with the side door like you mentioned.

You are right, the toilet enclosure does appear too narrow. I’m not sure how that one slipped past us, we will put it on the list for the next meeting! The house will be on a ½ acre lot in a subdivision, with the rear facing a wooded ravine.
Instead of switching the master bath and closet, what about adding skylights or solatubes to get the natural light that we want?
The stairs will certainly need to be discussed, I am hoping that the treads shown in the plan are just “representative” and there really is space for 16 tread like we need.

Yes, there will be shingle and lap siding, but they will be the same color. All trim will be white and the roof will be black. I have attached a picture below so you can get an idea of what the exterior looks like from a street perspective and in color! Let me know what you think!

    Bookmark   April 3, 2014 at 9:01AM
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Picture of the exterior in color. We extended the porch to allow a space to have a swinging bench and also deleted two windows from the garage.

    Bookmark   April 3, 2014 at 9:03AM
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View of the interior. Cabinets will be extended to the ceiling.

    Bookmark   April 3, 2014 at 9:05AM
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I've had solatubes and they do provide great light, you can even include the bathroom fan and a light bulb in it, but a view of a wooded ravine from your bathroom is priceless.

    Bookmark   April 3, 2014 at 9:36AM
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RE stairs:
That is what I thought, too. I usually can dimension by just looking at the proportions but to make sure, I scaled it. There is no way he can fit 16 risers/steps in that space. I want to see his magic, it will be interesting. Please keep me posted, I want to learn from your builder how to do magic - or maybe I am overlooking something.

    Bookmark   April 3, 2014 at 10:40AM
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Is there a reason there are no windows on the left side downstairs and just 2 small ones upstairs? Maybe there is a view you're trying to block? If not, I'd add windows in the study, living room, and the bedroom (between the chimney and the corner.)

    Bookmark   April 3, 2014 at 11:30AM
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Dan, the post with the elevation colors filled in looks good. I'm not crazy about the stone but many people like it so ....

If you LOVE the stone, you can stop reading right now. If you are using it because everyone else is, ask the architect to do a version without the stone. Perhaps leave the stone on the columns to help draw the focus to the entrance. IMO, removing the stone will give you a more classic look, And as the house ages it won't be identified with the 2000's craftsman revival style that so many are building right now.

I'm not a professional decorator or designer or architect. But, I've moved a lot and updated many fixer uppers. I've been successful but I've made some mistakes too, especially when I jumped on a design bandwagon.

    Bookmark   April 3, 2014 at 9:20PM
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Another post brought me back to your laundry room. The dryer vent will be long, and do you plan to hire someone to clean the duct occasionally? It seems like it'd be hard to do yourself, especially at the exit point.

    Bookmark   April 4, 2014 at 11:44AM
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The reason the stone is 'inauthentic' (for me, not speaking for holly) is that a home built with real stone (not the fake, paste on stuff) would use it as a foundation with the stick home built on top of the foundation. No one would build a stone foundation (or a poured foundation, for that matter) above the window line like that ('old man pants') and then start building the wood house. In other words, if your home's real foundation (poured, block, etc.) were exposed and the paste on stone were applied to pretty it up, it would look 'authentic' in that sense. I think that looks very appealing and even more so if the lot drops away in the back to a walk out with much more foundation and applied stone exposed. In the same way, in another post, someone showed their garage door topped with a thin wood lintel and above that the paste on stone. That could not be done with real masonry because the wood lintel would not support it. Small details but they lend to the cohesiveness and timeliness of the appearance.

I agree with deee - try a version with stone only used for the base of the columns and, in my opinion, covering the foundation, if it's exposed. I also agree that the full siding look down to the foundation line is classic. Another option would be to use stone around the front entrance going all the way up to the roof of the covered porch. Many of the homes I see in this forum with the high stone line are going to look very dated in 10 years.

Other than that, and maybe skipping all the garage bump outs and extra garage gable, the color front elevation is very attractive.

This post was edited by DreamingoftheUP on Fri, Apr 4, 14 at 20:04

    Bookmark   April 4, 2014 at 7:27PM
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I strongly agree that you should eliminate the gable over the garage. It doesn't belong and throws off the balance of the exterior.

    Bookmark   April 4, 2014 at 10:39PM
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i think the house plan was very well designed. also, the front elevation looks very good (in my opinion).

I do like the "wainscoting" look for the stone. we are doing something similar with our build. it is indeed personal preference and some like it and some do not. all that matters is that YOU like it and not somebody else trying to tell you different.

good luck!

    Bookmark   April 5, 2014 at 8:52AM
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The extra-tall first floor windows are ill-conceived and are in opposition to the rest of the facade. They are anti-"craftsman era". Robert A.M. Stern could get away with using them, but your designer has not made them work. (Of course your draughtsman is also OK with the stone kilt/girdle). The windows need to read as horizontal, not so proudly erect and vertical.

    Bookmark   April 5, 2014 at 10:41AM
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I'm afraid I'm with the others concerning the exterior: It's "too much". I can't say exactly what should be done, but it does seem to be one of those cases of, Know when to say when.

Other thoughts:

I don't see the point in a 3+ garage -- and I'd flatten it out to save money. The bumpy-bumps don't really add anything to the house.

I like the casual entrance /mudroom /half bath . . . except that I would remove the door from that closet inside the mudroom. A mudroom is already essentially a closet. I'd make that open storage for simplicity.

I don't like that you have to walk all the way through the kitchen to reach the pantry. It'd be good if you could move the pantry over to the entry area.

I like the layout of the kitchen /living /dining areas. Nicely proportioned and comfortable.

Neither of the two secondary baths has adequate storage at the sink. I've lived with that tiny sink in the towards-the-front bath, and I hated it -- barely space for a toothbrush holder, no space for drawers, nowhere for a curling iron or an electric razer to sit. The larger secondary bath has enough space to adequately house one sink, not two. Storage is always important.

The closet in the most-forward bedroom is going to be a problem. I think I'm reading it as 4'3". Allow 2' for the clothing to hang, and you only have 27" walking space.

I agree that the dryer vent will be a problem.

Would I want that linen closet to face into the hall as shown . . . or into the laundry room? I don't know.

In the master, I like the extra-deep shower -- are you going door-less? But I hate the too-small toilet enclosure. The toilet'll already be rather private down on the end of the bathroom; I'd skip the claustrophobic enclosure. This would also make the toilet area much easier to clean.

I like that the playroom could potentially be another bedroom -- either for your family, or for resale.

    Bookmark   April 5, 2014 at 4:05PM
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DreamingoftheUP and frozenelves8: Below is my rough rendering of what it would look like without the garage gable and associated bump out. I think I like it with the gable better but it was worth looking at.

    Bookmark   April 6, 2014 at 3:11PM
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deee and DreamingoftheUP: Below is my rough rendering of what it would look like without the stone on the bottom. Again, worth looking at, but I think I like it with the stone better.

    Bookmark   April 6, 2014 at 3:22PM
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chicagoans: I think we will add windows on the the side of the study, but the living room will have built-ins along the left wall and therefore no windows.

bpathome: I think I can handle the dryer vent cleaning. The one we currently have is also very long and I recently cleaned it out without too much trouble.

sombreuil_mongrel: In our area, windows with transoms on top of very popular on craftsman style homes.

stblgt: Thank you, i think we have very similar taste!

MrsPete: We own 3 cars, hence the 3 car garage. Removing the door from the mudroom closet is a good idea! And yes, the shower will be doorless. I think 27" to walk along a row of clothes seems reasonable, especially for a kids room.

    Bookmark   April 6, 2014 at 3:40PM
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For the kids closet, remember they are not kids for long, soon enough they'll be borrowing your shirts...or outgrowing them. 27" is okay for walking along, but to stand there facing hangers poking at you and pick something out, try it on, put it back (oh wait, it's kids, it'll go on the floor) is not so pleasant. If you put in an organizer with drawers, there isn't room to stand in front of the drawer and open it.

    Bookmark   April 6, 2014 at 5:09PM
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I agree with those who think there are too many front facing gables in too many different sizes on the front of the house. I actually think it would be a very pretty house with no front facing gables or maybe just one on the porch over the front door.

If you put stone on the front why not use it like it would have been used structurally, which is at the foundation level or water table level at the very base of the house and no higher.

I know that we get used to seeing all these gables and stone used clearly as ornament where, if it was real stone in would not be structurally possible, but I think what we get Used to seeing isn't necessarily the nicest looking or most natural looking option. There are many Renaissance paintings of people with goiters, because the people in that area had goiters because they were iodine deficient, but a goiter wasn't necessarily a mark of beauty in the painting just a common condition.

The front elevation could be much simpler and still handsome.

    Bookmark   April 6, 2014 at 9:32PM
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I like the gable-less garage minus the stone on the one below it. Maybe throw in an additional garage window. But that's me. You have to do what YOU like, since you will be living in it and driving up to it every day.

    Bookmark   April 7, 2014 at 7:51AM
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One of the concepts I learned about in design school is Emphasis. Technically it was in a lighting course, but the idea was that if everything was lit evenly the result was very flat: "If you light everything, you light nothing" (This is a whole 'nother mistake in modern construction but that's a different thread).

By the same token if multiple areas of a façade are emphasized, the result can be an overly-complicated but still "flat" façade. Here every set of paired or major windows, and the door, which is the other major opening are emphasized by different sized front facing gables. The result is that there is no real focal point for the façade.

From a functional aspect you are also funneling rain water down into a valley right over the window over the front door and onto another peak in front of the window.(and that gable is oddly off-center to the window even though the door and window appear to be centered on each other. (?)

    Bookmark   April 7, 2014 at 10:17AM
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Much better without the "wader" stone look and without the garage gable.

Removing the garage gable makes the eye now move clearly to the front door and the focus becomes more on the house portion than the garage side.

I would consider doing stone only where it would naturally be occurring. Either along the foundation only or whole walls of stone. Otherwise it just looks off to me. I don't really know how to explain the feeling, but it just looks like it doesn't belong. I'm guessing that is because in my mind it isn't built right as others have alluded to how stone really would be used. I have an area on our house where the stone ends in an odd to me spot. Eventually we'll add stone across to match as it bothers my eye everyday I drive up to the house.

That said though, we do have the "wader" look on our shop. Couldn't figure out a way to get it approved with stone placed in the right spots and still look ok. One gable, would have made it look odd as it is visible from many sides.

In the end though it is all about what you like.

    Bookmark   April 7, 2014 at 12:01PM
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I fall in the "anti stone for for the heck of it" camp. When I look at a house with a 3 foot stripe of fake rocks, it makes me sad. As a matter of fact, I recently had a lively discussion about it with our architect and my husband. We must have a certain percentage of stone to appease the neighborhood approvers-- even if the stone makes no architectural sense ... go figure. Anyway. When I look at your front I wonder if the front porch is raised at all? If so, I would totally beef up the porch, the front steps, and the pillars with stone. That is the direction I am currently heading -- so I am biased of course. Good luck.

    Bookmark   April 7, 2014 at 7:02PM
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Exterior update: The "eyebrows" on the 2nd story gables have been deleted. Siding has been changed to all shakes rather than the mixture of the shake and lap siding. Still debating the stone, but we are leaning towards using it on the foundation only.

    Bookmark   April 10, 2014 at 8:48PM
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First floor update: Entry is 1 foot wider. Stairs have been adjusted, there are now 16 treads. Door from the living room to the study has been added. Window has been added at the top of the basement stairs. Pocket door has been added to the powder room.

    Bookmark   April 10, 2014 at 8:56PM
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Second floor update: Master bathroom water closet is now 3 ft wide.

    Bookmark   April 10, 2014 at 9:01PM
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It looks like the playroom wall in the front of the house does not line up with the study wall below, but juts out by a foot. Similarly, the back walls don't line up, by a foot on the left bedroom side, and 3 feet on the master bedroom side.

Meanwhile, you have a lot of living space over the garage, which isn't inherently bad - but you have 15 feet of bedroom sticking out over the bedroom, with no structural walls underneath. I think you'll either need a significant set of beams or a wall in the garage, to support the second level.

I understand the garage sticking out in front of the house - the roof line extends over the porch. But I don't get why the mudroom and bedroom need to be bumped out (the bedroom can steal a little space from the laundry), or why there is a bumpout on the garage. All of those little bumps - especially upstairs - make for a busy, confused look.

You have a lot of activity at the exterior with the columns and gables - I don't think you need all the extra bumps.

    Bookmark   April 11, 2014 at 1:59PM
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Messy rendering of less gables

    Bookmark   April 11, 2014 at 4:27PM
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Without the stone and too tall windows on the bottom. Still needs some work, but this is a MUCH path to go down. I'd personally pull the whole right half of the house back so the porch could continue across the whole front.

This post was edited by live_wire_oak on Fri, Apr 11, 14 at 17:32

    Bookmark   April 11, 2014 at 5:30PM
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Sophie Wheeler

It's a MUCH better looking home without all of the gables and stone high waist. No one wears every piece of jewelry in their box when leaving the house, so why do so many people feel it necessary to over ornament a house?

    Bookmark   April 12, 2014 at 10:44AM
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