Please review our plans

LaberglundApril 10, 2012


I've posted here a few times before. Below is our plan, almost ready to submit for construction.

To recap, we are building on 5 acres. Currently have 3 small girls, not sure if we will add one more in the future or not.

Yes, we realize the vaulted great room does not appeal to everyone, but we have thought about it, and we've agreed that we like it on this plan.

So, would love your thoughts on this. Thanks!

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It's a good design but I recommend reducing the number of current builder design cliches and saving a some money by eliminating two of the roof gables, centering a more substantial porch post/column, separating paired windows 6+ inches, adding historic window trim/sills, using historic cornice returns, and perhaps shingling the entire house but at least shingling the entire dormer.

    Bookmark   April 11, 2012 at 7:34AM
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I don't see an emergency escape from the basement unless you omitted an exterior basement bulkhead. The interior stair would meet the egress requirement of the IRC but the stair that passes through the garage would not meet the emergency escape requirement.

It appears that the only window in the upstairs bathroom is a small one in the toilet room and the shower appears to be entered from the toilet room. IMHO this bathroom needs to be redesigned. I would raise the roof slope to 9 in 12 in order to use more of the second floor space you already have.

I would also try to avoid roof trusses in order to gain second floor storage space or allow future expansion.

    Bookmark   April 11, 2012 at 7:57AM
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My comments are less about 3d stuff and more about layout:

Master closet door. I realize you can't probably get a pocket door in there (this would be ideal) due to your vanity layout. However, it appears that your closet door will make most of the left side of the closet inaccessible. Perhaps you could do an outswing door there (swing into the bathroom), or do a french pocket door (depending on your plumbing). Also, without the toilet isolated, if you partner is using it, you will not be able to access your closet (at least that is how my spouse and I do it--privacy issues, I suppose).

Powder room door: In your mudroom, your powder room door would be best served by a pocket door. If it must be a swinging door, I'd reverse the swing.

Upstairs, Bedrm2: Rather than swing the door open to walk into a closet wall/corner, I'd consider reversing the door swing here as well, and getting rid of the sharp 90* front corner to that closet. Instead, make the end closet wall 90* from the door wall, meeting the front of the closet wall at a more obtuse angle (less pointy).
The door then, would open against the closet wall (not against the corner of the closet) and you'd be walking into an open room, and not into the closet wall. (Can you picture that?)

Finally, there isn't a reason for a sharp turn upstairs to the other 2 bedrooms. Consider angling the bathroom corner/door, opening that hallway even further and getting rid of the sharp turn/corner created by the wall between sink and bathroom door.

    Bookmark   April 11, 2012 at 11:21AM
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It looks like it has a nice flow.

What size is the master bathroom shower? It looks a bit narrow as it only looks as wide as the toilet is long, which is about 30 inches.

    Bookmark   April 11, 2012 at 8:41PM
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Why a front load garage when you have 5 acres?

I would do 9ft walls on main floor. It will make a big difference.

I like to be able to look out in all directions from inside my house. I would add a window to bed #4, to the right of where the 4 is typed. I would also add a window to bed #2 that faces the left side.

    Bookmark   April 11, 2012 at 10:37PM
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I agree with the other comments. The upstairs bath is pretty horrid and will not work. 4' closets are too deep for reach in but not nearly deep enough for walk ins. There doesn't appear to be enough room in the breakfast area for a real table and still manage a passageway to get outside. The kitchen is overly large for it's lack of functionality. It needs reworking. Entering a closet from a bathroom is offputting. It would be much better to enter a bath/dressing area from a small hallway connecting the two. Stairs in a garage level will likely need to be redesigned or eliminated to meet code. Why put a wart front and central when you have 5 acres. A side load garage is the only type that should be considered, and all of the garage doors should share the same plane. It simplifies the driveway needs and parking. Offset garage areas is a recent affectation that just looks silly and costs extra. If the garage is that ugly (and it is) to need tweaking, then it should be a separate carriage house or a side load.

    Bookmark   April 12, 2012 at 10:12AM
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Why do the upstairs bedroom not have any windows on the right and left elevations? The house seems to be designed for an urban lot. Where did you get the design?

    Bookmark   April 12, 2012 at 10:28AM
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Ok, to answer some of the above questions.

Renovator 8: We do have an egress window drawn into our basement plans. It will basically be drawn under where the stove is on the first floor. The house is a plan that our builder gave us--he's built it twice before. Our lot is much longer than it is wide.

To those concerned with the right and left elevation windows. Really, the only place more that we could put a window in the upstairs bedrooms is bedroom number 4 on the right side. Bedroom 2 shares a wall with the great room, so no window can go there.

I agree with the side load garage idea, but don't know how it would be drawn without redesigning the whole rest of the house. At this point, we're in a time crunch--we need to start our digging ASAP, as our family is in a rental that we need to be out of by November 1st.

I had posted my upstairs plans a few weeks ago, and had help designing the bathroom to have two separate areas for my girls to get ready. One could be showering while the others are getting ready at the sinks in a separate room. I added a link to the original bathroom/second story plan below. Is this a better option?

Would someone be willing to draw out a better layout for the master bathroom/closet area?
How big does the breakfast area need to be in order to accommodate a normal sized table?
And why would the garage/basement access not be code?

Here is a link that might be useful: Original second floor plan

    Bookmark   April 12, 2012 at 11:08AM
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I'm at the start of planning a second story pop-top addition to a small house (survey just completed) and wanted to thank all of you for the useful information you've posted. In theory everything is smooth and logical but in practice...

    Bookmark   April 12, 2012 at 1:33PM
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There appears to be two stairs to the basement. Only one is required for egress in case of fire but an egress path cannot pass through a garage so you will need to get the building inspector to agree that the one in the garage is ancillary and not part of the egress path.

Emergency escape and rescue openings are not part of an egress path so that is a separate requirement unless the opening is a door to the outside at grade that meets all means of egress rules.

Most people want a window on each of two walls of a bedroom for better cross ventilation but I don't know anything about the climate or the site.

    Bookmark   April 12, 2012 at 3:48PM
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