Please review my elevation and floorplan!

lindsay221May 2, 2012

My husband and I will be starting our build soon. We wanted to run our elevation and floorplan by the experts here at GW.

A little about us.....we're both 30, no kids. We most likely do not plan on having kids. We both enjoy cooking, so we wanted a nice open kitchen/family room area.

Eventually, we plan on finishing the basement and will have another bedroom and full bathroom down there. The house is just about 3000 sq. ft. We're going for a very traditional, colonial looking house. We plan on this being our 'forever house'.

Comments/suggestions please!

First Floor:

Second Floor:

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Overall, it looks like very nice plan. A few things you may want to think about...

A full bath on the first floor if this is your forever house... there will be a day when you cannot manage the stairs, and the study could become the bedroom. Perhaps you have planned for elevator access to the basement?

Where will you put the TV in the family room? I suggest drawing the room to scale with your furniture. You may find you need little more room since some of the furniture will need to float away from the walls.

I would swap the closets for the laundry with the closet for BR #3. This will give you more wall space in BR 3 for furniture and will allow you to hang things in the laundry closet when you take them out of the dryer. You may even be able to have a "folding shelf" in the laundry closet for folding.

I am assuming the banquette area will be your only breakfast area table. There will not be room for another int he 8' area. I would actually consider rearranging the kitchen a bit so you can take advantage of this breakfast space that will be empty.

Best wishes!

    Bookmark   May 2, 2012 at 10:39AM
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I didn't see a stove or dish washer in the kitchen. I would take your kitchen plan to the kitchen forum for critique. If you both enjoy cooking, like you say you do, you will need more than an open kitchen - you will need one laid out correctly to make it the most functional. You will need to look at the three main zones - clean up, prep, and cooking.

    Bookmark   May 2, 2012 at 10:58AM
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Thanks for the comments! We'll definitely need to consider having a full bathroom downstairs...hadn't really thought of it. The TV will be mounted above the fireplace in the family room. We're in the process now of trying to figure out how to lay out the FR furniture. Something I forgot to mention, for bedrooms 2 and 3 one window from each room will be removed. Like you Momto3kiddos, we realized we'd have a tough time placing the bed as is, so the windows on the 13'2" wall and the 11'6" wall will not be there. We are also considering doing slightly larger windows for the master bedroom. The banquette will be the only breakfast table; however, we will have 3 stools at the island. We are just starting to develop our kitchen design. I've spent more hours than I care to admit pouring over the posts in the kitchen forum! The drawing above isn't totally accurate for the kitchen. The fridge will actually be in the area that connects to the butler's pantry. Clean up zone will be in the area where the main sink is (the 10'6" wall). The dishwasher will also be in that area. The island will be used for prep. Cooking (range, microwave, warming drawer) will be on the 11'6" side. Once we get a better idea of how/where we plan on storing everything in the kitchen, we'll post the plan to the kitchen forum!

    Bookmark   May 2, 2012 at 11:23AM
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Something to think about when mounting a television over a fireplace---do you like craning your neck to watch television? For some people, this isn't a big deal. For my husband and myself, this is a deal breaker. :)

About the banquette. I am not a big fan of banquettes because everyone has to get up so people can access the inside seats. If it's just you and your husband and you never have kids or "casual dinner" guests, it's probably fine.

    Bookmark   May 2, 2012 at 12:07PM
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I wouldn't like having to walk through the mudroom to access the only bath on the first floor. Nor would I like to direct my guests through the mudroom to get to the bathroom.

This is a huge house for 2 people, which is totally fine, but if you are building it with 3 bedrooms with resale in mind (in the far future), then you need to figure out how to get that 1/2 bath on the first floor out of the far side of the mudroom... A family would not keep the mudroom like a couple of adults would. And, so tidiness is a huge consideration for this layout.

    Bookmark   May 2, 2012 at 1:56PM
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Kirkhall - we thought about putting the half bath in the middle of the floor plan but thought that if we ever did sell people would think that the kids could be outside playing and they wouldn't have to run through the house just to use the bathroom. We definitely stressed over that.

Thanks for the input!

    Bookmark   May 2, 2012 at 2:49PM
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If, like me, you sometimes toss a load of laundry into the wash right before going to bed, you might want to consider moving the washer and dryer so that they're not right up against your master bedroom wall.

Also, with your steep roof and those attic dormers, you should have a lot of potentially useful space in the attic. However you only have a teeny tiny attic access hatch that is positioned to make it practically impossible to even install a fold down ladder to reach up there. I'd want attic stairs so that that space COULD potentially be turned into living space some day. At the very least, reposition the attic hatch so that you can fit in a fold-down ladder.

    Bookmark   May 2, 2012 at 3:09PM
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I personally don't have a problem sending guests through a potentially messy mudroom to use the bathroom. My floorplan is similar, for the same reason (a bathroom that can be quickly accessed from garage/outside without removing shoes.)

I think it depends on what kind of guests you plan on entertaining, and if you'd be embarrassed (or they'd be offended) by a messy mudroom. My thought is if someone doesn't like my messy mudroom, they can show their disgust by never visiting me again. :P

    Bookmark   May 2, 2012 at 3:11PM
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I think it looks like a good plan. My only thought was the same as Kirkhall...I would rather my three kids run through the house than have my guests ever have to go through my messy mudroom to get to the bathroom :-) But, that's just me.

By the way, we have our t.v. above our fireplace but the fireplace itself sits low so we won't be craning our neck.

    Bookmark   May 2, 2012 at 3:12PM
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I ditto Kirkhall's point on the half-bath location. Is it a huge deal? No, but you said yourself you don't plan on kids so having it in back for them near the yard is moot. Even having kids myself, I would rather the powder be centrally located on main floor near the family room and for guests.

Also, consider a tub / shower for the 2nd bathroom upstairs, and perhaps make it a Jack/Jill layout if there's room.

I really like the downstairs flow and layout other than the powder room. Very efficient without much wasted space, yet seems roomy and comfortable.

    Bookmark   May 2, 2012 at 4:02PM
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Thanks so much for the comments everyone! This is so helpful. Ok so.....the 1/2 bath placement was definitely something we went back and forth over. Eventually we decided on the current location because we thought it made the most sense for us (i.e. coming in from gardening in the back yard, etc.). To be honest, we didn't think a whole lot about resale when designing the house with the architect (maybe we should have?). We're both very neat, so keeping the mudroom tidy won't be a problem for us! We did 3 bedrooms because we have family and friends who live out of town, so we needed guest rooms. We did change the shower in the second bath to a shower/tub combo. Bevangel, good point about the washer/dryer beside the master. We're planning on doing sound insulation for the laundry room. Hopefully that takes care of it. The TV above the fireplace is definitely something we're concerned about, but there's no where else to put it. We're planning on getting a mount that tilts, so hopefully that helps. Cbusmomof3, do you know how high off the ground your TV is? By the way, I've been following the progress of your house. Everything looks gorgeous! You must be so excited. One of our main concerns with the plan is something Momto3kiddos brought up....the 8' foot space between the kitchen island and the start of the family room. Intially, the architect drew the plan so the house was one big rectangle (with no bump out for the banquette). He had the family room, breakfast area, and kitchen in a line. I didn't like it and felt it was too crowded. I love banquettes, so we had him add one, allowing us to have the breakfast area off to the side. We now have 8' of 'open space'. The architect wasn't concerned about this space at all, indicating that this is how you come into the house. You walk through the foyer into the great room and you want some space in between the kitchen and the family room. On paper, I'm ok with this space for the most part. My husband is more concerned than I am. He's afraid that once we're actually in the house, this space will feel awkward. What does everyone think? Do you think this is cause for concern?

    Bookmark   May 3, 2012 at 8:56AM
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It probably depends on how connected you want the kitchen and family room to feel. If you're standing near the range/sink, you'll be pretty far away from the TV or someone on the couch. Would be hard to hold a conversation without shouting, for instance. Some people want the rooms to feel more connected so Mom can feel part of what's going on in family room while Dad/kids watch TV or talk in the Den. OR vice versa.

I think in this instance, the extra space will be fine and the open room will be ok. As your architect said, you enter the big room and aren't crowded or on top of furniture/island chairs right away. For parties this extra room will really pay dividends. I would be sure your electrical plan accounts for den's floating furniture/lamps. You'll want floor outlets near your side tables for this.

    Bookmark   May 3, 2012 at 9:34AM
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I think your house is lovely, and that you and your husband will enjoy living there! In my opinion that 8 feet is nothing to worry about and will add to the general sense of openness without sacrificing coziness. I like the banquet because you have other options for formal dining (the dining room) and casual (the island). And how fun is a bench by the window! Cozy, yet open.

My only question is about the powder room, but I'm torn. It is definitely important for guests to have easy access to a powder room when you're entertaining. And you or your husband will likely want to access the only bathroom on the main floor :) But I personally prefer a powder room that doesn't open directly into public spaces (like the living room or kitchen). And, I like the idea of having convenience to your garden (we are big gardeners too). So, I vote yes on the current location given that you're neat and feel comfortable sending your guests through that passageway.

    Bookmark   May 3, 2012 at 11:54AM
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Sophie Wheeler

A 3 car garage? With only 2 people living there? I understand having more vehicles than a 2 car garage can absorb, but this is a little out of proportion to the rest of the home. And it should NOT bump forward of the main house with a cross gable facing the street. The gable should be inline with the main house and set back from the main body of the house. I would just have the rear of it align with the rear of the main home body and that would recess it enough from the front to be more architecturally acceptable. If you want to have a dormer popping out of the inline gable to the house, that would be fine, but the gable face of an "addition" on a Colonial style home should always be in line with the main house.

The portico is also much too large an ornate. Eliminate the "wings". It will look more appropriate and save you money.

Think about flipping the run of the stairs in order to fit a bath partially under them for the "study" and it can become a downstairs bedroom for you as you age. That would also potentially give you a larger opening and connection with the dining space, which would be great for those gatherings. No one, but especially a family of two, needs 3 spaces dedicated to eating. If you create a better connection with the DR, then you don't need the breakfast area. And, if you have more space in the breakfast area and an expandable table, then you don't need the dining room. Pick one of those scenarios and eliminate one of those spaces. You can use the extra square footage for the study/downstairs master or to reconfigure the mudroom/kitchen traffic pattern to work better.

    Bookmark   May 3, 2012 at 1:34PM
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"A 3 car garage? With only 2 people living there?"

"No one, but especially a family of two, needs 3 spaces dedicated to eating."

Really? You are qualified to tell other people how to live their lives and spend their money?

I don't think the OP said they wanted to shrink the house or the budget. The OP seems to know what they want in their future home and why they want it.

    Bookmark   May 3, 2012 at 2:32PM
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Hollysprings, DH and I are in our late 50's early 60's with no kids and no grandkids. However, we designed our home with a breakfast nook that will seat 8, a kitchen "bar" that easily accommodates 5 barstools, plus a large section of our great room that we refer to as the "dining area" even though we have yet to purchase a dining table for it. ALL of that space gets used regularly because we throw lots of parties for friends AND I have a large family (Dad & stepmother, 3 brothers & 2 stepbrothers and their families, plus assorted aunts, uncles and cousins) that tends to gather at my home for holidays.

At Christmas, I wound up putting a 4x8 sheet across the top of two card tables in the dining room so that I could seat 10 adults and two infants in high chairs at that table. The rest of the adults and kids were seated at the breakfast nook, at the bar, and at a third card table in the dining room. I am delighted that I have room in my home for almost 30 people to gather for a sit down dinner and all eat at the same time. Thank you very much.

And, in addition to those 3 spaces dedicated to eating, DH and I also have a picnic table on our screened porch where the two of us sometimes take our dinner in the spring and fall so we can enjoy the breeze and listen to the birds. So I guess that means the two of us actually have FOUR spaces dedicated to dining. No wait, I also have TV trays upstairs in the TV where we sometime eat while watching a movie. Does that make it 5??? Does the front porch swing where I sometimes sit and have my lunch count as a 6th eating space?

The truth is, none of us NEED 90% of the stuff we have and enjoy. When I was a kid, Mom, Dad, and my 3 brothers and I lived for over a year in a 12x32ft 2bedroom 1bath single-wide trailer and we survived quite nicely. So clearly, when my folks built their first home (1600 sq ft, with 3 bedrooms, and 1 and 3/4baths and a den and separate living room, they must have been building more than we NEEDED. When my Dad was growing up, he and 4 brothers and sisters lived with their parents in a two room home that had neither electricity nor plumbing and they all survived. And then there are folks in third world countries that squeeze 2 and 3 families into a single room. So obviously, even my grandparent's 2 room home was more than they really NEEDED.

For most of us Americans - and certainly for everyone posting on this forum on Gardenweb, it long ago stopped being about NEED and started being about what we want most and can afford to purchase.

Hollysprings, I respect your opinions and understand that you are attempting to be helpful. However, if you think people may not be making wise choices, perhaps you might try bringing up the issues by asking something like, "given that there are just the 2 of you, do you really want to spend the money to have 3 spaces dedicated to eating?" That way, perhaps no one will wind up feeling that you're being insulting or setting yourself up as an expert on what other people "need" and how they should live their lives and spend their money. Just a suggestion.

    Bookmark   May 3, 2012 at 5:13PM
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I have to respectfully disagree with Hollysprings, too. I know you said you weren't too terribly concerned with resale, but for many families, lack of a three car garage is a deal breaker. In fact, lack of storage, including in the garage, was the reason we had to move.

Your floor plan is VERY similar to mine and now that we're almost finished, I can tell it was the perfect floor plan for us. Like you, I didn't want the three areas in a line, so I have my breakfast table off to the side as well. That 8' between the family room and kitchen will not feel like an overwhelming space when it's just the two of you, but you will LOVE it when you entertain. The flow will be wonderful.

Apparently I should have said "our fireplace sits on the floor", but I just couldn't remember exactly. Here's a picture...obviously, it's gas and not wood burning. It's also a direct vent, which I'm fine with, because I've dealt with enough leaky chimneys!

Three dining areas? I have the same set up and I went back and forth. We host the big holiday meals enough that we ultimately decided it was worth it, if only for a few times a year. If I didn't have that extra space at the holidays, I know I'd regret it.

I think you're doing great and I think you've designed a house that will work for families with or without kids! Can't wait to see your progress!!

    Bookmark   May 3, 2012 at 9:38PM
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I'm guessing this is a brick house. The hipped porch roof will require expensive step flashing along the slope and it must be done very skillfully with a material that is compatible with brick mortar and whatever metal is used on the roof. And the rowlock sill over the porch roof is much too low for the flashing to work properly. Don't crowd changes in materials or they will surely leak.

    Bookmark   May 3, 2012 at 9:59PM
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Wow....thanks so much everyone for the supportive comments. Who knew 2 people having 3 eating areas and a 3 car garage could be so controversial!? And thanks for quenching my concerns about that 8 ft. between the kitchen and FR. I really do think it will be great for entertaining. We are so excited at the idea of hosting family gatherings and actually having room for everyone! Sowega, very good point about the floor outlets in the FR. I'm adding this to my "don't forget" list! Cbusmomof3, thanks for posting the pic of your beautiful fireplace. Our set-up will be very similar (direct vent on the floor, TV above the mantle). Can you tell me what color stain you're using on your floors? We're also thinking of doing 4" white oak. We want a darker stain, but not too dark where we have to sweep 3 times a day! Thanks again everyone! I will most definitely be posting pics of our progress.

    Bookmark   May 4, 2012 at 8:18AM
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I didn't see the big WIC over the garage the first time. That looks fantastic. I wonder if you have room in that transition space between Mstr. Ba and WIC to have a small dressing space? It would be on the right as you walk thru to the WIC. If that won't fit there, could a dressing counter go where the linen closet near the Water closet sits, and put the linens in the hall before WIC?

I say that b/c we created space for a nice dressing counter for my wife in our plans. actually scrapped the tub area to make it happen, b/c she wanted that more than a tub we'd never use.

Also, looks like you may have a storage tower in the middle of your double vanity? I find that look distracting, and may be worth moving the tower to the end of the vanity or eliminating altogether. Seems like there is plenty of storage room for linens/misc. elsewhere in the bath/closet areas. I think the clean look of the double vanity counter as you enter the Bath would be more visually appealing. We went thru this exercise also.

    Bookmark   May 4, 2012 at 9:12AM
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I haven't read all the other responses, but the prep sink directly across from the fridge, means you won't be able to access the sink, anytime the fridge is open. Maybe move that to another area of the island?

Also, a 'forever house' usually has all the necessary areas, on the main floor. This would include the master suite, the laundry, obviously the main living areas and another bathroom, if you don't want to share your bath with guests.

This home is very nice, but looks like a home for a family with children...which you say you're probably not planning to have. I'd reconsider this plan, unless you will be selling the home as you get older...than it's a very nice home and enjoy it for many years! :)

    Bookmark   May 4, 2012 at 12:39PM
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I haven't read everything but I do agree with having the half bath more centrally located, or at least out of the mud room. I would try and rework that area or add the suggested full bath on the study end of the house.

As far as the 8' goes - no worries! My parents' house is set up like that and it is wonderful. Great for parties, no worries with the island being too close to the entrance of the den when people are sitting at the island, plus theirs, like yours, is also a walkway.

I am a bit concerned about your den and furniture placement. I would absolutely do a flush hearth (for space and tv reasons), but I am afraid your den is too narrow to allow for adequate walking space and furniture placement - you need to allow several feet for a walkway when entering a room (I have read 3'6" but you could probably get away with 3'), and your fireplace will take up another several feet.

    Bookmark   May 4, 2012 at 1:07PM
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and if this is your forever house, particularly if you do not plan on having kids, I would definitely put the master bedroom downstairs - maybe in a single story wing behind the den.

    Bookmark   May 4, 2012 at 1:09PM
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