New Plan and Elevation

MikeDelta1May 4, 2012

This is the new plan that I came up with after I was unable to figure out a way to incorporate the changes recommended here. The basement will be unfinished but roughed in. The lot slopes perfectly to do the drive under basement and walk out in the back. The exterior will take cues from the bottom pic and be hardiboard with a brick veneer foundation unless the cultured stone price comes in within reason. The builder has the plan and is giving me a rough estimate before I finalize the plan, so I would like to keep any changes minor and within the current footprint. One thing I'm not sure on is where to place the door from the garage to the mudroom, the builder wants to drop the garage floor a couple of feet, not sure where to put the door because we will need some sort of landing and steps. Do I move it to the right so I have a straight shot from the exterior door which will conflict with the basement door, or move to the left and come around and back up to the landing?

If you see anything else in the plan that doesn't work or could work better I appreciate all criticism.

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One thing that jumped out at me was the lack of windows in the bedrooms along the "righthand" side of the house. Having windows on two walls dramatically changes the nature of the natural light in a room. If this house is going to be built on a lot with a neighboring house in close proximity ti that wall I could understand the decision, but even then, curtains, shades or blinds could provide privacy while still allowing natural light. (caveat - written by an Alaskan for whom every possible bit of natural light is welcomed during the long winter)

    Bookmark   May 4, 2012 at 11:16AM
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Any kids?
You have a very long central hallway that runs right through the middle of the kitchen. While it doesn't technically run through a standing work zone of the kitchen, it would drive me NUTS to have my kids running through my kitchen, which they inevitably would do. Look at that nice long hallway!

I agree on windows. But, I am a Seattle/WWashington person at the moment, and also welcome every ounce of sun.

Also, being Seattle area, I would be concerned about your drainage to your lower garage. That will run water right to your garage foundation/wing down there. Will this be a problem in your area?

    Bookmark   May 4, 2012 at 12:04PM
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I would reconfigure your peninsula. As it stands there is not enough room for stools. You need to allow 4' minimum behind the stools for a walkway. As it is, you can barely get through there even if someone is not sitting there. If someone is sitting on a stool or it wasn't pushed back in, the area would be completely blocked.

    Bookmark   May 4, 2012 at 12:16PM
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The biggest problem I see...far too much traffic through the kitchen. You have to walk through the kitchen to get to the master, laundry, pantry (kids' snack foods), mudroom, garage, basement stairs and everything in the basement. And to get from any of these the deck (and back outside) you have to walk between the sink and stove, which is never a good idea.

Since you have so much activity planned (eventually) for downstairs, I would try to move the stairs and make them more easily accessible from the living room and kids' rooms. That would also allow you to move some things around and make it easier to place your garage entrance.

As for the's very nice, except for the garage under the master suite. You'll need more insulation on the master floor and you have to be careful not to leave cars running (to warm up in winter) or be working on cars, in that area...because the fumes will likely go right up into the bedroom, unless you plan to have some kind of ventilation system in the garage.

It's actually a fairly good plan...if somehow you could do without the study (maybe move it downstairs?) and put the basement stairs by the entry...and get the hallways out of the kitchen, I think it would work very well for you.

    Bookmark   May 4, 2012 at 12:18PM
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One more might want to think about having a landing halfway down the stairs and then have them turn 90 degrees or 180 degrees and have the rest of the stairs down to the yard or patio. Kids (and adults) get in a hurry on stairs and it's even worse outside. Slip, trip or fall down those stairs...and there's nothing to catch you, especially if your hands are full. A landing is much safer and worth the extra money, IMHO :)

    Bookmark   May 4, 2012 at 12:30PM
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If it does not violate code in your area, I would have the garage floor the same level as the house floor, especially if you plan to stay in this house into your golden years. Our builder didn't like it, either, but we insisted and it was within our local building code--he knew that the garage would be a deal breaker for us, so he agreed. Not to say he didn't attempt to talk us out of it until the last possible moment, but we were adamant. We use the garage entry pretty exclusively and it's so nice not to have to deal with steps and a landing that may or may not be big enough depending on how many kids/pets/groceries/etc are trying to fit on that landing all at the same time. Anywhere you can eliminate steps reduces hazard risk on injuries. I am confident that you would not regret eliminating the steps from the garage into the house.

Hope this helps!

    Bookmark   May 4, 2012 at 3:47PM
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I like this plan. It would fit my style of living. Other posters have made some excellent recommendations, thus I will not revisit them. My recommendation is to have a pocket door from the master closet to the laundry.

    Bookmark   May 4, 2012 at 6:36PM
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I really like your plan, too. As mentioned, the kitchen needs configuring. Be sure to post over at the kitchen forum. There are some great kitchen folks there. I'm not sure I like the wall configuration between the kitcen/dining and the great room.

I also think the mud room might be small. If someone comes in the garage door while you're sitting on the bench, you're going to get your knees bumped. Do you have children? Nice pantry area.

Think about moving your master closet door closer to the bathroom door. That looks a little inconvenient to me.

Our basement is similar to yours. We have two long windows to light an area like yours, and I sure wish there was more natural light. I know you can always turn lights on, but you have a nice walkout. I wish I had taken better advantage of the natural light. Your basement will be so nice, and it would be nicer if your basement stairs weren't tucked way in a corner. Any visitors you have that will go downstairs to play pool, or watch a movie, will have to go to your mudroom.

Will you have a driveway across the front of the house, or will your visitors have to walk around the garage to get to the front door.

Good luck on your build. It's going to be a beautiful home.

    Bookmark   May 4, 2012 at 9:32PM
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Thanks for the feedback. Here is some background, which might help. We live in North Central Tennessee. It is myself, my wife and two kids, one leaving for college in the fall and the second following her two years later. We will be in the new house for around 17 years until I retire and we move back to the St. Louis area. I know it is strange but we are building on a lot we can see from my front yard. We love the neighborhood, the lots are good size, there is a nice mix of homes from the 180's to the 300's and I'm only a few miles to the interstate. We are currently in a 2 story home with 2700 sqft with the basement all garage on 2 acres. There are a few things about our current house that we are looking to change. Currently the master is up, with 3 other bedrooms, the laundry is on the first floor with formal dining and living, nice sized kitchen with large breakfast area and a family room. The laundry downstairs is a pain, we have been in the house for 9 years and I think we have used the formal dining maybe 5 times and the formal living wouldn't be used if my computer wasn't in there. Having the garage in the basement has downs (groceries) and ups (it is huge). Some of the ideas behind the new plan were the ability to zone the HVAC so the kids section can be almost shut off, and the basement running at normal temps only when needed. My wife is a teacher so we needed a study (mostly to round up all of her stuff), but I wanted to put it where the formal dining would normally be just for resale (I will make sure they do not put wiring or anything in the wall to the left of the entrance so the wall can be opened to convert to formal dining if needed). We just wanted a smaller house with a smaller yard (hard to mow that 80 foot drop to the river on the new lot) Here is the Plat and Google map screen for reference.By the way that wooded lot at the bottom middle is my current house.

On to the input.
Dseng: I do keep going back and forth about the extra windows in the extra bedrooms. The new house has more windows in the bedrooms then in the current house. Maybe I just don't know what I'm missing because I don't have it now.
Kirkhall: Kids are on the way out, and my garage hasn�t flooded yet, you just have to make sure the concrete goes back up before the garage door, which is what the current house does.
Athensmom: Not sure what you mean unless you are talking about that opening just to the right of the breakfast bar. That is just a pass through not an entrance; my cad program draws them kind of funny.
Lavendar Lass: The traffic through the kitchen does concern me but the two halls and the entry hall already make my head hurt, halls almost seem like wasted space to me. I did try to keep the sink and stove out of the main way and have kept at least 42 inches between all the counters. The garage in the basement is pure man cave, I have an old 52 jeep, I brew beer and a little bit of everything else, it won�t be used like a normal garage. I will insulate the garage ceiling though that is how my current one is. I did have the stairs over by the entry at first but realized all of us are pretty informal, hardly anyone uses the front door, I see people coming over entering through the garage and heading straight down stairs. As for the deck stairs I agree completely alas my cad skills are not up to what is in my head.
Mydreamhome: I agree 100%. I think the builder is concerned about the drive to the lower level being too steep and was hoping to cheat a couple of feet at the top.
Motherof3sons: I'm going to give that a try on the plan and see what the wife thinks, my only concern is losing 48 inch of cabinets by putting the washer and dryer on the window wall.
Sorry for the long post keep the great inputs coming.

    Bookmark   May 4, 2012 at 9:56PM
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I really like the way this house looks all the way around. Very eye appealing and I really like the lower level.
The stairway location is a no go though. It makes sense to have a stairway there but not your ONLY stairway.
Maybe move the study out onto the porch and have the stairs where the double doors are. Closing off the kitchen access there wouldnt bother me as much as the run through potential.
The dining should be open to the LR, the doorway by the barstools in the kitchen is too tight. Opening that doorway and closing the other one and putting a spiral in that corner could be an option. Your walkout door in the lower level could be swapped to the other side. I normally hate spirals but a friend put one in their house and it is an unexpected focal point. Would be dramatic in the downstairs area.

    Bookmark   May 4, 2012 at 11:10PM
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Here are some views of the inside, to show how the openings between the kitchen and family room look. I originaly had it open between the rooms, but I like some division. I'm kind of modeling it after my frieds house except for where the pass through is he has another bar height counter with a few stools. I threw one in of the study just to see what you thought of it. Ignore all the whacky window and cabinet heights, I have them all out of whack since I keep changing my ceiling heights.

    Bookmark   May 4, 2012 at 11:45PM
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Have you considered putting the study, where you have the front bedroom, with double doors, off the entry? This will still give you a bedroom in the back. Then, if you could add a second bedroom downstairs (where the mechanical area is) with an egress could move the mechanical area, to the workshop...where you have the water heater.

This would give you a five bedroom house (four and an office/study) which will be better for resale and probably work better for you, too. If the kids are that old, I'd put them downstairs (who wouldn't want to be by the pool table and your own hang out space) and have the guest room, in the back bedroom.

This would allow you to put the stairs, where you have the study. Bendback stairs would be great...and you'd have room to move the hall, behind the kitchen (between the kitchen and pantry. This would give you room to reconfigure the pantry, laundry and mudroom to give you more space, where necessary.

I understand what you're saying about the relaxed entry (we live on a farm) but if people have to walk through the garage, mudroom, past the laundry, through the kitchen to sit down in the living's a long walk. Why not make the front entry casual? A bench against the basement stairs (half wall) and some chairs on the porch will set the right mood. Front entrances are only formal (IMHO) if they are decorated in a formal way and lead to formal rooms. Otherwise, they're just a closer entrance to the living room :)

    Bookmark   May 5, 2012 at 12:15AM
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I don't have anything to add, but I will say I'm jealous of all your computer mockups. I've tried to learn a couple but I just never find the time to figure it all out!

    Bookmark   May 5, 2012 at 1:58AM
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