problems with house plan

marseeMay 14, 2011

Hi. This is my first post on the building forum. I posted my plans on the kitchen forum and they suggested I post here to get opinions on the overall plan. I would appreciate any help, tips, and suggestions anyone has for me. Let me start off by saying the house will be built on a dirt pad that is already done. This means we can't go much further out in any direction. We have a pond about 30 feet behind us and a road in the front and on one side of us.

Right now I am at a place where I can't believe how large this house is and I still don't have what I want. My original plan had a separate mud room, locker area and office. This was causing us to have a long hall way to the guest entrance that I hated. To get rid of the hall we combined the rooms and now there isn't enough space for my husbands hunting/fishing equipment.

We do want a very open floor plan. That was a goal from the beginning. My problem is the stairway. I think it should be in a foyer but after repeated request to have a foyer I have yet to see it in a plan. So I really don't know if I would like it or not. What do you think? Foyer or open?

I also really dont like my bathroom. I don't like how it is long and narrow. Any suggestions?

Just to fill you in, we will have 2 bedrooms and 1 bath upstairs. The downstairs game room will be a kids game room until they are older then we will add the pool table and make it more of a teenager hangout and once the kids are gone add the bar. This also creates a problem in that we have no area for liquor until the kids leave. Should I add a small wet bar somewhere for now?

My garage made much more sense before this last set of changes. I don't want one part to come out farther than the other. I also want my husbands truck to be furthest away from the door so that I dont have to cross over it with kids, bags and groceries. So that area will have to change as well. We are on 10 acres with my parents on the opposite end. We want the golf cart to be easy to get in and out to get around the property.

I really appreciate any advice.

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Ugh. I'm so glad you're not enamored with this plan because I have to say, I don't care for it at all. It looks rather like rooms have just been tacked on willy-nilly without any cohesive guiding principal. The great room will be very dark and, a home this size without any kind of foyer seems odd. Plus all those jogs in/out will require a very complex roof and foundation and thus be VERY expensive to build.

If it were me, I'd start over from scratch.

Why don't you post a list of all your "must-haves" and a separate list of your "nice-to-haves" (prioritized if possible) along with the dimensions of your pad site and see if some of the many many talented people on this site can't do a better job for you?

Other helpful info to have at the start (in order to provide for optimal window placement and more energy efficient design) are the STYLE of house you like, what part of the country you're located in (hot/cold and humid/dry), the direction your front door will face, the direction of the best views, and the direction of any views you want to avoid looking at. Also, what kind of foundation do you plan on having?

With up to 4000 sq ft heated/cooled space to work with, I just KNOW that a better plan is possible that WILL give you a foyer and space for your husband's hunting/fishing equipment. Maybe we can at least get you started with something that you can then take to your architect and have him finish up the final details on.

    Bookmark   May 16, 2011 at 1:27PM
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So, I think there are some nice things about the plan - having the laundry on the same side as the master and I love the idea of the gameroom. But, I do think there are some things that seem a little awkward as well.

This may be because I can't visualize the lot, driveway, etc, but the side entry seems tucked back behind the garage such that it will be easier to actually go to the front door instead of the side door. (That may be your preference)

Also, I'd probably put the wetbar in now. You can always get a lock for a cabinet...that's what we have and I think it works fine.

The side entry also makes the kids jog around to drop their stuff...and I just try to manage my expectations for what the kids will really do vs what I'd like them to do when they walk in the door :)

    Bookmark   May 16, 2011 at 7:12PM
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Thanks for the input. I feel like I am really getting stuck and my architect isnt being very helpful. I have a meeting with a contractor this week and I am hoping he may have some suggestions.
bev- We like french country for the exterior and a more transitional interior. We asked for multiple roof lines which may in fact be causing us problems. The front of the house will be brick with cypress boards for the area in front of the kitchen window with some sort of fountain in front of that window.

my must haves are open floor plan with kitchen and living lining up. Original plan had the living room in the front by the stairs and kitchen and dining lined up. It makes sense that way I guess, but the way we live the dining room table would only be used if we don't all fit at the island. So I want the kitchen and living room to line up. We also really want separate utility and mud rooms with the utility near the master suite. A small game room about 13x15 will probably be all we need. This big one is nice but unnecessary. I would really like a locker area for where we walk in from the garage and a desk area. The desk is only to toss mail on, pay bills and file. I do not need a window or anything fancy for the desk area. I want a bedroom near the master to be used as a nursery. We are young and will have kids in that room for years before they move upstairs. I want to be able to run back and forth at night with out crossing the house.
It would be nice to have a foyer with a staircase. A space for the golf cart that doesn't block the guest entry. An outdoor kitchen, which also doesn't have to be as large as the current plan shows.
We are in south Louisiana. The front of the house will face northeast. The back of the house has a nice view of a pond and stone bridge. The lot size and proximity of the pond have a lot to do with the plan. The pond starts about 20 feet back and around the center of the game room. The current set up would lead you down the back patio steps onto a wharf over the pond.
I totally agree with this amount of space I don't feel like I am getting much bang for my buck.
Andi- The lot is 120x60 I believe. I have it written down and would need to check to be sure. A road passes directly in front of the pad with our driveway going up right before the house starts. Another road passes right after the house ends. FYI Its a private road and I am not worried about traffic. The side entry is the best we could get it. Before it led into a long hall way. Believe it or not it looks much better now. We will have space for guest to park near the game room so really they will pass up our garage and park near that side door.
Thanks for taking the time to read through this.

    Bookmark   May 16, 2011 at 10:18PM
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Also if you are wondering about the bathrooms. My husband wants a bath with access from outside that he can use when dirty. He is very active and almost always dirty! This is why we have a shower in the mudroom and a powder room for guest. I can't believe we will have 4 1/2 baths but if we try to eliminate any we feel like we are settling and not really getting what we want.

    Bookmark   May 16, 2011 at 10:24PM
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Marsee, don't get discouraged-you'll get there! These are my 2 cents for what it's worth! You may have good reasons why your plan is the way that it is-if so just ignore my advice.

I think the idea of the floor plan is good but the execution is not great. The elevation, is going to busy with all the bump outs. And for so much square footage, I feel like you are cramped in certain areas.

We had a similar wish list for our first floor:
- we wanted English country instead of French with transitional interior.
- master bedroom and guestbedroom on the main level
-large mudroom with office, lockers, powder room. I wanted access from the garage and backyard.
-3 car garage
-open floor plan
-laundry by the bedrooms (love this-don't change that!)
-covered and uncovered patio
-we have a library instead of gameroom.

We achieved all of this in 3000 square feet for the main level. The area where your floor plan is most lacking is there's no real entry for such a large home. And the bedroom wing needs to work better without so many bumpouts.

Here's our first floor:

There's an additional one car garage that's been cut off on the right.


Front door:

open floor plan:




    Bookmark   May 17, 2011 at 1:42AM
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outdoor area...Our outdoor kitchen will be U shaped kitchen small but functional. We haven't built it yet- right now we have a grill and portable island.

I don't have any new pictures of the patio area, but here are a few. HTH.

Kitchen bumpout.

    Bookmark   May 17, 2011 at 9:59AM
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Warning: Harsh comments ahead. I don't like this plan.

You aren't the first couple to post here with elaborate plans that are heavy on meeting your current lifestyle, but that don't work as well for growing families with kids. (For instance, small children and raised breakfast bars? Uh-oh.)

I don't even like the *positioning* of the house.

Do you want a southwest-facing outdoor living area in The South? Do you want bedrooms on the hot west side and the garage on the cool east side?

I wouldn't waste an exterior corner (and potential windows) on a master closet, and I don't like your master bath any more than you do. The bedroom wing is a warren. But enough...

I'll join the chorus: Stop. Re-think this.

    Bookmark   May 17, 2011 at 11:07AM
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Pps7- thanks for your post. I really like your house, exterior and floor plan. I thought separating our garage like you have would have solved my mudroom/ office dilemma but after speaking with my architect he said it would be hard to get in and out of the garage with our pad being so high.
The bump outs on the master side were done to change up the roof line but I think we need to square that up a bit. I also like how your outdoor living area is not blocking your living room view. Again we are limited because of our pad. We could add dirt on to the back near the game room and move the outdoor living area there. This would take up most of what little yard we have. Ugh. I feel like I work myself into circles.
I didn't think the plan was terrible aside from the issues I am trying to fix. But it doesn't look like anyone else is that keen on it. Do you think the living, kitchen and dining area will work if we change up the entry?

Chisue- I appreciate all comments but some things are out of my control. The position of the house is determined by the lot we have. I don't want my back yard to face the street and I don't have access to the pad from the other side of the lot. So the drive way has to stay where it is. If you have any suggestions on what to change I would love to hear them, especially concerning the master bath. The island will be counter level not raised. And I really am trying hard to make this a house we can grow into because we will be here forever.

I am meeting with contractors and the architect again in the next two weeks. I will post any revisions I come up with incase anyone would like to comment.

Thanks for the help.

    Bookmark   May 17, 2011 at 1:32PM
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For starters, can you eliminate a formal entry on the NE side of the house? Guests will enter close to where they park anyway -- and the family entrance will be there or via the garage. (Is there some HOA requirement that the house appears to face NE on this lot?) Can you build the house facing SE?

It would help if we could see what your lot looks like --the position of the roads and pond and your 'pad'. (I'm not familiar with this term -- what exactly is that?)

    Bookmark   May 17, 2011 at 3:04PM
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I will try to get some pictures up of the property so that you can get a visual. The "pad" (sorry that may just be a term I use) is the dirt mound we are building on. Our town floods and your either build on pilings on build up a dirt pad to elevate your house.

    Bookmark   May 17, 2011 at 3:43PM
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marsee - did you tell us what the pad dimensions were? (i may have missed it) It has to be a decent size since you have 3500 on the first floor? I'm sure we can figure this out to get something to take back to the architect! :)

    Bookmark   May 17, 2011 at 5:35PM
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Wow! This is legal? You are building in a flood plain? You couldn't get federal flood insurance if you did that here.

    Bookmark   May 17, 2011 at 6:23PM
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dimensions are 120x55. I think the center part of the house is 60 deep so we will need to extend in that area. Yes its legal. We are restricted by zones that regulate the insurance. You can only build on fill dirt in certain zones and we are able to do that on our property.

    Bookmark   May 17, 2011 at 7:12PM
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I agree with the first response. The room doesn't flow well at all. It seems like you started with a basic design, decided to add on this room, and then that room, and instead of reworking the design, the rooms were just added on. Have you considered going up a story, and potentially down a story to get everything you are looking for?

    Bookmark   August 20, 2011 at 3:43AM
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I see how you are trying to get what you want but truly as you build custom, there comes compromise. IF you really want the features you desire, then they have to be prioritized, you simply can't have it all! If you want the open plan then make that the priority and compromise elsewhere. I see that if this house is facing SW rear, your great room will have such glare you may not be able to see the TV! (Tip: have windows tinted prior to installation, will save $$$)

I think the whole mudroom could be redone. do you really need the two toilets so close to door? I realize hubby may get dirty but how often? Also the master closets are larger than the bedroom 3, are you a professional with large amounts of clothing or is that really necessary?

the dining room looks odd, it is so close to the kitchen table island.

Can you push over the kitchen to the far right of the shaded step door(is that the front door?) Maybe connect the great room to the garage and eliminate the guest entrance. You are missing valuable functional space with this plan. Also the only thing in the center of the home is the great room and it has a dining room table in it!

I wish you luck, if you think it doesn't work now, just wait till you build it. Even in my 10K home, I have design flaws- that I have to live with!

    Bookmark   August 20, 2011 at 8:00AM
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This is what we are currently working with

We have moved the back storage area so that it lines up with the closet. The master bedroom now has the window centered along the back wall.
I think this plan will work for us. We are comfortable with it and hopefully it will function as well as I think it will.
Thanks for all the feedback.

    Bookmark   August 22, 2011 at 11:15AM
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If you have any problem with house plan then you have to consult with an expert or an architect he will provide you help in better way than a layman person.

Here is a link that might be useful: homes fredericksburg

    Bookmark   March 13, 2012 at 1:55AM
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My opinions really won't mean much because I'm in the middle of my first new build, so I'm a complete novice, but, I do think that plan is SO much better than the first one you posted!!

The only thought I had was whether you could do big french doors that open from the great room to the outdoor living area? Maybe that's just my personal dream :-)

Good luck!!

    Bookmark   March 14, 2012 at 2:55PM
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This is a very old post, with a spammed one that brought it back to the top.

It might be nice to hear an update, as to whether or not the OP is still working on a new plan.

    Bookmark   March 14, 2012 at 4:52PM
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Oops, didn't see the original date. I would love to know what they ended up building.

    Bookmark   March 14, 2012 at 8:54PM
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