Is it possible to shrink this plan?

twolabsMay 13, 2014

Hello all!

We're in the infancy stages of planning our next build. We came across a plan that we love, it has just about everything we want in a house plan without a lot of wasted rooms/areas, etc. However, this plan is quite a bit bigger than what we were wanting to build.

We're wanting to stay around 3700-4200 sq feet. This particular plan is 4845 sq ft. It doesn't look that enormous to me from the elevation, and even the plan itself....I guess I just don't see where all that sq feet is going. I mean comparing it to our current house, all of the comparable rooms are larger (for example, our kitchen is 13 x 15, this one is 17 x 16. Our MB is 17 x 13, this one is 17 x 17, etc.). Our current house is about 2900 sq ft with a dining room, office, 4 bed and 3 1/2 bath with a large playroom. The only extraneous room on this plan, in my opinion, is the den, which itself is only a little over 200 sq ft. I know some people will probably say the play room, but we have a 20 x 25 ft playroom right now that we use almost everyday with our two young children (and it doubles as a pull out for extra guests). The living/music room would be an office/library. The staircases I guess take up a lot of sq ft, but everything else seems "somewhat" reasonable.

I'm obviously missing something here, I just don't get why this house is 4845 sq ft. Do you think it'd be possible to shave off 800 or so sq feet of living area from this plan by reducing room sizes, eliminating the den, etc or is that just an impractical idea?

Thanks for any tips/advice!!

First Floor

Second Floor

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Love your plan! What builder is it from?

    Bookmark   May 13, 2014 at 1:43PM
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Thank you! I'm not sure of the designer but we found it on Architectural Designs.

Here is a link that might be useful: Plan Link

    Bookmark   May 13, 2014 at 2:01PM
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Without a doubt it's enormous. It could easily be cut by a third without losing any living space at all by getting rid of the hallways, foyer and 800 sf stairwell. Unless you're housing 10-15 people the play room, den, nook, living room, and great room are duplicative and could be pared down to two of the five spaces. You could save the equivalent of another 400 sf by keeping the great room to one story.

    Bookmark   May 13, 2014 at 2:02PM
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Are there 3 sets of stairs?? I think that's what I'm seeing?

    Bookmark   May 13, 2014 at 2:04PM
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The first thing that would get whacked is that silly little octagonal whatever it is to the left of the entrance. And the one in the back as well. The two gables facing the street are more than enough and that third is just gilding the lily.

Even pared down, that's an expensive plan to build with all of those gables and the foundation jogs. Even if you took off half of them, you'd still be in the high dollar range of a custom build in your area. I'd say $200+ sf territory.

    Bookmark   May 13, 2014 at 2:07PM
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If the desire to be in the 3700-4200 range is based on budget this appears to be a very expensive house to build regardless of the sq ft.

It really is a very large house with expensive features:
the grand staircase, 4 fireplaces, high ceilings, several bays and twists and turns in the foundation and don't forget probably a ~600 sq ft of covered porch/patio.

    Bookmark   May 13, 2014 at 2:13PM
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The stairs take up an enormous amount of space on both floors.

It is also possible that you are using a total of the net living areas and the plan supplier might be using the gross building area that often includes exterior walls and covered outdoor spaces and possibly even the garage.

    Bookmark   May 13, 2014 at 2:15PM
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Thanks all for the responses so far.

rwiegand: Good suggestions. Yeah the staircase is a little overkill and taking up a lot of room. I'm definitely open to making the great room just 1 story. Great idea.

mrsfireman: It is one large staircase going up to a landing, and then two smaller staircases going up in opposite directions from there. You can see more detail on the plan page. It is pretty, but uses a lot of space.

Greendesigns: Right I can see where taking that out could help a little here at there. I'm in rural TX and custom home prices are $120 at the high end. We built ours 5 years ago with high end finishes, granite, crown in every room, 10 and 11 ft ceilings, and it came out to less than $90 per sq ft. However, that house didn't have as many cuts in the roof and foundation as you mentioned.

Again, we're still in the long term planning stages (probably 12-18 months out if not longer). But I really do appreciate the advise so far.

So I guess most of the wasted LA is the hallways, foyer and staircase? Otherwise, it doesn't seem to have a ton of wasted rooms (an office, a library, a living room, a wine room) etc. Seems like mostly usable rooms and not giant sized rooms...for 4800 sq feet. When I think of a 4800 sq ft house, I picture a Mediterranean McMansion!

    Bookmark   May 13, 2014 at 2:17PM
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wynnejt: Well the 3700-4200 sq foot range really isn't so much for budget, I just don't see the need for a house that is almost 5000 sq ft. It is arguable that there isn't even a need for 4200 sq ft of course. We could afford the 4800 sq ft home with even the most conservative estimators, but I just don't necessarily want a home that large. I'd prefer to stay sub-4000. You are correct it will be an expensive home to build.

Renovator: Yeah the stairs seem to be the biggest robbers of space. And good thought on the sq footage. I'll double check w/ the designer.

Again thanks for the comments.

    Bookmark   May 13, 2014 at 2:31PM
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To say a house that is 4800 is a McMansion is probably a little exaggerated. Lol! We just sold our home that was 4000 sq ft and it didn't seem large at all. I have 5 kids, of course, so that might make a difference. Our new build will be larger than our last but I also don't feel that it is too large. It is in the eye of the beholder and everyone has their own opinion. :)

    Bookmark   May 13, 2014 at 4:57PM
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Absolutely Robyn, I agree. 5 kids certainly would make a difference!

And I also agree that it is all individual and in the eye of the beholder. As long as we are doing things within our budget, fits the needs of our family, and not to "keep up with the Joneses"...then we can't worry about what others think is appropriate or extravagant.

    Bookmark   May 13, 2014 at 5:05PM
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I would love to see that staircase built! It looks very pretty to me. I feel certain a good designer could lop off that den, and reconfigure the mudroom/powder room area to be even better. I really doubt you would ever use that den...unless it was a teen game room or like a pool room or something. I would talk to an architect or designer to customize those plans...but as a form over function gal...I have to say I love all that space in the center of your house!

    Bookmark   May 13, 2014 at 5:33PM
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Here is a photo album on Architectural Design's facebook page that shows this house as built. It does show the staircase (although I think it could be built a little more elegance, without carpet). Also keep in mind this particular home builder built it with an optional third floor, so you can see the extra staircase on the left.

Exactly my thoughts on the den. That is really the only room that I can see that would hardly ever be used, unless like you mentioned a pool/ping pong table were to be put in there.

I did send a message to the designer and they said that the 4845 does include only heated area, and not any of the patio or garage. They did say that they typically can cut the sq footage by about 15% while maintaining the integrity of the plan. So they are getting together a quote on that work for me.

Here is a link that might be useful: Facebook Album

    Bookmark   May 13, 2014 at 5:47PM
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Yes, you could easily lose the den. The living room would make a great den in its place. And the Ping pong table can go in the playroom.

You can't lose the den altogether because it holds up the master, unless you totally reconfigure the master suite. That would be fine, anyway, since the bathroom is bigger than the other 3 put together...the bathtub nook alone is the size of one of the bathrooms!

Love the dining room! With 5 kids, by the time you have company over you need all of those 19'.

    Bookmark   May 13, 2014 at 6:17PM
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Here is a link that might be useful: Link

    Bookmark   May 13, 2014 at 6:25PM
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