Please give suggestions for floorplan (reposted with clear image)

khoeneMay 18, 2014

Hello all,
We've been reading GW for a year or two now developing ideas for our future home. What an amazing resource and thanks in advance to all that offer any ideas! Please feel free to shred these plans and offer any honest feedback. We're prepared to start from scratch if needed.
Our lot is a 2 acre lot with trees and a pond in the back. The lot falls off about 6-8 ft over a length of 30 ft on the right side of the lot so I think we can do a walkout basement on the right side of the house (not to the back). The back of the house faces north (right faces east). We want to do a side-entry 3 car garage. We want a modern/contemporary looking house with flatter roof lines and lots of windows. The SF is currently about 3900 SF for the main and second floors for the way the plans are drawn now. If possible, we'd like to get down to about 3500 SF.

We like the idea of the great room and dining area in the back of the house with a lot of picture windows to take advantage of our nice view. My wife also wants an open feel to the kitchen, a long and narrow pantry, and a dining area adjacent to the kitchen (no formal dining room). She cooks quite a bit and plans on getting a high-end refrigerator and double range. We also like the idea of our master closet between the great room and master bedroom so we can hide all the A/V equipment for each room (and possibly for the TV on the covered patio) in the master closet but would consider other ideas as well. The covered patio will have a bar, built-in grill, and a table/fire pit to eat/drink at. Our office will be on the main floor also. We'll need a pool house for a bathroom for pool users and area to store pool materials. Our thought is it would be less expensive to build a pool house off the back of the house (probably back of garage so it doesn't mess with view from the great room or dining area) instead of a detached pool house. We want a garage entry into the combined mudroom/laundry room with a cubby in the mudroom for each family member. My wife would like a rod to hang wet clothes and drying racks that extend from the wall. A friend has two doors from the garage - one for our family to use that goes through the mudroom/laundry room and another door for friends and family that enters into a small entry then to kitchen or directly into kitchen. We like that idea. We see advantages to combining the mudroom and laundry room, but also see advantages to having the laundry room separate and closer to the master bedroom. Thoughts/opinions would be appreciated.

We were unsure where to position the staircase and what type. We saw a picture of an open staircase on Houzz that doubles back that we liked but weren't sure about other options. We squeezed the coat closet and powder room into the office area but are open to suggestions. The sitting area off the master bedroom isn't a priority for us. We just put it there since we had so much room for the master suite. The master closet is pretty long, but remember that we plan to store A/V equipment in there for the TV in the great room, the TV in the master bedroom, and the TV on the patio so we can have that clean look of only a TV on the wall with no entertainment center.

The second floor will have my 2 daughters' (aged 5 and 6) bedrooms and my son's (almost 2) bedroom. We're liking the idea of a Jack N Jill closet for our girls since they share a lot of clothes. We'd like a full bathroom (shower only, no tub) for our son with a door from the hallway (and probably a door directly to his room). We are thinking that the great room on the main floor should only be one story and possibly sunken about one foot. If the great room is only one story, that would give us enough room on the second floor for a playroom/TV room for the kids.

We plan to finish the basement. We want a home theater (opposite side of the walkout and roughly 15 wide x 23 deep), smaller bar with wall area for large TV behind bar, open area for a ping pong table (close enough to bar area to easily see TV), exercise room(French doors from open area of basement), half bathroom, mechanical room, and some room for storage. I'll include plans for the basement for suggestions after we figure out the main floor configuration.

Fire away and thanks again!!!

Sorry, I can't figure out how to rotate the image but it looks clearer now.

Here is a link that might be useful:

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Here's the second floor. Again, sorry for not figuring out how to rotate the image.

Here is a link that might be useful:

    Bookmark   May 18, 2014 at 5:36PM
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It works better if you post the floor plans in the thread itself.

At 36" your island is not wide enough for two people to sit side by side at the end.

    Bookmark   May 18, 2014 at 5:52PM
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There are many thoughtful details in your design. Here are some comments, ignore whatever is not right for you!

With all of the land you have, you can stretch the house out and make it more rectangular versus the more square it is now. That will allow all rooms to have good windows to the outside and more light to come in.

I am not a big fan of a Jack and Jill bath. It just means two bathroom doors to close/lock/forget to unlock.

If you flip the foyer and stairs, there will be a more open view as people enter. The coat closet can be under the stairs. And it moves the office doors, which makes it less awkward than doors opening into the foyer.

A sitting room at the far end of the bedroom means less views from the bedroom. I like views. I prefer a view from bed if possible. But that is personal taste.

Your pantry and mudroom are lovely. With 2 entry doors from the garage, I am guessing everyone will use the most direct door to the kitchen, bypassing the mudroom. So I would prefer one entry and have the mudroom there by the pantry.

The upstairs living room is small, I am guessing kids will spend a lot of time there. The noise from the tv will carry to downstairs. I would consider making that an additional bedroom with a closet for resale, yet use it as you are doing here.

We had a sunken living room and more than one person tripped on the stairs going down. I am really appreciating my house now with zero steps.

I would make the powder room more private for guests, such as move it closer to the master/into the hall or?

Congratulations having 2 acres to build on, it gives you lots of design options. You will know when the plan is right for you! Have fun.


    Bookmark   May 18, 2014 at 6:37PM
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This is such a small thing when you're asking about the whole layout, but flip the pantry, so the door hinges on the other side and the shelves are on the other side, it just will work better reaching in from the kitchen.

    Bookmark   May 18, 2014 at 7:18PM
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The 6' wide closets are a little tight. A rack of clothes takes up 2'. So you only have a 2' aisle. No problem when the kids are 5 and 6, but very tight when they are older. I'd probably keep the 6' width in the girls closet. But on the back wall against the bathroom, I'd probably build in drawers and shelves for folded clothes, shoes and accessories. For your son, I'd probably try to grab 6 more inches from the bathroom.

As for the girls rooms - one is significantly larger than the other. How do you decide which girl gets the larger room? I'd square off the larger room, and then use the 6x8 area as maybe a little kids computer nook or reading nook. Or maybe an upstairs laundry for the kids laundry.

The master closet - yes it's huge. But at 27' long - it may feel like a tunnel and claustrophobic. Maybe add a side door from the sitting area or the bedroom.

Instead of a pocket door into the kitchen/dining area at the end of the mudroom, how about a doorway into the hall? That pocket door will remain open all the time, and you don't want to look in the mudroom all the time.

As dekeoboe mentioned, you cannot fit 2 people at the end of a 36" island. You need 24" minimum per person. So to get 8 people there, you will take up 8' on one side and 6' on the other side of you 9'8" island. Since you need about 1' of overhang to sit at the island, you won't be able to have any storage under your island. It will end up being a counter height table with a sink in it. With 8 stools pushed underneath it so you aren't tripping all over them as you try to work in your kitchen.

On the covered patio - I can't read what the round thing is. Is it a fire pit? Totally not allowed on a covered patio.

    Bookmark   May 18, 2014 at 9:07PM
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Also, the pocket door cannot retract into the wall with the wet bar due to plumbing.

    Bookmark   May 18, 2014 at 9:24PM
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(or, plumbing will need to be out of wall/in floor and cabinet...)

    Bookmark   May 19, 2014 at 12:42AM
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A few observations.

We built the house we live in now several years ago. We put surround sound in the family room and ceiling speakers in every room and the back porches. All underutilized.

Next house we plan to put surround sound in the basement home theatre and sound bars in the upstairs family room.

I would seriously consider not limiting the design of your master bedroom and closet on the sound and component storage for your TVs. These things all become dated so quickly.

Are you sure you want your master bathroom in the front of the house? You will have to have the windows covered at all times.

I think you have some great initial ideas here. With 2 acres and a house this size I would stretch the house out and have the garage on the end. I would have guest room upstairs and a kids play/rumpus room in the basement. They won't be young for very long....I promise.

We lived in a house with a sunken family room after a fire. It was awful. Please reconsider for safety's sake.

    Bookmark   May 19, 2014 at 3:16PM
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Thanks for posting those images within the thread. For the stools, we'll probably change the 8 stools as shown to 5 stools (one on end and two on each side) since we have 5 in our family.

Thank you for the many comments. Our lot is 2 acres, but we probably only have about 1.2 buildable acres because of the pond and woods. Also, the lot is much deeper than it is wide so we don't have a ton of width to the lot but I appreciate the thoughts about getting more windows/natural light (which is important to us). Think we'll go ahead with the Jack N Jill bathroom. I'm guessing that the doors won't be locked much. For the stairway, we're picturing an open staircase something like this:

Modern Staircase by Winter Park Home Media Design & Installation Storch Entertainment Systems

So we wouldn't be able to locate the coat closet under the stairs if we opt for something like that. Still not sure on what we want to do for the sitting room. Would you remove the walls and just have a wider bedroom? We're still debating the advantages and disadvantages of the sunken room. We think it will look cool, make it easy to transition from tile in the foyer/kitchen to hardwood in the great room, and give us another 14" in ceiling height in the great room, but we understand the safety issues and some of the functionality issues that could arise.

We appreciate all comments that improve the functionality of our home. We will flip the pantry.

We'll make the changes to the kids closets. Good ideas for other possibilities for that 6x8 extra space in the one bedroom. I'll discuss with my wife. You're right - we may want to add a door to the closet. I'd like to shorten the closet a little but don't know how with the current layout because we want to maintain a wall for the covered patio. Excellent idea for changing the mudroom door to enter into the hallway across from the pantry. That will give us access to the mudroom if we enter the other garage door also. My wife loves that idea and is now asking why I ever drew it the other way :). Switching to 5 stools should solve the issues with space in the island right? Yes, that circle is a fire pit. Against code to have fire pit under an enclosure? Bummer.

Scrapbook and kirkhall,
Thanks for the notes about the pocket door. We'll be moving that doorway to open across from the pantry.

Thanks all and please keep the comments coming!

    Bookmark   May 19, 2014 at 3:18PM
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I vote NO to sunken living room! Since you asked :)

Those stairs are a trip hazard for everyone (notice how many people hurt themselves on those two stairs to the garage?) and if any of you (or family visiting) is every limited with'll really hate those steps! Trust me, I know. If we had those, my husband wouldn't be able to use the room.

You never know when you'll have issues, so why add obstacles you don't need? Plus, they often look dated (weren't they HUGE in the 70s?) and the little extra height doesn't seem worth it.

As for Jack-n-Jill (or Jill-n-Jill) bath...those can be nice, but the closet? I'd think about a wall for separation or at least, one that could be added. Sharing clothes at 5 and 6 is cute...but when they're 15 and 16...maybe not so much. Their tastes might be quite different...or sharing might not be as appreciated.

    Bookmark   May 20, 2014 at 5:20PM
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Oh! Just noticed glass railing upstairs, next to sectional...with three kids under 7?

Definitely not a good idea, especially if you're often downstairs and not up there with them. What about using that space for a reading nook? Very cute (big window seat and bookcases on both sides) with separation from rest of space. You could have bookcases half way up wall on stair side (with pictures above) and half wall with bookcases, behind sectional. Hope this helps :)

Also...cute little seating area on left girl's bedroom. Which one will get that? Possible fight over the space, so have you ever thought about an upstairs laundry? Just saying... From Kitchen plans

This post was edited by lavender_lass on Tue, May 20, 14 at 17:47

    Bookmark   May 20, 2014 at 5:25PM
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red lover,
Definitely agree with you about underutilized surround sound in the living room. I ran speaker wire for our great room and basement theater in our current home a couple years ago. Hardly notice a difference in our open great room, but sounds great in the home theater. We'll do surround sound in the basement home theater and sound bar in the great room and in-ceiling speakers on the covered patio. Point noted about A/V stuff changing in the future, but we also like the closet as sound insulation between the great room and our bedroom. After feedback on the sunken room, I think we'll probably scrap those plans.

We'll probably do away with the sunken steps even though we think it would look pretty cool. A wall in the closet should be pretty easy to add in the future if needed, right? I too was starting to worry about only having a railing behind a couch. Thanks for the drawing so I could better visualize your idea. For the extra space in the one bedroom, my wife said she's not interested in a second floor laundry room. A reading nook or computer area might work, but would it feel claustrophobic in that little space? Maybe put a built-in desk in the corner near where I had written climbing wall? Not sure what else to do with that little area? Now that I think about it, does it make sense to build second floor above the pantry and the eastern part of the mudroom/laundry room if we want flat, modern roof lines?

    Bookmark   May 22, 2014 at 4:46PM
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What about traffic flow from your back yard? Will you and/or kids do messy activities in the backyard: pool, sandbox, gardening, mud pie making? How do you enter from the back yard if muddy etc? Would you think about adding an entrance from the back yard to the mud room? If that back yard person needs to use the loo? What is that path like?

    Bookmark   May 23, 2014 at 12:47AM
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