Neo Prairie plan critique

r2d2indyMay 14, 2014

We are in the process of building a home with a custom builder with a very good reputation and the builder who has an architect on board during initial discussion (based on our feedback )provided these plans. Nothing is finalized yet.
We love every aspect of the plan, but would like to essentially get some feedback on reducing the square footage and probably understand- if the flow is well retained.
Yes, all the hallway haters, modern plan lovers -please let us know how we can improvise or better. We want to stay under 5000 square feet all the floors included.
1st floor features:
Sunken great room-- opening outdoors
Separated kitchen/walk-in pantry( layout not finalized)
study -connected to the outdoors
Guest bedroom
Stairs that are well lighted and away to a side
2nd floor
3 bedrooms + play area including Master bedroom
Just enough finished to have a home theater

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I don't see any plan.

    Bookmark   May 14, 2014 at 6:32PM
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Here is a cleaner version of the first floor plan.

This post was edited by maz1234 on Wed, May 14, 14 at 21:31

    Bookmark   May 14, 2014 at 8:15PM
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This is the elevation that goes with the plan

    Bookmark   May 14, 2014 at 8:19PM
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Sophie Wheeler

Can't read anything, but rethink sunken anything. It's not friendly to aging in place at all. And the elevation has the high water pants stone skirting that is inauthentic and cliched. The kitchen for sure can use a rework, as I can spot that giant safety hazard of a range with no counter on one side even though the plan is blurry.

    Bookmark   May 14, 2014 at 8:33PM
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I am having trouble reading what's what . . . so if I say something foolish, take that into consideration.

- You walk in the front door and see the back of a big, lovely fireplace? Open doorways on each side of it? I know someone who has a similar set-up, and it's gorgeous. Unusual, striking. However, I think her entry is larger than yours. I'd suggest NOT recessing the door; just flatten out the front. This'll mean when you walk in the door you'll be farther from the focal point fireplace, and it'll be nicer than walking in and being right on top of it.

She also has a sunken living room just like the one you're proposing, and I like it much less than the fireplace. Even while you're young, it's an invitation to a twisted ankle or a fall. It's not small-child friendly either. If this area is to be hardwood flooring, I'd suggest some type of an inlay to delineate the living room . . . instead of steps.

I'm not loving the staircase. It's a lovely style, but it's an expensive style, and it's tucked away in a corner! Why spend big on an item like this . . . and then hide it away where it won't be seen? If you're going to splurge on something like this, put it out where you can decorate it with Christmas lights, etc. Of course, having said that, I can't see a better place to locate it.

The kitchen has plenty of space but could use some tweaking. If that's the stove next to the pantry (which I like), it should be scooted over a bit so it will have "landing space" on each side of the range.

Yuck-o to the garage poked out in front of the house. The elevation looks nice because it's a straight-on view, but from anything but a straight-on view, it's much less than desirable.

Does that say study in the back right corner? The three doors are too close for comfort - they won't actually knock against one another, but the closet door will open across the entry hallway.

    Bookmark   May 14, 2014 at 9:06PM
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I uploaded a cleaner version of the first floor plan and second floor plan too.

    Bookmark   May 14, 2014 at 9:35PM
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Tell us more about this house (location, view, plot limitations, and family) because it is oddly laid out, in some ways (esp the corner stairs).

I echo everything above--esp, the protruding garage (can you swap the single and double?), and avoid the sunken LR. Doing an inlaid floor would delineate the space and you can cut on central square footage easily by reducing the needed U shaped "hallway" all the way around it.

I cannot figure out the kitchen. It will need to be a better image, or close up of that space because what others seem to think with a range, I am seeing a cooktop on the island (also a big danger issue, imo, but different than the one that Holly points out).

Width of the master closet?

    Bookmark   May 15, 2014 at 1:30AM
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The plans are hard to read - but is there a powder room downstairs? Or only the bath with the guest room, behind the door to the guest room?

If that's the only DS bath, 1) how often will you have guests? If a lot, then you don't want to always be intruding on them. 2) if it is hardly ever, is it that bad for them to have to take 1 or 2 steps out of there room to access the bath? 3) with the only bath on that side of the house, you have to walk up and down thru the sunken living room, or detour around through the flyer to access the bath.

There are no dimensions, but the dining room looks small. For instance it doesn't look like you could fit your kitchen island in there. If you can sit 4 at your island, the. You could probably only fit a table for 6 in your dining room.

    Bookmark   May 15, 2014 at 6:54AM
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I am extremely sorry for posting a blurry plan, please use the above zoom-able version. Just place the focus on the area to be zoomed in and use the +- buttons.

Now to the very knowledgeable group here, we really appreciate the insight and valuable input-thank you.

We are fairly young and want to stay for about 10-12 years so, not so worried about aging in this house. :-)
Also we are a family of 2 adults and 2 children with a need for a study cum office room for the spouse and love for clean lines and leaning towards modern to contemporary finishes with the love to access outdoors from all the living areas with plenty of windows/transoms etc for natural light.

The lot is a flat-corner lot, facing 2 subdivision streets and the garage entry is on the culdesac street and the main door facing south.

Kitchen layout-- it needs lot of work, we are open to it.
Infact after reading here I have decided to have a larger pantry and use the walls for windows and fewer cabinets.
Guest Bedroom: Is in the main floor, keeping the entire 2nd floor area only for immediate family.

Stairs: We thought having them to the side will leave the entire area available, but it secludes the 2nd floor area completely, a very big issue. As we see right now.
Sunken Great room is the focal point of this home which has been one of the major inspirations of this plan. Yes we understand it completely.

Foyer entry also somewhat falls in that category.

    Bookmark   May 15, 2014 at 10:49AM
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Mrs. Pete: Thank you for the detailed observation.
Yes, the half wall facing the main entrance currently has the fireplace; There will be 2 stairs leading into the great room.
The stair case seemed like a very good idea in the corner facing/lined by the huge windows in the front elevation-but
1. It cuts off access from the kitchen to the bedrooms and the mom will have to walk/walk to get to the stairs.
2. Like you mentioned hides the expensive feature away.
3. Maybe position the stairs somewhere else, where is the question?
Garage: Yes we will ask to swap it but maybe the lot width doesnt allow it. I will check.
Front door suggestion is also good.
Kirkhall: The lot is not at all special, infact it is a flat grassy corner lot approx 1/3 acre.. We will have to spend some landscaping budget to make it private to access the outdoors. Also we are in mid-west with mostly harsh winters.

Use this link to zoom into the plan, please.

Pixie_Lou: Yes, the bathroom to the guest bedroom will be better reconfigured to have one of its own, separate from the hall bathroom--maybe or just provide a vanity and shower door to the guest ?

This is a very preliminary plan and we are very open to any suggestion.

    Bookmark   May 16, 2014 at 7:40AM
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Maz: not an expert here, but just wanted to say Prairie Style is one of my favs. That said, I'm not terribly fond of the exterior materials. Hard to tell from the drawing, but it appears there are 4 or 5, maybe even six, different material used on the exterior? Is that a metal roof over the entry? I kind of "get" what you're trying to achieve on the interior. Lots of hallways, but I think true Prairie Style tends to use a lot of hallways. One thing that would be an issue for me is the wide open corner step (left side of the fireplace as you look at it from the foyer) down into the living area. An accident waiting to happen for someone to inadvertently round that corner and fall off that first step. Does that make sense? Are those steps coming in from the covered porch? I wouldn't like that. Imagine carrying trays of food, and having to go up or down 4 steps, and open a door besides. Of course it depends on how you will be using your porch. Good luck. Can't wait to see pictures of this house.

    Bookmark   May 20, 2014 at 4:36PM
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Glad we share the love for the Prairie style.
Yes, I also agree about too many different kinds of materials going in the elevation. We have asked for a cleaner look restricted to 2 or 3 materials maximum on the next change.
I am not sure of the living room steps that you are talking about can you clarify please. Here is a link to a better zoom-able plan :

    Bookmark   May 21, 2014 at 7:39AM
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I've circled the area in question in red. Am I reading the plan wrong??

    Bookmark   May 21, 2014 at 8:45AM
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Ron Natalie

I got an email from you, but it's unrespondable. I've got some pictures of the interior finish of our house I can put up on Flickr for you.

    Bookmark   May 21, 2014 at 8:53AM
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Joyce: Ok. thanks for pointing- that actually is the entry from the kitchen into the step down living room . Yes, we will consider the edges now that you point it out. There will be no doors blocking it.

    Bookmark   May 21, 2014 at 2:07PM
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