Revealing my house plans

frozenelvesMay 4, 2012

Hi! Would like to show you all my plans.

We live in Northern Minnesota and will be building on 5 acres (hopefully) right outside of the city limits or a 1/2 acre neighborhood lot. We have 7 kids ranging in age from 17 to 6 months. This house was the result of many years of experience at different stages in life. I designed it myself and had my builder draw up the computerized plans and making sure everything was to code.

Ok, a little about the plan. This design is a modern version of a plan that I liked from 1905. The right side of the house faces south. I do not like open plans at all. With this many people in a house, it just doesn't work. There will be a basement with huge open area for playing, 2 bedrooms, bathroom and large storage area. We are on a very tight budget so I can't increase the size any more. I needed many bedrooms so I had to sacrifice size for quanity. They will all have their own rooms except for 2 kids. I do not want 2 windows in the bedrooms. We get enough light and I don't want the expense of window coverings. It will be warmer too in our extreme winter temps.

My kitchen will be a combo of industrial and farmhouse combined. There will be wood beams in the ceiling. I need the pantry and it will lock as I have too many kids that sneak food and it is going to STOP! LOL! I do not want and island or a prep sink. Right between the stairs in the kitchen is a ceramic water fountain.

I have a 10' dining table that we will use daily, hence the size of the room and it isn't really a formal dining room. We have metal stools for chairs that raise up and down.

The walls of the d/r will be paneling of some sort. The opening to the living room will eventually have barn doors on the l.r. side. There will be wood beams in the living room as well. The entire TV wall will be bricked. The office is where the computers will be and the pocket doors will remain open all the time. It can also be a guest room with the doors closed and they will have access to the guest bath. That's all I can think of for now. I know this plan will not appeal to many but it will work for our family and budget I hope.

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I just see a couple of spots. You can double the size of your linen closet by having the door of bedrom 5 come off the main hall. You can almost double your laundry room cabinets and counters by putting the washer and dryer against the master closet and another row of cabinets on the opposite wall. Or you could swap the secondary bath and the laundry room and almost put two smaller bathrooms back to back. You would have to rework the linen into the laundry room though, but with 7 kids two bathrooms for the kids,even small ones would ease the morning rush to the bus. Two shower heads in a 4' shower is really tight. Door to master toilet room should swing out, as is you would have to stand on the toilet to close the door.
Is the woodburning stove just for heat? There isn't much room to pull up a chair to sit around it.
You take up alot of space having two sets of stairs.
I love old farmhouse plans, I can see the roof line now, it will look good. I could see myself as a kid climbing out the window of bedrooms 3 and 4 and sitting of the roof of the porch.

    Bookmark   May 5, 2012 at 12:09AM
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You have 4 bedrooms and probably 4-7 kids all sharing one bathroom--a bathroom without any separation between toilet and sink, at that. Any particular reason? This will be exacerbated as your children return home with spouses/children of their own. I know you value a laundry room...with that many people in one house. But, can you add another 1/4 or 1/2 bath in that space?

    Bookmark   May 5, 2012 at 12:15AM
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I went back and forth on all these ideas. I finally just decided to do it that way for variety. To have a bedroom that didn't open off the main hall. I didn't need a bigger linen either. I was told it would be better to vent the dryers out that wall which is why they are placed there. I won't be putting much in the laundry except a table for folding and tower for hampers. There will be some upper cabs somewhere but just a couple. All 3 bathrooms are lined up on top of each other and I like that (even though you haven't seen the basement plan). The closets are lined up in the same way for future elevator if needed. Master toilet door is either going to be pocket or none. It hasn't been changed yet. You guys don't miss a thing!
There won't be 7 kids upstairs, 3 will be in the basement with 2 bedrooms and a full bath. Yes, the woodburner is just for heat, we don't really sit around our current woodburner. I'll post elevations as soon as I get them. They are really simple actually. I thought about kids climbing out on the roof to sneak out!! Oh, and the stairs. I know it wastes space but I love the front and back stairs in really old houses. It nice for escape, and it's worth it for the convenience in this plan. I thought about going down to one just to save the money but the stairs would need to be more centrally located and that would seem to be a big overhaul on this plan. I have a couple of back up floor plans that only have 1 central staircase just in case this plan doesn't get built.

I'm not sure why but I don't like separated bathrooms. Unless each part can be big they feel too claustraphobic to me. There will be 4 kids using 1 bath and 3 using the other in the basement. The main floor bath can be used in some cases. This will lessen as kids get older and move out too. We only have 2 baths in our current house and it doesn't bother us so moving up to 4 will be pure luxury.

Thanks, both. Be sure and check back because I'm trying to post an alternate version of the kitchen that we hope to use.

    Bookmark   May 5, 2012 at 1:03AM
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It looks like you've put a lot of thought into this plan, as I can't pick out too many issues of concern...I think posting the basement plan and the front or more elevations might help the forum address issues in those areas as you seem to have the first and second floors thought out pretty well.

I'm sure there will be a few suggestions on fitting another bathroom on the second floor, and if you can find the space that would be great, but especially with 9 people you're probably well used to living in more difficult spaces! I know my family functioned fine with some of us using the first floor bath with our bedrooms on the second. Jumping on the previous comments, maybe you could combine the bathroom and linen closet into one bigger laundry/linen room, and then use the current laundry as two smaller baths or 1 bath with separate sinks/tub and toilet. This also allows windows in the bath(s) and with the light tube in the laundry you'd still have space for more hanging or tall cabinets.

You would save space and money eliminating one of the stairs, but I do think they work well and allow for less congestion of flow in the house. You also seem to have ample closet space, but to clarify - is that a coat closet under the front staircase?

If you could find a way to cut a couple of feet off the living room or maybe find the budget to extend the dining room out in the space of that porch, I think the extra space would be much welcomed with a 10' table and all of your family members for the countless activities and meals that will take place there, especially as it acts as a corridor to the kitchen. But overall, nice job! I've seen many architects fall far short of what you've accomplished.

    Bookmark   May 5, 2012 at 1:07AM
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Here's an updated version of our kitchen I'd like to show. Originally, the mudroom was the area right below the pantry in the original plan. But, after some revisions and having to get the stairs to work with codes, we lost room to do the mud room there. We couldn't afford to add to the footprint of the house by adding right off the kitchen and then attaching the garage to it. So, the idea we came up with is to build the pantry and mudroom inside the garage where the 3rd car stall is. This isn't conventional but it'll work. It has to be done after the build is complete because it isn't up to code. There will be leftover room in the garage for some storage, we didn't need a 3 car garage but our covenants said we had to. This way, I'll be able to put another table in the kitchen and have sliding doors leading to a deck. There was going to be a larger deck off the side door until we moved it to the back.

    Bookmark   May 5, 2012 at 1:24AM
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I don't have the basement or elevation yet, but I'll post as soon as I do. Yes, that is a coat closet under the front stairs. I might be hiding some of the av equipment in there as well because it will be right behind the tv. Not sure yet.
And yes, with a large family we've learned to share just about everything. I actually planned on letting kids use my bathroom (GASP!) when I need to, that's one reason I put in a claw foot tub. I don't take baths but I'll be bathing little kids in it. I like the ideas of how to achieve another bathroom but I don't want one. No offense to anyone! I spend more time in the laundry so I'd rather have the window in there. I've been doing laundry in our dungeon for years so I look forward to my new one!!

The dining room is going to get at least one foot larger and there will be no furniture behind the fridge to take away from the table space I need. When the table is in place, the walking corridor is to the left and I might place the table off center to the right. I'll draw in my furniture plan and post it!

Lots of attention went into this with me and my family in mind. Thanks for the compiment, but just to be fair, I did get a bachelors degree in interior design! I love space planning! I never worked in the field though because I started having kids and never stopped. My limited construction knowledge and years of remodeling my houses helped me come up with a plan that I like but still trying to squeeze as much into it as I could without a huge price tag. I've bought most of the lighting, flooring, appliances, bath fixtures and more on craigslist and saved a fortune! Other than that, this nothing extravagant in this home. We live in an area where land and building are affordable. As a matter of fact, I've been looking for a house for 3 years that fit our needs, but they are so overpriced that building makes sense in our case. We'll see though. I hope we can start before winter.

    Bookmark   May 5, 2012 at 1:53AM
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This gives an idea of the furniture placement. We will have wood floors in the living, dining and office.

    Bookmark   May 5, 2012 at 3:18AM
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I am just curious why you have the front load garage? You seem to have plenty of room to put it on the side and it would look much better that way I think. As drawn, the garage (the least attractive part of the front), dominates it as also the widest part.

I would turn the garage sideways for sure.

    Bookmark   May 5, 2012 at 8:41AM
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I like your plan! My husband is one of nine kids and the house they grew up in had one bathroom...that's all. So, I can see why four would feel like a luxury :)

I do have one question...are you planning to put a washer/dryer, in the basement? With bedrooms and bathrooms down there (I'm assuming for the older kids?) it might be nice for them to take care of their own laundry...rather than hauling it up two flights of steps.

    Bookmark   May 5, 2012 at 11:27AM
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I like the plan overall and you have found what will work for your family.
My only comment is about the wood stove alcove. Really find out exactly how much more it would be to just make the house wider and have that stove on the outside wall. It would heat your house better. Have better eye appeal.
I do know adding "corners" to a house and roof is a big cost; much more than just a straight wall. Its not always about square footage added as much as how the roof and corners tie into the house that adds to cost.

    Bookmark   May 5, 2012 at 12:00PM
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Did I miss your explanation of why you have two staircases? Staircases take up a lot of space and you mentioned having to sacrifice the size of the bedrooms in order to get the number of bedrooms you desire. I am sure you put a lot of thought into having two staircases, so I am just curious why you took that route. I don't envy you trying to design a house with that many bedrooms.

    Bookmark   May 5, 2012 at 7:22PM
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The garage is situated like that because the lot slopes significantly right at the back of the house where we will have a walkout. If I turn it, it will stick out too far past the house. That's actually why we didn't line up the garage with the back of the house either. It would be nicer to have a side entry I agree. Another thing to consider is in northern MN we don't want really long driveways to remove the snow from.

Yes, there is a stackable washer/dryer in the basement.

My wish list includes adding 2 feet to the right side of the living room but the alcove will stay. I added the alcoves to each side of the house for a little visual interest and so the roof would also not be so boring. We have some other measures in place to spread the head such as direct vents to the upstairs and I'm considering materials behind the stove that will reflect the heat. I don't want the stove to be a focal point of any kind, just functional. I thought about taking out the corners to save money but at this point in the design, the bedrooms need the alcove or they become too small and I think it would be more expensive to add sq footage on both sides (3 levels) of the house to even it out. I tried to incorporate a couple of ideas from the "Not So Big House" that I liked so I didn't end up with a big huge impersonal rectangle.

My design is based on a historical house from 1905 that I fell in love with about 4 years ago. I couldn't afford to replicate it because of the complicated roof design and many corners. I live in Duluth, MN where we have many 100 year old homes, but I can't afford the maintenance, utilities, and taxes. So, to answer your question, I have the stairs because they had them in these long old houses and as I modernized the plan and made it more efficient, the stairs stayed. At this point I couldn't really just remove one of them, I'd have find a central place for them. I'd rather just start over with a different plan if I have to. That remains to be seen still when the final bid is finished. The small bedrooms are a sacrifice in a sense, I guess I should say a give and take.

Hope I've answered all the questions!

    Bookmark   May 5, 2012 at 8:30PM
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