New House Plan - 1st Post

Dadto3May 4, 2012

Hello, I've been lurking and learning for the past several months. This is a great forum and I've truly enjoyed reading posts in all the forum areas. We are planning to begin building in the next couple of months and I would greatly appreciate your input on our floor plan.

Some background:

-This is our first build and the home we will live in for many, many years to come

-We are a married couple w/ 3 children ages 12 (daughter), 9 and 4 (sons)

-Our style is country/farmhouse leaning more toward an open floor plan

-We don't do a lot of entertaining, but will host traditional family gatherings throughout the year

Some structural comments

-We won't be able to have a basement due to rock, so the house will be built on a crawlspace

-Although we live in the mountainous area of western VA, the lot is relatively flat, with a gentle slope from front to back

-One of the wife's requirements is a formal dining room w/a smaller eating table and eat-in bar

-The second floor "unfinished storage" area will soon be finished as a game room for the kids

-The back deck will be covered

-The roof pitch is 9/12, except for porch/deck which is 4/12

All comments/suggestions will be greatly appreciated.

Thanks in advance

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I really like your external pics.
Right away, I see you have a master toilet room with an inswing door. That is one thing I always remind people to figure out how to get rid of. It is too dangerous (should you pass out--happens more than you'd like to think--and you need rescue assistance, it is difficult to move an unconscious body off the door to get it open).

With no basement, what will you put under the stairs? Consider it for storage.

I am not crazy about your 1/2 bath placement on the main floor, but don't have a good solution. I do wonder if there is a better configuration of 1/2 bath, pantry/mudroom though. I wonder if the little space in the pantry (between 1/2 bath sink wall and dining wall) will actually be usable. I also wonder if it is possible to get a door from mudroom directly to the pantry and/or if that might be the preferred location for pantry access rather than from the eatin dining area.

Will the boys' J&J bath have locks on the doors? I don't generally like this kind of J&J set up because the toilet isn't private to only 1 door. As a result, one side or the other will usually be locked out...
Also, Game Room---but no public access to a bathroom upstairs. You might consider getting hall access to one of the upstairs bathrooms.

Also, closet windows are often looked down on in this forum. Having 2 in your master closet might not be a great idea.

    Bookmark   May 5, 2012 at 12:08AM
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The only thing I'll add is that your round table seems to really be in the way of getting to the dining room. And, dining room is really far from the kitchen. I agree with Kirkhall, that if you could rework those areas, it would flow better.

    Bookmark   May 5, 2012 at 2:04AM
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Very nice so far. I do have a few suggestions for using some of the space a bit better tho.

First off, I'd widen the staircase from 36" to 48". You foyer is wide enough to accommodate a wider staircase and you'll love the way a nice wide staircase looks when your home is built. More importantly tho, widening the staircase allows for all of the following changes...

Tuck the powderroom UNDER the staircase. With a 4 ft wide staircase, this is very doable. And with the PR door properly positioned (and other walls carefully placed) you should be able to fix it so that that you can't see into the PR from dining room, kitchen, or from the front door. Since a foyer is really a hallway that people usually don't linger in too long, having the PR open off of the foyer should still give folks a reasonable sense of privacy. Particularly if you...

Extend the wall from the living room clear across to the current PR thereby getting rid of that hallway entirely. Put a wide cased opening into the wall to lead from foyer to family room. (Going thru a cased opening or a doorway suggests to people that they are entering a new space. So, when your guests are gathered in the family room and someone needs to use the PR, they FEEL that they've entered a new space before they open the PR door. Thus, they feel that they have privacy.

Getting rid of the hallway also allows both your dining room and your breakfast area to be larger. You can also square off the bottom of the pantry and make that garage closet a little bigger.

Now, let's talk about the kitchen.

Do you really want your cooktop on the side of the island where it is currently shown? The cooks back would be toward anyone sitting at the bar. I'd move the cooktop to the other side. That would also put the cooktop on the same side of the island as the fridge, reducing the amount of steps a person would have to take while cooking. I would also consider making the island a little bit narrower so that the side kitchen aisleways could each be made just a tad wider.

If you're only wanting to have 3 stools at your bar, it is longer than it needs to be. 2ft per barstool is enough. Maybe add an extra couple of feet because of the inswinging patio door at one end. But, an 8ft bar would be plenty long for three barstools and, right now, it is really crowding your breakfast table.

Of course, if your moved the powderroom and all the other stuff mentioned above, you already have an extra couple of feet in your breakfast area. But even with that, you could use a bit more space because that gap between the bar and the breakfast table is going to be one of the most often traveled "aisles" in your house.

I'd also move the door between kitchen and laundry room back to where that dotted line is. Then put the pantry door at the top of the pantry. so as to reduce the number of door opening around the breakfast nook.

Upstairs, you might want to consider giving each of the boys their own small bathroom instead of having them share a J&J. That 12 x 7-10 space could be divided into two 5-10 x 7-10 bathrooms.

I also agree that it would be good to have a door into the hallway from Emily's bath. She might not like sharing it with occasional guests but....

Outside, I notice that you have a conflict between the kitchen roof line and Ryan's bedroom windows. Definitely have to take care of that.

Finally, speaking as a window shutter purist, if you're going to have shutters on your windows, they really should LOOK like they would close over the windows. Where you have ganged windows (two windows side by side) shutters look a bit silly unless you spring for the kind that actually fold back so that, when unfolded, they can cover the windows.

Just my 2 cents.

    Bookmark   May 5, 2012 at 11:37AM
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I think this Donald Gardner plan, might give you some good ideas. There's a link at the bottom, for more information and interior/exterior a few different styles. From Cottage house plans From Cottage house plans From Cottage house plans

Here is a link that might be useful: Donald Gardner..The Hickory Ridge

    Bookmark   May 5, 2012 at 11:51AM
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If you don't need the two-story great room, you can put the exercise room/office above it. Or move this area to the bonus room and have the kids' playroom/own TV area, above the living room.

    Bookmark   May 5, 2012 at 11:59AM
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You have valuble corner space wasted on a utility room It would be better to have your breakfast area occupy that space and put the utility room in the center of the house where no windows are possible--like where the breakfast room is currently located.

You have the master bedroom directly abutting the family room. That will mean noise transfer--BOTH ways. It lends for little privacy in the master and also some sleepless nights when any other family members are up late watching the midnight monster movie. And the master closet is another case of an exterior corner being wasted. The closet should be interior to the home, preferable serving as a buffer between the bedroom space and the public areas.

You want your living room---the quiet away space open to the family room? I'd rather see that become a wall, or at least use some exterior french doors there that have some heft and double glass to be able to cut the noise transmission. I think you ought to be able to get the hall that serves the master also serve as a connecting point to the living room without having direct access to the family room. That way, the master could almost use the LR as an extension sitting space for it away from the kids, but still be acessable to the family room and kitchen.

I also do not see the purpose of having 2 casual eating areas and a formal eating area. I think that done properly, a single casual and single formal area can suffice for all of your needs. As it is now, the bar area is so close to the breakast area that one of them will never get used. Plus there isn't enough room in between them for a mouse to squeak through. This is a MAJOR traffic route through your home, and I'd want at least 60" of clearance behind the table. That bar area blocks everything badly and doesn't work well at all.

Island ventilation is much more difficult and EXPENSIVE to accomplish correctly. You'd be better off getting the cooktop off of the island and putting a prep sink there. Cooking is only 10% of the time you spend in a kitchen, whereas prep is 70% of the time you spend in your kitchen. Make the island be the workhorse. Right now, as drawn, there isn't even any good place to prep. Stuff comes out of the fridge, and goes on the counter next where it's slid down to the sink and rinsed and prepped there in the corner between the sink and fridge. Then you will have to twist, and walk around the island to cook it. The kitchen is a pretty bad layout overall and needs a wholesale revision, not merely tweaks.

    Bookmark   May 5, 2012 at 1:44PM
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Hi Dad - I like your screen name. :) I would suggest swapping the kitchen with breakfast area. This would allow lots of windows around the breakfast area letting in more light. If you did this, you could easily get rid of the hall leading to the powder room by encorporating a butlers pantry linking kitchen to dining and placing the powder where the hall currently is opening up to the foyer. I know it would be better to have it in a more "out of the way" location, but it wouldn't be opening into the kitchen or dining and rearranging the space would allow for an easier traffic pattern through kitchen/breakfast area. Another option for the powder would be to put it where pantry is opening into the mudroom entrance. You could always place a door just past this to be able to close off mudroom space when you have guests. It may also be a great location for the kids to wash off when they come in. One more possibility for the powder is to put it under the stairs... it may not be very large, though. Think about some kind of laundry chute for kids clothes if it might work. Then again, you still have to get the clothes back upstairs.... or at my house, if the kids want clean clothes to wear, they better get them back upstairs. :)

For the boys J&J bath - I am not against J&J bath, but you may be able to have the tub/toilet room against exterior wall, the each boy can have a vanity in their room just interior to that and a closet for each backing up to the hall. If you have trouble visualizing this, let me know. I can send you a link to our plan which is similar for my girls bath.

I will disagree with a previous poster who said 3 eating areas will not be utilized. The kids will have breakfast, snack and do homework and projects, computer time, at the island/peninsula. Family dinners will be at the breakfast table and formal entertaining will happen in the dining room. If this is your house for the long haul, there will be a day when you have 3 kids, 3 spouses, and who knows how many grandchildren seated everywhere pretty regularly. My parents have all three areas and we fill them up at least every other week. :) Best wishes with the planning... so exciting for you and the kids!

    Bookmark   May 5, 2012 at 6:54PM
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Is it possible to line Emily's closet up with her bathroom? That way once you open the door you could have closet rods or shelves on both sides of the door, along the 5'5" walls. Right now it does not look like there would be enough room for a rod behind the door swing. It looks like it would only accommodate a narrow shelf.

    Bookmark   May 5, 2012 at 7:47PM
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Totally agree on the dining areas, in that nothing is wrong with 3 zones (or more). For our remodel, we only had room for a eat-in island plus dining room. No breakfast table, and its one thing I wish we had the space for. But that was a remodel.

In new construction the beauty is you have the room, and I"m sure all 3 will get used well over the years. I like your plan a lot. Sure, there a few things you could tweak to optimize. But overall the sense of symmetry in the layout and lines appealed to me. Just little stuff, like the front door lines up all the way to the back deck door.

    Bookmark   May 5, 2012 at 9:29PM
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tweaked your plan ...

    Bookmark   May 8, 2012 at 5:41AM
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Great job Summerfield...flows so much better while keeping their original wishes.

    Bookmark   May 9, 2012 at 4:07PM
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I would switch the shower and the toilet in the master bathroom. It is a long way away to go in the middle of the night if you are sick in the middle of the night.

    Bookmark   May 9, 2012 at 5:31PM
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It is a long ways to go, but I'd rather have the toilet noise against the closet wall than against the master wall.

    Bookmark   May 9, 2012 at 7:14PM
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Summerfield- Beautiful plan! Having the two powder rooms makes such a difference and I like the kitchen/nook, too :)

    Bookmark   May 9, 2012 at 7:26PM
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Wow those new plans look phenomenal Summerfield!! Much much better layout IMO.

    Bookmark   May 10, 2012 at 6:23PM
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