Floorplan update - Version 2.0

ZGAndersonJune 20, 2012

Ok, it's been about a month and I've been working on my plan at least a little bit almost every day. (still fun!)

I've taken the concept from Summerfield and shrunk it down a bit to fit my lot. I'm actually really happy with the result in terms of layout, functionality, simplicity (roofline especially) and square footage.

Coming in now at just over 1700 sqft with a simple roofline and I think if we're conservative with materials and finishes we can build this house for under 200k easy (my uneducated and only lightly researched estimate based on looking at property costs in the area and sale prices of new homes, assuming 10% builder markup).

A few things of note. The secondary bedrooms are on the small side. Aware of this, but as I see it this plan fits my lot and price range and designing a house seems to be a series of compromises. To keep the living areas and bathrooms at usable sizes, the bedrooms had to be a little small.

The 'main' living area in the future will be the basement with home theater, wet bar, seating/table gaming area. So the living area I think is comfortable, but also a little on the small side.

Dining room and kitchen look to me to be larger than average when looking at catalog plans. I think I mentioned before, we love to cook and cook for others, we will use these areas a lot.

Bathrooms both have a privacy wall for the toilet area. These walls will not be load bearing (I expect the joist supporting the roof will run front to back, so these walls will be parallel to those.) If the need arises, we can do away with the privacy feature and remove these walls resulting in a 5' diameter space in either bathroom. Master bath shower, at 6'10" deep, I'm thinking I can go with an open plan here? No door/glass and just an opening? The tile will be the same in both the shower and main bathroom area, so a little splash out shouldn't be a problem I wouldn't think.

The back entry cabinets are cubbies/coat hangers/drawers with power in each upper cubbie. Saw this somewhere on here and loved that idea.

Living area cabinets are for tv/etc. I mulled this over and it will be good to have two separate media areas in the house in the long run.

Kitchen will have a double wall oven at the lower right corner on the plan. Cooktop to the left under a hood/microwave combo. Small prep sink added to the island. Seating counter on the island has been raised for stool height. The area in the mudroom above the freezer will be the 'pantry' cabinets. Also, there's an odd space between the dining room and mudroom that's about 6" wide. Hoping I can fit a pull out pantry there (about 6' tall) and have a narrow cabinet above that for storage of extra cookie sheets etc.

The other odd wall is in the stairs to the basement. The placement of this double wall is in order to have the garage wall be continuous/regular on its side and to have the stairway wall be directly above the matching wall studded out flush to the basement cement wall (hope that makes sense...)

So, again, I submit to your review. I'll try to answer any questions as best I can.

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I like this plan.
At first, I was worried about your long distance without a support wall between front LR and back Kitchen wall...but in your 3D, I see that you plan to have those openings beamed. That will keep your expense down.

Your secondary bedrooms aren't large, but for a 1700 sq ft house, I think they are a good size.

I would suggest making your Master closet door a pocket door. You have a nice sized closet, but you have to close the closet door to get to a good portion of the one wall of it.

At 5' deep, your front porch will only be for looks, and not for outdoor living.

I think I'd also work on a way to get a second wall in each of the smaller bedrooms to have a window (maybe on the right hand wall?).

Just curious, the 5' clear (in bathrooms) is for a wheelchair accessibility, but is there room at the doorframes for wheelchair accessibility? In particular, the master bath door, seeing as you'd need to make the 90* turn to get in.

Good choices.

    Bookmark   June 20, 2012 at 1:25AM
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I would think about moving your island sink to the other end.

    Bookmark   June 20, 2012 at 1:29AM
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Pocket door on the closet. You're the second person to say that (first being my wife!), and I was also considering the wasted space in there due to the door swing. I'll do that update.

What sort of space do I need on the bathroom door areas for accessibility? One possibility would be to put in oversized doors, there's room for 36" doors or bigger. For the master at least, the other option might be to put a 45 degree wall facing the hall/bedroom and put the door on that wall. More directly facing the bedroom. I do like the layout how it is now though, so hopefully a bigger door will be ok. Last option is that I could expand this whole stretch of hallway out to about 4' wide (see the jog in the corner bedroom near the door?) This would shrink the bathroom sink areas, one of the linen closets and the corner bedroom by a few inches.

The front porch won't have a railing or anything, just two posts. I did a test fit by sitting in one of our porch chairs and this should be enough space for sitting, but I agree not really a living area for entertaining or anything. Mostly a spot to enjoy the weather/watch the kids play, hand out candy at Halloween :)

Lastly, what's the thinking on the prep sink location? I've never had one, so I don't know how they end up being used day to day. My thought was to put it close to the cooktop for easy access to water for boiling, rinsing vegetables, etc.

    Bookmark   June 20, 2012 at 10:05AM
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So, kitchen prep usually happens between "the sink" (whichever one that might be) and the stovetop. In your plan, I actually think that you will use your main sink for quick water for cooking. And, keeping your prep sink out of the path between countertop and stovetop would be my preference (therefore, the prep would be between the sink and stove, rather than prep area, sink then stove).

Also, with it at the other end, it is more easily accessible for people to use to grab a drink of water, without coming into your cook space.

Also, when I went to bed last night, I got to thinking... it might be nice if you could turn your stairs 90* so that you enter them from the dining room rather than from your entry. (I was just thinking about how your foyer feels). I'm not sure if you can actually do that in this footprint, but if you hadn't thought of that already, it might be worth trying.

On the door widths... Bevangel has had some great posts with that information. I'll see if I can find it, or if she just weighs in for you.

    Bookmark   June 20, 2012 at 11:37AM
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From another post Bevangel commented on:
"Any room or closet that you want to make wheelchair accessible needs to have a wide enough door (32" minimum) for a wheelchair to get thru. Accessible bathrooms need to have a 5' diameter circle of clear floor space so that a wheel-chair can get turned around in them."

That 32" is for a straight on doorway though. I can't find the info on what you need if you are approaching a doorway and need to make a 90* turn into it. I'll keep looking.

45* are more wheelchair friendly than 90* turns, but you also want to balance space needs with wants. It might not make sense, in the grand scheme to insert 45* corners, or super-wide hallways.

I'll keep looking.

    Bookmark   June 20, 2012 at 12:08PM
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see link
still not clear on a doorway that you have to enter at 90*.

Here is a link that might be useful: universal design checklist

    Bookmark   June 20, 2012 at 12:20PM
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ZG - I am a newbie here but I saw the narrower opening to the stairwell and wondered about getting furniture/etc. down there. Is this going to be a walkout basement and you'll have an alternate entrance? Only speaking from experience after we finished our basement and had to take off the door and trim at the bottom to SHOVE and I mean SHOVE an average sized couch down there. :( Not fun. In fact I think it will be staying with the house when we move.

    Bookmark   June 20, 2012 at 4:19PM
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You might want to consider a linen cabinet in the master bathroom between the vanity and the toilet room.

I would be a bit concerned about the how narrow the area is by the back door cubbies. If you have several people trying to get ready at the same time, they would be getting in each other's way. Can you steal a foot of space from the garage and bump the cubbies out a little?

Will you need a door at the top of the stairs to the basement since the basement will not be finished until later?

    Bookmark   June 20, 2012 at 7:45PM
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Kirkhall, I think you breathe house plans don't you? :) Thanks for the info on accessibility. From the info you had, I did a bit more Googling and it looks like I really should have 36" doors and openings throughout and 48" halls. I can give back the hall space and the doors can all be expanded without causing problems. I've already updated the latest version of my plan with these changes. The only thing I'll need to review is the width of the double vanities to make sure they're actually useful and that I don't need to drop them to singles. I expect that 48" halls with 36" doors *should* be good for wheelchair planning, but I'll need to do a little more review to have some confidence in that plan.

Autumn.4, the stairwell flights are 36" wide and will not have a full wall between flights (short wall probably, or railing). I think you might be right though, looking closely, I have 36" without the wall or railing. A few extra inches here won't make too much of a problem in the dining room, or behind the bookshelf in the living room. And it will widen that pull out pantry a little bit, making it more useful. I'll see what I can do with it.

dekeoboe, there SHOULD be a cabinet/shelves there, but I forgot to put it in :) At this point, I see what you're saying about the mudroom area, but I don't think I can justify the change. The 'hallway' between the cubbies and the wall is 3' 9", so slightly bigger than a basic hallway. Since this house will have a full basement, I'm trying to keep the 'heated area' of the house as squared as possible. A bumpout in the mudroom would result in more corners in the basement. The stairwell to the basement will be finished on move-in day, and at this point at least, the plan is to have the basement studded out during framing. So when we move in, the work remaining for DIY will be wiring, insulation, drywall, paint, carpet. I finished our current basement with no prior experience in about 6 months and it's nowhere near as square and level as the new one should be. So the basement should be somewhat finished within the first year, two at most.

    Bookmark   June 20, 2012 at 9:47PM
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I do really enjoy looking at a good plan, and optimizing (at least for how I live and experience living in a home; my choices aren't everybody's).

I hope I have been a little helpful.

    Bookmark   June 20, 2012 at 11:19PM
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I like your plan! Very well laid out and lots of attention to detail. The porch is a nice feature and you have easy access to the basement. Perfect for kids to come home (maybe with friends) and head right downstairs to a rec room :)

Nice kitchen layout! If you want a prep sink on the island, I would move it to the other side, too...although it's optional, with how well all your appliances are laid out, IMHO. Two level islands are nice, but all one level would also work in your space...and would give you more work area. Also, with people sitting at the stools (and possibly dining chairs) will you have enough room for others to walk in between?

The mudroom...very nice feature, but the bench is very close to the doorway. If one person is sitting there and another wants to open the door, it could be a problem. You could have the bench built into the cubbie wall, if you like...or maybe a nine-light door (top half glass) into the garage...so you can see if anyone is sitting at the bench.

    Bookmark   June 21, 2012 at 9:11AM
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The corner by the refrigerator looks very tight. I'm afraid it would feel a bit cave like and I don't think anyone would actually be able to stand there (for example to use the coffee maker or mixer, whatever that item is in the drawing.) I'd try to do an elevation of that wall to see how it would look.

Might not be a big deal to you, but for me I'd be tempted to steal a foot or two from the DR and LR, move the left entry into the kitchen down a bit and extend that left hand counter run (where the ref is.)

I'd definitely post on the Kitchens forum if you haven't yet. There are some great folks there too.

It looks like a nice and functional plan. Have fun!

    Bookmark   June 21, 2012 at 10:56AM
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You've really maximized your space. I rather like it.

I have a couple questions...where will you put the bed in your master? And can you get your furniture down the basement steps. They seem narrow, and with a 180 degree turn it could be difficult....(sorry but this is one of my pet peeves). You have a nice kitchen layout, and with a few tweaks it will be even better.

    Bookmark   June 21, 2012 at 12:02PM
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I agree about that corner by the fridge. I have one of those in my current kitchen an that corner never gets used for anything really. I actually wanted to ask what software you were using? I'm trying to work on my own floorplan you see...

    Bookmark   June 21, 2012 at 7:55PM
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I'm using Home Designer Software - Suite edition. It's a lower featured version of Home Designer Software Pro and a relative of Chief Architect software which is used by architects and designers professionally.


    Bookmark   June 21, 2012 at 10:20PM
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Thanks! It looks fantastic:)
You have a nice flow to your plan too.

    Bookmark   June 22, 2012 at 6:24AM
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For that depth in the mudroom...it might be worth reconsidering the stair direction and adding just a couple feet to your length dimension...

Also, you could do a "bump out" into your garage on your main floor only, just like they frame bumpouts on the exterior of homes--without expanding your basement or changing your slab/foundation plan.

    Bookmark   June 22, 2012 at 4:40PM
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Ok, good news. I looked at some old threads on mudrooms and cubbies and found that mine were too deep, and thus wasting space. I resized them and now have a full 48" hallway in that area (should be ADA ok too now, which I had completely overlooked before).

Widened the stairs to the basement so that each flight is now 39" wide. This is very close to the size of our current stairs which are in this configuration in our house today. Upstairs we have 36" and to the basement we have 42". This will be a little tight, but I don't move furniture very often!

On the comments about the kitchen corner area by the fridge, I definitely see the concern. However I'm having trouble coming up with any good solution. Moving the mudroom -> kitchen doorway up and the fridge down is the only possibility I see it seems that that would force me to have a wasted void between the freezer and dining room where I currently have the pull out pantry. My thinking when laying out the kitchen was that this corner would end up being a spot to keep the mixer/coffee etc which are things we can easily slide over when we need to use them. Any other ideas on fixing this corner? I'll also take it to the kitchen forum if I can't figure anything out here in the next few days.

Holding off on posting any updated images until I've let the current changes soak in a bit :) Thanks again for all of your thoughts and input! I really appreciate it!

    Bookmark   June 22, 2012 at 10:38PM
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Another way to "fix" the corner is to make sure your fridge doesn't stick out from the counter (can you recess it into the mudroom)? (atm, your pictures aren't loading. I am sure it has to do with my connection, but I can't remember exactly how your fridge lies in comparison to the mudroom).

    Bookmark   June 23, 2012 at 12:40AM
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That worked. I actually did the reverse and moved the wall behind the cabinets in a bit. Lose maybe 5" of space in the cabinets, but it does make that counter top area more accessible and the bump in in the mudroom can be extra coat hooks/brooms/bbq tools or something like that. Getting a very good feeling about this whole thing now. I'm still going to let it set for the weekend, but I'll likely post updated v2.1 pics early next week.

Thanks again.

    Bookmark   June 23, 2012 at 1:27PM
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I live in a 1700sf rancher with bedrooms about the size you're contemplating. My MBR is 13 x 13, 2nd bedroom is 12 x10 and 3rd bedroom is 9 x 11. They are all too small. Our MBR holds queen bed, but one side only has about 18" to the wall. It will not fit a king. I noticed you've got inward swinging french doors in your MBR. They will really eat into the room space and leave you with very little free space. My two smaller bedrooms really only hold twin beds, a small dresser, and a small bookcase. They're ok for small kids, but are at capacity with stuffed animals, books etc. and will not hold double beds along with dressers etc.

So, I would strongly advise bumping the bedrooms up even a few feet. A 15 x 15 MBR would feel much more spacious. A 12 X 12 size for secondary bedrooms would also be better.

Just my two cents, thanks for the opportunity to comment!

    Bookmark   June 24, 2012 at 9:22PM
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I think the bedroom sizes are fine, but it all depends on the furniture that you want to put in them. A king size bed is only 6.5 feet wide, so that would leave about 3 feet of walking space on each side of the bed. That's what we have right now in our 12x13 master, and it works alright, but we don't have alot of large furniture(just the bed, a dresser, chair, and nightstands).

    Bookmark   June 24, 2012 at 11:07PM
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I know we must consider resale value, but for our family bedrooms are a place to sleep or just get away to a quiet spot. The plan for the kids rooms is a full/queen bed and a small desk. For the master, a queen bed and two bedside tables. Possibly a comfy chair to sit and read in.

At some point I really should post up a sketch of our current house. Every room in this design is considerably larger than what we have today.

I appreciate the continued input though! Always more to think about, glad we're still awhile out from time to build.

I'll certainly post this in a new topic at some point if I need more help, but has anyone had some experience with taking a detailed plan like this to an architect/draftsman and getting a review and 'builder plans' drawn up? By the time I'm done I'll have everything down to the electrical outlets/cat5/cable/smoke detectors/light switches etc sketched in. The only thing I don't see a good way to do in the program is to do hvac planning. I can put registers and furnace etc in though, so I guess that's up to the hvac sub to work out the details.

    Bookmark   June 25, 2012 at 12:12AM
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tweaked your plan a bit ...

i think this is the mudroom that you mentioned ...

    Bookmark   June 26, 2012 at 4:29AM
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Yes, that's the idea for the outlets. The double top cabinet opening is better than what I have sketched out. A spot for the electronics and more space for other stuff above.

I like the bumpout in the bathroom and the change to the kitchen entry area, those are good improvements.

On the overall width though, I'm still constrained by my lot. Here's a picture of the measurements I have and the setback values. 25' from the front/top, 7' on each side and 23.87' from the back. Normally 25' from the back but larger on this lot due to odd shape I think.

BTW, I tried to email you as well, but I haven't used the GW email before so I'm not sure if it came through.


    Bookmark   June 27, 2012 at 10:19PM
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Kirkhall mentioned accessibility standards for homes and there seems to be some confusion about what they are so I'll try to clarify the issues involved.

There are no federal requirements for accessibility features in single-family homes. However, the federal standards (ADA) in multifamily housing have become a model for many published recommendations from states, cities, the AARP, etc. but except in a very few cases these recommendations are not laws and sometimes rely on tax credits (Atlanta) and grants (Specially Adapted Housing Grant, etc.) to persuade people to adhere to them. Unfortunately, these standards vary quite a bit regarding door openings and none that I know of address bathroom turn-around space.

Bathroom turn-around space is found in the Federal ADA standards for public use buildings and in addition to the 5 ft turn-around circle there is an option for a T-shaped turn-around and both the T and the circle can include certain knee and toe spaces under other fixtures as defined in the ADA so determination of compliance requires more than a 5 ft circle drawn on the plan and for that reason you won't find that diagram in the toilet room section of the ADA.

Another source of confusion is the difference between "size" and "clearance" of doorways. In the ADA the 32" required clearance is measured between the face of the door stop on the latch side and the face of the door when it is open 90 deg. That means the minimum ADA door "size" is 34" or larger depending on the hinge projection and door thickness. Many single-family recommendations call for a 32" "opening" or "size" which means the actual clearance would be 30" or less which is too small to meet the 32" ADA requirement. This clearance can be improved with offset swing-away hinges that allow the door to swing clear of the opening at 90 deg. but they are not very attractive in a home.

The bottom line is that there are no national standards for single-family handicap access and using the ADA standards would be excessive and unnecessary so it is best to avoid the term "handicap accessible" and do whatever you think is reasonable to accommodate the disabled in your home.

For example, if a wheelchair has wheel handrails with a maximum width of 25" to 27", a 32" door size would not be ADA compliant and would only provide 2 1/2" to 1 1/2" of space on each side for knuckles so maybe you would prefer a 34" ADA compliant door, however, for a 23" wide powered wheelchair a 30" door might be tight but a 32" door would be ideal and the chair could turn around in a 37" circle or make a T-turn almost anywhere.

Of equal importance is the design of toilets, lavatories, sinks, tubs, showers, cooking equipment as well as maneuvering clearances to the sides of swinging doors all of which takes up more than 20 pages in the ADA.

    Bookmark   September 30, 2012 at 12:07AM
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GARAGE: Definitely go with 23'6" wide suggestion (as a minimum). If you go with your original 20'8" width, it will be too tight for 2 vehicles. The last thing you want to do is move your vehicle just to get a recycling/ trash bin or lawnmower out of the garage. My previous house had a 21' wide garage and it was no fun. Never again. Current garage is 24'x 24' and the extra few feet are definitely worth it.

    Bookmark   September 30, 2012 at 5:14AM
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Garage Ramps for the disabled:

As most of you are aware, the ADA rule for a maximum ramp slope of 1 in 12 with landings at each end is not an appropriate standard for your house where you are far less likely to have many different disabled people entering your house unannounced and unaided on a daily basis.

The height difference between the garage floor and the house is an important factor. If a house has a perimeter or basement foundation wall, wood framing and wood siding, the floor level difference in the garage will usually be between 18 and 24 inches. If the foundation is a slab-on-grade the difference might be as small as 6 inches. The requirement for a 4 inch curb or step up to stop gasoline vapors has been eliminated from the most common national code (IRC) but state or local amendments might have put it back in. Always ask the building inspector about special fire prevention provisions and state building code amendments.

If the change in level is 2 ft, the ADA ramp length would be 24 ft plus two 3 ft landing spaces and there would have to be a 3 ft passage from the outside through a swinging door. However, since there is likely to be no law regarding ramp slope for your home, you need to think about what the most likely use is; you simply can't afford to plan for every possibility.

Since orthopedic operations and broken bones don't always require a wheelchair (you'll be walking on a new hip before you leave the hospital) and when they do the patient usually spends time in a nursing/rehab facility, the most likely need for a ramp is for a family member who has a more permanent disability or uses a walker or a guest in an unpowered wheelchair.

Your family member will most likely be in a powered wheelchair and you can push your guest up and down the ramp so a ramp slope of 1 in 8 is fine but landing spaces should be greater than 3 ft. in length. This might take up the side or back wall of your garage so the location of the door to the house becomes critical even if you plan to add the ramp when you need it.

Continuous guards, handrails and curbs are very important as is good lighting and non-slip surfaces. If your local code requires a closer on the garage door there should be sufficient side clearance at the door. That is a condition where the ADA rules should be used.

There are aluminum ramps for sale that have the appropriate features and can be quickly assembled at any slope but you have to build the upper landing.

    Bookmark   September 30, 2012 at 9:53AM
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