Floor plan review... Please

PeteleyJune 30, 2012

I've been reading on here for months and this is my first time posting. I would really appreciate your comments regarding our floor plan. Our house goal is to keep the house easy to build, functional, and low maintenance, so we're avoiding any bump outs or roof lines. We live in small community in MN and have two girls (ages 5 and 8). We�re building on 40 acres that has a southern exposure. We're planning on ICF construction. Our supplier indicated the footprint should account for the extra 6 inches (34'6" x 46'6" to avoid having to cut a block). We plan to have a walkout basement, exposed on the South and East, the kids� bedrooms will be in the lower level. We�ll have a 10ft covered porch on the entire West side of the house. The floor plan doesn�t currently have windows indicated but we�d like to incorporate a passive solar design and would love any recommendations. We plan to retire in this home so we�ll have 36" doors and aren�t concerned about resale. We�re not sure about the layout of the bathroom. I don't have access to floor plan software so I apologize for the rough hand drawing.

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I"m no expert but just a few thoughts on first glance. 9x11 1/2 seems very tight for a dining area, especially since it appears to be a main walkthrough area. Same goes for the living room.

The bathroom area seems awkward--it would be helpful to see the layout of tub/shower, etc. I would also not want to share my master bath with the rest of the household as well as guests, which it appears you have this set up for.

It would also be helpful to know how many total square feet you are aiming for, how your family functions, etc.

Good luck!

    Bookmark   June 30, 2012 at 1:16PM
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I really like your plan! I think the dining room is plenty big enough, since the walkway is not included in the dimensions.

The kitchen layout is very nice! The only thing I would change is making the little wall of cabinets (behind the stools) more shallow. You'll need more room to get past the stools and 12" deep cabinets would be great for more pantry storage/seasonal/vases, etc.

The bathroom...I'm sure you'll have one downstairs, but I'd like a powder room/bath on the first floor. Since I know space is tight, maybe have the toilet in its own area (with a pocket door).

Great plan overall and I like the details, like the window seat, lockers in the mudroom, and great storage...with lots of shelves and closets :)

    Bookmark   June 30, 2012 at 2:07PM
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okpokesfan: In the basement we plan to have another full bathroom for the kids. We�ll have a bigger rec/tv area in the basement. Total square feet would be around 1564 per floor. We want to have a lot of outdoor living space with patios/porches. We're a casual family, no need for anything formal. We were hoping to keep the house under 1500sqft per floor but I couldn�t squeeze things together enough.

lavender_lass: I agree about the bathroom situation being kind of tight. I like the idea of having the toilet sink area separated with a pocket door from the tub, shower and sink. I�ll try work out the bathroom plan. I was wondering about the space behind the island stools. I'll decrease the width of the cabinets to allow for extra room-thanks!

Thanks for your comments!

    Bookmark   June 30, 2012 at 2:58PM
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Minnisota...brrrr. I'm sweltering here in central Texas right now and dream sometimes about moving someplace cooler I don't think I could take your winters. LOL!

I think you've made a very good start on the upper floor plan. In a cold weather climate, it's best to build a compact house with few or no bumpouts because with fewer exterior walls you lose less heat. So, the nice simple rectangle is great.

You'll want the majority of your windows on the south side to capture as much of the sun in the winter as possible so you're lucky to have land with a southern exposure.

You don't show a garage but I'm assuming it will probably be on the north side. Seems to me like that's perfect for allowing the garage to act as a wind break to help keep the house a bit warmer.

One thing I would recommend is to consider putting a small bump out around your front door so that you have a small enclosed foyer. I assume that that is your front door on the west wall. Since you're planning to have a covered porch anyway, the space will already be roofed so it wouldn't be a great expense to enclose a small "bump out foyer" section of the porch. It would just need to be big enough that one or two people could walk in and close the outer door behind themselves before opening the inner door. That would help keep those frigid northwest winds from howling thru your house whenever someone opens the front door. Just a thought.

As for the powderoom/masterbath... Friends of mine built a house with the guest powderroom incorporated as part of their master bath. Basically they built a long skinny powderroom with the sink and toilet facing each other and doors on the two side walls. One door allows guests to access the PR from the hall, the other door leads to the rest of their masterbath (shower, tub & his/hers sinks where they keep all their personal items.) The sink in the powderroom section is one of those pedestal sinks with no room for any personal stuff to accumulate...so it is clearly meant just for washing hands. Generally I don't find that my main floor powderroom ever gets all that grungy even tho it is the most often used bathroom in the house. When you're not brushing teeth, combing hair, taking showers, putting on makeup, shaving, etc., at a sink not that much mess accumulates. My friends put an extra latch on the masterbath side of the powderroom so that they can lock the door from tub side when they have guests and no one can wander on into their masterbathroom. It seems to work well for them so, if that's the kind of thing you're planning, I think it'll work. And, it has the advantage that, if you have extra guests and turn your office and/or living room into temporary extra sleeping space, guest CAN get to a shower without having to go thru the master bedroom. I like the idea.

What I really don't like is having the washer/dryer sit right beside the door to the garage. As a pre-teen there were lots of times Mom would pick up me and a friend from school and bring us home to study together. Obviously my friend would wind up coming into the house via the garage entry with us. I remember cringing with embarrassment when we would walk thru the door and wind up having to step over the piles of dirty laundry that Mom was in the process of washing. Ugh!

If you have any extra space in the basement, I'd move the laundry room down there - especially since the girls' bedrooms are down these so about half your laundry will originate there anyway. Besides, a real laundry room, with countertop space for folding clothes, a sink for hand washing delicate items, the ironing board, and a 4 or 5 ft long rod for hanging things up as you pull them out of the dryer would be sooooo much nicer than an alcove by the back door which will wind up constantly covered with whatever junk someone is carrying as they come in the back door. Don't you think?

I would agree that 9x11.5 is rather small for a dining room but it looks like, in measuring the space for dining room, you're leaving a 4 to 4.5 ft wide aisle from the front door to the living room so while it may be a little bit tight, it is probably okay. I'm not so sure about the 3 ft deep window seat tho. Seems like that is a bit too deep for sitting and besides, the window seat would generally be pretty much hidden by the dining table and chairs so it might not get much use. ...UNLESS, you're planning to incorporate that window seat as part of your dining room seating. If so, I'd probably put another window seat on the south wall and just make the entire corner into a window seat dining area with booth style (window) seating on two sides and chairs on the other two.

    Bookmark   June 30, 2012 at 3:09PM
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I saw a window seat like that in a 'Not So Big House' book. It was a window seat and also a guest bed...very charming and built-in with back cushions, bolsters and a few throw pillows that were taken off, when it needed to be used for guest space.

Not actually a guest room...but maybe the 'we had a party and got snowed in and now everyone has to stay over' space. LOL! We can get that too, in the winter :)

    Bookmark   June 30, 2012 at 3:32PM
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You'd think in this 95+ degree weather, that us Minnesotans wouldn't complain after living through -20 degrees only 5 months ago, but it'd sure be nice to have a few more months of something in the middle : )

Lavender- Regarding the window seat, I planned that we'd use it more sitting sideways than feet on the floor. More for 2 people playing games and 1 person relaxing to read. Maybe it'd be perfect for an afternoon nap though : )
Bevangel- My husband would prefer to put the laundry in the basement as well. But that is a good thought- no matter how clean of person you plan to be, someone always seems to pop in when things aren't organized. It also seems that a lot of our family/friends tend to use the informal entries too. If the laundry is closer to the kids, I hope that means they'll do learn how to use it too! We could keep the thought of moving it on the main floor as we get older.
I totally agree with the poweder room/master bath.
I like you're thinking for the entry way on the West side. We'll have to talk about if/how we would incorporate that.
Any recommendation for how many and where to put the windows for the south side?

Thanks for all the great ideas!

    Bookmark   June 30, 2012 at 9:15PM
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I think the Living room would be fine if your main one would be downstairs. Still not sure about the dining room---DH is a big man and hates for anything to be cramped so I guess I'm used to planning for him!! :^)

    Bookmark   June 30, 2012 at 10:55PM
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