50-Year "Forever Home" Floor Plan

dauglosJune 27, 2014

Hi, all. I've lurked here for a while, and think it might finally be time to ask for your input.

I'm trying to design a smallish home in which I can comfortably spend the rest of my life. I started with the plan you can see in my follow-up post, and tried to streamline and simplify from there. I'm pretty happy with what I've got so far (i.e., the plan in this post). Houseplans.com lists the original at 1388 square feet.

Some additional notes: I'm kind of a hermit, so this house won't need to accommodate lots of guests or a large family ("snip, snip," actually).
-The survivalist-sized pantry came about due to the remote nature of the home site (Washington State's Olympic Peninsula) and my tendency to buy in bulk.
-The deleted stairs only led to an optional basement. I'm favoring a crawlspace.
-I wouldn't mind more closet space, but don't think I'm willing to sacrifice anything for clothes I rarely/never wear.
-I'm going to trim a couple feet off the front and side of the garage before this is done.

I'd love to hear what you guys think. Thanks.

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dauglos

The original plan. By flipping it, I think I helped my future bedroom and bathroom warm up a little faster in the morning.

    Bookmark   June 27, 2014 at 1:36PM
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musicgal

Dauglos- if you are sure you will be living alone, this looks like a pretty functional plan for that. I'd incorporate a drop shelf into that pantry for keys and mail, and think about a deck space off the living areas in the back to extend your line of sight and take advantage of what I suspect, are some amazing vistas. Underbed storage and your closet should do just fine for one person. Think seriously about shrinking your garage... that may be a luxury that you can afford, and a little extra space in there is good for all types of things you don't necessarily want in the house.

    Bookmark   June 27, 2014 at 2:10PM
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kirkhall

You've taken up your entire "dinette" area with the door... It is totally non-functional as a dinette now. The original had a sliding door so that a table could be placed in proximity. Yours is just open space, as you won't be able to put a table there.

The way your mudroom has the door to the far left side means that it will be inconvenient, at best, to put any storage in that room, and at worst, the mudroom/laundry/storage room is really just, again, open floor space that is nonfunctional. You'd get by just as well to put the WH, W/D where the closets are in that room. See if you can rearrange to make the room usable, otherwise, reduce the width of that room substantially (you won't lose any functionality, just open floor space.)

As large as the pantry is, it is over large and again is wasted floorspace. I buy in bulk too, but even in bulk, if you line that entire room in deep shelves (pantries, it is better not to go deep, but even if you went deep), you would still have a 5 FOOT floor area. That is just ridiculous.

Maybe try taking your new layout and putting in some to scale furnishings. I think that will help you to see that the rooms, while "large", aren't actually functionally larger.

And, I too, would think twice about reducing the garage size.

    Bookmark   June 27, 2014 at 4:41PM
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jdez

I think this house would be very nice for one person. If it were for me, I would keep the FP for its cozy feel. And I like to read by the FP in the winter time, so maybe at least an electric FP in there somewhere just for the illusion. I agree with Musicgal that you should keep the garage at its current size for additional storage.

    Bookmark   June 27, 2014 at 4:47PM
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robin0919

How will the bed and bath heat up faster in this plan? I would think you would have incredible views in the back, IMO....I would want the bedroom facing the back and not the front.

    Bookmark   June 27, 2014 at 7:32PM
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GreenDesigns

A 1 bedroom will have to be a 100% cash build. No bank will lends funds for a home with zero resale value because if they had to foreclose, they couldn't sell it. Just be aware that you may have cut square footage, but it wasn't expensive square footage to cut. What remains IS the expensive parts. Thus, the overall costs to build this will not be all that much cheaper than the original. And you live in a location that has greater than average costs to build. All needing cash to do it. So, perhaps the original with the second bedroom and a bank loan might actually be more feasable to construct, even tough it maty cost you slightly more.

    Bookmark   June 27, 2014 at 8:53PM
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renovator8

I designed a house for a man who said he would never marry. I ran into him during construction and he introduced me to his fiancé. He sold the house within a year.

    Bookmark   June 27, 2014 at 9:09PM
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dekeoboe

Nice story Ren.

    Bookmark   June 27, 2014 at 10:42PM
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mrspete

I fear my thoughts will be a little repetitive, but I'll throw them out anyway:

- I like the simple exterior.

- I agree that I fear you'd miss the fireplace, and since you say you're in a remote area, I'd think you'd want a back-up heating system.

- I agree that the door in the dinette is a mistake. It looks fine on a plan, but when you place a table there, the door will be completely non-functional. I'd stick with windows near the table area, and I'd replace the large windows in the den with a sliding glass door (look at the new ones that look like French doors but don't require an inward swing). You'll still have the light, but it'll give you the backyard access you need.

- I agree that the pantry -- while very nice! -- is too wide to be practical. Since you buy in bulk, I'd say allot 24" shelves on one side, 12" shelves on the other, and a 36" walkway down the middle . . . that cuts out 36" of what would be wasted space. Space that you'll appreciate in your kitchen /dining. Or space that could pull the garage "in" a little, saving a bit of square footage.

- Likewise, I think you have allotted too much space in the mechanics room. A square room is often wasteful because the center ends up being "empty space", whereas a rectangle provides more wall space -- and in a storage room, wall space is what you want. Since you've mentioned a wistfulness for a larger closet, why not push the bathroom "back" a bit into the mechanics room and have a second reach-in closet on the shared bedroom/bathroom wall?

- In the mechanics room, I'd remove the closet doors and have open shelving. The whole room is essentially a closet -- why have a closet within a closet?

- I'd want a linen closet IN the bathroom. You want clean towels, the extra toilet paper, and a fresh bottle of shampoo while you're IN the bathroom . . . you don't want to have to journey out into the hallway to locate those items. Note that you have NO floorspace in the bathroom for a hamper or a trash can.

- For one person, the little office spot by the door will work fine, if you just want a little desk for one person. However, if this house ever houses a couple, note that the spot will have no visual or acoustical privacy. Also, I don't see any bookshelves anywhere -- and few walls upon which they could be placed. I'd consider a wall of bookshelves on the left side of the entryway.

- Finally, the person who commented that a one-bedroom house is problematic in terms of resale and financing is correct. While I think this house would be comfortable for one person or a minimalistic couple, you will be sinking a great deal of money into something that could prove difficult in the future.

    Bookmark   June 28, 2014 at 8:27AM
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bird_lover66

I would stick with something closer to the original plan. Make the second bedroom your office area. Looking at the "original" plan you posted, move the front door over to the left, and make a closet with the space that is left from the previous stair placement. (Or make this your water heater, air condition return, etc.) Then, take the space where the front door was previously and add that to the laundry room, and remake that into your laundry and pantry area. With adequate wall space for shelving, you will still have plenty of storage space.

    Bookmark   June 28, 2014 at 11:50AM
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dauglos

Thanks for the suggestions, everyone. Keep 'em coming, if you're so inclined. And since you took the time to write to me, IâÂÂll try to respond individually, although I know this will be a mess visually and make everyone do a lot of back-and-forth scrolling. :)

musicgal: Good idea with the deck, and great idea with the underbed storage. I'm embarrassed to say that hadn't occurred to me. The smallest I'll make the garage is 19-5 x 21-6 (the size of my current garage, not a set of random numbers).

kirkhall: I've gone back and forth on the dinette. I know it's small, but in my current home, I believe I've only sat down to maybe a dozen meals at the kitchen table, so I'll probably go with a small "pub set." My thinking was that I'd rather have the security and energy savings of a traditional door, although MrsPete brings up an intriguing idea about putting a sliding door in the den. As for the machine/storage room, it'll probably be a pet bedroom, as well -- my fault for not mentioning that. Very good point on the pantry. The smallest I'll make the garage is 19-5 x 21-6 (the size of my current garage, not a set of random numbers).

JDez: Thanks. I like fireplaces, too. It got cut in part because that's where I want to put my TV (and I don't like the TV-over-the-fireplace viewing angle), and in part because it was gas. Electric is a good idea.

robin0919: The bedroom and bathroom will now be the first rooms to get hit by morning sunlight. Maybe not a huge factor, but I'm trying to get every edge I can while still in the planning stages.

GreenDesigns: Very interesting point. Hadn't thought of that at all. I could do a cash build if necessary (and have actually been running the numbers that way), but was hoping for a loan so I wouldn't have to sell some investments.

Renovator8: Good story. :) I'm not opposed to marriage, but if I'm single and holed up in a town of just 255 people, I'm not sure it'll happen.

MrsPete: A wood fireplace would've stayed, but gas was just too problematic. A tiny table will probably solve my door-related issues in the dinette, but I like your "den door" idea, and will give it serious consideration. The same goes for pulling in the garage. As for the machines/storage room, it'll probably be a pet bedroom, as well -- my fault for not mentioning that -- and I may use that closet for actual clothes. I'm okay with under-sink storage in the bathroom, will probably make a TV stand double as a bookshelf, and yes, will be in trouble if I ever have to sell this place. (And finally, my apologies for this ugly block of text. :) )

bird_lover66: I appreciate your suggestions, but working a spot for my desk into the main living space was actually a huge coup for me. I spend a lot of time on my computer, and can now use it as a music player while I'm on the couch/in the kitchen, too.

    Bookmark   June 28, 2014 at 2:01PM
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Ehfivesixtwo3

Very exciting. My only suggestion is that you add a half bath -- somewhere, somehow, or perhaps just plumb for a half bath. The reason is resale value. A lot of folks, including me, won't consider a home with just one bath. It looks great.

    Bookmark   June 29, 2014 at 7:36PM
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larecoltante

Your home is oriented so that most of your living areas get northern light and your garage has a southern exposure. Since you are in the PNW, I suggest moving the garage to the north with your mechanical room so that your living areas get that lovely southern light. If you stick with your current plan, add a window to the east side of the bedroom so you get morning light as well as light on two sides.

    Bookmark   June 29, 2014 at 10:41PM
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ladybrowncoat

I agree it would be a good idea to make this at least 2 bedrooms and 1.5 baths. My husband and I are childfree, and we never plan to sell, but we are concerned with the property value of the home. No one where we live would even consider a one bedroom, one bath (and we're in a small, rural town). Also, sharing your master bath with guests sucks, imho. So we are building a three bedroom, two bath- one "bedroom" is an office/library (we're taking the door off the closet and everything) and the other will be my craft room.

Just my two cents: I would take part of the pantry and make it the laundry room, then put a half bath where the closet inside the pantry is, but open to the main entry. So you'd walk in and pass the washer/dryer, you'd access the pantry from the kitchen, and guests would have a half bath on the left upon entry. Then use the 2nd bedroom in the back for storage (bulk items here to restock the pantry) and it would also serve as a nice office space. Not sure where to put the water heater, though.

Also, I'd put a sliding glass door in the dinette.

    Bookmark   June 30, 2014 at 9:06AM
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ladybrowncoat

And one more thing... if you can have a basement over a crawlspace, I'd go for it. Ours wasn't much more in price, and we basically double our square footage. SO much room for storage. As we age, crawlspaces and attics are difficult to access. If you have a basement, one day you can finish it off and increase your property value (refinance, take out a loan, etc). Your machinery, hot water heater and (if you'd like) your washer and dryer can live down there. Plus, a rough in for a full bath in ours was only a few hundred bucks.

Again, just my two cents. We learned a lot designing our forever home.

    Bookmark   June 30, 2014 at 9:11AM
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kirkhall

Many people don't know that Washington State is home to deserts, glaciers, and rainforests... The Olympic Peninsula is one of the locations of our Rainforest... Basements in that area are usually contraindicated.

    Bookmark   June 30, 2014 at 11:02AM
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dauglos

Well, if anyone (kirkhall and/or MrsPete) is curious, I think I will "pull in" the garage and give up perhaps two feet in the pantry (making it 13-4 x 7). With shelves that are 18 inches deep, that'll leave me an aisle 4 feet wide, which seems somewhat less silly. Still pondering other possible changes . . . .

Ehfivesixtwo3 : "Plumb for half a bath" -- good idea. I hate the idea of catering to some unknown person's possible needs when this is *my* "forever home," but putting in a few pipes is a compromise I could live with.

larecoltante: Hmmm. I don't have any quick answers for you. A nearby road lies to the south of my home site, so I've been pointing my garage towards it and my den away (for a better view and added privacy), but I hadn't thought about northern vs. southern light. Also, I currently have east-facing bedroom windows and hate them, but that's because I'm currently on vampire time. In the future, I'll probably follow a more traditional schedule and east-facing bedroom windows might be an asset. Thanks for the input.

ladybrowncoat: I have no doubt that you're right about property value, but I'm trying to keep down costs. Also, I hate the idea of catering to some unknown person's possible needs 50 years from now when this is *my* "forever home." I may plumb for half a bath, at least, as Ehfivesixtwo3 suggested. And I'm afraid kirkhall is right about basements in the area. In fact, I'm only leaning towards a crawlspace for maintenance/repair reasons . . . I don't need or want the space, but sooner or later, some repair guy may need to get under the house.

    Bookmark   June 30, 2014 at 3:41PM
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pixie_lou

Yes, this is your forever home. But sometimes life gets in the way of our plans. Look into the cost of building the foundation that will support a second story. Similar to the compromise of plumbing for an extra bath.

    Bookmark   June 30, 2014 at 11:10PM
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mrspete

I wouldn't compromise on the dinette area. You describe yourself as a hermit, but if that should change, a place to feed a couple friends would probably be near the top of your wish list. And you're not talking about a great deal of space.

I see that the original plan calls for a gas fireplace, but if you WANT wood -- or a wood stove -- that's a small change.

I would not worry about a 1/2 bath downstairs. A person who'd consider buying a house this small wouldn't expect it. I would consider space that could become additional bedrooms (i.e., a roof high enough that it could one day contain more rooms /space where a staircase could be built . . . or a basement that could one day contain more rooms, if necessary).

    Bookmark   June 30, 2014 at 11:24PM
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dauglos

Thanks for the idea, pixie_lou. And thanks to you, too, MrsPete, for stopping by again. Good ideas all around.

I'll probably spend a few more months considering costs, weighing pros and cons, and generally obsessing before I finalize anything and buy the plans. This has been very helpful. Thank you, everyone.

    Bookmark   July 1, 2014 at 4:02PM
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mrspete

Definitely take your time, research your options, look at products. No bad can come of investigating and knowing all your choices, whereas great regret can come from jumping in too soon.

We have allotted two years to prepare for our build. Of course, we have an imposed waiting period: we don't want to leave our current area until our youngest finishes high school.

    Bookmark   July 1, 2014 at 9:58PM
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Ehfivesixtwo3

It sounds like a wonderful space to me.

    Bookmark   July 1, 2014 at 11:34PM
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