beginning floorplan

blahbobbyblahJune 12, 2012

We are in the early trying to find a house plan we like stage. We have come across this plan that is our current favorite. What we are looking for:

Open floor plan with the kitchen connected to the living area. DW wants to be able to see the tv from the kitchen.

I like the corner fireplace that is also connected to the fire place outside. It seems to me to be more cost effective to build since there is only one chimney, etc.

Outdoor living area that is covered. We are in TX and shade is wonderful.

Study/library. We have a lot of books.

Walk-in pantry and butler pantry area.

Dining room. Something the DW wants.

Probably around 2500 to 2700 sq ft.

Prefer a three car garage.

Laundry room.

One story. We are only going to get older.

9� or 10� ceilings.

I guess my biggest concern with this plan is natural light. With the lot we are looking at the back of the house would be facing east. The master bedroom could be slightly bigger.

Any critiques are more than welcome along with any other house plans that you would recommend.

Thank you in advance.

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bevangel_i_h8_h0uzz

Given that you mention that you're building here in Texas, I'm not sure this is a great plan. Especially not for building on an east facing lot.

In the Texas heat, you want to avoid plans (and lots) that orient the house so that the majority of windows on are the east and west sides. You should particularly avoid plans with numerous west-facing windows as those get the hot afternoon sun.

Instead you should look for a lot and house plan that allow you to orient the major axis of the house east/west so that the majority of your windows, if not all, are on the north and south sides. Then, run a deep porch along the south side to provide extra shade to south-facing windows in the summertime. In Texas, north facing windows are wonderful as they receive sunlight in the winter (when a little bit of extra solar warmth is generally welcome) but get almost no direct sunlight during our brutal Texas summers.

If you don't work in your garage, having the garage on the west side of the house allows it to act as a heat barrier to the hot afternoon sun...but be sure to insulate well between the inner garage walls and the house.

In hot climates, high ceilings work to our advantage by providing a place for excess hot air to rise. Ceiling fans are also a great idea because, when the air is moving, you can be perfectly comfortable with the air temperature as much as 5 degrees warmer than in a room with no air movement.

An outdoor living area can be wonderful during the cooler parts of our year...but if you have mosquitoes, flies, and other flying nuisances, you'll get more use out of your outdoor living area if it is screened in.

Fireplaces LOOK great, but honestly, they get very very little use in our climate. If you just want the "fireplace look", consider a direct vent gas fireplace for the inside...no chimney necessary, though you can brick or stone up the wall around the direct vent fireplace so that, from the inside, it looks like you have a chimney.

And, for the outdoor living area, instead of a fireplace up against the house...which would probably never get used, consider a fireplace/grill/BBQ that is located away from the house so that you don't need a tall chimney and the stone work acts to partially shade the outdoor living area. (See the link.) I know I would get much more use out of something I could bbq on outdoors than I would a more traditional fireplace.

Here is a link that might be useful:

    Bookmark   June 12, 2012 at 7:44PM
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kirkhall

Do you have much control over your house orientation though? I'm thinking your front door might have to be on the west side, no matter what, if that is where your street is...

If that is the case, I'd at least consider end-for-end-ing this plan (put the garage/master on the right). That will allow your garage to be a major insulator to your house from South sun.

Then, you will probably have to extend the front porch to give more shade to those windows on the West.

And, you will need to plant some trees (are there trees already on the lot?)

What is your lot like? Is what I propose an option?

    Bookmark   June 13, 2012 at 1:34AM
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bevangel_i_h8_h0uzz

If OP already owns the lot then Kirkhall's suggestion about flipping the plan so that the garage is on the south side makes sense. He could also move the windows in bedrooms 2 and 3 so that they're not facing east and west.

But I got the sense OP was currently "looking" at a lot but hadn't bought one yet. That's why I suggested maybe looking for a lot that faced north or south.

Alternatively, one could consider building a narrow deep house on the west facing lot. Or OP could look for a house plan with broad porches/verandas on both the front and back sides to shade the east and west facing windows.

Personally though, if I was still looking for a lot in Texas, I wouldn't buy one that faced east or west unless it had some really spectacular views to outweigh the solar orientation negatives.

    Bookmark   June 13, 2012 at 2:17AM
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blahbobbyblah

Yes, I forgot to mention that we would be flipping this plan with the lot we are considering. The garage would be on the south side.

    Bookmark   June 13, 2012 at 9:12AM
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blahbobbyblah

And the lot is heavily treed, which is a must for us.

    Bookmark   June 13, 2012 at 9:14AM
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kirkhall

Okay, moving off of the lot then...

I think this is a reasonable plan. I would check your garage depth. At just 21 feet, and having to potentially walk from the far car infront/behind 2 other cars to get to the back door, the depth might be a bit thin. (might).

I would eliminate the windows in the Master closet and also the side (what will be S) window of the bathroom. I would also add windows to the 2 accessory bedrooms on what will be the North side.

And, while the J&J bath has the requisite (in my mind) single door to the bath/toilet area, the fact that the door to bdrm 3 blocks that toilet door would make this setup a no-go for me. I think I'd turn the vanity and make that bathroom accessible from the hallway for both bedrooms.

Also, the tiny walk-in closet for bedroom 3 is less functional than a reach in would be. I think it would be worth figuring out how to get the closet to be a reach in for that bedroom and along the West wall to act as insulator to the heat.

The drop zone seems a little small, but it has one.
And, the laundry, imo, is in a good spot.

Finally, what is your family situation? Are your kids older? The only reason I ask is that from accessory bedrooms to master bedroom in the night is really LONG (kind of windy) trek.

As for the kitchen, you will want to take that to the kitchens forum, but I worry that you don't really have a good or large enough prep space. And, if you have a single height island, all your dirty dishes will be out for people to see front and center... though, you do have the room, potentially, to have double DWs if you want.

    Bookmark   June 13, 2012 at 10:05AM
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