Floor plan comments

ljmgdJune 15, 2012

Hi all -

Please comment on our floor plan. This will be our first build. The total square footage is about 2800.

We're happy with the layout - with a few exceptions and wanted to get input from others before we meet with our builder again. Some things I don't like about the floor plan:

- I still have mixed feelings about a first floor master while my husband loves the idea.

- The upstairs bathroom is way too small and there is no window.

- Not sure about dormers in the upstairs bedrooms

- Breakfast nook needs to be made slightly wider

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And, tell us about you. Kids? Ages? Future? retiring? Will you live in this house forever?

The first floor master--whether or not it will work for you, in particular, will probably depend on the ages of your children, for example.

    Bookmark   June 16, 2012 at 12:10AM
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We have 2 beautiful kids - a 7 yr old (a boy) and a 2 1/2 year old (girl). The only reason I finally agreed to the first floor master was because of the placement of the stairs near the master. This will be our forever home so I see the reasoning for the first floor master, its just taking me a while to get used to the idea.
My husband is 45 and I'm 37.

    Bookmark   June 16, 2012 at 8:44AM
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These images are really tiny--can you provide larger images?

I agree that the upstairs bathroom is VERY small to share among 3 bedrooms (or 2 kids). If you can't add a window on a wall, you could add a Solatube in the bathroom (I think they are about $350 and can easily be added after construction is complete, or even years down the road.)

Will the third upstairs bedroom be used as a guest room? If we lived in your floorplan, I would probably just live in an upstairs guest room until I felt comfortable being on a separate floor from the kids. (We currently have an 8-month-old so I love being Right Next Door for now.)

I think the dormers (and resulting ceiling height variety) will add serious charm to the upstairs bedrooms. :)

    Bookmark   June 16, 2012 at 10:07AM
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My first thought is the upstairs bathroom is way too small for regular use. There's no counter space and the vanity is too small for storage space. Where will the toothbrushes, hairbrushes, deodorants, flat iron, hair dryer, hair supplies, makeup, etc live? If this is your forever home, the kids will grow up and have toiletries.

A bathroom *can* be that small, but I think that size is best for a guest bath rather than for daily use for 2 people (and occasional guests)

Others love powder rooms near the garage entry, but the location of this one is a walk from the garage--and inconvenient for guests as well. I prefer a powder room where it is most frequently used--near the main part of the house--and where the guests don't work through the "back part" of the house to get to.

I can't really see details of the kitchen area, but it doesn't seem to be a great working kitchen. There's almost no counter space at all.

I'm not sure what the rooms or closets are labeled. Where will the kids put their backpacks, coats, etc.? What shoes will be stored near the garage entry and where?

I love our first floor master, but our kids were older when we moved into the house.

    Bookmark   June 16, 2012 at 11:36AM
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We will be meeting with the builder sometime this week or early next week to discuss a couple of changes - one of them being how we can make the upstairs bathroom larger and if there is any way possible to add a window to the bathroom.

As for the kitchen, we haven't met with the kitchen designer yet, but are thinking about a partial wall between the kitchen and the great room. We also want a decent size island in the kitchen.

I have uploaded larger images of the floor plan. Any thoughts or suggestions are welcome.

    Bookmark   June 17, 2012 at 5:49PM
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I agree you should close off the kitchen from the great room with a wall about 1/2 way between the back wall and the corner. I would line it up with the corner of the nook. It seems awkward to have the wall stick out past the dining room. Although, I'd put a door into the hallway for access to the dining room and pantry area. There isn't much wall space in the living area so the wall would help that.

For the powder room location, it's not ideal for people on here but I think it's fine if you are able to keep that hallway clear and clean. I'd put a small window over the toilet which will help light the hall too.
Upstairs, you could close off the open area and make that a bathroom. Then, you could use the other space as a walkin closet or whatever else you need. Or, you could turn the bath into storage and use the current storage area (plus the space you gain by enclosing) as a small off or game area for the kids.

    Bookmark   June 17, 2012 at 7:02PM
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Yeah, I'm not really sure why he has the wall sticking out past the dining room but I really didn't care for that.

I like the idea of adding a window in the bathroom in the mudroom but I'm wondering if there is any where/way to move that bathroom to a different location.

    Bookmark   June 18, 2012 at 9:05PM
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Well, I'm not terribly fond of it. And, frankly, it doesn't sound like you really are either.

Is your builder a custom builder, or are you stuck with the plans in his arsenal?

    Bookmark   June 18, 2012 at 10:30PM
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Even on your enlarged images, it is still impossible to see any dimensions so that makes it a bit harder to comment. It looks like TinyPic is actually posting a screen-wide image but that your picture has a huge section of white space on the right. In the future, before you upload an image to TinyPic, first make sure that it is cropped as closely as possible to the actual image you want to post...no extra white space on any side. Then upload that as a 15" or 17" wide image to TinyPic.

Ultimately, only YOU can decide if a 1st floor master is right for you. For resale value purposes, a 1st floor master is usually great b/c many buyers who are a little older don't want to make the trek upstairs all the time. And, many folks with older kids prefer the additional parental privacy. With a toddler tho, it makes sense that you would want your bedroom on the same floor as hers. Still, by the time you get moved in, she'll already be moving out of the toddler stage and, as a previous poster pointed out, you could use the office upstairs as your temporary master bedroom until your daughter is a little older. It it were me, unless I was considering having more children in the future, I'd probably decide that on balance, the 1st floor master was a good thing.

If I'm reading your roof lines correctly, it looks like one OUGHT to be able to expand that 2nd floor bathroom back at least another 3 feet or so for almost no cost. The space behind the bathroom is attic with the same amount of headroom as there is at the back of the bedrooms and that line across the bedrooms at the point where the dormers attach usually indicates the 7 foot headroom line. Or, for a much larger outlay of additional cash, you ought to be able to add in a third dormer which would give you a huge space for your upstairs bath.

As for the dormers themselves, dormer windows and sloping ceilings give bedrooms a charm not attainable with a standard perfect box shaped room. The question for me would be whether these dormers are so deep that light from the windows can't really penetrate to the main portion of the room. If the plan is one your builder has built before, perhaps you could see the previously built model.

Without being able to see dimensions, I can't comment on whether the nook is large enough or needs to be bigger.

Some concerns I would have with this plan that you don't mention are:

1) Is the kitchen really large enough to do what you want with it? Bear in mind that a kitchen island must have aisle space clear around it. On the sides facing perimeter counters that include any major appliance, you're going to want at least 4 feet of clear aisle space...and remember that fridges can stick out as much as a foot beyond the perimeter cabinet. On sides of the island that don't face any major appliances, you can usually get by with a 3ft aisle UNLESS you want a bar and barstools on that side. Where you want barstools, add another 1.5 to 2 ft to the aisle space. You can estimate how large a kitchen island you can fit into a given kitchen by first sketching in 2 ft wide perimeter cabinets on whichever sides you want them. Decide which wall(s) you think you want your stove and fridge to sit on... you don't have to have an exact placement. Sketch in a 4ft wide aisle on the side where the stove will sit of and a 4.5 to 5 ft ft wide aisles on the side where the fridge will be. Then sketch in 3 ft wide aisles on the other sides. The space that is left over in the middle is the maximum area that you can devote to your island PLUS bar and barstools. Is it as big as you want? If not, you'll need to find a way to enlarge the kitchen.

As your children get a little older, do you envision that they will take their noisier play into the space over the garage and use their bedrooms primarily for sleep and study? If not, will the noise of children playing overhead bother you if you're trying to entertain adults in the family room directly below the children's bedrooms?

With two kids and a plan with the staircase clear across the house from the garage entry (which usually becomes the main entry for families) I would definitely want a REAL mud room with cubbies for all the kid's jackets, hats, shoes, bookbags, sports paraphernalia, and other "stuff." Otherwise it'll wind up scattered on the dining room table, across the backs of family room chairs, and over stair bannisters...especially since, given where the door to the garage is located, the only closet near the garage entry is in the opposite direction from the normal flow of traffic into the house.

If you can afford it, I would recommend pulling the nose of the garage forward about another 3 feet. (This should be relatively cheap additional square footage.) Move the wall separating garage and house forward by the same amount so that your garage space doesn't change and move the entry door so that it is down closer to the laundry. Put a 5x5 walk in pantry clear on the left (closest to the dining room) and the powder room (5x5) immediately to the right of the pantry. This would leave you with a nice sized mudroom on the between the garage and laundry and traffic will flow thru the mudroom on the way into the house. You can even add in a door to separate the "hallway" from the mudroom and then, when you have guests they would be able to use the powderroom while any mess in your mudroom remains hidden behind a closed door.

Even if you decide you can't afford to add square footage,
I'd still shift things around a bit. Put the Pantry on the left, then the "closet" and then the garage door. Then, instead of a closet, put in cubbies with hooks for coats and bookbags and stuff. Kids then to actually use cubbies with hooks for their jackets and stuff far more than they do closets and if the door is situated where they have to walk past the cubbies on their way in/out of the house, all their "stuff" is much more likely to stay contained in the mudroom instead of being scattered all over the house. AGain, I would probably put a wall with a pocket door between the pantry and the "mud room" area...just so I could close off the mess if need be. Of course, if guests must go thru the mudroom to reach the powderroom, they're going to see your mudroom area anyway.

However, if your house doesn't have a basement, you COULD fit a guest powder room under the staircase so that the one by the garage is for family use only. The space under the staircase itself is plenty wide enough for a toilet. You just need to make a little bumpout on the side to accommodate a vanity. And the hallway next to the staircase is plenty wide enough that a little bumpout wouldn't matter.

Or, if you really like having that wide hallway leading from bedroom to bath (maybe envision it as a kind of dressing room area), then move the closets over next to the staircase and have the hallway run down next to the exterior wall. Then the bumpout needed to allow a vanity for a powderroom under the stairs would fit so that it only cuts out the corners of the two closets. And, since closet corners aren't all that useful anyway, you would lose very little useful closet space. Plus, making this switch would also allow you to put some windows into the hallway/dressing area thus making it a more pleasant space!

Just some ideas...

    Bookmark   June 19, 2012 at 8:33AM
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Thanks so much for the suggestions bevangel! We met with the builder last night and moved things around in the Mudroom area - similar to what you described above. As you suggested we moved the pantry to where the door was but also moved the bathroom next to the pantry by making that area slightly wider. To accommodate though we will have to use a pocket door. The door to the garage is now next to the bathroom. We are now trying to find a layout that we like for the mudroom / laundry area. I definitely want cubbies and a closet. I wish I had the new floor plans to post but he hasn't emailed us a copy yet.

We also removed the columns in the dining room and instead made them into partial walls similar to what I drew in below on the old layout (hopefully these will be readable).

And you were right about the upstairs bathroom; we have plenty of room to make it bigger.

The kitchen is currently 16'10 x 15'5. Since we have the breakfast nook, I'm not planning on having barstools at the island.

    Bookmark   June 20, 2012 at 8:56PM
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