Need advise for floorplan

Storm18July 9, 2012

Just wanted to get suggestions/thoughts on this floorplan before we lock in the final construction plans. We are planning to start building within the year. We'll be building outside of city limits on a 22 acre lot that we already own. The floorplan would actually be flipped (mirror image left to right). The front door will open to the west. We are in our early 30s, have one child, but are planning to have one to two more, God willing. : )

We plan to leave the "game room" unfinished (to save initial cost), as well as extend and rotate the garage so that it opens toward the front entry. The house would be built using ICF construction on a crawl space. Also, we are considering omitting the master porch and extending the master out to omit the extra corner.

One other idea is to move the utility room sink into the garage so that we could put in a more cost efficient sink/faucet and also have some extra room in the utility room.

The kitchen island will be modified to a peninsula. Not sure where to put the fridge yet.

Any advice would be VERY much appreciated!

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rosie

Hi, Storm, I was just browsing through and can't resist stopping to put in my 2 cents.

This is a nice plan in itself, but it's a plan for a developer to put on a subdivision lot, a plan that can be fitted as inexpensively as possible onto, typically, the smallest piece of land local zoning allows. So everything is crammed into as little a footprint as possible, including even the garage, with the little green space in front of the front door all the space that can be spared from the driveway. Neighbors would be maybe 30' away on each side, so as few windows and doors on the sides as possible (one for a quick route to the garbage cans maybe). It would face a public front yard/public street, so the most used family spaces would be in the back, as far from the street as possible, with privacy to the front a big issue.

Not incidentally, most subdivision residents wouldn't want 22 acres and all the maintenance and inconvenience that comes with them, and the way they want to relate to the outdoors is often very...urban. When they do get to be home from work, many just want to be able to stroll out and relax on a nice patio (as insect and rodent-free as a modern subdivision environment can make it), and that's about it. Rain is an inconvenience. The windows often are not opened at all.

This may sound like I hate subdivision houses, but I don't at all. Plopping one onto a large, beautiful piece of land without extensive revisions to make it right for that very different situation, though, that I really do hate. Sad. My suggested "revisions" are that you blow out all the subdivision restrictions and build a house that will have a great relationship with the land it's going to become a part of.

Happy building. :)

    Bookmark   July 9, 2012 at 7:51AM
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Storm18

You are right this is a floorplan normally built in a subdivision, but one of the things we liked about the floorplan is the smaller footprint, the lack of hallways and efficient use of space. Although the land is 22 acres, we would rather not build a huge sprawling house with a large footprint on it (mostly for budget reasons). We only need about 2500 - 2800 sq. feet and plan to live in the house for quite some time.

The 22 acres is mostly wooded with some pasture toward the front of the property. There is some elevation change on the property and a small creek that runs through the center of it. The land is very wild right now. Hopefully we can slowly shape it into what we want, but I imagine it will take quite a few years. We plan to leave a good portion of it as-is with only some brush hogging to thin out the woods.

What modifications would you suggest to make a plan right for the land? More windows and patios? A screened in porch perhaps? I'd love to hear your thoughts. Having lived in the city most of my life, I'm not sure how to customize this plan to make it more "country friendly." We do plan to rotate the garage so that it opens to the side and it's not the typical "garage with a house attached" type structure that you see so many times on smaller lots.

    Bookmark   July 9, 2012 at 9:37AM
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CamG

I'm far from an expert, but I disagree about "cramming" the floor plan. Just because you are building on a large tract of land does not mean you have unlimited funds, and what makes a tract home less expensive also makes your custom house less expensive.

Of course, the above poster is right on with respect to the tiny front porch and deck--consider expanding those tremendously.

Otherwise, it seems like the breakfast nook is a bit small. If you have two more children, that means a 6 person table, which might be a bit cramped, especially if you have guests over. Make sure you have at least 4' between the island and countertop with the cooktop/range.

All in all, I like it a lot. I spend months developing a somewhat similar floorplan before we decided to do a two story plan. Summerfield drafted a plan for me which you might be interested in, and can be found on the below link. Good luck!

Here is a link that might be useful: My somewhat similar plan

    Bookmark   July 9, 2012 at 9:48AM
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CamG

Also, I'm one to eschew complicated footprints, so I would also consider bumping out the entry and study to equal the front bedroom, subtracting costly corners and sides to the house. This would give you a nice spacious entry, perhaps room for a coat closet. And while it would certainly add to the cost, it would be efficient square footage, both building and energy-wise. I also don't think you'd want your front porch to be set back into the house, restricting the view to the side. THAT is a feature of the floorplan aimed at subdivision, not country, houses.

    Bookmark   July 9, 2012 at 10:03AM
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dekeoboe

The utility room looks like it serves as both a mud room and a laundry room. As a small, basic laundry room it is fine. But it doesn't work as a mud room, there is no where to put anything - coats, boots, backpacks etc.

    Bookmark   July 9, 2012 at 10:12AM
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chicagoans

With all that land I'd want a nice big mudroom for you (coming in from working / playing outside), for the kids (coming in from playing), and for any future pets. Right now the best kid entrance is through the garage; that's OK but they might not make that trek around to the side of the house, and if they do there's no where to hang jackets or put shoes, etc. They might come right into the FR or into the front door, where there is no closet.

Another reason for a good sized mudroom is that as the kids grow they'll have backpacks and sports equipment and those can take up a lot of space. (I only have 2 kids but you wouldn't believe the number of shoes we have for different sports. And don't get me started on the football pads, tennis raquets, blah blah blah.)

Personally I'd rather have the island you show than a peninsula. I'm glad you're thinking of moving the fridge; either that or make that little wall to it much shorter so you can open the doors all the way.

But overall, to emphasize what Rosie said above: have you spent lots of time on the land? Do you know the views the house should take advantage of, how to situate it for sunsets and breezes, etc? There are very few windows on the sides of the house, and there should be since you don't have to worry about looking out at a neighbor's wall. I understand the need/desire to not over-spend. But it would be a shame to spend anything on a house that doesn't suit your site and your lifestyle, both now and in the years to come. Maybe this one comes close, but I suspect it will need some serious tweaking to get there.

    Bookmark   July 9, 2012 at 10:20AM
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lavender_lass

If you're going to "extend and rotate the garage so that it opens toward the front entry" you'll have plenty of room for a new mudroom...between the current master closet and new garage area.

I'd also think about drawing a line, starting at the nook, through the kitchen, hall closet, utility room and garage...and then add at least 2' where you have the line. This would give you a slightly bigger nook and kitchen and closet...as well as wall space on the opposite side of the laundry room (which would be wonderful for storage, hampers, broom closet, etc. and have a little more room for the garage, too.

Larger vehicles (which you'll probably need in the country) will take up more space in the garage. Check out Laura's post on garage size to give you more ideas.

I like your idea of having a large sink (maybe even a doggie shower) in the new mudroom...but think about a powder room or 3/4 bath (with shower) as well. It's a long way for kids to go to use the bathroom or clean up, from the mudroom entry (which would be where you have the back garage entry, but facing the side) and the hall bathroom.

We don't have kids, but we do live on 76 acres, with snow, mud, etc. for over half the year. If you garden or have horses or other animals...you'll appreciate that bathroom, too. You won't want to track mud across your nice master bedroom carpet...trust me! :)

    Bookmark   July 9, 2012 at 10:52AM
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Nick

Your floorplan is very nice, Storm18. It seems functional and besides the lack of a dedicated mud area, it seems like it would work for your family quite well.

I do agree with the others, though, on it's suburban roots. If it were me, I would make an effort to tweak it to maximize the country setting. The link below is a floor plan that is spread out, but still maintains a surprisingly compact footprint. Instead of being oriented for narrow lots in neighborhoods, it extends horizontally which I think would be much better in a country setting, especially with acreage like yours. It serves as a great example of how porches can be pushed out to improve all around views and how potentially unatractive garages/garage doors can be moved around so they don't distract from the actual house.

Here is a link that might be useful: House Plan 70-1050

    Bookmark   July 9, 2012 at 12:07PM
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Storm18

Thanks everyone for the comments so far. I really appreciate it.

We do own the land already, but are on a very tight budget for the house. We're trying to find ways to save money and at the same time figure out how much house we can afford.

CamG: You make a very good point about the nook being too small. We were concerned about that. DH would like to enlarge the nook somehow. I also really like you're floorplan. I like the idea of eliminating as many corners as possible, but am worried about messing with the front entry area too much. We walked through a ton of homes and this was the only one that we loved as far as the flow of the main living area.

Dekeobo & Chicagoans: I'm glad you mentioned the mud room. I think that will be a very big issue. I'm going to mess with the floorplan and try to redraw it to incorporate many of the changes mentioned here.

lavender_lass: It's funny that you mention adding 2'. Initially we wanted to use the larger floorplan below, but thought it would likely be way over budget. It's hard to know whether to start with a smaller plan and size it up or start with the larger plan and size it down. Both plans are very similar and created by the same architect.

We do have a flock of chickens that will move with us to the property right away. They are "city chickens" right now, which has been interesting. We plan to have a large garden, hay fields hopefully and one or two larger animals. So the extra bathroom would definitely be a help. If we can come under budget, I'm going to try to incorporate a 3/4 bath into the plans somehow.

Nicke360: Really like the plan that you posted.It gives us some great ideas for tweaking the floorplan to fit the acreage better. The architect has some already created plans and our hope is to use one of these and then modify appropriately. He will charge us around $100/hr for modifications.

Should we combine the mudroom/utility room or add an extra space in the modified garage for a mudroom and leave the utility room smaller?

Also, we're planning to omit the slab rear porch shown in the plans and have a wooden deck instead that we can extend. All the property views will be on the same side as the back porch.

    Bookmark   July 9, 2012 at 1:14PM
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kirkhall

One thing about all these plans...given that they are city plans. They have no windows on the sides. If you are going to use a city plan in the country, at least put windows on all side and on 2 sides in every bedroom.

And, you should shy away from any arrangement with a closet in a corner (neither of these really have that...so so far so good there).

    Bookmark   July 9, 2012 at 4:44PM
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