Feedback Appreciated: Need to Finalize Plan to Start Building

faulstrJuly 31, 2014

We "finalized" the plan with our architect last fall, but now that we are actually getting ready to start building I keep tweaking it. We are a family of 5 - 3 kids ages 6, 5, and 2. We want the layout of main floor master and kids upstairs, but we like the exterior look of a very traditional 2-story. We would like it to look more like a classic older home, but do have to make some compromises because we don't have an unlimited budget and because we want some more modern layout inside like large open kitchen/breakfast/hearth. Many aspects of the floor plan are driven by things we know work well for us from our previous home (rear switchback stairs, centrally located powder room) or from plans we've visted and liked (kitchen/breakfast/hearth). Since the garage does stick out front we've consciously chosen brick and siding combo to make it look more like an addition - inspired by older homes we've seen in our city with additions.

We are considering extending the back wall 2 feet along the entire house, which adds about $18K so we want to make sure that is a good decisions. The architect is drafting up what that would look like. Basically the rooms at the rear of the house will gain 2 additional feet in depth, except upstairs we will split the square footage and make bedroom 2 and bedroom 3 each 1 foot deeper.

Would love any last minute feedback as far as tweaks we might want to consider before finalizing the plan to break ground.

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2nd Floor

    Bookmark   July 31, 2014 at 12:36AM
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    Bookmark   July 31, 2014 at 12:39AM
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Hi, I'm just chiming in.... I've had a home similar to the one you want to build... a few times, actually. We've owned almost 20 homes. This last home we built, we improved on issues that bugged us with previous homes and it has paid off. We've been in this home ten years and still love it. We have recently bought waterfront property and want to come up with a bit different plan, but it is hard for us to change too much of some parts of the layout because it works so well. I see some changes that you could make that may seem ridiculous, but with your children, you will be SO thankful if you do it. I would give up some of your MBR closet for a decent laundry room near your MBR. You will NOT regret it. I put in two washers and dryers, cabinets with a sink, and closet with room for my "flipping lid" types of 13 gal. Rubbermaid type trash cans that I use for sorting clothes. (My kiddos all learned to sort clothes and do laundry correctly!) I have a can for whites, darks, lights, dress/gentles, towels, sheets/blankets. Plenty of hanging areas. In the next home we build, even if it is just my husband and I, we will also have two washers and dryers. I believe it is that important. I'd be chained to the house all the time doing laundry. With kids, grand-kids, guests, etc... it's just crazy to not have them if you have the room. I'll post my photo of what we did. Heck, I think I still have a site up when we were building. Check out the MBa... and how /where we put the shower and water closet. This way, when my husband was showering, he had privacy while I am doing my hair or brushing teeth. I cannot stand having a shower 'open' so if he is in the bathroom, he gets to watch me. I just do not like it. As you get older, you really do want more privacy.... even if it's your spouse. I want to be seen in my best light...not when I'm bending over shaving, etc. Also, we built porches this house which keeps our home cooler. We put in Radiant Barrier almost everywhere. We have over 6,000sf under roof... 4500 heated/cooled. Over the garage has not been hooked up to AC yet...because I'm still using it for storage. When it was almost 100F outside in FL, with the fans on upstairs, it was like 78F with the radiant barrier. Neighbors could not believe it. Our electric bill for our house with two AC systems (5 and 3.5 ton) is less than $300/mo. Possibly $250 avg. We love our kitchen layout, laundry, MBR will be larger next go around. Your home looks good... except there would be great longevity in your home if the MBR was larger and the layout a bit different for the bath, imo. I am also a Realtor and see many homes. I have gone the gambit with building this house. (Lawsuit over kitchen...and custom cabinet issues in MBR. They are fixed now.) Adding 'keystones' of real granite over windows added architectural elements. Fake keystones always look tacky. Also, our present MBR shower is 3'x5'. Next time, at minimum 4'x6'...most likely larger. Our MBR is 14'x16'. I've had 16'x18' before and thought it too large. I think 15' x 21' will be our next MBR... at least.

Here is a link that might be useful: Check out some of the features we put in.

    Bookmark   July 31, 2014 at 1:39AM
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FYI: We put fire-rated doors on our MBR and the Laundry Room. When closed, you can't hear the dryer or washer going... even if at night. The doors are heavier than regular doors and give 20 min-1 hour lead time to burn. I cannot find them on HD's site, but they do sell them. Well they use to sell them. (They are not steel and look just like any other 6 panel door, but a lot heavier.)

    Bookmark   July 31, 2014 at 1:57AM
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Thanks Sherilynn - I looked at your pictures and some design elements are similar on the exterior, although your house was a dormered one story and ours will be two story.

I do agree that we can prob have a better layout in the master closet with the laundry area, although it is an odd shape which makes it difficult. But did you notice that we do also have a 5x9 laundry room upstairs so that is where the kids laundry will be done. And I know all the bathrooms and MBR are already set to be soundproofed so maybe that will be good enough to allow us to run our MBR closet washer/dryer at night?

Our last MBR was 15x22 and we found it too large, so we scaled this back and hope to keep furniture limited to a bed, night stands, and single dresser or console for tv. We like the look of bedrooms with less furniture and then have more built in storage in the closet. Although if we add 2 feet to rear of house the MBR dimensions will go from 16x15 to 16x17 which seems that could be very nice.

We did think about the keystones on exterior and our plan is to take another drive looking at some older inspiration homes and see what touches we might add to mimic their look, possibly limestone window ledges?

    Bookmark   July 31, 2014 at 11:25AM
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Your images are tiny, even if I click through.
But, I would be very concerned that I would have family traffic coming through my kitchen all the time. I suppose the thought is that the kids will come in and head to the stairs, but the direct line, is toward the island sinks; esp with the fridge where it is (I think, if I read the tiny print correctly). Can you do one of a these?

Make the aisle width wider between island the mudroom/pantry wall?
Recess the fridge into the pantry/mudroom space so that it does not stick out one iota futher than the counter on that wall
Put in shallower cabinets on that wall AND recess the fridge, effectively widening the aisle without having to move or shorten your island.

Because, a body in motion tends to travel in that direction. And taking a hard right coming out of the mudroom won't be the way people tend to drift. I do think more will end up coming through your work area than going around it. (Also because, you see an open doorway (to butlers/bathroom) from mudroom door, so it looks like an "exit" to the room, rather than again, taking that hard right....)

Just my opinion.

Where will guests park? Will there be a driveway somewhere other than between the garages? Because, if not, a guest will have a LONG walk around the garage front and then back again to your front door (garage sticks out too far).

Much more than that, I find hard to comment on because I really cannot see dimensions, etc.

    Bookmark   July 31, 2014 at 12:10PM
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I agree with the kitchen location. All of the traffic from the garage will be through the kitchen. The space to the left of the sink doesn't leave much room for anything.

There's also not a direct route from the front door through the house to the kitchen side. You have to go through the DR or great room rather than down a hallway. If you moved the powder room that'd take care of it.

With such a large looking attic with dormers, do you plan to use that for living space also?

For the exterior, all brick across the garage may look better. As it is, there's just a small section that's not brick.

    Bookmark   July 31, 2014 at 2:52PM
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Hmm not sure how to improve the pictures?

Interesting thoughts on the kitchen. It is almost an exact copy of a plan we visited several times and loved, and that traffic flow never occurred to us to be a possible issue, although admittedly we never lived in it to know how real life would work.

Guests will park on the street - it is a subdivision with wide streets so when I visit someone's home I never think to park in their driveway.

Ironically we used to have a hallway where the powder room is and then the powder room was where the butlers pantry is but that got feedback that the powder room was in too open if a spot and it seemed like too much wasted hallway space since there was the hallway in front of the stairs too. This is why I think adding 2 feet to back of house will help so we can move the furniture back in the great room for a walkway.

Any other thoughts despite the small pics?

    Bookmark   August 1, 2014 at 8:12AM
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I would probably make the walk in closet for br#4 go not as deep and go further into the attic space. Then I would add a closer from the loft into the attic space.

    Bookmark   August 1, 2014 at 11:04AM
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I would probably make the walk in closet for br#4 go not as deep and go further into the attic space. Then I would add a closer from the loft into the attic space.

    Bookmark   August 1, 2014 at 11:06AM
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I would probably make the walk in closet for br#4 go not as deep and go further into the attic space. Then I would add a closer from the loft into the attic space.

    Bookmark   August 1, 2014 at 11:11AM
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