Please critique my floor plan

toffee-elJuly 12, 2014

Please critique my floor plan of a 2 stories house. The attached drawing is showing the first floor. The second floor is an "U" that leaves the middle of the first floor with high ceiling.

Please feel free to critique and all suggestions are welcome.

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This is the 2nd floor.

    Bookmark   July 12, 2014 at 2:41AM
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Quick thoughts:

On the first floor--1. For a 4/5 bedroom house the casual eating area near the kitchen is too small, especially given the large rooms elsewhere in the house. 2. I would eliminate the door between the kitchen/family room area and the study. If it's ever used as a bedroom it will lack privacy. 3. Where is the entrance between the garage and the house? It seems off to not have a dedicated entrance and closet in a house this size. 4. It may not bother you, but the distance between the garage and the kitchen and pantry area will make getting groceries and supplies quite the trek across the house. 5. The width of the front closet is at the absolute minimum recommended size. It seems off in a house this size. Consider stealing at least 6 inches from the cellar.

Second floor: 1. Master bedroom--Eliminate the wall in front of the doors. It's really not necessary and breaks up the room. 2. That closet is HUGE. Why does one need that amount of space? 2. Bedroom 2--How many people will stay in that room? I think two sinks in the bath are unnecessary there. Unless two children are in that room, I don't think two sinks will be used often, if ever there. 3. Bedroom 4--While I understand that the furniture may just be for ideas, the closet in this room is tiny compared to the other bedrooms and not really large enough for two people. 4. Bedroom 3 seems cramped in comparison to the other two bedrooms.

There is a lot of space in this house that is used inefficiently. I think the plan needs more work.

    Bookmark   July 12, 2014 at 9:08AM
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Just based on the footprint, this is a 7k sf house. Yes, I realize it will be a little lower due to the double story living room, but it is a very large house. So as rrah pointed out, many of the spaces seem very cramped.

If you want a 4 car garage, this will be a pretty cramped garage. The standard is to plan for 12' of width per vehicle, otherwise you are bumping car doors into the wall or other vehicles. Or you need to squeeze out of the car and close the door to get around. And you have very little room to store anything.

I actually like that the garage entrance goes into the foyer. However, there is just the tiny closet there, for what will be the only entrance area to your house. You should really consider a mudroom area - bench to sit on, place for shoes, larger closet. Then the door into the foyer. Plus a separate closet for visitors to use.

Your plan does not show a wall between garage and main room. That's a serious omission.

It looks like the fireplace in the master bedroom ends up above your island in the kitchen. You need to have adequate support below the fireplace.

This post was edited by pixie_lou on Sat, Jul 12, 14 at 20:54

    Bookmark   July 12, 2014 at 12:34PM
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Thanks rrah for your input, much appreciated. I didn't but I should have define the propose of this house: This is a house located in a horse country full of vacation homes and home to older retired folks.

We probably will use it couple of months in the summer for some quietness and to party with friends and neighbors. Perhaps some thanksgivings and other holidays.

Since the nearest town is a good 40 minutes away, we expect the guests for dinner to stay over. Over night guests but not long term occupants. This area is not friendly to kids, lousy schools and far away.

Taken your advise, I have revised the plans a bit. What wasn't changed is that over sized master closet. She does have enough to fill it.

    Bookmark   July 12, 2014 at 1:12PM
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revision 1 of 2nd floor.

    Bookmark   July 12, 2014 at 1:15PM
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Good eyes Pixie, I incorporated your input onto this revision 2. About the garage, my 'old' v.1 drawing was wrong, what I wanted to do is to store 4 cars by using car lift, then day in and day use 1 car.

    Bookmark   July 12, 2014 at 2:01PM
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Previous attached file didn't work .. trying again.

    Bookmark   July 12, 2014 at 2:27PM
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If your plan for the home is as you state -- lots of guests -- I think you need more casual seating -- And - a bigger pantry.

    Bookmark   July 12, 2014 at 7:24PM
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bigger pantry is a good idea, as nearest supermarket is 40 minutes away. As is the pantry is 5 x 9.

More seating is a good idea too, although the thought was to entertain mostly out door. Next to the piano is a 20'x14' glass garage door.

    Bookmark   July 12, 2014 at 8:16PM
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So a glass door separating the garage from the family room? Will that meet fire code? Garages need to be completely fireproofed from the rest of the house. Or do you mean a glass garage door to an outdoor patio?

I'm assuming the cellar is a wine cellar? Would it make sense to swap the cellar with the powder room? You could access the wine cellar from the pantry. And then the powder room is a bit more accessible to the great room area. Though if you use the study as a guest room that makes is a long walk to a bathroom. But then, with a house this size, I would expect every bedroom to have their own bath.

    Bookmark   July 12, 2014 at 9:02PM
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Do houses in this area normally have such large master suites? The master suite is about the same size as the other three bedrooms plus a bathroom combined.

    Bookmark   July 12, 2014 at 9:09PM
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Wall between garage and living room is a solid wall. The east facing wall of the living room, note the front door faces west, may have a large glass garage door. See attached pic.

    Bookmark   July 12, 2014 at 9:09PM
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This future house would be somewhat below average for the area. Would other houses have oversized master? Not sure, but 80% of houses are vacation homes, the other 20% most are 2 people per house. For us, it will definitely only 2 people 95% of the time.

Interestingly, a neighbor joking said that they made the guest rooms small with neither no build-in closet or very under sized one to discourage guests from staying on. Their house is over 8000ft2, in door pool, vineyard and all.

    Bookmark   July 12, 2014 at 9:23PM
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What is the L-shaped counter left of the kitchen? A sectional? It looks like the original drawing uses the study as the dining room, which at 19X15 would be nice for a round table. I would make the bathroom there into a powder room accessible to the front of the stairway, closing off the study/dining room, in other words lose that door to the bathroom. You don't need another bedroom, do you? Keep the double entry off the end of the hallway, or center of that wall and expand the pantry, with an entry from the pantry into the dining room instead of the bathroom. With a smaller powder room, the pantry will be larger to accommodate serving and storage for the dining room. The large living area minus the dining table can now expand into multiple seating areas for guests. Your upstairs guest bedrooms are all the same size, and adequate. It is okay if they do no not have private attached baths, but share. Keep in mind that French doors are classier than glass garage doors. Your glass garage door appears to be 20 feet wide. There is a reason they are called garage doors, no matter how cool. Exactly what is the cellar? Wine cellar? or basement? Why are there what appears to be stairs in the garage?

    Bookmark   July 12, 2014 at 11:15PM
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I was wondering why you were set up for dining for 10, but only living room seating for 4 (no one wants to sit in the middle of the 3 seat sofa). Maybe if you are hanging out outside, that could work?

Also, I like rooms with windows on two sides-- they are just much more pleasant to be in, so I would never give a closet the corner of the house and have an interior bedroom.

(I have always thought those houses with garage doors opening to the outside were cool, but have never actually been in one!)

    Bookmark   July 13, 2014 at 12:00AM
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1. That "L" thingy is a sectional.
2. I don't need another bedroom, but I would like to have a study. So that room's a study but also as backup bedroom.
3. The lot slopes down for about 5ft, so the garage will have a higher , 14ft ceiling. I want to store cars on lifts.
4. The 3 bedrooms are indeed under sized for a home of this size. Space wise, it would be better to swap side with the master. But that would mean the master on top of garage.
5. cellar = wine cellar

Like your idea about more sitting in the living room and bigger pantry.

    Bookmark   July 13, 2014 at 1:10AM
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For a house that expects guests and entertaining -- I think the path from thru the kitchen should be more than 4 feet wide. This whole house seems "off" to me. I don't know enough about house planning to put my finger on it. It looks big and wasteful in some places and too small in others. But, if your description is accurate, wasteful doesn't sound like much of a concern.

    Bookmark   July 13, 2014 at 3:06AM
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Hi toffee-el,

I have a few questions. What is your concept for the house? It looks like a rather large monolithic structure -- a contemporary barn in horse country? Also, are all 5 cars yours or would most be for visitors?

Just wondering if you might have any interest in breaking things up a bit and having a garage/guest br wing connected to the house by a breezeway (could be enclosed) That might allow you southern light and views in two directions from the living/dining area and the ability to close off the guest area when it is just the two of you. If you would be doing noisy work in the garage it might be nice to have that separated a bit from the main living space.

As you expect lots of outdoor entertaining, I would suggest laying out those areas at the same time as you plan the house structure. Pool? Outdoor kitchen? Would you like a half bath easily accessible to that space for guests?

Good luck!

    Bookmark   July 13, 2014 at 8:35AM
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While the glass garage door may look interesting, it limits your ceiling fixtures. If the dining table will be as long as shown, it would be better with two chandeliers, which might not be possible with the glass garage door. Also, in what part of the country will this house located. As far as I know, it is not easy to get good insulation/sealing with those doors.

    Bookmark   July 13, 2014 at 2:45PM
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You're building a 7000 sf house for the summers and perhaps Thanksgiving and other holidays. Yet this doesn't "feel" like a "getaway home". The size of the master closet, for example, looks like a primary residence.

Other things, too, seem out of proportion.

For example, a 30' bedroom in a vacation home . . . coupled with very modest secondary bathrooms. The house lacks balance and cohesiveness -- it's like pieces of several different houses are coupled together, and they don't match. I think you lack vision for the whole project.

Another thing that seems out of proportion is the simple rectangle. Yes, people on this board -- me included -- are always saying, "Simplify your footprint", but when you're talking about a house in this size range in the type of location you're describing -- and it's a second home -- one would expect something other than a simple box. You've gone too far in the direction of simple. Something this large is likely to have a commercial feel.

You say this house is going to be used for large parties. You might want to consider something more along the lines of a "caterer's kitchen" instead of a traditional home kitchen.

Finally, you say this is in an area full of older people -- are you also "older people"? If so, is it wise to build a house with all the bedrooms upstairs?

This post was edited by MrsPete on Mon, Jul 14, 14 at 0:11

    Bookmark   July 14, 2014 at 12:08AM
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Annie Deighnaugh

There are a number of sliding or stacking glass wall manufacturers out there. Friend of ours installed them on 2 walls in his sun room so it opens up to his pools and terraces. Really nice. Very functional and a lot more attractive and energy efficient than a garage door.

Here is a link that might be useful: stacking glass walls

    Bookmark   July 14, 2014 at 8:51AM
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Annie Deighnaugh

To me, the expanse in the public area is too open. There is essentially no wall between the family room all the way to the living room. So if you're watching TV, the noise will go all the way through, and then even upstairs with the open balcony. I'd prefer some separation between the LR and the FR. Not sure where though as I understand the desire to have the kitchen open to the entertaining space, but if it's just the 2 of you, then you want to have the coziness and convenience of having the kitchen open to the FR. Perhaps another moving wall???

In our house, we live in the kitchen/nook/FR area, and then we have the LR open to the DR for entertaining space. So we have both cozier space for just us and space for lots of people.

I agree about having concerns about the monolithic exterior as well. While so many homes overdo the bump outs and angles, this home would benefit by a few. You have plenty of space to do things like add outdoor balconies or decks if you want to take advantage of a view, for instance.

I also agree about the wee pantry, esp if you stick with that open kitchen, there are few upper cabinets for storage.

    Bookmark   July 14, 2014 at 9:04AM
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Garage/home walls have to be fire rated. It would function better if the garage was set apart from the main house with either a courtyard or breezeway between the two so that you could get more natural light into the house and still be able to utilize the visual connection between the two.

A garage that needs to house two cars stacked on a lift will need to be taller than you are planning to account for not smashing the lighting on the ceiling. You might want to house something beyond lower height sports cars. Our 4 post lift in our garage won't allow a tall vehicle like a SUV on it and then raise to full height, and we vaulted our already 11' tall ceiling to 15' in the lift bay. Even with Corvette stacked on top of Corvette, it's really tight with the lighting when the lift is up enough to get that second vehicle under it. Only Formula cars without the wings would really work to have the double stack be comfortable at that height, and they have issues with the ramps, needing longer ones to get the ground clearance for the chassis. We also climate controlled our garage area, as that keeps the vehicles in much better shape, and it's a much more pleasant working environment.

While you plan on having guests here, this isn't a very guest friendly house. There isn't enough room allotted for them, either in the public or private spaces. I might suggest the separate garage have a second floor guest suite(s) and make the main house more about your groundfloor space on one side, and the public space on the other, linking to the garage space visually through the breezeway.

Double height space is very difficult to heat and cool, so I would suggest having hydronic radiant floor heating for winter comfort so that the people in the rooms are closer to the heating source.(We did that in our garage, so if you happen to need to be on a creeper under something, you don't have a giant cold mass of concrete sucking the warmth out of your body.) For summer, if you rarely get temperatures above 85, then I probably wouldn't do AC at all since you are in a low humidity climate. I would focus on doing some type of cupola with operable vent windows that will allow the hot air that rises to be vented externally. That's an old fashioned technique, but very effective in climates that don't heat and humidity to need full time AC.

Overall, you really need a good architect to take these ideas and make them more functional and designed specifically for the site, to take advantage of it's positives. You will need that anyway for permitting, and in CA there are plenty of creative people who would love to be a part of an interesting build. Take a look at some back issues of Architectural Digest and see if you come across any designs that you like, Then contact a couple of those folks. This needs a large amount of technical expertise to wade through the red tape of building and permitting. So, you need someone local as a builder, well as an architect whose work you admire to work as a team to accomplish this build. Hire good people, and then listen to them. A good design is an interactive experience that makes the work better. Good design is "invisible" You don't even notice that things are where they need to be and work the way they "should". Bad design is obvious, especially if you live with it. It makes life harder. Don't make your life harder!

    Bookmark   July 14, 2014 at 11:25AM
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