Any last suggestions?

mebke33July 9, 2012

We have finally purchased our lot and close on July 19. The lot is 3 acres in a rural setting. We are excited to finally get started on building. We have a 3 year old and another on the way in November. We feel that our plan has been gone over with a fine tooth comb to the point there is not much we aren't happy with at this time. We have used this website for much information and help. I would like to post plans one last time for any suggestions and opinions. The only area we aren't sure of is the kitchen. My wife wants the corner pantry & L-shaped island so they are stuck as is. One thing we have considered is a wall oven and microwave on the short wall and moving the fridge to the long wall with a cook top. The kitchen is the one area we are unsure about the layout. The only other thing is that I am thinking it would probably be nice to have 2nd windows in bedrooms 2 & 3 on the main floor. Thanks in advance for any thoughts.

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I would eliminate the diagonal in the MBR lower left corner, and at least consider putting double doors that take up almost the entire width of the diagonal wall in the office that can rest against the walls in the open position. I don't love the diagonal there either, but you need the space at the entry.

    Bookmark   July 9, 2012 at 2:45PM
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I absolutely agree that you should add side windows to bedroom 2 and 3. Anytime you can get light from two sides into a room, do it!

It looks like you plan to have skylights on the screened porch to allow some sunlight to reach your great room windows. That's good! But be aware that even with those, your great room and kitchen may feel a bit dark. You might want to consider some some light tubes to bring natural light (with very little heat) into those rooms.

One minor problem I see is the closet for bedroom #3. If I'm reading the numbers right, that closet is 4'2" deep from wall to wall. Be aware that clothing on a hanging rod takes up 22" to 24". (Heavy coats tend to take more.) Thus the inswinging door, if more than 24" wide, is likely to brush up against clothing hung on that end of the closet making it less than ideal hanging space. And, walking from doorway to the other end of the closet may be a bit claustrophobic making the far end also less than ideal hanging space. You might consider giving that room a reach-in closet instead with either double out-swinging doors or bifold doors. If you make the closet a reach-in, you could easily add another 18" to the depth of the room so that you should have plenty of room for out-swing closet doors.

Have you considered putting a "hamper opening" in the back of your master closet that would allow you to toss dirty clothing directly into a hamper located in the laundry room? Also, consider replacing the window in the laundry with a half-light door. Direct access to/from the laundry room can be nice for those occasions when you decide that something needs to be hung up outdoors to dry in the fresh air, or you're working outdoors and get your clothing covered in mud and don't want to risk tracking any of it into the house. Or, if your small children play in the backyard, a door into the laundry would can give them a route into the house to the powder room without them having to track thru the breakfast room and kitchen. Alternatively, I'd put a man-door in the back of the garage so that you don't have to open one of the garage doors to get into the garage.

In the basement, you might want to consider running plumbing for a second washer/dryer...maybe in one of the storage areas. Also, a power outlet for an apartment sized range. If this is your "forever house", you may someday have grown kids come home to live. In that case, a washer/dryer and a range downstairs would allow you to easily turn the basement into a self-sufficient "apartment." (I'd also extend the wall that runs behind the basement fridge a little bit further to the left and then drop a wall down from there to the storage wall and put in a door at the bottom of the stairs. This would allow you to close off the basement if/when it is not being used. And, if you ever need/want to sell, I think having a basement that COULD become a separate apartment would be a huge plus to potential buyers.

And, in the same vein, just in case you or a future owner should ever want/need the basement to be handicap accessible (say for instance, if you might ever have elderly parents come to live with you) keeping a spot in mind where a home elevator could be easily installed is a good idea. In this design, the best spot for a home elevator would probably be the lower left hand corner of the greatroom and rec room. (Both the great room and rec room are plenty large enough that cutting out a corner for a home elevator would not be a problem. So, I'd probably try to keep that 5.5'x5.5' corner space free of doorways and plumbing and so forth which would make retrofitting a home elevator relatively easy. I.e., move the opening to the front storage area over closer to the stairs.

Also in the basement, I'd move the opening from the rec room to the hallway about four feet closer to bedroom #4 to keep the opening from lining up with the bathroom door. I'd also flip the entire bathroom area vertically. Together these changes would totally block any view of the toilet from the rec room or wet bar areas. (You would still have a view of the bathtub from a portion of the rec room if both doors were open...but not a view of the toilet.)

I'd also move bedroom #5's door upward into the hallway. Bedroom 5 is never going to be "prime" space since the only window is in a window well, but moving the door would make the useable space in the bedroom a little greater making the room a little more attractive. Plus, that shortens the hallway which is not a bad thing given that the hallway is going to be rather narrow and will have no natural light.

You might consider adding either another window well or a solar tube light for the basement bathroom. I personally would prefer a window well but a solar tube light would probably cost a lot less.

Be aware also that, because of the screened porch and deck over the windows to the rec room and dining area(?) beside the wet bar, those areas are going to tend to be dark even tho they open directly to the outdoors. So, you'll want to plan for plenty of lighting unless you're going for a "dark pub" look.

That's pretty much all I see. I know it is usually good to have fresh eyes look at a plan so hopefully some of this will prove helpful. Best wishes for a trouble-free build!

    Bookmark   July 9, 2012 at 3:29PM
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I would consider flipping the plumbing in the 1/2 bath on the main floor so that you can move the door "down" so you don't look directly into the space.

I think it is odd to have the master bedroom door "float" on that wall (inside the room), but I don't think I'd square the corner. I don't think you have the room to square the corner and walk well without hitting your island with a hip.

I wouldn't move your fridge location. It is nearest the dining area and that is where it should be.

I do worry about getting your pot water to the sink with little kids around. You have a pretty long ways to go across what could be a traffic area. For the same reason (though a less dangerous one), I'd definitely consider a pot filler for this kitchen layout.

Have you taken your kitchen design to the kitchen forum? If you are unsure of the kitchen layout and haven't done that that is where you will get the most constructive criticism of the space. Lots to learn there.

Whole-heartedly agree that you should add windows to bedrms 2 and 3.

Your door to the exterior off the nook area may impeded your dining space. Have you really looked at the adequacy of the size of that space with the door swing there? Would you consider moving your door to the great room wall?

    Bookmark   July 9, 2012 at 5:16PM
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Have you thought of using a pocket door for the entry into second bathroom on the main floor. Trying to go around the door to get to the toilet behind is cumbersome (especially at night when your not totally awake) You could also swap the position of the toilet and closet in BR#2.

Pocket doors could also solve the problem with the closet openings that another poster mentioned.

I think the kitchen is good as is, I would not switch the cooktop to be on the short wall, typically you need more space next to the cooktop as opposed to the fridge.

    Bookmark   July 9, 2012 at 6:59PM
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Are you at all concerned that someone coming in the front door could open it into someone coming up on the basement stairs?

    Bookmark   July 9, 2012 at 7:12PM
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dekeoboe - GREAT CATCH about the front door possibly hitting someone at the top of the stairs! I totally overlooked that myself but you are absolutely right. For safety's sake, the top of the stairs needs to be pushed to the right at least 3 or 4 feet which will move the bottom of the stairs to the left by an equal distance in the basement. Fortunately there is plenty of room down in the basement rec room to do that. And I actually think it would look nicer in the basement to have the stairs stick out into the rec room some.

    Bookmark   July 9, 2012 at 8:02PM
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That rearrangement of the stairs may limit your foyer closet height, however. (it is a good, safe thing to do though, but you may need to rethink your entry closet size/location).

    Bookmark   July 9, 2012 at 8:11PM
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