Floor plan critique - Hollowcrest

jamnich314July 5, 2012

This is super early planning since I just got married and we aren't planning to have kids for a few years and wouldn't build our own home for probably five years but I have always been interested in home design and spend a lot of spare time "designing" our forever home.

We have spoken a lot about what we want in a home and it's quite a long list...bear with me :)


- 3-car garage

- Covered front porch, eight feet deep

- Craftsman or Traditional style

Main Floor:

- Family room (big, 16-18x18-22) with built in cabinets for TV

- Living room with fireplace (smaller,more like a library almost, 12x14 maybe)

- Kitchen with island and wall oven/MW combo, DW, double sink, recessed fridge

- Walk in pantry

- Big mud room with lockers/cubbies built in

- "U-shaped" staircase closer to mudroom/kitchen than front entry

- NO formal dining room

- Dinette/breakfast room attached to kitchen (big enough to seat 8-10 people)

Upper floor

- Master Suite with his/hers closets (smaller), master bath has double vanity, tub, walk-in shower, WC and linen

- 3 bedrooms (medium, 12x12ish) with reach in closets (NO WIC for kids bedrooms)

- 1 bath, hall accessible with double vanity in first room, toilet and tub/shower combo in adjoining room

- Laundry room (large), big enough for machines, sink, small counter for folding and 6 or more feet of hanging space

- Bonus space above garage if possible


- Will rough finish for completion later.

- Eventually will have full bath, bed, kitchenette, family room, storage and flex room (exercise, theatre room, etc.)

Of course these are just basic outlines of what we want. We have specific things within each room as well.

Well, after browsing I found a Don Gardner plan I like. There are a fair amount of changes I would make but want to know others opinions on it based on what we are looking for. Here are some of the changes I would make (sorry, I don't have a good way of making the changes on top of the floor plan and posting it now. Maybe in the future)

- Everything to the left of the great room is gone(including staircase, excluding study)

- Turn the Study into the Living Room, fireplace on exterior wall and make it 12x14

- Incorporate a small coat closet by the LR

- Remove the fireplace in the Great Room and make it single story, 9 or 10 foot ceiling

- Turn the dining room into half staircase half study area. The right side would become the "U-shaped" staircase. Landing against the exterior wall with a big window. The left side would be a small study area: 7x12'8" put some built in desks and it could be a homework area for the kids and also serve as a "info hub" like some people have in their kitchen desk for bills, etc. These could be swapped too depending on which orientation would work best.

- Move doorway from kitchen to mudroom to the right. Instead of a corner cabinet make the cabinets on the right exterior wall flush and straight. Put the doorway between those cabinets and the fridge. Use the old doorway to the mudroom as the door to the pantry would could be "L-shaped" and warp around the fridge.

- Doorway from garage to mudroom could also be moved to the right to accommodate this.

- Mudroom would be rearranged. Remove staircase and laundry area. Configure to have a large coat closet, lockers with cubbies, 1/2 bath and pantry.

- Move garage further down, thus making mud room larger and front porch deeper.

The biggest issue is the fact that in the original plan, the master is on the main floor and there are two bedrooms in the basement. Besides a bonus room there is virtually no 2nd floor. I would want to put a master suite, 2 or 3 bedrooms (if we have 3 kids and 2 have to share it would be fine), bathroom and laundry. The master suite could go above the family room since it won't be 2 stories anymore and breakfast and kitchen. And I'm sure I could find a way to arrange 2 bedrooms (above LR and kitchen/mud room), bathroom, laundry and a sizable bonus room above the garage (which would help with the bedroom sharing thing).

Whew. Sorry for the long winded post. I probably forgot a bunch of stuff too. Any input is greatly appreciated.

I'll try to reflect the changes over-top the original plan visually soon if I can.

Here is a link that might be useful: The Hollowcrest

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The Chatsworth is very similar. I don't know if I like the courtyard garage or the slanted garage. Slanted seems like it would be easier to pull in and out of. Also seems to offer a larger mudroom, but more awkward layout with the slanted walls. It's a huge footprint though. Both dimensions are in excess of 80'.

    Bookmark   July 5, 2012 at 2:26PM
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This home is beautiful. One of my best friends purchased it near our property from a couple recently. It was expensive to build. They paid over 800k. From the couple.

The great room is beautiful inside with those tall ceilings and they have woods in the back. But, when you ring the doorbell, you can see everything that is going on inside their great room. I think that would bother me.

It is technically a one bedroom home, but they have 3 bedrooms down with big windows in all of them. This home did not deviate from the plan.

    Bookmark   July 7, 2012 at 11:08AM
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The Master bath toilets are so far from the Master bedroom in these plans it's like going to another part of the house. That would bother me. It also has a large footprint for what is essentially one big room separated by some pillars. This seems like more of an empty-nester house on this level. Your kids are going to spend a lot of time holed up in their bedrooms when they get older because there is no place to close off and read a book if someone is watching TV, TV will be effected if there is loud cooking going on, etc.

    Bookmark   July 7, 2012 at 11:59AM
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I'm a very visual person, so I have trouble visualizing all the changes you would want to make to the floor plan.

That said, the first thing I noticed when I looked at the floor plan is that there is only the master bedroom on the first floor and the kids' bedrooms would be in the basement. I don't like that. At all. I'm glad you want to make some changes and put the bedrooms on the second floor.

Did I read correctly that you want to remove the fireplace from the great room? I wouldn't do that, I think a large room like this needs a big fireplace to make it cozy and inviting. I agree with making it single-story for this very reason. Personally, I would prefer that the fireplace line up with the kitchen island like in the second floor plan you posted.

Also, I see no need to have a second staircase, especially with the changes you proposed, which would reduce the width of the house. Removing that staircase would allow for more storage room in your laundry/mud/utility room.

    Bookmark   July 8, 2012 at 10:51AM
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I worked on all the revisions this weekend but, the bonehead that I am, I forgot to save them or email them to myself so I could post them here.

A lot of what you all are saying is true. The original plan as it is would completely turn me off, which sounds weird since I posted it. Essentially, the only area we like is the kitchen with slanted breakfast nook and family room adjacent. Everything else would be changed.

@red_lover: I agree about coming in the front door and seeing almost the entire living area of the house. I enjoy open concept houses but this one is a little too open for me.

@palimpsest: Luckily, the master would be scraped, moved upstairs and redesigned. The master suite in this design is not only convoluted but grossly over-sized. Even if we had the money, I'd rather put it towards bigger common areas the entire family can enjoy, including the nooks that you are talking about.

@sarah_ch: I would want to remove the great room fireplace because it wouldn't really be a great room anymore, at least in my opinion. Making it one-story turns it into a family room. Plus, this would be our main TV room and I do NOT like TVs over fireplaces. Also, there would be a fireplace in the formal living/library in the front of the house. Although, I have seen some houses where they incorporate a fireplace and built-in TV very nicely without stacking the TV on top of the fireplace, forcing everybody to practically stare at the ceiling. The second staircase would be removed. Like I mentioned, we don't really like formal dining rooms so we would turn that area into a small office and a "U-shaped" staircase.

Anywho...I ran into some troubles trying to rearrange everything and keep the diagonal breakfast nook. We like it because we sat in in a Parade of Homes house. I think we may need to realize those homes are (and always will be) out of our price range. Building with square rooms is not only easier to design but cheaper :).

We are also fans of the "T-shaped" living area. Family room to the left, dining in the middle, kitchen to the right and a sunroom above the dining. Similar to the floor plan below. Once again, besides the main living area, everything else would need to be tweaked.

I will post the images of the floor plans from the one I am working on now soon. Hopefully you all will stick with my and offer your excellent suggestions.

    Bookmark   July 9, 2012 at 3:07PM
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- The rooms dimensions seem to be nice. I think everything is big enough but not so big that the room doesn't feel cozy.
- Lots of windows in the main living area in the back half of the house.
- Lots of space in the kitchen, island with 4+ feet between it and any particular counter.
- HUGE pantry
- Powder room close to kitchen/main entry but not too close to main living area.
- One dining space, BIG, connected to kitchen and main living area.

- Entry looks right onto Dinette. The front door will not be used much so it's not a huge concern and I don't really see how I could change things so this isn't the case.
- Rather lengthy hallway from garage entry to main living area.
- Still not super happy with mud room. There is a large coat closet (which doubles as the entrance from the backyard) and four big lockers with a bench in between under a window but everything still seems a little tight to me.

    Bookmark   July 10, 2012 at 8:13AM
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- Master bed faces backyard.
- Master suite isn't too big. Bedroom itself may be pushing it but I've seen some enormous master suites that are laughably large.
- 3 bedrooms, all good sizes with reach-in closets, NOT walk-in. I think it's silly that a child should have a walk-in closet.
- Jack-and-Jill bath.
- Large laundry room with sink, small area for folding, area for dirty clothes and plenty of space to hang drying clothes.
- Bonus space.

- Water closet seems a little small to me, but I'm not sure.
- Have to walk through laundry to get to bonus room. Not a huge deal I suppose. I would rather have to walk though it then not have one up there at all or walk through another room like a bath or bedroom.
- There are supposed to be window in the 2-story area by the stairs, I forgot them.

    Bookmark   July 10, 2012 at 8:18AM
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