Please Critigue My Floor Plans

jim8153July 29, 2014

Hi All,
We are currently building a two story Colonial and are working with our architect to finalize the floor plans. Please have a look. We have three kids ages 5-12. Any and all comments/criticisms will be greatly appreciated.

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What does your lot look like? It seems you'll need a lot of steps up to the front door, with a tuck-under garage in the front. My parents and inlaws would not be able to visit, with all those steps (and I consider that a bad thing).

What's the distinction between living room and family room? To me it looks like one giant space. How will you arrange furniture? If one of the rooms has a TV, the other won't be quiet enough for conversation.

I'm not crazy about the master bath configuration. The pass-through closet wastes a lot of space, and it's a long trip from bed to toilet.

Neither of the upstairs bathrooms has much storage space (just under the vanities). I would not bother with a double sink in kids' bathrooms - my kids never use the bathroom at the same time, and much prefer the counter space. I see you have what I think is a linen closet upstairs, which is great, but doesn't help the kid dripping wet out of the tub without a towel!

Nice that the laundry is upstairs, but it's pretty tiny. The bedroom next to laundry has a weird closet - not big enough for a walk-in, too deep for a reach-in.

    Bookmark   July 29, 2014 at 1:54PM
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I, on the other hand, like the master walk-thru closet, having just spent 10 days in a home with a similar set-up. But, where will you hang YOUR towel when you're in the shower?

Totally agree on just one sink in the kids' bath. Then you can have banks of drawers on either side for better storage, and if you reduce the size of the vanity a skosh, room to mop around the toilet.

I love all the bedroom windows! Do you think your elevation could handle a high window for the ensuite bath?

The powder room on the first floor...really? That is an odd arrangement right off the living spaces.

Love the size of the dining room.

In the kitchen, consider moving the prep sink around to the side of the island? You don't have much space on either side.

Are you in the land of snow? We had a below-grade garage and clearing the snow was a bear.

    Bookmark   July 29, 2014 at 3:25PM
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All in all it's a much more straightforward plan than I often see posted, but my first impressions are:

I think the staircase seems awfully tight.

The downstairs powder room opening right to the family room is not in a good location.

The laundry room is small. It will be difficult to work in, loading and unloading It may be better to turn the machines to be at the end.

I agree that the master bath is too big--and the toilet is remote. I think the doorway on the angle would feel odd in real life. Agree with other things noted about bathrooms.

Stand alone fridge is in an inconvenient spot

    Bookmark   July 29, 2014 at 3:26PM
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My first thoughts are (I often come back to plans and have more comments)--
Master bath toilet room door is of the dangerous kind. Figure out how to get an outswing, pocket, or anything other than inswing door for that "room".

The master entrance "angle" is odd. It doesn't appear to be a real angle. I like angles and have a few in my house, but nothing so "almost square". The way it is drawn, it looks like a mistake--that the lower wall wasn't built out far enough and the framers just framed in the door for the heck of it. I think it needs to be a real angle, or truly straight. Why not bring the lower front bedroom door out so the master door can be straight?

I can't see the dimensions, but the hallway to the master/lower front bedroom appears to be VERY narrow. How narrow is it?

The main level powder room is tiny, and not obscure enough for it to be comfortably used.

It is too bad the downstairs bathroom isn't available to the mudroom space.

    Bookmark   July 29, 2014 at 6:37PM
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At 19x21, your garage is really tiny. Lots of SUVs and pick up trucks are 18-20' long. Even if you have a smaller SUV, you will have to keep the garage door open to be able to unload the back. And at 21' wide - with built in storage along one wall - you'll constantly be dinging the second car, or you'll have to have your passengers disembark before you pull into the garage. You will have absolutely no room for any storage.

A comfortable size 2-car garage is 24x24.

As others have posted, the angled door to the mbr looks like a drunken mistake.

The French doors leading to the patio (how do you have a patio above a patio?) you probably won't have room to open the doors if someone is sitting at the table. So consider an out swing door or sliders.

Your pantry is really small.

    Bookmark   July 29, 2014 at 7:54PM
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I can's see the dimensions, so I am not sure if there is enough space in the breakfast room to be able to walk around the table and open the doors to the back patio. At any rate, it appears you will not be able to center the table in the room, if that matters to you.

It looks like the island is for prep work, but I don't see much actual prep space.

    Bookmark   July 29, 2014 at 9:28PM
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I like the master closet idea. My husband works midnights and having the closet right there is an extra buffer for sound. Neither partner will wake the other getting ready if the other is still sleeping.

Cathedral ceilings are awesome. They have an airiness to them, but I will warn you that heating and cooling spaces with cathedrals is challenging. You have to consider that when you have all the square footage to heat and air condition.

Great idea to have the washer and dryer on the same floor as bedrooms. Hauling laundry up and down stairs sucks and since you have 3 kids, that will be nice. The child who is sharing the wall with that laundry room won't be happy with the noise if you do your laundry at night though.

I don't like the angle of the master bedroom entrance. My old house had that angle for the master bedroom, but it was 45 degrees. You could definitely tell it was the entry to the master because of the angle and that it was the double open door. So I see why you want to do that, but since it isn't a more extreme angle, it looks like a mistake. That hallway to get to your bedroom/guest bedroom looks kind of narrow too.

I like having that guestroom separate from your family. It can give your guests some privacy when they come to visit.That rec room downstairs will be great for your kids. It will be a great space for them and your wet bar is a cool idea as well.

Are you planning on storage over your toilets? That could be added storage for towels and such. Or, maybe instead of a double sink in kids bathroom, only have one sink and do a floor to ceiling linen space.

My old house had a powder room on the first floor like yours does. Very handy!! However, yours seems to be not in a very private space and a little bit of an afterthought in where you have it. Could you tuck it under the stairs and maybe put the coat closet somewhere else? I posted a link to Houzz for the powder room. I liked how that particular powder room is tucked away. It's accessible but doesn't scream "I'm a potty."

I am curious as to how you are going to use your first floor. There is no definition between the formal living and family room and you look to have 3 total eating areas. I wonder if that is the best use of that space. But, I don't know your lifestyle. For my house, our kitchen and family room are the biggest rooms because those areas are where we hang out the most. We are going to have a formal dining room, but we aren't "formal dining" type of folks. It's mainly for resale down the road.

Here is a link that might be useful: Powder Room Under Stairs

    Bookmark   July 29, 2014 at 9:40PM
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I lived for a short time in a house with that first-floor plan, and it is a comfortable layout.

One big difference: We had a complete separation wall between the living and family rooms. I'd definitely suggest that you add such a separation . . . and I'd suggest French doors to close off the living room so that it can act as a "quiet away space".

I agree with what other people have said about the less-than-private location of the half-bath.

I suggest going with a slider instead of French doors in the breakfast room. By the time you add a table, those doors won't have space to swing open. The new sliders look just like French doors, but they're more practical -- and much less expensive.

I don't like the kitchen cabinet layout. The island is . . . odd, especially the stool placement: A person sitting on the side stool will completely block traffic flow in the kitchen. You have the space, and you can have a much more functional kitchen layout. The house in which I lived had a small U layout (the sink was in the middle of the U, and it was in the same under-window spot as yours) and had another wall of cabinets (including the refrigerator) on the wall shared with the dining room. It was a great layout, and I'd love to have it again -- with a good-sized pantry.

Upstairs, I would cut down the square footage in the master bedroom (and would lose the oddly angled door). All that space at the foot of the master bedroom is just wasted.

I'm neutral on the closet layout, but I think the master bath has room for improvement. The vanity doesn't look big enough to comfortably support two sinks, so you're giving up space for drawer storage . . . and losing cabinet top space . . . to be too close for comfort. One sink in this vanity would be comfortable. The toilet closet looks claustrophobic and dark.

The kids' bedrooms look good, but their baths are pretty minimal in size. They're going to have no storage and not even enough space to place a trash can and hamper.

The office is a modest-sized room, and it's interrupted by three doors (one of them a double door). Again, I suggest you switch the French door for a slider.

Where will you place furniture in the office? I suggest removing the wall separating it from the hallway so it's more of an open loft rather than a closed-off room. This will benefit you in two ways: 1) It'll bring some natural light into the upstairs hallway. 2) It'll allow better furniture placement. Bedrooms tend to be fairly quiet, and this is placed away from the noisy back of the house, so I don't think the doors would be a great loss.

    Bookmark   July 30, 2014 at 7:37AM
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Wow, thanks so much for all the thoughtful and helpful comments and suggestions. I plan to incorporate many of them and will post the updated plans to get your incredibly valued input.
thanks again

    Bookmark   July 30, 2014 at 12:29PM
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