Which layout of our main floor is better?

CamGJuly 14, 2012

Hey everyone, we are in talks with a GC, but I would like to get the last bit ironed out. I've come down to two versions of the main floor that we like almost equally. (They don't really affect the second floor, just move a bathroom from one side of the stairs to the other.)

What I like about version A is that the powder room is accessible from the hallway and there is more room in the mudroom for a cabinet for dog dishes and food. I don't like the smaller living room, the oversized mudroom (for this size of house, approx 2200 sf), the smaller coat closet.

Version B has a larger living room, larger entry and hall, larger coat closet. But, the bathroom is accessible from the mudroom, and the placement of the door in the mudroom leaves less room for a dog food cabinet and bench.

We are not particularly fancy folks, and a house with kids and dogs will never be pristine--so I think we'd generally be okay with people having to walk through the mudroom to access the powder room, but obviously it is less preferable than access from the hall. Thoughts? Thanks!

Version A:


Version B:

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In short, I don't think either version works well and both need tweaking for optimum utility.

If you shift the mudroom door down closer to the bench, you have more room for coat hooks, message cubbies etc against the north wall of the mud room.

The powder room is oversized in both versions and the additional space could be used elsewhere. I'd vote to make the pantry larger as well as eliminate the broom closet and desk in favor of putting a broom cubby in the pantry and not having a desk at all. In the age of laptops, desks hardly ever get used and most people are ripping them out, not putting them in.

In both versions, the kitchen needs to be tweaked with the sink and range reversing at the very least. If you kept the current configuration, you need a prep sink on the island. However, the fridge isn't accessible enough to the rest of the household. I'd put it where the desk is currently located and recess it into the pantry instead of the garage.

    Bookmark   July 14, 2012 at 3:17PM
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I like Version A, with the flexible access to the mudroom and the powder room accessible from the hall.

Per LWO's comment above, I'd definitely post this on the kitchens forum too. I'm not thrilled with your ref placement either; I'd probably put it where the desk is and steal some space from the powder room to recess it to counter depth (and whack the desk - they tend to be clutter magnets and with laptops you can work anywhere.) That puts the ref rather far from the sink tho, so I'd either want a prep sink between ref and range, and/or rely on the fine skills on the kitchens forum to help me.

But with ref on the lower wall, prep sink and range on the right wall... you'd have such a nice long prep area there. And you'd have a small sink nearish the pantry, in case something spilled or got sticky in there.

    Bookmark   July 14, 2012 at 3:32PM
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    Bookmark   July 14, 2012 at 3:35PM
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Live_wire_oak, I really appreciate the suggestions.

The way our lot works, we very much want the sink to have the view out to the back. Plus, bringing dishes from the dining room table to the sink and dishwasher will be easier with it right there, as opposed to on the other side of the island. At any rate, this is a non-negotiable for my wife.

We also very much want a desk in the kitchen. We have the equivalent of one right now and it is used constantly (I'm at it right now on a laptop). This is another non-negotiable for my wife, anyway. In light of these two factors, this is the best way I can think of laying out the kitchen.

I've heard the suggestion of a prep sink a lot, and we've strongly considered it, but we are leaning towards the idea of a big island where we can spread out school projects, play cards, etc., without a sink taking up part of it. We could change our mind on that-it doesn't help that I've never been in a single house with a prep sink!

It also seemed to me that the pantry was plenty wide-enough--12" shelf on one side, 3' isle, and a 2' deep counter on the other side. Making a dimension of a powder room smaller than 5' seems pushing it. But I'm certainly open to these suggestions.

The north wall of the mudroom didn't seem to me to have much utility for coat hooks and benches, because it has at least one and possibly two doors in it (depending on the layout). If we put the door towards the south wall, that eliminates the ability to use the exterior wall at all. Am I wrong?

    Bookmark   July 14, 2012 at 4:11PM
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Live_wire_oak: I posted before I saw your modifications. I could get behind making the powder room as small as possible, but boy--that's about 3' wide! Isn't that too small?

Your fridge placement puts it more convenient for snacks and such, but less convenient for cooking, with an island between it and the sink. Or am I crazy?

Chicagoan: I did post a very similar kitchen on the kitchens forum--the final version there had a prep sink in the island, but not enough clearance between the desk and island, and when I shortened the island to give more clearance, then the prep sink took up a ton of the island.

I'm considering the idea of moving the fridge. Maybe I'll do a mod and repost over there. Thanks again for the thoughts!

Here is a link that might be useful: This kitchen on the kitchen forum

    Bookmark   July 14, 2012 at 4:26PM
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I've been watching your plans for a little while now, as they are pretty similar to what we are looking for. For the overall plan, I like A better. Can you steal another foot from the den to give to the living room? Also, do you have a spot in the mudroom to hang jackets, etc?

I put our latest plan here. They are somewhat similar except our footprint is 40x26 instead of 37.3x29.6.

Although if live_wire_oak thinks some improvements are necessary, they probably apply to ours too :)

Here is a link that might be useful: Our tentative plans

    Bookmark   July 14, 2012 at 4:52PM
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Annie Deighnaugh

I would go with version 1 as the bath accessibility in version 2 is unacceptable. We have a kitchen layout similar to yours and it works well with a prep sink in the island which should be easy to add.

The mudroom is a long skinny space. I'd move the PR closer to the door and shorten up the mud room and swap the desk with the broom closet door which would become the doorway to the pantry...IMO no need for a separate broom and pantry closet as they could be one.

    Bookmark   July 14, 2012 at 6:08PM
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your stairs are going to have to be longer than is indicated on the plans ... unless you are planning on very narrow treads , or your ceilings will be 7-feet tall ...

tweaked your plan a bit , and attempted to keep the stair from sticking sorely out into the dining/living area ... the treads are 10" , and allow for an 8'-6" ceiling height ...

    Bookmark   July 15, 2012 at 7:31AM
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Summerfield, that's simply wonderful. I was worried about the stair length, but you fixed that, and with only adding about 150 sqft to the whole house, made the much of it work much better. Could I trouble you to do a version of my upstairs?

On the upstairs, we realize that the master bath is pretty small, but we're okay with that. We would really like to keep the upstairs the same footprint as downstairs, if possible.

Literally the only thing I would change about the plan you've made is to make the kitchen island 4' or 4'6" square, to leave bigger clearances between the island and desk and dishwasher. Or is that unnecessary? You know better than I.

Thank you so much! I can't wait to show this to our family and contractor!

    Bookmark   July 15, 2012 at 10:40AM
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I like Summerfield's version! :)

Cam- Your house plan is looking so nice...this is going to be a wonderful home for you and your family.

    Bookmark   July 15, 2012 at 11:47AM
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Thanks LL, and thanks for all the great thoughts you've had! I believe the current pantry is largely a result of your suggestions!

    Bookmark   July 15, 2012 at 12:20PM
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i need to modify the first floor plan to accommodate a couple of changes , but here is a possible second floor plan ...

    Bookmark   July 17, 2012 at 6:47AM
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Summerfield--do you get tired of people telling you you're brilliant?!

Seriously though, this is wonderful. The only thing I'm not sure about is the master bath/closet, as it's a bit of a change from our previous plan... but I think our previous plan was unrealistic based on the short stairway. So I'm playing around with this a bit, and I'll talk to my wife what she thinks about the smaller closet space. We had pretty much written-off having a soaking tub, and if we use this design, we might replace it with a vanity...

We are greatly in your debt!!

    Bookmark   July 17, 2012 at 2:14PM
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I love Summerfield's designs, this one is no exception! You will have a beautiful home.

    Bookmark   July 17, 2012 at 3:51PM
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I love Summerfield's designs, this one is no exception! You will have a beautiful home.

    Bookmark   July 17, 2012 at 3:52PM
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Cam- If you need a bit more room for the closet...what if you flipped the master bedroom suite, with the other side? The two bedrooms and laundry could go on the left and the master bedroom, closet and bath could go on the right...and the door into the suite could be a little closer to the front of the house.

Maybe take out the broom closet and put in a small linen cabinet...with the bedroom door in that area? Would that give you a little more space for the master closet and bathroom? Just an idea :)

    Bookmark   July 17, 2012 at 5:01PM
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LL, I'm not sure I understand what you're suggesting, but I've played around with this a ton, and I don't think flipping the bedrooms gives any extra space. The placement of the hallway, dictated by the stairs, is really the limiting factor.

However, I came up with this idea, below. This subtracts the soaking tub, which we don't want, increases the size of the closet a bit, and takes away the necessity for closet doors. I had to the small bedroom a bit smaller and move it's closet to combine it with the bedroom on the right's closet, but I think it works. We're planning on finishing two big bedrooms in the basement, and this small bedroom will be a nursery and then office, so we don't mind sacrificing the space. I'm not sure about the door sizes for the shower and WC. I wonder if we could do a doorless shower given how long it is. Any thoughts? Thanks!!

    Bookmark   July 18, 2012 at 10:17AM
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Cam- My idea didn't work out, when I tried to sketch it. The master bath and closet were too narrow. So, I like your idea, but I would swap the sinks and toilet/shower area, so you can have some light in the master bath. And, the door to the closet could be a pocket door, if you don't want to block any closet space. From Cottage house plans

Also, if you want a window in the master closet...this is a possibility, but you probably need the storage :) From Fairy tale cottage

    Bookmark   July 18, 2012 at 1:53PM
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LL... hmmm... I was excited about my modifications until you mentioned the lack of a window. What about a window above the small mirror at the makeup desk (as shown below)? Or what about a skylight (or both)?

I really like how the plan works out, I'm now mentally spoiled by a separate WC, that I think I'd sacrifice a window for it, if it otherwise worked well.

Haha, I like the WIC windows, although it looks like that room is at least 10' x 15'.... :)

    Bookmark   July 18, 2012 at 2:37PM
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What if you put the vanity, in between the two sinks? I can't imagine you'd be using it and the shower, at the same time. Then you could put a clerestory window, above the vanity area. That would bring in some light, without emphasizing the toilet area...and the chair wouldn't block the bathroom or closet pocket doors.

Yes, I believe that is an unused bedroom, made into a closet, but I like the natural light. My mom pointed out that north light (or a clerestory) would be kinder to the clothes! LOL

It would be nice to have a little bench, though...to sit down and put on shoes, go through accessories or just talk to someone, who is choosing an outfit. There's a reason clothing stores have benches in dressing rooms! :)

    Bookmark   July 18, 2012 at 8:12PM
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can't locate the toilet above the living room , as you have it ... there is no lower wall close enough to accommodate the plumbing stack ...

here is a possibility ...

    Bookmark   July 19, 2012 at 4:13PM
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Summerfield- That looks great! I like the toilet area so much better, with the door on the side. And the dressing table in the walk in closet is a wonderful idea...and still room for the closet in the nursery/den :)

    Bookmark   July 19, 2012 at 6:20PM
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Perfect. Absolutely perfect! Thank you so much Summerfield!

    Bookmark   July 20, 2012 at 3:53PM
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Quick question: what software do you guys use to put these plans together?

    Bookmark   July 21, 2012 at 9:49AM
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I believe Summerfield's niece is creating this software and hopefully it will be available for us all to use, in the near future. For now, we're just 'tweaking' Summerfield's software.

It's a wonderful program and I hope we see it on the market, soon! :)

    Bookmark   July 21, 2012 at 12:01PM
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Yes, I'm very carefully using photoshop to modify her plans. I used floorplanner.com to create the original ones above, which is helpful for laying out dimensions, but does not give any real guidance on what those dimensions should be (apparently my stair length was off by a foot or more, which threw a big wrench in my plans!).

    Bookmark   July 22, 2012 at 7:30AM
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lady lavender is correct :-) ... unfortunately , my niece is pursuing a different major at uni , so i don't know when the software will be completed ...

here are your final plans , camg ... let me know if you require any changes ...

    Bookmark   July 22, 2012 at 4:25PM
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sometimes , things shift in the transfer ... this is corrected ...

    Bookmark   July 22, 2012 at 4:35PM
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Summerfield- Another beautiful home plan! That's too bad about your niece...tell her we all want to buy her software...maybe she could finish it to help pay for school?

Cam- This is a wonderful floor plan and I know you and your family are going to be so happy in your new home :)

    Bookmark   July 22, 2012 at 6:25PM
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I actually like the lay-out so much..been building my own also.

    Bookmark   July 22, 2012 at 6:58PM
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I prefer Version B.

    Bookmark   July 22, 2012 at 7:51PM
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Summerfield saved this house!

    Bookmark   July 22, 2012 at 8:16PM
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