Look at our plan, please!

Parkview603July 13, 2012

This is my first time posting but based on what I have read, everyone is very helpful here!

We are planning to build a home soon. We meet with our builder/contractor next week to look at the lot and talk about our plan. Before we go, I wanted some other eyes to check it out.

We are early 30s, 2 young girls (maybe a third someday, but doubtful!) and plan to stay here for about 15 years. We are choosing between some wooded lots in our current subdivision that are around 1.3 acres.

Here is the plan we have chosen -


We will have an unfinished walkout basement (for now).

I know we want to add space for a mudroom off the garage (move the laundry room over) but other than that, we really like this plan as it is. We will use one of the bedrooms upstairs as a playroom. Are there other things we are missing? Thanks!!

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Walk-in closet for Suite#2 is too narrow. Of course I don't have dimensions but, as drawn, wall-to-wall the closet is exactly the same width as the staircase. So I'm guessing it is either 36" or 42" wide...certainly not more than that. Clothing on hangers sticks out 24" from the wall. That means you would have an aisle only 12" to 18" wide to walk down to reach anything hung at the far end from the door! I'd move the front closet wall in by 12" (so the closet is normal reach-in depth) and then use two sets of bifold doors on it. Moving the wall in would help to reduce door interference between the bifolds and the bedroom door. Or, get old-fashioned rolling track doors for the closet.

I'm also not a fan of two-story great rooms. Run a search here on GW to read about issues with heating/cooling problems and noise transmission with two story great rooms.

In the kitchen, consider moving the fridge over next to the morning room and the stove into the corner. Fridge tends to get accessed by people sitting at the breakfast table all the time so having it closer will cut down some on traffic thru the kitchen and past the cookstove.

If you're allowed to do it in your area, having the great room terrace door open outward would make arranging furniture in the great room easier.

It sounds like you haven't picked out your lot yet which is probably good because with this design, you're going to need to pick your lot very carefully.

First off, you need to find a lot that slopes down toward the back in order to accommodate the walk-out basement. Then, it needs to be wide enough to accommodate a parking pad beside the side-load garage. Some developments allow driveways and parking pads to extend into side setbacks. Others don't. Just make sure you have plenty of room for a parking pad that is deep enough for you to back out and turn around on.

Finally, I know you mentioned a wooded lot but, unless it is thickly covered with 60 to 70 foot tall trees, I would strongly recommend that you pick a lot that that faces south. That's because most of the windows in this plan face the front and back with the back having HUGE windows that will soar three stories above ground level... and no provision is made for awnings or eves or porches or any other overhangs to shade those windows in the summertime. So, you need a south facing lot to keep the sun from cooking you thru those windows. Since your lot is wooded, the shading the front facing windows probably won't be too big a problem. But, those soaring windows in the great room will require awfully tall trees to shade them. And it would be a shame to build a house with all those beautiful windows only to wind up having to put shutters and shades in them to keep the sun from boiling you!

You might want to read up a little bit on Passive Solar principles before finalizing your decision to pick this plan but, in a nutshell, you don't want a west or east facing lot because either one will allow the unshaded morning or afternoon sun into the great room windows year round. If you have to choose one or the other, its probably better to get a west facing lot because heat from the morning sun is somewhat less than from the afternoon sun.
You don't want to go with a north-facing lot either unless you live somewhere that is cold 9 months out of the year. South facing windows get maximum solar exposure which can be good in the winter if you don't have too many windows. But in the summer time, you want to be able to shade your south facing windows and this design simply isn't amenable to shading the windows at the back, especially the soaring greatroom windows.

HOpe some of this is helpful.

Here is a link that might be useful: Passive solar shading.

    Bookmark   July 13, 2012 at 7:24PM
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Sophie Wheeler

Once again, a closet has the possibility for the best light in a home. Corners of a home should be reserved for major rooms, like the master, not the master closet. There are 3 places to eat in this home, but not of them really work for large gatherings. I'd personally move the kitchen into the area occupied by the morning room and then tweak the rest of the space into a better focused and more versatile eating area by adding on the mudroom and moving the laundry room out as well.

You haven't even picked your lot yet, but your plan has a front load garage, and not even one pulled back so that it's less obtrusive. Side load garages are much more attractive, and with larger acreage, there is no reason to not have one, and one pulled back from the front of the home's plane as well. Who wants a GARAGEhouse look?

On the whole, you are putting a lot of cart before the horse. Pick your lot FIRST, and then pick the plan or do a custom plan that suits the lot. And think about how you LIVE, or would like to live, as well as the cost to live in the home. Two story rooms are impressively grand, but difficult to heat and cool and just plain live in. They don't feel cozy, and are difficult to furnish to scale to create any coziness. If you're planning a grand ballroom to entertain in, they're perfect, but for a spot to curl up and watch TV, they pretty much suck with the echoes and too much extraneous noise.

    Bookmark   July 13, 2012 at 9:16PM
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Are you planing on putting a table in the morning room? If so, it might be difficult to place it centered on the double window because of the door swing.

Also, the shape of the island makes it really awkward to load the dishwasher. When you are standing in front of the sink, the open dishwasher really crowds you.

    Bookmark   July 13, 2012 at 9:49PM
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Do you need an entry closet? I like the idea of a mudroom, but your powder room is not very close by. Since you don't have any windows on the range wall...maybe you could bump out the laundry room, mudroom and include a powder room. If it will be an area with mud during the spring, a shower might be a good idea, too.

Do you plan to have any animals? Dogs get muddy, too and you might want room for a little dog wash-up area, too. You might also need extra storage for pet supplies, food, even a kitty box.

See Laura's post on small things that get forgotten. Architects never seem to include a space for some of the items we find we REALLY need, once we move into the new home :)

    Bookmark   July 13, 2012 at 11:11PM
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Thanks for the feedback, everyone!

We have chosen the lot (between 2) which is perfect for this plan, if we use the mirror image. We plan to make some small changes, including some of the things mentioned here.

I agreed with a poster that said that the garage sticks out but it will actually give us some privacy in the front yard from our neighbors based on the curve of the street so we are ok with that.

Thanks again!

    Bookmark   August 16, 2012 at 2:04PM
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