I need help- I've been too mindful of cost

Kinsley7July 29, 2014

We had to put building on hold due to an extenuating circumstance, and now we're ready to get started. I am not excited about building what I have planned, I've been too mindful of construction and energy cost when designing. I included a small vault in the kitchen, but just 9' ceilings in the living room....I've got this nagging feeling that I will regret that decision. I'm open to suggestions on how to include a vaulted living room in the most cost effective manner and I think I just need to start from scratch. We want to build a farmhouse with a large front porch and adequate back porch. Would like to keep it under 2500 sq ft with 4 bedrooms ( including the master) upstairs). We need a room on the first floor that could serve as a bedroom if necessary ( nothing huge)....will need a full bathroom close by. I don't want any formal or redundant rooms: in summary:
Floor one needs:
1)Kitchen open to dining/ dining open to living room ( would like to vault up to 12' or 14 '
2)Separate room that could serve as bedroom
3)Full bathroom
4)Laundry room
5) Entry ( nothing huge) Need around 7'8" width with a 9' ceiling
Floor two needs:
1) Master suite
2) Three bedrooms for kids and one or two bathrooms
Using space over garage will most likely be necessary
- Garage needs to be 24x24 or a little bigger and we are building on an unfinished basement
-House will face 235 degrees SW ( facing a large pond)
ANY suggestions will be much appreciated:)

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That is a lot to fit in 2500 ft2.

Maybe Google "folk Victorian farmhouse" and there is a plan on the architectural designs site from James Madson. Has a number of things on your list, but no garage, won't be able to vault downstairs ceilings, and is ~3000ft2.

Or try the "Field of Dreams Farmhouse 2" by SALA Architects, it is in your size range but has a garage and you could add a 4th bedroom above.

If you really want to have a vaulted ceiling, would you consider a one-story?

    Bookmark   July 29, 2014 at 4:45PM
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Kinsley, see if you can look up the floorplans for the hill country houses being built by Trendmaker in Round Top, Texas. They are freaking amazing. I never liked a farmhouse style until I saw theirs... and that is saying something. They are called casual cottages, and a friend of mine built one.
Sometimes, when you're in a corner, it helps to refresh the vision. Take a look at sone of the pictures on their website. Best wishes,

This post was edited by musicgal on Tue, Jul 29, 14 at 21:07

    Bookmark   July 29, 2014 at 6:27PM
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Have you considered 10-foot or 12-foot ceilings on the first floor, rather than trying for "trendy" vaults?

If you are in a warm, humid climate the raised ceilings will be very helpful with the climate and cooling.

Good luck with your project.

    Bookmark   July 29, 2014 at 6:57PM
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Is it going to be a walkout basement?

    Bookmark   July 29, 2014 at 10:21PM
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Annie Deighnaugh

Do you need all those vaulted ceilings? They eat into the upstairs spaces and they can be difficult to decorate. They provide wow factor, but can be harder to live with. There are other ways to provide wow factor. Also, vaulted ceilings mean the room has to be larger to make the vault make sense scale-wise. You don't want to be in a small room with a vaulted ceiling or you feel like you're in an elevator shaft.

Below is a recent thread discussing the pros and cons of vaulted ceilings.

Here is a link that might be useful: vaulted ceilings

    Bookmark   July 30, 2014 at 8:16AM
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The problem with a vaulted ceiling is that it makes the area above it unusable. It's used in a 1-story house, going up into the attic space, or it eats up the upper part of a 2-story.

If you incorporate some level changes into the plan - a lower entry and kitchen area, the LR/DR area will look way higher. Perhaps coffering or a lighted dropped area (I don't know what they are called, it's a lowered part of the ceiling with indirect lighting coming from it.

if you run a couple of skinny windows all the way up to the ceiling in a couple of places, it will boost the apparent height.

Musicgal ... NICE HOUSES!

I like the modest house with HUGE porch idea.
And the small bedrooms with big shared play area.

    Bookmark   July 30, 2014 at 8:48AM
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Kinsley-we built 9' on the main floor. I have to say once we got started I had that nagging feeling that maybe I messed up but now on the other side I love it. It really visually enlarges the space but it's still not too loud and is better with heating and cooling. For ME, it's *perfect*.

We had a vault in the living room of our last home that made me decide I didn't want one again and I am so happy I stuck to it. You may just be doing the oh no this is becoming real panic that I've screwed it all up 'thing'. Not that I know anything about that. ;)

    Bookmark   July 30, 2014 at 12:16PM
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our ceilings are all 9 ft and i really like them
our largest open space is 33x24 and the scale is very nice visually

    Bookmark   July 30, 2014 at 3:12PM
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I wouldn't do vaulted in the kitchen as I think it always ends up looking a bit odd. Hats with the upper cabinets to get our to be efficient and also work well together. I'd rather put the money into the living room ceiling. I happen to like vaulted ceilings when done in proportion to the room and it works with the walls etc to actually be a full vault and no weird stops or angles into surrounding walls.

    Bookmark   July 30, 2014 at 10:43PM
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-Nice looking houses Oaktown, I got some good ideas from browsing through the interior photos. Yes, we have considered a one story....but it was cost prohibitive.
-Musicgal- Yes, they are amazing....I want one!
-Virgilcarter- I have considered 10-12 ceilings on the entire first floor, but am afraid it would make the house difficult to heat. We have to heat about 5 months out of the year.
Robin: Yes, it's a walkout basement ( on the south facing side)
Annie- I've seen a lot of houses with the "elevator shaft" look....I really don't care for a full two story vault, no matter how big the room is.
Lazygardens- great ideas, thanks so much:)
Autumn and okokok- Thanks for the encouragement, I'm leaning towards sticking with 9'. We love our land and our view, I'm planning on having lots of windows and I'm sure that will make the house feel open. I've just been in panic mode lately.
Lyfia- You're right, I may be putting too much $ into the kitchen ceiling. My reasoning was that the kitchen often gets too hot and I thought vaulting up to 12' may make it cooler. Also, the kitchen is in the back and can line up with the porch ( to keep the house rectangular).

    Bookmark   July 31, 2014 at 10:11AM
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If the kitchen gets too hot ... get some sort of venting in there

Transom or "hopper" windows high on the kitchen wall would be enough to vent out heat most of the time. And a really good exhaust fan.

    Bookmark   July 31, 2014 at 3:10PM
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