need help - please comment on changes to my plan

laurensmom21July 2, 2014

hi again all,

well, after talking with dh and touring a showcase of homes (of which no house was bigger than 2700sq ft but all w/finished basements) we have decided our previous house was way too big. So unfortunately, we are cutting the study - but have decided to fully finish out our basement as well. Sooooo... of course I have been reworking things again.

so for a reminder this was our last version from the designer (which was 3500 sq ft - not including bonus rm or basement)

So here is my new versions - cutting the study. Please tell me which you like better or none at all. Or if you see any better way of doing things. Also, I'm not sure what this will do to the exterior. Any recommendations for that? I like the farmhouse/ cottage look. thanks so much everyone!

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You can always put an office in your basement if you finish it, right?

    Bookmark   July 2, 2014 at 5:21PM
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yes, we plan to do that. I was just bummed because we will no longer have an "away space" on the first floor to get away from the kid noise (kids ages 10, 8,6). But it will be fine. Do you like either of these master/bath combos better than the other?

    Bookmark   July 2, 2014 at 5:57PM
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I like the 2nd one.

    Bookmark   July 2, 2014 at 6:02PM
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I like number one but I'd want my head on the outside wall. I like the door placement in one vs two. I am kinda weird like that though, I am always thinking light and noise after I am in bed.

    Bookmark   July 2, 2014 at 6:43PM
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I would change the hall bathroom to a powder room since I don't see a room near it that could be used as a bedroom.

If you are downsizing, do you still need two sets of stairs?

Also, how will the closet in the laundry room be used? It is a awkward size.

    Bookmark   July 2, 2014 at 6:46PM
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Re option one:

Put a coat closet in the foyer using some square footage from the hall bath.

Turn that hall bath into a powder room.

Delete the end-of-hall closet and "square off" the master closet.

    Bookmark   July 2, 2014 at 7:33PM
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The window arrangement in the walk in master closet in version two makes the top wall useless for hanging clothes unless they hang overlapping the window.

Plan on good window treatments for windows like this in a closet, your clothes that don't move often will get faded on one side depending upon the sun's direction.

    Bookmark   July 2, 2014 at 9:36PM
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I think cutting down a bit makes sense. You're still looking at quite a large house with plenty of space for a family of five.

You HAVE an "away space" on the first floor! It is a very large and comfortable-looking master suite. AND you have what appears to be a small office space in the large, well-lit laundry room. If you fear this isn't enough, you could make the guest bath into a small closet-office . . . and make the laundry room's closet into a small half-bath.

I agree with the above poster who suggests turning the bed. A bed is always most attractive when viewed from the foot towards the headboard. It makes most sense to place the head of the bed under the window (because then no one would have to walk aroooooound the bed to get to the bathroom in the middle of the night), but I wouldn't really want to give up any of the window.

The sharp turn in the master bedroom's small hallway provides privacy, but I wonder if it'll be difficult to get large furniture in that way.

I'm not wild about either master bath, but I like the first one better because the entrance is more direct. I fear the "walk between two closets" hallway would be dreary.

Why a full bath on the first floor instead of just a powder room?

The pantry seems to be very shallow. If you're not putting basement steps directly under your main entry steps, you could harness the space under the steps as additional pantry space -- there's a world of space under a stair landing.

I would move the laundry machines to the exterior wall so the dryer can vent directly outside. Easier, cheaper, reduces fire hazard.

    Bookmark   July 2, 2014 at 10:38PM
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I'm partial to #1 as well.
I agree that you don't need another full bath on the main floor since there isn't a "guest" room that would use the bath part.
I wonder if maybe your pantry is too long and narrow to function well. Have you considered dimensions of the shelving you'll be putting in there? Can you get 2 rows (either side) and still maintain a walking area?
Your master shower looks a little small. What is its dimension? I, personally, would prioritize its size over a large tub in the master... but, I don't spend time in the tub.

    Bookmark   July 3, 2014 at 1:27AM
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I'm not sure you are looking for input on the kitchen? -- I've got a very similar layout and I see a couple of things --

although you've got the regular size refrigerator recessed in to the laundry to give it a flush look in the kitchen, it's in a corner -- whether you choose a single door, or double (or french) door refrigerator -- it's going to be a problem. Why not get rid of the weird closet in the laundry and extend the kitchen cabinets all the way over -- move refrigerator over as well as the range -- the refrigerator will no longer be trapped, and this will give you more landing room on each side of the range --

Pantry -- kind of a weird size in that there is little benefit to making it 36" deep. -- why not make that whole wall standard depth cabinetry -- drawers on the bottom, pantry space on the top -- this will have the added benefit of giving you more clearance between that space and the chairs on the island.

Island -- I'd shift the island a foot toward the dining room -- that would give you a 48" clearance between the sink and the island -- the same as you've got between the range run and the island.

Interestingly -- my master layout is similar to your first layout -- so I like that one, however, I'm not sure there is way for you to have a practical door for the shower in that layout.

    Bookmark   July 3, 2014 at 1:43AM
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With 3 kids, and only 1 bath upstairs, I'd actually keep the full bath on the first floor. When they become teen agers, it may be great to have a second shower.

That being said, I like plan 1 better. Take the hall closet to square off the master closet. Change the tub in the full bath to be a shower, and the space at the space you free up, make that a small linen closet.

I'm also wondering how you plan to use the large closet in the laundry room. A laundry room is basically a large closet. So you are building a closet within a closet. I'm wondering if that space could be better utilized in the kitchen. Either a broom closet or more cabinetry.

    Bookmark   July 3, 2014 at 7:55AM
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Generally, the deep but not wide closets that show up in both plans, especially the one with the in-swinging door, make no sense.

Reach-in closets should be relatively shallow (24" is standard, 27-30 gives things a bit of breathing room) and the door should be on the wider side (unless it's a narrow closet) for access. You show a couple of deep closets that actually won't hold much.

    Bookmark   July 3, 2014 at 8:03AM
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wow! thank you so much everyone! I SO appreciate all of your input and suggestions. I have been looking at this for so long, my eyes are getting crossed and things that I think make sense, might not be the case. It's great to get other pairs of eyes looking at things.

It looks like #1 might be the winner. I will focus on that one right now with some tweaks.

pixie lou nailed it with the hall bath reasoning - I only have one bath upstairs for my 3 kiddos and I envision all kinds of fights over the bath, so at least if I keep a full one on the mail level I can tell someone to go use that one.

master shower in both plans should be 4x4. We had that in a previous house and it was fine. I do like to take baths and plan on building some shelves to go on either side to hold towels, decorative items, etc..

Good call on the master closet windows, palimpsest. Do you think I should do some small square windows up high instead? I'm wondering how it will look on the exterior though since that's the front of the house...

I will have basement stairs under the current stairs so can't use any of that space for storage...

I think I would like to keep the washer & dryer on the current wall so I could use the space by the windows for a small office area...

The stairs in the mudroom will go up to a bonus area (hopefully my future art studio!)

RMS - thanks for catching that about the fridge! I'm not set on the closet sizes yet, but I can see how it would be stuck against that wall.

Laundry closet - I made this extra deep for the kiddos to throw all their shoes in there. Shoes thrown everywhere are a nightmare right now. But I can see I need to rethink this... I do have the cubbies too so that might be adequate.

pantry - I originally wanted this deep enough to house a homework/computer area also, but I'm rethinking this as well. I was going to put barn doors on the outside to close it off. I will give it more thought.

any ideas or thoughts on exterior with the 1st layout? thanks again everyone!

    Bookmark   July 3, 2014 at 11:29AM
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A deep closet isn't going to help with the pile of shoes - it will just make the back ones harder to reach.

Shelves are a much more practical solution - even if you can't train the kids to place their shoes on the shelves, if you and DH use them, it frees up floor space for the kids' shoes (at least that's how it works in our house). Boots definitely get put away, because our closet isn't very big. We have shelves in the garage, right outside the door, for boots. One just has to remember to bring them in to warm up before use.

    Bookmark   July 3, 2014 at 12:12PM
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I grew up in a house with 3 bedrooms /1 bath for 5 kids (parents had another bathroom in their bedroom), and I remember a bath schedule, but I don't remember fights. I remember when we became teens, we kids made rules about drying your hair /doing make-up in your bedroom instead of the bathroom, but I don't remember fights. You don't teach kids not to squabble by giving them more resources; you teach them not to squabble by teaching them how to share nicely. In the scenario you're planning, if they're going to fight, they'll fight over who has to go downstairs. One bath shared by 3 kids is a comfortable number.

Our current shower is 3x4, and it's adequate. We're planning a larger shower because we expect one day to be elderly in our house, but 4x4 should be fine -- though I admit it does LOOK smaller on the plan, and I'm sure that's why people commented.

I agree that windows in a closet are a problem, but since they're on the front of the house, I'd suggest that you install good, thick blackout drapes . . . and keep them closed so the clothes can't become sun-faded. Yes, it's a wasteful choice, but the windows aren't that expensive, and they are instrumental to the look of the house.

If you move the washer/dryer to the better position, you still have the same amount of space on the wall . . . which can be that small home office . . . and you'll have space for storage shelves above the desk.

I agree that the deep closets won't solve the problem of the shoes being thrown everywhere. I suggest cubbyholes with a basket for each kids' shoes. The easier the system, the more likely kids are to comply: Dropping shoes into an open locker-type system is easier than opening a closet door and placing them on a shelf. If shoes (or bookbags, or calculators, or whatever) are left lying about where they don't belong, you CONFISCATE them . . . and the kids have to do an extra chore to get them back. If you're consistent, it'll stop happening in a hurry.

    Bookmark   July 3, 2014 at 1:37PM
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I only have one bath upstairs for my 3 kiddos and I envision all kinds of fights over the bath, so at least if I keep a full one on the mail level I can tell someone to go use that one.

The changes to the downstairs means the upstairs has to change, so why not put a second bathroom up there with the bedrooms? It is much more useful near the bedrooms.

    Bookmark   July 3, 2014 at 5:33PM
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originally (about 20 plans ago...) had the girls sharing a bath and then my son had his own bath. But in deciding to cut back, we nixed the extra bath upstairs. I do realize the upstairs will change. But I'm hoping to get 3 bedrooms & 1 bath upstairs in no more than 1000 sq ft, thus making the house around 2900-3000 sq ft vs. 3500+.

I do realize the shoe problem & bathroom fighting are just something that goes with this stage of life. just trying to incorporate as many sanity savers as possible in the design phase...

I'm a little leery on putting the excess shoes/boots in the garage as we live in the country and I can see all kinds of furry critters making good use of our nice warm boots :)

    Bookmark   July 3, 2014 at 7:09PM
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Laurensmom-not completely unpacked but I do really like what we did in our reach in closet off the garage. We DO have a locker area also for shoes/coats we are currently wearing as well as backpacks, etc. This is for off season coats/shoes. As I said, haven't really unpacked any of the boys winter stuff so that is why the closet is so empty. :). Sorry if it is sideways-we are still waiting on internet so I am posting from my phone.

Our front windows are also closet/laundry and because of the position of the house and the mature trees I haven't seen any direct sunlight hit our clothes. We have a light filtering single cell shade for privacy after dark.

    Bookmark   July 3, 2014 at 7:49PM
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In number one the bathroom will be quite cold/hot in comparison to other parts of the house with 3 exterior walls. You should consider this when planning your heating/cooling

    Bookmark   July 4, 2014 at 12:07PM
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Autumn - thanks for posting that! Looks great and I'm sure it will function well too. I will keep that in mind. Dh reminded me that we'll have a basement to store out of season stuff - but I just want to incorporate as much storage on the main level as possible but still be efficient w/use of space. The backpacks, soccer shoes, cleats, balls, etc... never seem to end - but I think the cubbies will definitely help with that :)

lyfia - thanks for reminding me of that. Dh is planning on some extra insulation (exterior foamboard or something?) but we will keep the hvac in mind also

    Bookmark   July 4, 2014 at 12:56PM
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    Bookmark   July 6, 2014 at 1:49PM
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