Plan critique, please - Garage change and adjusted layout

gerty1231July 23, 2014

We need some help thinking through some design options. In trying to reduce square footage and costs, we are reconfiguring the garage layout -- from a 3-car to a 3-car tandem (2 vehicles side by side and 1 in front).

We have been playing with some options in Excel, but can not seem to get it right. I will post some options below.

We would appreciate any feedback. Thanks.

Here is a link that might be useful: Previous thread

This post was edited by gerty1231 on Wed, Jul 23, 14 at 20:28

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Option 1

    Bookmark   July 23, 2014 at 8:06PM
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Option 2

    Bookmark   July 23, 2014 at 8:07PM
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Option 3

    Bookmark   July 23, 2014 at 8:08PM
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Option 4

    Bookmark   July 23, 2014 at 8:10PM
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Option 5

    Bookmark   July 23, 2014 at 8:11PM
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When looking at all these graph paper layouts you are posting, to me it isn't really clear what you are doing with each layout. Sometimes there is a keeping room, sometimes a bedroom. One layout has 2 laundry rooms. And it isn't really clear how the garage layout is changing and the impact of the change of garage shape on the overall layout and elevation of the house.

    Bookmark   July 23, 2014 at 8:53PM
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Pixie_lou - I understand the confusion. I never know how much to post without overloading people.

Attached is Option 1 for the complete first floor. The elevation and rooflines should stay the same. Only the garage-side of the house should change.

(The original 2-car garage picture is linked in the previous thread. I can post it if you like.)

Thanks for looking.

    Bookmark   July 23, 2014 at 9:41PM
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If you eliminate the second bedroom(I assume there are other bedrooms in the house?) then do you still need a full bath? Or could you turn the bath into a powder room.

I'm also wondering if you need a breakfast room and a keeping room and a dining room? Since you did say you are trying to cut back on space.

Do you need the 3rd garage bay? Could you make it a 2 car garage? And add a bay in the future when you have more $? Could you eliminate the keeping room altogether, and add on in the future?

    Bookmark   July 23, 2014 at 10:01PM
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Here is our thinking: 1) For re-sale we need 3 full bathrooms (1 full bath is upstairs); and 2) We need a bath/shower for before and after swims. That being said, we have not ruled out 2 full and 1 powder.

In this market, most people expect a breakfast room, a dining room, and a study. Since we do not have a dedicated study, we believe the keeping room (or second bedroom) could serve that purpose for a future buyer.

In our proposed neighborhood, all the houses have a minimum 3-car garage. We feel that it would be cost prohibitive to add either later. That being said, we have had trouble deciding between keeping the keeping room and keeping the downstairs secondary bedroom (which could also function as a study for a future buyer). One of the things we love the most about the keeping room option is the beautiful sight lines it creates as you enter the family room and look all the way through the kitchen into the keeping room. A dedicated guest room, however, is very appealing.

Thanks for your help.

    Bookmark   July 24, 2014 at 12:27AM
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So are you building for yourselves? Or for resale? How long are you planning to live here before you sell? Yes, there are certain expectations about resale. However not every house being sold meets every one of those expectations, yet the houses still sell. Also, if you plan to live there 10 or 20 years or more, who knows what the housing expectations will be then.

I honestly think these questions you are posing need to be answered before you start playing with layouts. Are you committed to a 3 car garage? Will the tandem garage affect resale? (People would not like a tandem where I live)

Do you want a second bedroom downstairs? Is 3 or 4 bedrooms the norm where you are? Or do you want the keeping room? You mention the nice sight lines from the great room. Which makes me wonder if the keeping room could be sold as a study - most people would want privacy for their study.

Are you committed to 3 full bathrooms? You say you want a shower for the pool, yet your original plan doesn't have a bathroom anywhere near the pool. Have you considered an outdoor shower in the pool area? You say 3 baths for resale, but I would think that logically placed baths would be more important.

    Bookmark   July 24, 2014 at 8:08AM
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First, I have to agree with the above poster who says you're trying too hard to build for a hypothetical future buyer. While I agree that you need to walk a fine line between "what most people want" and your individual desires, you're overplaying the "gotta haves". I agree that you do need to build three bedrooms /2 baths (especially because if you're financing any of the build, the bank probably won't lend on less than a 3/2). It's also true that we don't know what the market will do in 10-20 years. On the one hand, I think there's a lot of "one upmanship" in house building; on the other hand, a whole lot of people are looking to downsize, to tie up less money in real estate, to decrease their monthly expenses and maintenance.

Remember, too, everyone knows that age-old advice about buying the smallest house in the nicest neighborhood; if you build without these "bells and whistles", your house will be more affordable to a future buyer, and that buyer will be able to add on a keeping room or an additional garage at his or her convenience.

One last thought on resale: If you're really doing all these things to keep your house up to the neighborhood standards, are you in the right neighborhood?

Having made those philosophical comments, here's what I think of the plan:

- The rooms aren't particularly large, so I'm at a bit of a loss to figure out where 2320 sf have gone. The one big space hog is the triangle-shaped back hallway. This isn't an area that's going to enhance your life, so I'd cut it down.

- If you're looking to cut size and costs, I'd look at going with a standard sized garage. I especially would not build that tandem garage thing. It's cutting off a whopping amount of natural light that could be making the house nicer, and I personally would hate to back my car out of that dark cave . . . and I'd hate worse to see my teenaged daughter doing it.

- Next I'd chop the Keeping Room. It's not an ideal room: You have to squeeze by the table to reach it, then it has no visual or acoustical privacy. I'm sure it'd be a pretty room with the fireplace and windows, but it's not a practical room.

- I'd reduce the kitchen size. I know, I know, NOT THE KITCHEN. This kitchen is large, but it isn't laid out to function well: The middle island is blocking the way, the refrigerator door will block an aisle, and this kitchen will require many extra steps each day. You have a long cabinet run against the wall. I'd reduce the width and stick with just one island. You'll still have a large kitchen, and it'll actually be a better plan. It'll also mean you can skip the prep sink in the island, which is a pretty expensive single-line item. You can also downsize to standard appliances for some pretty significant savings.

- A money-saver: Move your washer/dryer and your laundry sink to the same wall; this means you'll only need ONE thicker wall containing water. And since it butts up against the secondary bathroom, you'll be doing double duty there.

- Thinking of water and going back to the kitchen, look at how your water is strung across the kitchen: You'll need water lines for the refrigerator, in the island and on the main sink island -- and possibly a pot filler above the stove. Things like this end up driving up the price. Consolidate these things closer together, and you save not only square footage, but also your plumbing bill.

- Finally, though this has nothing to do with saving square footage or money, I'd look at flipping the master bath and master closet. If you move the bath to the back of the house, you can have nicer windows, and that'll bring the closet (which doesn't need natural light anyway) in between.

    Bookmark   July 24, 2014 at 9:05AM
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I would say that we are building a home to live in but that could resale at any time. Of course any house will sell at the right price, but in the event we need to sell, we want to appeal to as many buyers as possible. We hope to live here for the next 10-15 years. In terms of future housing expectations…let me provide a little background.

Our property has easy interstate access and great schools. The amount of land available for development in this area is extremely limited. So, we anticipate the area will retain good value over the next 10-15 years.

In the area and tight market we are looking in, people expect a minimum of a 3-car garage. No builder in our neighborhood is building less than 3. In fact, several of the new homes being built are actually tandem garages. It is also common to use the 3-car garage for a workshop or storage.

In terms of whether or not a second bedroom on the main floor or another living space, such as a keeping room or study, is the norm, it is a toss-up. We see both, so it really is a choice. We are undecided and was hoping the layout or other opinions would help make the call. (I understand this is not the usual way to approach things.) The keeping room would have french doors which should increase privacy.

We are not committed to 3 full baths but would prefer it. We have 3 full baths now. However, we completely understand the importance of having that 3rd bath in a logical place. We have been struggling with this. (In the original plan, the designer had an exterior door added to the laundry room for outdoor access. I know it is too far from the pool; we are trying to fix it.) Our thought was with a full bath, even near the keeping room, someone could add a closet and use it as a bedroom. (Around here, we have seen people add french doors to a living room and use it as a bedroom!)

Thanks for your help!


We appreciate your comments. This home is on the smaller side for the neighborhood. One of our main goals in choosing to build is to move up a level of housing, increase outdoor living space, and to in fact have some of the “bells and whistles.” That one is actually for us. We just want to make sure our tastes and choices do not make the house a resale nightmare.

In terms of the right neighborhood, this house is the next step up. The limited availability of land in our area continues to push up lot prices and the square foot minimums for new builds.

We have made changes to the original plan to try and eliminate the least desirable spaces (long hallway, for example) and replace them with the 3rd garage space. One of our favorite areas is the kitchen and the luxury it brings. We agree that more natural light would be wonderful in the kitchen, but we started this journey with an elevation that we loved and have tried to configure the inside accordingly.

Hubby is a stickler for dimensions and assures me there is plenty of room past the round kitchen table to easily access the keeping room. The “island” with the main sink is actually a walled space with a large pass through. The main living room is vaulted (not evenly so), and we felt the kitchen and living needed separation. (We have a center island now with 2 aisles and love it.) When the refrigerator is open perpendicular to the island, we still have 2 feet for passing.

In the new layout, we hope to line up the washer, dryer, and sink. As far as master bedroom area, it is more the norm here to have the closet at the end of the run. In other words, master bedroom, bathroom, then closet; however, we will consider a change in this area.

    Bookmark   July 25, 2014 at 2:32AM
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    Bookmark   July 26, 2014 at 2:38PM
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