First Post - Looking for Feedback on Floor Plan Please!
I really hope you can help me critique this plan. I have seen how invaluable these comments are. This is the first house we are building from the ground. Excited but nervous. Here is the plan:
Things to know:
We are husband and wife with 2 kids, 11 year old boy and 2 year old girl. We are moving to a country location on a lot of 3/4 of an acre, so we will have some room in our plan to spread out a bit. We just bought the land. The back yard will be directly south for a sunny house, and we are going to have to "mirror" the plan as shown, so that the side garage will face east.
We want to make this our long term (possibly not forever) house, but at least the next 15 years until our youngest is grown. We had our kids later in life, so we will not be spring chickens by then either, but yet I still want a 2nd level master bedroom, primarily because at this stage my youngest is only 2. And I don't like the idea of us being so far from the kids while sleeping. 4th bedroom would be a guest bedroom.
My priorities in the house were open concept, informal spaces, bright and sunny, good mud room (we live in the mountains in a winter ski resort town), a sunroom for the winter and a screened porch for the summer so I can enjoy the forested back yard. With this floor plan, I plan to take the "study" and put a lot more windows in it and make it a sunroom (south and west facing), so if the kids are watching TV, I have a place to go and have a coffee in peace or read a book to my little one in quiet. We are also not formal people, and we work from home about 80% of the time, so I will be changing the "dining room" into a home office for myself and my husband. I will close off the open arches to the dining room and put either frosted or clear French doors there (likely frosted due to my messy habits in my office..). I can't decide if I want to have openings on both sides as the plan calls for, or just the great room side. I will likely close off the foyer side of the "dining room/study" so that I have 2 walls to work with to make desk areas. Ideally I would have liked to close off the great room side for more privacy and quiet, but I am worried that I will create this big looming nothing wall if I close off that wall completely, and also I will only have a north facing window in the office with an overhanging porch, so the room will be too dark (I like light bright spaces even in an office). Hence the frosted French doors (probably with a transom on top b/c of the 9 ft floors. The French doors + transom would match the sunroom French doors/transom (although I wouldn't frost those).
Also, in the plan they show a lot of structural posts that block the kitchen island, although in the sample home pictures, this looks modified, and I would prefer just 2 posts and an arch (or none??), and have it as open as possible. I would also put the refrigerator opposite the bathroom just as they have in the pictures, which is different from the plan. I find this to be a better placement as you don't have to walk into the island working area to grab something out of the fridge. Feel free to critique all of this!!
I am not thrilled with how their kitchen cabinetry looks in the sample pictures, I would do it differently, not have a bi-level island (I have lurked on other treads regarding this). Just also wondering if the great room is big enough for 2 sofas and 1 chair (or even 3 sofa's) because it feels like after you factor in a walking path behind the sofa toward the eat in kitchen (getting around those posts), you are down to about 15 ft long, then factor in the fireplace and built in's and you are down to 13 ft if that. I am really thinking I need more space than that, 13 x 18 or so seems too pushed up to the fireplace and built in's(I plan to put a TV next to the fireplace close to the window side. Do I need to add 2 more feet length wise? Or get rid of the posts (if possible?)
I like the pantry, but wish it was bigger, with an area to add a vertical freezer, I have to think about that, I need a freezer, but don't want it in the garage - maybe steal some garage space to expand that?? The mud room area confuses me to. With the mud room, I would like to possibly get rid of the walk in closet, have a long bench along the north window side (1 window, not 2) and 2 lockers on either side walls (of at least 24" wide each, as we have winter boots, snow jackets etc to deal with). Where is says "bench" in the plan, I would like to add a little drop off office area for cell phones, mail, etc. I am also toying with the idea of creating the mud lockers in the garage instead of the house, doing a whole mud thing in there before entering the house altogether - taking off boots, jackets there, especially in the winter. Maybe utilizing the house mud room space for utility/freezer/pantry??? Perhaps moving the bathroom to have a window? I don't know what to do with that whole space.
The unique thing is we actually HAVE to create a 2nd enclosed and heated laundry area in the garage - we have a house rental business and we do massive loads of laundry for 8 homes - we would like to keep all of the commercial laundry that we do out of our house and just loaded and unloaded from the cars to this utility area in the garage (located somewhere next to the garage door, still working on that too). For the family, I want a 2nd laundry on the 2nd floor for our clothes only. In our current small house, everything is mixed together in the basement, hate it. I was just thinking, since I have to enclose some of the 3 car garage for laundry, maybe just put a mud room/laundry in the garage and keep it totally out of the house. Not sure if that's smart/practical. I just know in my current house, shoes are everywhere all over the foyer just flung by the guys, wet/dirty in the winter, just hate it all. It would be so nice to have shoes off by the time they even enter the house. Or maybe just a small "summer" mud area in the house for schoolbags, light jackets/summer shoes with a drop center which we will definitely need, just not sure of the best layout for all of that. Maybe connect the mud area to the office with a pocket door to put mail etc right in there too? Or should I be using these walls for storage/utility.
Another issue - I will also have to add some kind of exterior door in the back besides what is there to the porch - I have a dog, and I don't want to have to let him out through the porch all the time, seems ridiculous. Also if we BBQ on deck, it just seems crazy not to have a back exterior door. Do I put this exterior door to the left of the dining table in the kitchen and extend the deck to the left to accommodate? Or maybe make an angled dining area and put a patio door behind the table with more room to move around the table? I don't really like the idea of having to run around a table to get to my exit though. But I do like the angles idea because I think the dining area looks a little utilitarian and not special, especially given that I don't have a formal dining room. The door to the screened porch would either swing outwards or be a sliding door, so it doesn't have to swing into the room. I plan to put a 6 ft wide 6 person seating table. I could do an angled bowed dining room AND have the door on the side as an option too. I just hope 14 ft wide is wide enough for all this. Just hope the roof structure can accommodate a kitchen bowed angle with the screened porch right there.
I am not going to even begin critiquing the upstairs, this post is so long as it is, thank you for reading! Nothing too big of a change up there other than removing the master fireplace as we will be doing a real wood fireplace on the main level. It will just be closed off in the master, any additional space on either side will be given to the bedroom next door. Also WIC will be changed to face the bedroom, probably divided in 2 for his/her with French doors and the hallway bathroom switched lengthwise. I don't think I like a WIC off the bathroom personally (although some people do and I do see some advantages to it). I will eliminate the water closet (I find them claustrophobic). The smaller bedroom will not have a bathroom, just a big walk in closet for my son. I would do a bathroom, but hubby thinks it's ridiculous to have 3 bathrooms for 4 people on the upper level, especially since our kids are such different ages. He's probably right. And I am not into cleaning yet another bathroom. Also a little worried about how looong the hallways seems, but maybe that's normal?
Thank you for any help you can provide!!
By the way, I was also deeply considering this plan
because I could also create a sunroom out of the study there too, but don't like the front facing garage and no bonus area. Plus all those swinging doors in the kitchen seem excessive (although I do like the angles). And I think I prefer having the island facing the great room rather than the eat in area. And the upstairs master bathroom seems like such a waste of space as is!! And the living areas and master bedroom are smaller (I like a large master bedroom), so this plan would need a good 3 ft added to it for my taste. But the plan does appeal to me, I like that it has no posts actually (or maybe posts are nice??).