Floor Plan - Any suggestions?

jessraeAugust 13, 2012

Hello everyone - We are building for the first time and would really appreciate any suggestions you have on our floor plan. Hopefully you can read it okay. In case you can't read the drawing, the dimensions of the rooms are:

Living Room: 17 x 17-6

Dining Room: 11 x 17-6

Family Room: 17 x 18 (our designer included 4 feet of the kitchen area in her numbers)

Kitchen: 17 x 16

Breakfast Nook: 8 x 10

Mainfloor Bedroom/Office: 13 x 15

We have a 1 acre plot at the end of a cul-de-sac - it is a wide plot, but not very deep. The garage will be at the end of the cul-de-sac with most of our land being to the right (off the kitchen/family room). The home will be a walkout. We will have no neighbors to either side or behind us because our land is surrounded by wetlands so we'll have some great views.

We will eventually be a family of 6, so 5 beds and 3 baths upstairs is a must. We also wanted a bedroom on the main floor and a 3/4 bathroom for when my parents come to stay. The main floor bedroom will double as my office.

We're really hoping to catch all those "I wish I had done that differently" things BEFORE they happen!

Thanks so much for your help. I really appreciate all your advice to make our house better!

I'll post the upstairs photo below.

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Here's the upstairs floor plan. It gets pretty blurry when I post it - not sure if I'm doing something wrong. Here's the dimensions for the upstairs:

Master Bedroom: 17-6 x 14-6
Playroom: 17 x 17-6
Loft (this isn't really a loft anymore since we decided not to do a 2 story living room): 15 x 11-6
Bedroom 2: 13 x 11-6
Bedroom 3: 13 x 11-6
Bedroom 4: 11 x 11-6
Bedroom 5: 12 x 11-6

Thanks so much for your help!

    Bookmark   August 13, 2012 at 12:59PM
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Holy cow, can I just say, I LOVE this plan! It appears that you've put a lot of thought in to it. You've included lots of little things that I love- the breakfast nook, window in the stairwell, linen closets in every bathroom. And the double access coat closet???? Genius.

My critiques:

Typically it's good to have the garage located off the kitchen. (Think unloading groceries.) However, you've at least got a straight shot to the kitchen from the garage, so it may not turn out to be a big deal for you.

Master over the garage- will noise from the garage door opening while the other spouse is sleeping be a problem? Might look in to sound attenuation materials for that. DEFINITELY insulate well between the ceiling/floor- this will probably be the hardest room to heat/cool because of it's location.

And my biggest problem with the plan- the size of the kitchen. I would expect something larger (grander?) with a house of this size and the size of your family. That's a personal preference for me, so take that with a grain of salt!

There you have it- my unprofessional, uneducated $0.02! Good luck with the build!

    Bookmark   August 13, 2012 at 2:11PM
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kelhuck - Thanks so much for your detailed response! I did think about the garage, and with the shape of the lot and where the yard/swing set will be, this made the most sense. But it's definitely a good point to think about.

I never thought about the noise and heating/cooling issues with the master being above the garage - so we will definitely need to look into making that more sound proof and insulated.

The kitchen is what has given me the biggest headache. We originally had cabinets along a part of the wall between the kitchen and dining, and along part of the nook, but we decided to open the space up a bit, and all we were left with was a long open galley type setup. We did increase the size of the island and made it longer and deeper, so there will be cabinets on both sides of the island to help with storage. We are doing a contemporary home, so I kind of liked the idea of keeping cabinets to a minimum, but I do spend a ton of time in the kitchen and definitely don't want to mess it up! I just not sure what else to do to make it more grand without messing up the rest of the house. Does anyone have any ideas? Or if you have a kitchen with this setup, do you like it?

    Bookmark   August 13, 2012 at 3:03PM
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I'm having a tough time getting past the wetlands next door yet having a walk-out basement. Does the land have a natural slope that is sloped enough for a walk-out?

Where will the children play? If they are in the backyard, you will not be able to keep an eye on them from the kitchen, especially with a walk-out basement.

Do you use a BBQ grill much? If so, where will you locate it?

Do you have elevations you can post?

    Bookmark   August 13, 2012 at 3:36PM
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One quick thought - it appears that your laundry room door is 30" wide, if so I would enlarge it to a 36" door. My washer is 27" wide and my dryer is 27.5" wide... they would fit but it would be tight. With 4 children, I would guess that you will buy the biggest washer/dryer on the market. Plus think about carrying laundry baskets though.

    Bookmark   August 13, 2012 at 4:16PM
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Hi Dekeoboe - I don't have any elevations yet. The yard has been a point of concern for us as well. It does have a natural slope for a walk-out. I think we'll have enough space to play. We are on the edge of what has been designated wetlands. There is very little actual water until the far right edge of our property line.

We will have approx 30 - 45 feet of yard behind our house that is ours - completely flat and dry. Behind that is another 100 or so feet that is an easement with dry, flat land. This easement spans the entire back side of our property line. It is a huge area that is maintained by the county and will give us ample space for playing baseball, soccer, etc. Behind the easement begins the wetland area to the back.

We are having the wetlands to the right side of us redelineated and are expecting to have 50 to 75 feet of yard to the right of the house. We will also have 30 to 45 feet in the front yard with a large driveway for the 4 car garage and the cul-de-sac for the kids to ride their bikes, trikes and such. The area we are building in has a lot of natural spaces and walking trails, one trail is just a short walk to the left of our house. So hopefully there will be ample space to play and explore. There are also 3 parks within walking distance.

We will have a deck off of the kitchen/family room for a grill and plan to do a 3 seasons porch underneath that.

The kids are so young (2 and 4) that they won't be playing outside by themselves for a while. But I do see that as an issue with the walkout. It will definitely be a bit more work having to walk onto the deck to check on them.

I attached a photo of the neighborhood. Our plot is on the left side of the road. It basically starts at the end of the cul-de-sac and goes into the trees quite a ways. Hopefully the photo will help.

    Bookmark   August 13, 2012 at 5:05PM
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DreamHomeDreamer - Thank you so much! The plans say 28" so that would be WAY to tight! I will definitely change that to 36"!

    Bookmark   August 13, 2012 at 5:11PM
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I can't tell, is your fridge at the cabinet run end nearest the stairs? I am of 2 minds on this... On the one hand, this is a handy spot for when the kids come down thirsty and need to grab something. On the other hand, it is at the way opposite end from the eating nook and I wouldn't want kids walking through my work zone (esp sink to stovetop) to get from table to fridge.

Do you have room to do a beverage center on the one end and the main fridge elsewhere? For example, swap ovens/MW and Fridge locations, but put in a beverage center where your DW is, and put the DW on the other side of the sink?

This also gets your MW near where kids would come down from the play room too.

I agree, this is a very well thought plan. Well done!

A few other comments--
your use of pocket doors is very good. Just remember that on the master closet walls where there are pocket doors, you will be limited in how you connect closet rods to the walls there (no screws through the pocket wall (and into the pocket door!)).

    Bookmark   August 13, 2012 at 6:00PM
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So there will be a deck, but it isn't drawn in yet? Where will the door to the deck be? If it is off the family room, it could be problematic. I already thought the family room was on the small side for seating six while watching tv. If you have to use some of the space for a "hallway" to get to the door it will be even smaller.

Will the deck be covered or uncovered? The kitchen already could end up being on the dark side and if the deck is covered it will be even darker. I am thinking it is uncovered though because you said the BBQ grill will be on the deck. What will be the path from the grill to the kitchen? I prefer that to be a relatively short distance. Is it possible to put the grill out the family room door on the right side of the house?

    Bookmark   August 13, 2012 at 6:29PM
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Hi Kirkhall - Thanks so much! Yes, the fridge is at the end of the run farthest from the breakfast nook. The kitchen has by far been the hardest to figure out. I have tried to find another place to put the fridge too, but the only other option is at the opposite end like you suggested. The problem with this is the door swing of the fridge with the pantry wall.

Thanks so much for pointing out the pocket door issue in the master closets! I hadn't thought about that! We are planning on using California Closet type organizers, but they will still need to be screwed into the wall. I'll need to talk with the builder to make sure that'll work. Thank you!

    Bookmark   August 13, 2012 at 6:34PM
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Couple more thoughts--
you've mentioned twice that you have struggled with the kitchen layout. Have you posted your plan in the Kitchens forum? Some kitchen geniuses over there, I tell you...

Is there a say to get windows on more than 1 side in several of the rooms? You have a lot of jogs in this plan (upstairs esp), and so you will be paying a lot for this plan. How sad that you won't be taking advantage of the opportunity for more windows/light! And, as I noticed that, I noticed that your master closet is on an outside wall/corner--a potential for lost light... (but, that was the front of the house? street side? So, maybe not a travesty). Also, your climate will have a lot to say about whether you want a lot of windows. I, well, I live outside Seattle, and I would never turn down an opportunity for more light! But, if you are in Arizona, well then, I could understand if you've had your fair share of light and care not to have any more than necessary in your bedroom. :)

    Bookmark   August 13, 2012 at 6:48PM
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Really liking your plan! My architect hand draws as well and I did a double-take to see if it was him...I don't believe it is.

I think it is pretty solid as is. There might be a nic-pic here or there, but I think it looks good. I am not the best at layout (hence why I have an architect), but I think some of the other feedback will help you narrow down the last 5% of changes you may or may not want to make.

    Bookmark   August 13, 2012 at 7:04PM
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Kirkhall - Thanks for suggesting the Kitchen Forum. I did post over there and got some great ideas that are incorporated into the plan. I thought I was pretty happy with the kitchen, but my husband keeps bringing up that he thinks it's too small and then someone else commented on it as well, which worries me. It's hard to know exactly how functional it will be until it's actually being used.

I do love windows, but not necessarily in the bedrooms, especially for the kids. We are in MN and in the summer it's light past 9:00pm, so getting the kids to bed at a decent time is impossible. But then winter hits and we have very little daylight and I'm wishing it was summer again. But your right, there are very few rooms with windows on 2 sides - just the family room and office. We were planning on putting the TV against the outside wall of the family room between the patio door and a window. I originally put the tv there to reduce the glare coming in from the windows. But maybe we should move it to the interior wall and add more windows. Or maybe we could keep it there and add some small window across the top of the TV area.

    Bookmark   August 13, 2012 at 8:26PM
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Gaonmymind - Thank you! Our architect is a woman, so I'm guessing it's not the same.

We feel like we're getting close with our plans. This forum has been a tremendous help!

    Bookmark   August 13, 2012 at 9:07PM
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Good catch @dreamhomedreamer! Jessrae, you should consider widening all doors-esp on the 1st floor. People with walkers and wheelchairs need at least 32 in wide doors; 36 is preferable. You never know when someone in the family will need one. Better safe than sorry.

What kind of wall is between dining and family?

As for the kitchen.......well, you could go all kinds of crazy and move
the kitchen over to the living room......

    Bookmark   August 13, 2012 at 9:44PM
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Very nice plan! I really like it. A little food for thought:

As pointed out, the kitchen is really far from the garage.

The kitchen is small. one way around that would be to make your pantry bigger. bump it out to the office wiindow. Make it more of a mini galley kitchen or butler's pantry. you can add a second dishwasher, warming drawer, sink, beverage fridge, additional counter space and storage, whatever is most useful for you.

The dining room is a good size, but the opening to the family room is a bit odd. Is that a half wall? Are you going to center the table in the room?

I would sketch out furniture and tv placement in the family room to make sure it's big enough.

    Bookmark   August 13, 2012 at 11:09PM
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kelhuck - I agree about the doors. I hadn't even look at the widths until dreamhomedreamer mentioned the laundry room. I'm hoping to widen them all and will definitely discuss it with our architect.

The wall between the dining room and family room will have an indent and lighting above in the dining room. I attached a photo since I'm probably not explaining it well.

I did think about switching the kitchen/family room to where the living room/dining room are, but I could never get the room sizes that I wanted to flow as well as the existing plan. (We're running into some issues with the build pad to the right of the house so we can't really push anything out more to the right.)

    Bookmark   August 13, 2012 at 11:43PM
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pps7 - Interesting thought on the pantry. That would definitely take care of any storage issues. We're a bit over budget, but I'll look into how much more it would cost. It's a fairly small area, so maybe it won't be too much.

The dining room will have a wall (ceiling to floor) separating it from the family room. It's drawn to show an sort of indent in the sheet rock that is supposed to mimic the entry from the dining room into the kitchen. I attached a photo above that shows an example of what the wall will look like in the dining room and then to the right of that will be the walkway of the same shape into the kitchen. Hopefully that makes sense.

Very good idea to sketch out the furniture placement. I did that in the previous version of the floor plans and we decided to add 6 feet to the family room. So I think it'll be okay, but I'll need to draw everything in to make sure.

Thanks so much for all your helpful advice!

    Bookmark   August 14, 2012 at 12:00AM
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Ahhh, I get it now. You will love the flow of the long hall across the house from the garage, past the foyer and stairs and to the kitchen. We have the same thing and it's really great.

We did a recessed niche across from our U haped stairway. Like yours, the stairs faces a wall, and I thought it would be interesting to put family photos there.

    Bookmark   August 14, 2012 at 12:20AM
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pps7 - your house looks beautiful. I love the colors! We are going to do something very similar. What type of floor do you have? It looks gorgeous!

    Bookmark   August 14, 2012 at 9:04AM
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Hi dekeoboe - Thanks for the response. The deck isn't included on the plans b/c we aren't going to be building it right away. We're overbudget at this point. But it will someday be built to the right of the family room. Currently there is a door on the edge of the family room near the nook that will open to the deck (although I think I'm going to be changing this). The grill will be just outside that door against the right wall of family room between the windows.

I did recently notice the placement of the current door to the deck is going to cause issues with our flooring. We're having carpet in the family room and I definitely don't want the kids coming in from the outside onto carpet!

So I'm thinking of moving the deck door around the corner and putting it on the top wall of the nook, then pushing the nook benches and table down to the bottom side of the nook and then moving the pantry door to the left side of the pantry. Hopefully that makes sense.

    Bookmark   August 14, 2012 at 10:14AM
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I like your house a lot.

I agree that you will regret such a small kitchen in such a fabulous home.

My home has that problem. Although the kitchen is beautiful...the lack of cabinet space is often frustrating.

Fix it now while you can. Lose the banquette and use the dining area for everyday dining. Then you could somehow utilize that whole side for kitchen space. Just one suggestion, i'm sure there are others--that are better than mine.

Great house.

    Bookmark   August 14, 2012 at 10:46AM
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Hi, Just got your message about the kitchen. No, I do not think it is too small. I think it fits the house. We have similar tastes as far as a kitchen goes. Very simple, galley or runway cooking, symmetrical. We also like nooks.

The only thing I could see doing is reorienting the nook or dining room to get a bank of recessed cabinets like this. Your architect may be able to see if it will fit in somewhere. It would add more storage and give a contemporary feel.

    Bookmark   August 14, 2012 at 1:25PM
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Or if you rework it perhaps two perpendicular shallow islands.

    Bookmark   August 14, 2012 at 1:36PM
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Thanks GAonmymind - I do really like that. I'll have to do some thinking to see if we can make something like that work with some minor changes. Thank you!

Red lover - Thanks for the advice. Losing the nook would be an easy solution, but we didn't have a space in our last kitchen for a table and it was one of our "must haves" in the new house.

    Bookmark   August 14, 2012 at 2:02PM
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Thanks everyone for the suggestions. I think the kitchen needs a bit more thought. If I extend the nook/pantry area a few feet each way, I'd have more storage in the pantry and could add some cabinets along the nook wall - maybe even include a beverage area. I tried to mock-up the changes to the kitchen below. It's not quite to scale, but pretty close. (Each square is 6 inches.)

I threw in some cabinets just to see how much space I'd have, but I'm in no way set on what cabs go where. I just want to first make sure the space can be functional.

Any thoughts?

    Bookmark   August 14, 2012 at 4:44PM
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Jessrae--you are welcome. I am a big fan of banquettes as well. Would love to have one in my next house. Hope you can keep yours and this wonderful pantry.

My kitchen like yours has a nice, big island. But, my perimeter counter space is sorely lacking. I'm afraid you will find the same frustration.

    Bookmark   August 14, 2012 at 4:47PM
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Hi Red_lover - I will definitely take another look at the perimeter counter space. In our current home, I use the island 95% of the time and the perimeter counters pretty much only when I'm at the sink washing and cutting. But the sink in our new home will be in the island, so I think I just need to make sure we have enough room for stuff on the counter.

The only things we have on our current counters are my husbands coffee pot, my keurig, our toaster, paper towels and a small TV. At the new house I was hoping to keep my keurig and the toaster in the pantry which is where I plan to store most of our food and figure out a different place for the TV, maybe hidden in a cabinet. So it'll probably just be the hubbies coffee pot and paper towels.

I'm thinking we'll have at least 3 feet of counter space on one side of the range and potentially 6.5 feet of counter space on the other side. I'll do some more thinking and measuring because you are definitely right, we don't want to have an issue with counter space.

    Bookmark   August 14, 2012 at 5:19PM
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I don't think your kitchen situation is that dire. There is plenty of storage with the double row of cabinets in the island and the cabinets in the dining room.

It's just not a kitchen where more than one person can cook, but maybe that's not something you do in your family. The sink and range are back to back. And there is limited counter space. Have you seen mythreesonsnc's kitchen. It's very similarbut she has a separate butler's pantry and prep area. She also has a banquette. I've linked it below.

You will get a lot of sotrage out of the dining room built in. Here's ours:

Thanks for the compliment on the floors. They are wide plank pine. I highly recommend in an open floorplan like yours, to use a single flooring type. I know you mentioned carpeting in the family room. Where are you going to transition to different flooring? Uniform flooring just ties everything together. You can always get a big area rug for the family room. And that way you can keep the door where it is.

A few more pics, then I will shut up :)

Here is a link that might be useful: mythreesonsnc

    Bookmark   August 14, 2012 at 6:04PM
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pps7 - Thanks for sharing that link and all your great photos! What a beautiful home you have!

We were planning on doing wood flooring through out the main level, with the exception of the family room. We spend a lot of time playing on the floor with toys and wrestling around with the kids, which isn't very comfortable to do on hardwood, even with a rug. The floor transition would be a straight line from where the nook begins to the dining room wall.

    Bookmark   August 14, 2012 at 7:11PM
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I like that new layout too! I personally am a big pantry kinda gal. You could put counters in there and keep appliances that would normally be on the counter in the kitchen. Since the nook is right there it would be easy to make that a breakfast station in there.

    Bookmark   August 14, 2012 at 8:40PM
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Thanks for your help gaonmymind! I'm going to talk with our builder to see how much more this would be. It would be nice to get a freezer in the pantry (I think I saw that on your plans) and I really like the idea of keeping the typical counter appliances hidden.

    Bookmark   August 15, 2012 at 9:09AM
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