Floorplan for Feedback Take II

davis.mbdAugust 18, 2014

I posted a plan I made a few weeks back (http://ths.gardenweb.com/forums/load/build/msg0715202426431.html?14) and got a lot of great feedback. On the basis of some of that feedback, I've decided to go in a different direction to achieve the things I want (primarily: lots of flexibility for a family that entertains, a first floor office that could be used as a guest room if necessary, and no wasted square footage). Here's a new ground floor I've drawn up - I want to get feedback before I spend time on the upstairs (2 beds, 3 baths and laundry machines). It's fairly self-explanatory, but you should probably have a few bits of additional info - the side entrance is where we'd come in from a carport. The small room off that entrance is a mudroom. In the kitchen flanked by pantries is a windowseat. The porch off the back is 10' deep and would be screened. The total square footage of this floor is 903.50 square feet. This would be home for a (possible) future three or four kids along with my husband and I.


This post was edited by davis.mbd on Mon, Aug 18, 14 at 15:59

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I'd like a cottage elevation - perhaps something along these lines.

    Bookmark   August 18, 2014 at 4:09PM
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Love the big porch.

    Bookmark   August 18, 2014 at 4:22PM
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We (or at least, I) need dimensions. I like floorplanner, but it doesn't keep things to scale, and I am concerned about many things being too cramped in this layout. However, I can't say for sure without dimensions. Can you just draw it out on graph paper with a pen (not pencil) and take a picture and post?

    Bookmark   August 18, 2014 at 8:32PM
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Can you use this? I used some measurement tools on Floorplanner and then just drew them in using MS Paint, the numbers may be a little off but should be approximately correct.

    Bookmark   August 19, 2014 at 10:00AM
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What are the 4 rectangles on the south wall of the kitchen?

Is there a basement, and if so, what will be down there?

This post was edited by missingtheobvious on Tue, Aug 19, 14 at 10:49

    Bookmark   August 19, 2014 at 10:48AM
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No basement - we're in karst country and have to build on slab (any basement here would quickly turn into an indoor pool, wanted or not!)

In the kitchen, that's a window seat flanked by a small and medium-sized pantry

    Bookmark   August 19, 2014 at 11:42AM
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Okay. That helps.
First, your front porch isn't nearly deep enough to have 2 chairs on it. You won't be able to get yourself into the chairs.

Second, what is the room with the round table in it? Is it an office? If so, it is probably large enough, though not for the furnishings you've put in there. If it is something else, I'll have to comment after I know what.

The 3/4 bath is too small to be oriented that way. You need greater length and width to get all 3 appliances in there with the code-required floor areas around them.

Is that a piano in the dining room/area? Again, if you have only the dining furniture, I think it is large enough, but as soon as you add extra furnishings such as a buffet or piano, it isn't.

And, is the mudroom only a mudroom? Then, it is okay sized. If it is supposed to have laundry machines, it is too small.

    Bookmark   August 19, 2014 at 7:01PM
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Love the cottage picture.

I agree that everything looks a little cramped. The living room, for example, is a nice comfortable size -- but it won't be able to support that much furniture.

Yes, the porch is too narrow for actual seating, but I personally would be fine with this. I want a front porch for looks, and I want to decorate it with colored lights and seasonal items. It's the back porch that I want to be big and live-able. My own back porch is 12x30, and it's a great size -- this one is in the same ballpark.

The dining room looks "just right".

I have essentially that same kitchen layout, and I HATE IT. While it looks good on paper, the reality is that it's a little too side for comfort. For a galley kitchen, you want your cabinets to be 1-2 steps apart. Mine are more like 4 steps apart, and it's always "just too far". I'd do away with the little peninsula and make the cabinets 4-4.5' apart. That would also widen your hallway and would allow space for bookcases (or a drop-leaf desk) in the hallway. Or you could consider having a large island facing the staircase instead of a solid wall -- while this would remove upper cabinets, it would look great.

I would lose that doorway into the kitchen -- just go with an opening.

I like that you've included large windows in the kitchen -- I wish I had that.

In the little office, room, I'd lose one doorway. A room that size is already going to have to utilize careful furniture placement, and a second doorway isn't really useful.

    Bookmark   August 19, 2014 at 7:36PM
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You won't be able to get into the pantry on the right wall with that window seat next to it.

How do you envision the kitchen window seat will be used? Guests most likely would sit at the island while you cooked. You would eat at the island. Who would sit on the window seat? And why?

I'd also leave it as just a door way to the kitchen. With a door, you will constantly be banging into it trying to get into the second tiny pantry.

Both pantries seem to be too small to be functional.

    Bookmark   August 19, 2014 at 9:11PM
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I understand that sometimes you don't want visitors to be able to see into the kitchen. I'm assuming you would have the kitchen door open the vast majority of the time, for convenience and air circulation. But it's right on the way to the front door, so not much time would be wasted in closing it before answering the doorbell: by which I mean to say, the vast majority of the time, that door is in the way! How about a pocket door which wouldn't be in the way?

One possibility for losing the empty space between the kitchen counters is to use some of it to enlarge the office.

Re. the front porch chairs: if you're thinking rocking chairs, find some you like and measure the front-to-back distance: it may be a lot longer than you think. Remember that you don't want to put rockers too close to the wall, as they tend to move when the chair is rocked, and it's no fun when the rockers -- or the back of the chair -- or your head -- hits a wall. Another consideration re. porch size is whether the porch is far enough off the ground to need railings (which would leave even less room for the chairs).

Design the window seat with storage drawers under the seats.

Use the space under the stairs for additional storage and/or a coat closet.

Where will the laundry be? HVAC and water heater?

Will there be a garage, and will it be attached? (Prospective place for the W/D, HVAC, and water heater, not to mention a slop sink.)

Is there supposed to be a door from the office into the middle of the staircase, and if so, where does it go? Also, does the bottom of the stairs face the front door or the living room?

    Bookmark   August 19, 2014 at 9:21PM
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I don't understand the door under the stairs. If the stairs go up from the front door, there isn't enough height where that door is located. If the stairs go up from the back of the house, they look too close to the furniture shown.

    Bookmark   August 19, 2014 at 9:32PM
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Nice to wake up to all this feedback!

Re the front porch - I agree, it looks cramped. Perhaps I could extend it out to 7 feet deep and use the extra length to make that bathroom roomier.

The room with the round table is an office, and the door under the stairs is to indicate an intention of using the under-stair space as closet storage. I have two doors for that room because circulation is important to me - I don't like having "dead end" public spaces. It would also keep my husband close to the living room so he could interact easily with our kids if he wanted, but could also easily access the bathroom area/run out to the car/go to the door to greet visitors. The stairs go up from the living room toward the front of the house (there would be a dormer at the top of the landing as in the cottage photo).

Yes, that is a piano in the dining room. What would you recommend as a minimum size to have both that and a table in the space?

The mudroom is only a mudroom - laundry facilities would be upstairs in proximity to all the bedrooms. Most likely no garage, just a carport with access to that side door.

Interesting thoughts about the kitchen - would just having an island facing the stairs make everything TOO open? I do like the idea of just making the kitchen a bit more narrow and adding bookshelves in the hall - and YES to pocket doors! - but I don't want to eat up my window seat/pantry space, and I also want to keep some sort of bar seating. I'm imagining the kitchen window seat being used by kids - I want to have spaces where kids can relax/hang out that are "in the action" but not necessarily underfoot. I know if I had had something similar as a child, I would have spent hundreds of hours reading cozily near my mom. I can also see myself crashing there while waiting for water to boil, a skillet to heat up, etc. :)

This post was edited by davis.mbd on Wed, Aug 20, 14 at 9:40

    Bookmark   August 20, 2014 at 9:07AM
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I made a couple changes to see how it would look.

I narrowed the kitchen (there's now 4.5 ft between counters), losing the peninsula (now just fitting one stool under overhang at the end of the counter) and the small pantry. I used the extra space in the hall to add a full-length bookshelf and a small console table next to the front door for keys/purses etc. I changed the door into the kitchen to a pocket door. I also extended the front porch to 7" deep and extended the mudroom/bathroom likewise.

    Bookmark   August 20, 2014 at 1:53PM
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The specific dimension of the bathroom that won't work is the left to right dimension. You must, by code, have a minimum of 24" in front of the front of the toilet bowl. Some areas have a requirement for more room than that. Most toilets are about 30" deep, plus an inch or 2 behind between them and the wall.
If you have a 24" sink base, plus 24" needed for clearance, plus 30" minimum for toilet, you end up with needing 6.5 feet for your left to right dimension. The space should be large enough, if you reconfigure your fixture locations.

Do you have 2 fridges? With a narrower kitchen (which I do agree is better, as MrsPete points out), you want to make sure to limit transit of kiddos through your work zone (specifically between the stove and sink). Therefore, I like to put the fridge on the end where drinks will be needed. Just a thought. (Though you've put your pantries on the opposite end of the table. For me, I like to have the pantry near the fridge near the eating area so kids can grab their snacks and not be in my way).

    Bookmark   August 20, 2014 at 3:38PM
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It is recommended that pianos be placed on interior walls.

    Bookmark   August 20, 2014 at 5:37PM
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Ok what do y'all think! I've made a big change in the kitchen - growing the house by a little over three feet on the right-hand side to get more bar seating space and to create a circulation path "around" the prep area so kids will be less likely to run through. Do you think this change is worth all the extra square footage?

    Bookmark   August 21, 2014 at 1:30PM
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This change makes the kitchen 13.5 feet wide, measuring from the pocket door to the wall.

    Bookmark   August 21, 2014 at 1:34PM
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To be honest, I'm not sure that it is.

What is your "view" out that right hand side?

And, how will you vent your stovetop?

    Bookmark   August 21, 2014 at 1:37PM
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The view to the rear and right is fully wooded - the view to the left is of a neighbor and the view to the front is of the street/neighbor. The house faces almost due east.

Re. the stovetop, are you saying it should be on an exterior wall? If so, why wouldn't that have been an issue in the previous iterations of this plan?

This post was edited by davis.mbd on Thu, Aug 21, 14 at 13:46

    Bookmark   August 21, 2014 at 1:42PM
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BTW to answer your question from earlier one is a fridge and one is a freezer.

    Bookmark   August 21, 2014 at 1:45PM
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It will be an issue on all iterations so far for this plan (and probably esp once you put in the pocket door--more thought has to go in to how far from the door the stovetop is, etc). I don't get into the kitchen layout minutiae until I feel like the relationship and sizes of the rooms makes sense. Then, you work on specific room layouts... (At least, that is how I do it).

I have lost track of what is important for this build (and/or, it wasn't all provided).

This house is for whom? You mention that the office might open up to allow family interaction from the spouse. So, there must be some children. What ages? How many? I think getting back to some basics is important. List your priorities. Kitchen lounging a priority? apparently bar seating is.

Would you be open to swapping the location of the LR and the kitchen? And, if not, why? (not because I think you have to, but because it might give me more info as to your needs/wants).

    Bookmark   August 21, 2014 at 5:06PM
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Good questions kirkhall, and thank you for taking the time to ask them.

My husband and I do not currently have any children, but we plan to have/adopt three or four. When we adopt, it is very likely that we will adopt older children (in the six to sixteen range), so we will probably have teenagers hanging around the house within the next five to ten years. So yes, kitchen lounging/bar seating would be important.

My husband is a pastor and will need a space at home to prepare sermons/meet with people for counseling, etc. that can be shut off from the rest of the house to provide privacy when needed.

We also often have people over for church-related functions (which can range from six to fifteen people) so it's important that we have open, flexible spaces so everyone won't be sitting on top of one another and there are alternative circulation routes through the various public spaces. I'm thinking that a kitchen with an island would be good so that if we have a potluck or something there would be a good place to set out dishes, etc. Also (haha I've got lots of requirements!) I have the piano out in the dining room because I'm in a band and it would be nice to move the dining table out of the way and have a practice/small performance space.

I put the living room/dining rooms along the back of the house so they could easily access the porch - I wouldn't necessarily be opposed to the kitchen being there, though. Like I said, the wooded view is to the rear and to the right - however, we live in the South and will need to keep that full porch on the rear to protect us from the afternoon sun (as that side of the house faces West).

Despite all the functions we want to fit into our home, we do live on a modest income and do not want to overbuild. Believe it or not, we're already doing pretty much all of these activities (minus the kid-related ones) in a 2/2 apartment that does not have an open floorplan - we're just doing them uncomfortably, and people often sit on the floor :).

This post was edited by davis.mbd on Fri, Aug 22, 14 at 9:27

    Bookmark   August 22, 2014 at 8:55AM
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I understand wanting DH to be cold to the action, but for quiet contemplation, writing, and counseling, perhaps it should be a little more separate. If you swap the study with the bath and mudroom, he would have a view to the front instead of the neighbors, and be close to the kitchen action with a view to the DR. This would, of course, mean shifting the stairs and goodness knows what this does to the upstairs.

If you host potlucks or if you plan on teens, you'll need more storage, especially for food. Could you make the current window seat into a lower cabinet (I'd keep the window, I like watching the street from the kitchen), and bump out the side window into a window seat? Then you could also grow some herbs in winter.

    Bookmark   August 22, 2014 at 2:13PM
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