Floor plan feedback (part 2)

MNTwinsAugust 26, 2012

My wife and I are down to 2 floor plans at the moment, and each have their pluses and minuses. We'd be interested in getting feedback and preferences. The overall house footprint is 40' wide by 26' deep.

I'll start with the upstairs...we have two young kids, will probably have a third sometime down the road. For each plan, there will be a 30x16 unfinished bonus room over the garage that can be used for a play area and fourth bedroom. In both plans, the closet over the stairs gets a little dicey, I need to get some input from our builder. I don't have any windows drawn in at the moment.

Do you prefer one over the other? I won't mention our opinions yet :)

Upstairs 1:

Upstairs 2:

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#2. It puts your plumbing all in one area and it puts the laundry away from the foyer and away from the bedrooms (isolates it better).

    Bookmark   August 26, 2012 at 4:03PM
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Thanks kirkhall. I meant to swap the second bath with bed #2 to keep the plumbing closer. I don't think laundry next to the master is a problem since we won't be washing clothes when we're sleeping...I just don't want it next to the kids rooms.

    Bookmark   August 26, 2012 at 5:24PM
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Forgot to mention the laundry over the foyer. We've never had upstairs laundry so we're unsure of how loud it would be on the main floor. Although if it is noisy, I might prefer it over the foyer rather than the kitchen...???

    Bookmark   August 26, 2012 at 5:31PM
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I prefer the first plan...

* It doesn't share a wall with a kid's room (less noise leaving your room or noise leaving their room....)
* The master closet and bathroom are combined. I really prefer that when I get ready (which is completely personal...so do you prefer it?) It also means one less door in your master bedroom eating up wall space.

I lived in a small 2-story with upstairs laundry. We never heard the laundry running when we were downstairs. I am sure every house is different..... but that was even with a 2-story living room next to the stairs.

    Bookmark   August 26, 2012 at 6:00PM
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I doubt you can make the stairway and closet work, as you have it on the "upstairs 1".
Stairs & closet on "Upstairs 2" will need some adjustment to make it work.

I prefer Upstairs 1. The Master bedroom, closet and bathroom works a lot better.
You can always make room for the closet of bedroom #3, in the bonus room.

    Bookmark   August 26, 2012 at 6:48PM
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The stairs change between the two plans, so that means differences for the flex room, foyer, and dining area.

Main Floor 1:

And Main Floor 2:

    Bookmark   August 26, 2012 at 8:47PM
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Also for giggles, I tried a U shaped staircase for Plan 1, this is what I drew up:

    Bookmark   August 26, 2012 at 8:52PM
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Shoot, in my second to last post, I posted the pictures backwards. Please revers Main Floor 1 and Main Floor 2.

My last post is correct.

    Bookmark   August 26, 2012 at 8:55PM
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I'm up in Duluth, and the winders on your stairs are not allowed by code, you should check on that. I had to have full landings at turns. Also, at one point, I had a laundry above my foyer in one of my concept drawings and we moved it because my designer said the dryer would have to vent in an obvious place on the roof. Something else to consider.

    Bookmark   August 26, 2012 at 9:17PM
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Thanks for taking the time to reply!

naf_naf: I'm not to sure about that closet above the stairs...the closet floor will have to be raised, it might work out :/ Using the bonus area for the closet is also not perfect, the bonus area will be roughly 1.5 ft lower than the rest of the second floor. That combined with the sloping wall will also likely make for an odd closet. We'll have to try both of them and see what works best. We can also build a closet in the room, but I'd rather not since it will take away usable space.

frozenelves8: Hope things are okay up in Duluth since the flooding!! The winders are allowed, although I don't have them drawn in perfectly. I didn't think of the dryer vent though, that's a good point, the shortest vent route is straight out the front of the house. I'll have to think about that one.

    Bookmark   August 26, 2012 at 10:40PM
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OK, I went ahead and fixed up the stairs on the plan that my wife likes better.
- The Bed #3 closet floor will have to be built up 5" or 6", will that be weird to step up into the closet?
- I had to get rid of one sidelight for the front door...I'm hoping to put a window over the door instead.
- I'm still unsure about venting the dryer through the front of the house on the second story.
- The mud area used to be a big walk-in closet, but I opted for a small closet + mudroom instead. Will I regret only having one small closet on the main floor???
- I am planning on changing the kitchen island shape and orientation, just haven't gotten around to it yet.

First floor:

Second floor:


    Bookmark   August 27, 2012 at 10:04PM
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I hate to break it to you but in order for the stairs to work, the closet will need to be built up about 30" - Usually 6'8" headroom is required by code, and most likely, you will need some laundry space, too.
If it is just 6 inches it is not weird but the door will not align with the other ones.
The stairs is the main thing you need to fix.

    Bookmark   August 27, 2012 at 10:49PM
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Hi naf_naf. I actually meant to write a couple inches over 6, but I'm thinking that the floor will be built up in a way so that there are two separate levels...it won't all be the same height. The "step in" area will be as low as possible...I can draw a picture, but I have to go catch up on Breaking Bad :P It still might not work, but I'm crossing my fingers. I can give away some laundry space too, build a counter over the stairs or something. Thanks again for taking the time to reply!

    Bookmark   August 27, 2012 at 11:07PM
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I was going to see if we could do the closet over the stairs as shown below. I know it's not ideal, but maybe there can be a step (7"?) up into the closet, and then clothes can hang over the larger box.

    Bookmark   August 30, 2012 at 10:09PM
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I agree that option 1 is better. Sharing a wall with a kid's bedroom is no good, IMO. Think about whether you would prefer to enter the master closet from the bathroom or bedroom. If two people are getting ready at the same time, it might be a pain to walk around someone at the sink to go get a tie, etc. What's with the closet for BR 3? Looks like 3' or 3'6" deep--too big for a normal closet, not big enough for a walk-in. You could make it a conventional depth closet and give the laundry room a built in shelf on the other side, perhaps? Or, as another mentioned above, steal some space from the bonus room above garage? For the dryer vent, can't you get something that looks like an attic vent? What does your front look like? If you put a gable end there, you could have the dryer vent go out a louvered attic vent, perhaps? I'm not expert, just some ideas!

    Bookmark   August 31, 2012 at 11:27AM
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To answer your storage question, yes. If I were you, I'd regret only having 1 small closet on all the first floor. Especially if you live in MN.

How long is your powder room? (it is unlabeled). I'm thinking there is a better storage solution if we rework your powder.

Also, remind me if you have a basement.

    Bookmark   August 31, 2012 at 11:47AM
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Also, do you never shop at Costco/Sams?
I'm looking at your second floor and not seeing enough storage up there either. But, maybe you buy only 1 small product package at a time.

    Bookmark   August 31, 2012 at 11:49AM
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Could you tell me what program you used to draw your plan? I'm currently using floorplanner.com so I'm curious. Thanks!

    Bookmark   August 31, 2012 at 1:18PM
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A big issue for me is where the master bedroom faces. I never want my bedroom with a view of the street. I noticed that difference right away. That would probably be enough for me to eliminate one of your plans.

Another thing that bugs me is the master closet off of the bedroom. I prefer it to be off of the bathroom; it's more convienient for getting dressed after I shower and it keeps my messy closet hidden. (Yes, I could organize it better, but I'd rather just hide it.)

I came across several floorplans during our hunt for the right one with a WIC over the foyer. I thought that it was a pretty clever way to use the space. Most of them just had those few feet as one story, and then the space opened into a big 2 story foyer.

Not sure if that's helpful to you at all, but if I were choosing between your two floorplans I'd be bothered by both of those things.

    Bookmark   August 31, 2012 at 1:38PM
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Thanks everyone for taking the time to write down your thoughts, we definitely appreciate it. Overall, we like plan 1 better...credits go to nicke360 for the layout! nicke360 had the layout in a 36'x27' footprint, but it came back at almost the same price as our previous 40'x26' layout due to rising construction costs (our previous bid was done much earlier in the year). I then decided to fit his design into the larger footprint, and that's where plan 1 came from. I'll probably spend some time this weekend playing around with some of the "problem" areas to see if I can smooth things out. We could go back to the 36'x27' layout if it works better, I just like having more space for bigger bedrooms, etc.

@CamG: I like not sharing a wall with a kid's bedroom, totally with you there. My wife prefers the master closet off the bathroom as well. I'm still trying to figure out the BR3 closet, you might be right about making it a conventional depth closet, I will try drawing that up. I talked with the builder about putting it in the bonus space but would end up with a weird shaped closet due to the sloped wall and difference in floor height. I could always pull the closet out into the bedroom, but it would take away from the size of the room. The front elevation was more of a classic colonial, but a few things will have to change now. Btw, how's your house stuff coming along?? I really like your plan, I used to look at it frequently for examples.

@kirkhall: The mud area previously was a large walk in closet and there was just a small back hallway. I made some changes to see what a mud area looked like but ended up with a small closet. I believe the powder room is 6'x5' not including walls. Yes we are in MN, and yes we shop at Costco (bigger items are paper towels, tp, diapers, etc). I think we could defintely use more storage space, but I'm always unsure of trading off living space for it. We will have an unfinished basement and an unfinished bonus room over the garage, so those areas will be available to us.

@dreambuilder: I've been drawing these in google sketchup. It took me a little bit to get used to, but I really like how easy it is to draw/measure very specific dimensions. There are a lot more features in the free edition that I don't even use. It's definitely my favorite out of all the free tools I've tried...my second favorite is ms paint :)

@Mom23Es: We talked about the master bedroom facing the street but have concluded that it won't bother us. Ideally it would face the backyard, but the house will be on a very quiet street. My wife likes the master closet off the bathroom too. Your comments are very helpful, getting someone else's opinion really makes us think!

    Bookmark   August 31, 2012 at 3:40PM
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Our house is moving along. We've enlisted a local architect who teaches, and she and two of her students are doing full blueprints for us. Then we'll get final prices from the builder, and the hope is to start in Spring. When is your deadline? It looks like your getting very close with a very nice plan!

    Bookmark   August 31, 2012 at 4:11PM
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This is an older copy of the plan with the back entry as I described a couple posts ago, for reference. There would be some type of desk or bench at the end of the back hall.

    Bookmark   August 31, 2012 at 6:11PM
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So, here's the thing about that bathroom... It is deep (the long way, ha!). With a 3x6.5 room, you can do a pedestal sink and toilet all in a line with a pocket door entry (see what I'm saying?)

Then, I'd move your pantry to where your desk is, and use up that space in the mudroom as additional pantry space. And, put your desk where the pantry was (if you need a desk right there).

or, something like that. I think, in your whole plan, this area is your weak point with a lot of space used a hall space and not near enough for paper towels, wheat thins, costco sized boxes of cereal, etc... (my pantry is your same size, but I also have more cabinet pantry space). (I wouldn't want to be carting my costco items down to the basement for storage, or up to above the garage for storage, if I usually use them on the main floor.)

    Bookmark   August 31, 2012 at 9:27PM
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I thought about doing a 3x7 bathroom or something of that variety, but neither of us are huge fans of those bathroom shapes.

Here's a change we could do possibly for the back entry. It keeps the same mudroom size and bathroom size, but gets a bigger closet at the expense of a small piece of the kitchen.

    Bookmark   September 4, 2012 at 8:24PM
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That is a better layout, IMO. You can turn the cubbies like they were in the architect drawing. And, you don't need 6 feet of depth. 5 is plenty. If you move your door down a smidge, you can put some hooks behind it as well.

    Bookmark   September 4, 2012 at 8:42PM
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I think this works pretty well too, except I don't like how you can see into the bathroom from the kitchen. I can try moving the door to the "right" side of the bathroom, but then we lose that wall space for the mudroom. Hmm...

    Bookmark   September 4, 2012 at 10:46PM
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Or, put a window in that bathroom and use it as an asset--gaining light into the space. You won't likely "see" the toilet. Only that there is a room there... It is a pretty long and straight hallway, sightlines won't have a person seeing the bathroom fixtures from the main living area/kitchen.

also, you could put in a diagonal door--chopping off the corner of the bathroom.

You could also switch the location of the toilet and sink, so the toilet is nearer the kitchen... then if someone does happen to get close enough to see in, they will really only see the sink first, and not the toilet, which would be partially hidden by the wall.

    Bookmark   September 5, 2012 at 12:53PM
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Whew, we had some more delays with the lot but we're all squared away on that now. We're working with the builder to get what will hopefully be the final plans drawn up this week. Will post some updates later to get all of your thoughts :)

    Bookmark   October 7, 2012 at 11:16PM
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The drawback of small houses with open plans is that it is difficult to avoid placing horizontal waste pipe runs over living spaces.

The design of the second floor should begin with this as the most important issue.

For this condition the second floor fixtures should as close as possible to vertical chases.

A well constructed chase enclosing a stack supported on the basement floor is much quieter than horizontal runs above a drywall ceiling supported on the floor joists. It also helps to use quick flushing toilets and no-hub cast-iron waste pipes.

    Bookmark   October 8, 2012 at 7:47AM
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I like your plan! As a fellow resident of Twins Territory, one suggestion: our current home has a door between the door to the garage and the rest of the house, and it makes all the difference in the world January through March. We call it our "airlock door". When it's open, the whole main level is chilled when someone comes in through the garage (especially if they're carrying a bunch of groceries or something), and when it's closed the rest of the house stays warm. I'd recommend looking for a way to work an airlock door into your plan.

Good luck with the build!

    Bookmark   October 8, 2012 at 8:49AM
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"I think this works pretty well too, except I don't like how you can see into the bathroom from the kitchen. I can try moving the door to the "right" side of the bathroom, but then we lose that wall space for the mudroom. Hmm..."

With the current configuration, odds are you will be staring at a toilet paper holder affixed to the wall from the kitchen. You could try sliding the sink around the corner on the wall opposite the bathroom door and deck it out really pretty to make it a focal point. Slide the toilet where you currently have the sink so it's not in view from the kitchen. Problem fixed, beautiful view from the kitchen and you still have the mudroom wall.

    Bookmark   October 8, 2012 at 10:00AM
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