Please give me your thoughts on our house plans

myhappyspaceAugust 2, 2012

We are hoping to start building this fall. We are 30 and 31, and have two small girls, and are thinking of having one more kid. My husband will be taking over the family masonry business next summer, as soon as we close on the house (for loan reasons). I am a CPA and hope to one day run a small accounting business from home.

I'm torn on the placement of the french doors into the office. My first thought was having them right off of the foyer so if I had clients coming it could be directly into the office. My dad (our architect) brought up placing them where they are would lend to being able to see out the front window easier from the great room. Thoughts?

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Downstairs floor plan (walkout). The doors on the two rooms to the left will be moved up closer, and the closets will be the same shape. The den area will be shifted slightly to the left so that the open area (I think he just labeled it study) can be usable, and we'll set it up if we decide to place a bar there in a few years.

    Bookmark   August 2, 2012 at 4:35PM
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I have very few suggestions. I really, really like your plans, maybe because it's so similar to our home...except our study and stairs are swapped making the front door more in the middle of that front wall. Our kitchen is not as open, as I prefer a more closed off kitchen. And I prefer my desk in less conspicuous place. On both accounts, can I say I'm messy!!! Be sure to post your plan on the kitchen forum. It's quite a distance between the stove and sink. Are you having a pot filler?

Very nice home, can't wait to see your finishes.

    Bookmark   August 3, 2012 at 9:46AM
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My sister in law is a kitchen designer, so I think she'll be making some tweaks in there. There is a decent amount of distance between the two, so we will look into a pot filler.

I also am messy, so I hope having it all open will be a good incentive to keep it clean! haha We had talked about putting a wall on the other side of the desk to have it more hidden from the great room.

    Bookmark   August 3, 2012 at 10:12AM
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Sophie Wheeler

If you must have a view to the front from the family room, then focus on making the foyer larger so that the door will have sidelights through which to have a view. It would be very uncomfortable for most clients to have to travel through family space to reach the office of a professional. In fact, what I would suggest is to take that walk in closet that occupies the front of the house (with windows no less!) and bump it out a bit to turn that into the office area with an exterior access door from the porch. That would be much more comfortable for clients. A closet should never occupy such prime real estate! Then eliminate the dining area off of the back in favor of a screened porch and have the current office area be more open to the great room and serve as the dining space. You could create a powder room area with sink and toilet that would also serve the master bedroom area as a "jack and jill" setup with an additional vanity in with the tub and shower area.

BTW, the division of space for the basement bedrooms is very odd and unworkable. And in most areas of the country, you are not able to use below grade space to count towards your appraisal, so essentially, you are building a one bedroom home here. That pretty much means an all cash build. If you need a bank to be involved, you may need to plan a second floor and leave the basement unfinished for now. And while the angled garage is about as attractive as a front load garage can get, if you've got room for that, you've got room for a side load garage instead, which is a much better use of the space. If you gotta have angles to add interest to the facade, angle the master suite/office area instead to be able to get more light into the office and master bedroom.

    Bookmark   August 3, 2012 at 10:33AM
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The lack of privacy for the Great Room and Master Bedroom entrance would be a deal breaker for me. Generally speaking, there is very little seperating a guest from some of the more private spaces on the mainfloor.

I would start over if your CPA business will include client visits.

    Bookmark   August 3, 2012 at 12:34PM
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I'm sure I'll have more to comment on later, but for now--please reverse your door swings to the Master toilet room and hall bath upstairs. Both are set up to be rather dangerous. (or choose a pocket door).

(In case you don't know what I mean... If someone passes out while using the toilet, which happens more than you care to think about, and fall off the toilet they will block the door. With an in-swing door and a small room, there is no where for an EMT to push the body out of the way of the door and because the hinges are on the inside of an in-swing door, they can't just remove the hinges. It wastes precious time should it be a medical emergency. And, is best to just have an outswing or pocket style door.)

    Bookmark   August 3, 2012 at 12:52PM
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@ Kirkhall. My powder room has an in swinging door and is a tiny room. If someone heavy passed out against the door, we would be in trouble.

I have thought of that many times. Too bad I didn't think of it before building this house.

@myhappyspace. Really like your house. Love the large dining space but no actual formal dining room. I rarely use my dining room.

I would put the door to the office off of the foyer for sure.

    Bookmark   August 3, 2012 at 4:29PM
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Annie Deighnaugh

Since this is your home design and you can do what you want, I would go so far as to consider a separate entrance for the office. Everyone I talk to who work from home find that unless they make a physical separation between works and home, home encroaches too much making work difficult to impossible.

    Bookmark   August 3, 2012 at 6:45PM
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Annie Deighnaugh

Perhaps build a room over the garage with a separate entry for your office...

    Bookmark   August 3, 2012 at 6:47PM
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If possible, a separate entry is nice.

However, if you want to live within these confines...
I'd figure out how to get a door right off the foyer.
And, how to connect to the powder room (perhaps, flip door location and sink location. Have a door to the hallway as well as a pocket door into the office. This way, if a client needs to use the bathroom, it is easily accessed from the office.)

    Bookmark   August 3, 2012 at 7:53PM
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Your children are as far as can be from your bedroom. That would make me uneasy, even with monitors. Can you perhaps swap out the rooms in the lower level so they are under your bedroom?

Opening the door to office off the family room might make furniture placement in the office a little difficult. I'm not sure what you need to have in there, but desk placement would be less of an issue if the doors opened off the foyer.

Otherwise, it looks like a great plan!

    Bookmark   August 3, 2012 at 9:38PM
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The external decoration of the house is also very important

Here is a link that might be useful: google street maps

    Bookmark   August 4, 2012 at 6:10AM
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WDWBICK stop spamming!!!!

    Bookmark   August 4, 2012 at 7:26AM
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Annie Deighnaugh

Also a big bugbear for DH was that doors to mechanical spaces need to be wide enough to get furnaces and equipment in and out...I see you have at least 2 doors to go through to get to yours...

Dont know your ceiling heights, but we have a full walkout basement which architect designed for 9' finished ceiling heights which was fabulous so it has no basement feel at all. The other thing that he did that I love is design the duct work in such a way that he was able to turn the ceilings in the rooms with duct work into tray ceilings so rather than be obvious that it's duct work, it looks like fancy trays instead. Also, from an energy efficiency point of view, by keeping the ductwork in the conditioned space, it's a big energy saver.

    Bookmark   August 4, 2012 at 9:18AM
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Just re: your office door placement... I prefer to have a view out a window, and a long credenza and/or files behind my desk. With that in mind, I would much prefer the entry to my office to be from the foyer, not the family room. And as others commented, it feels more professional for your clients, and it makes it a little easier for you to separate your work locale from your home locale.

    Bookmark   August 4, 2012 at 11:56AM
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It looks like you're getting good tips, and lots to think about.
I think your great room will get plenty of light and views to the outdoors.
I, too, would move the French doors to the foyer.

I apologize for going off topic, but--
AnnieDeighNaugh, I'd love to see photos of those basement ceilings, and, in fact, any pics of your basement.
You may have posted them previously; if so, please link! Thank you!
Finishing our basement is our next project.

    Bookmark   August 4, 2012 at 1:33PM
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I really like your plan! I think the kitchen, dining, great room flow very well together and nice closets, pantry, etc. You can never have too much storage!

The question on the office doors...definitely off the entry. Not only more professional as you come in, but your clients won't be seeing people walking around in the great room, while they're talking to you. And maybe a powder room for clients, right off the entry?

As for the rest of the plan...have you considered moving the laundry to the basement and maybe having a stackable washer/dryer in the master closet? With the kids downstairs, it might be nice to have the laundry there as well.

Hollysprings makes a good point about the lack of a second main floor bedroom. Not only for the reasons she stated, but for a sick child, sports injury (such as crutches for a few weeks) and visiting relatives that find it easier to stay on the main floor. I would also think about adding a guest bath there, too.

Maybe move that whole wing back, so the master bedroom is more even with the dining room and then adding the guest suite on front? It may mean swapping the master closet and bath and creating a little hall where you have the master suite door, behind the stairs. Maybe one door to the master suite and one to the guest suite?

Obviously, I'm having no problem spending your money...but I hope some of these suggestions help :)

    Bookmark   August 4, 2012 at 3:29PM
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Just commenting on your original question, I like your dad's idea and think the doors as drawn would enhance both spaces visually and functionally, not only but especially the additional flexibility. An opportunity to build synergy.

You need a door off the entry hall.

Do both.

Also, how about having some or all of that closet space off to the left accessed from your office? It's home for a business and needs good storage, but it doesn't have to be lined with office furniture to get some (that'll hopefully always be enough). Plus, you do want it to look nice--effortlessly--for both clients and daily living.

I work at home too. Where we used to live I LOVED having all the stuff that was not used constantly close by but behind a door. My desk itself held all the files and references I needed right there as I worked. No credenza. File cabinets for my required paper copies in the closet. BTW, think how easy it is to grab supplies off open shelves, and, of course, it's nice to have plenty of room to purchase in bulk.

Then, some day if you found you needed another bedroom downstairs...

    Bookmark   August 5, 2012 at 8:56PM
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Myhappyspace - Your plan is almost dead-on to mine. We are finishing the build and plan to move in 3 weeks. We also built an "upside down" house, however, we do have an office/guest room similar to your office space.

Another poster brought up the issue of the house being a one bedroom if all the bedrooms are in the lower level. For our area (Illinois), the appraiser recommended adding a second bedroom on the main floor. Our bank did not hesitate at all in loaning money to build with or without the second bedroom. We added a doorway from the foyer for the guest room. This will also provide more privacy if you do open the CPA business in your home. We also added a door to the adjoining bathroom that has a shower, toilet and sink. It is small, but does give us the option to have guests with their own bathrooms on the main floor. In your plan, consider giving up the storage area in the hall and/or incorporating it into the adjoining closet.

Personally, I really like your plan. It took us over a year to come up with a floor plan and we love ours. We built the house because our family is growing (up to 4 grandbabies in as many years) and we need space for everyone to be together. I detested the family being in the family room and me being stuck in the kitchen - alone.

This weekend everyone was home and we visited the new house. The toddlers already have a "route" for running and we all plopped down on the floor for two hours laughing and talking about the future. The new carpeting in the guest room was broke in when the 9 month-old decided to spit up his prunes and carrots from dinner. Such is life and I wouldn't have it any other way.

Best of luck and keep us posted.

    Bookmark   August 5, 2012 at 10:21PM
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Wow, thanks for all of the responses.

I am not sure what the future will hold as far as having my own business in our home, but I will set it up in case. I'll definitely move the doors to the foyer wall. I think I will see if he can move around the powder bath, and maybe do a pocket door or something from the office straight to the bathroom.

As far as the appraisal, I don't think that's the case here at all. I know our current home has 2 bedrooms upstairs and 1 downstairs and was appraised as a 3 bedroom home. Walkout plans are pretty common, so I don't think it'll be an issue. Interesting, though!

Great call on the door swinging out for the master toilet. I wouldn't have thought of that, but an easy enough fix.

I think the ceilings may only be 8' in the basement. I'll have to double check on that.

Thanks for all of the input.

    Bookmark   August 6, 2012 at 9:01AM
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Annie Deighnaugh

melsouth, didn't want to fill this thread with an off topic, so I created another one with lots of pics for you.

Here is a link that might be useful: Lower level....

    Bookmark   August 6, 2012 at 9:21AM
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Myhappyspace - I love your house plan!! This is exactly what my husband and I have been looking for. What is your total square footage???? Do you have any pictures of what your outside looks like???

    Bookmark   November 30, 2012 at 9:09AM
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Overall, I like it. A few thoughts:

Your garage is angled. Is that a necessity? Angles cost more and deliver little value for that cost.

I like the master bedroom and bath. They're good-sized, but not over-done, as so many are.

Others have said this, but if you're going to work from home from this office, I'd rather see the doors open up into the foyer. That would mean you wouldn't have to let clients any farther into your house than necessary. Along that same line, you're going to have to provide a restroom for clients, so a half-bath is necessary for you. However, they'd have to walk through your living room and past your kitchen (and a personal desk, where any type of personal information might be left) to get to the half-bath by your garage entrance. While I usually like "back door" baths, I'm not sure it's the best choice for your circumstances. I don't see an obvious solution.

I would have no concerns about the children's bedrooms being on a different level, nor do I think you'll have any problem because the main floor only has one bedroom.

Downstairs I think you have some redundant spaces. A family room AND a den AND a playroom AND a study. Do you have plans for all of these?

Downstairs the single bedroom seems to have the better bathroom, while the two bedrooms are sharing the smaller /no tub bathroom. Could the playroom become another bedroom so that these two could share the better bathroom, leaving the farther bedroom to have the smaller bathroom to itself? Or, could the adjacent closet become part of a larger bathroom for the two twin bedrooms, leaving some of those large, redundant spaces to become storage? Or, do you really need two bathrooms downstairs? Bathrooms are the single most expensive rooms in a house -- if you have a nice big one, especially if it's a "divided bath" with the sink in an outer room, can three children share it?

    Bookmark   November 30, 2012 at 10:32AM
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