Please review my floor plans - I just got here but glad I am!

laraGGAugust 22, 2013

Dear all,

After a long delay we are nearly ready to start building and dusting off the plans and taking a final pass with the architect.

I just recently discovered this site and have found it incredibly useful. I would love your feedback on our plans!

Thank you for help!


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1st floor

    Bookmark   August 22, 2013 at 5:11PM
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2nd Floor

    Bookmark   August 22, 2013 at 5:12PM
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3rd floor

    Bookmark   August 22, 2013 at 5:13PM
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Sorry - the orientation of the second floor was incorrect - take two! Thank you.

    Bookmark   August 22, 2013 at 5:16PM
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Is there water in the kitchen other than at the main sink? I'd want there to be some near the fridge/pantry area so that the kids wouldn't have to come through my cooking zone to get a drink, wash their hands, etc. A prep sink in the island would do.

And, who lives here? You have many, many stairs with many, many bedrooms. You have only 1 tiny hall bath for 3 bedrooms on the second floor and no separation of the toilet and sinks for that bath. That means, really, only 1 person can use the bathroom (unless you have 2 simultaneously brushing teeth). I'd be looking for a way to separate that toilet to free the rest of the bathroom to the others on the floor who need to use it.

    Bookmark   August 22, 2013 at 6:11PM
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Thanks Kirkhall - great questions.

We are a family of 5 (M & D and 3 children so far) and we plan to have live-in childcare (in basement) and for our parents to stay with is for long 'vacations' (3 months or so) on the first floor (ADA accessible for future needs).

Good idea about the toilet.

For the second water source in/near the kitchen would a water dispenser in the fridge work?

Thanks for the great suggestions!

    Bookmark   August 22, 2013 at 7:08PM
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On your garage entry level, the door o the garage does not line up with the entry mud room. If your welcoming your care person I'd want a straight shot.

I don't see any dimensions but it looks very livable.

This post was edited by houseofsticks on Thu, Aug 22, 13 at 20:28

    Bookmark   August 22, 2013 at 8:27PM
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The door from the garage to the house put a chill up my spine. Swing it away from the stair or move it farther away so no one gets hurt.

The lighting seems to be designed for house cleaning rather than for normal occupancy. The house seems a little dark so it might help to put some light on the walls; that's what recessed lighting was originally designed to do but somehow it got hijacked by electricians who seem to like to light floors with large diameter R lamps. You should never be able to lie in bed and look up at a recessed downlight. Ask your architect if he/she knows what a "wallwasher" is.

I'll calm down now and leave you alone. Good luck.

    Bookmark   August 22, 2013 at 8:32PM
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Your family room is tiny. I'd incorporate the get-away room and the family room into one LARGE gathering area, and let the study function as the get-away. It closes off completely, so it should serve the purpose perfectly well. If multiple people need privacy, you have the bedrooms AND the workout room AND the uppermost level office available . . . but what you don't have is one really good-sized room where everyone can congregate.

How much space do you have between the table and the kitchen island? I like the general layout of the kitchen, but it seems too narrow.

You have three closets on the main living level. I'd "take in" the one adjacent to the pantry and make the pantry larger. Coats only take so much space, and you'd still have two closets left for those purposes . . . but with a large family, more space for food storage is always a need. Plus, it's so convenient to store things like crock pots on pantry shelves.

If you have only three children on the bedroom level sharing the one bathroom, I see no problem. Three's a reasonable number to share this nice-sized bathroom. If you have more children, likely the older ones would move upstairs, leaving the younger ones near your bedroom, and then they'd have the uppermost bathroom to share.

On the bedroom level, your two bathrooms are trying to cram two sinks into a too-small vanity. This is one of my pet peeves. You won't have the elbow room for two people to use these sinks together, and the plumbing will mean you'll have NO storage drawers in the vanity. In this space you can have one comfortable sink . . . or two that'll fail to function well.

I would not add a prep sink to the kitchen. Instead, I'd tell people with dirty hands to wash in the steps-away bathroom, and I'd be sure to store the glasses near the refrigerator, which is already on the outskirts of the kitchen.

I would, however, consider switching the sink and the stove. It seems more functional to have the sink closer to the corner of the "L", which is where most of the kitchen's work will happen. Also, it'd mean the plumbing wouldn't have to run as far.

If you have full-time live-in help or long-term guests, they're not going to be happy with that tiny closet in the guest room. I'd give up some of the fairly ample square footage in that room to make a larger closet.

I would also remove the doors from those two closets in the mud room. This is a functional storage room, and open shelving is more easily accessible than behind-closed-doors storage. I'm assuming guests will enter on the main living floor and won't see this area.

I do hope this isn't your forever retirement home. The stairs would cease to be a realistic option at some point.

    Bookmark   August 22, 2013 at 9:21PM
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Many thanks all - wonderful insights - making a list for the architect. Amazing how you never see these things - for door/staircase clash, the lack of closet space in the guest room etc.

MrsPete: We had hoped to turn the first floor study into a bedroom for retirement (the bathroom and doors are ADA) - do you think is possible? (also the double vanity is gone :-) )

Renovator8: I hate the thought of a dark house - REALLY hate it as light is one of my musts. We had asked for minimalist lighting (not minimal) - do all the rooms need wall lights? How about ceiling lights?

Thanks all for your insights and expertise!

    Bookmark   August 23, 2013 at 9:10AM
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I'm a firm believer in a flex/getaway room, but you have plenty of those. I agree that what this house needs is one large living area for the family to gather.

If you are hoping for your children to grow up and for you to retire in this house, this plan is not the plan for a large family gathering! A couple of friends, kids, their spouses, a couple of grandkids, and that room is going to seem like a closet. (With three sons-in-law and 3 grandkids, I know of which I speak! :) )

Anyway, the back six feet of the room are dedicated to hall area, so you won't have any furniture there, and the opening to the other two walls have doors on them. This makes the family room about 13' X 15', which seems EXTREMELY small for a house this size. You will have to squeeze behind the chairs to walk into the "getting away" room and you will have to squeeze behind chairs to get out to the porch. Where else you would you put additional seating?

It's a nice plan, and I like the upstairs, especially, but it doesn't seem suited to your purposes. If I were building a house to grow old in, I would want something more spacious than the study/bathroom on the first floor and certainly more closet space. Perhaps you could put more money into more square footage there, and finish out some of the rest of the house at a later time.

Good luck! There's certainly a lot to be excited about in this plan. :)

    Bookmark   August 23, 2013 at 11:10AM
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Thanks bird_lover6 - your point about the family gathering area is well taken. Would you remove the walls entirely and just enter the house into the 'living space'?

Also - more square footage is not an option sadly. The footprint is locked per zoning requirements.

    Bookmark   August 23, 2013 at 11:48AM
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Hi laraGG,

What a nice house!

Maybe you're too far along for this, but if you are considering eventually retiring in this home, you might seriously think about installing an elevator, or at least planning for a future elevator. Even if the first floor BR and BA are accessible, you'll still have to climb the stairs from the garage (and carry groceries, etc.) unless you will continue to have live-in help at that point.

If you have an elevator, that would allow more options for long-term guests, who might be able to stay on the top floor, providing quiet and privacy. That would allow you to open up the main floor for a larger gathering space without giving up your get-away area. Plus, an elevator might be useful if for carrying heavy items up and down.

Just a thought. Good luck!

    Bookmark   August 23, 2013 at 12:25PM
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I think there's not enough living space for the number of bedrooms. I think that if you aren't up to using stairs, you would be better off moving than staying in this house-- you'd have trouble getting to 3/4 of the house, and so there's not much point in planning for that while also building a 4 story home.

I would be inclined to move either the study or the away room to the top floor, at the expense of one of the bedrooms up there, or put the master bedroom on the top floor, and move the office or away room to the 2nd floor.

    Bookmark   August 23, 2013 at 3:57PM
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Lara, about the walls:

It depends on what you value. If you want a big wide open space (something that didn't seem to be at the top of your list :) ), then open it up as much as possible.

On the other hand, if you value your privacy, and don't want guests at the front door to see everything in your house, you might want to include some kind of wall arrangement.

Assuming these aren't load bearing walls that must stay, you have the option of a long wall with one opening, two openings, a half wall with columns (maybe some pretty bookcases) or whatever else you and your architect come up with. It also depends on how open you want the room to be to the kitchen.

Whatever the case, since the room is going to "live" like a long, somewhat narrow room since one whole side will be used for hallway, you will probably have two seating areas in the room. You could put one seating area in the back that is open to the kitchen and put a tv there if you like, and have another sitting area at the front of the house. I have a friend with this arrangement, and it is large enough for a big family, and yet cozy enough for two.

Good luck!

    Bookmark   August 23, 2013 at 4:52PM
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Looks like most people are in agreement that the biggest problem is the lack of public space on the first floor. I personally like the idea of ditching the walls near the entry. This would give you a flexible space. You could scoot the furniture back a bit when you put in the Christmas tree, for example.

And an idea about getting more space in the cramped dining room: you might go with banquette seating. It requires less space because the bench is up against the wall.

I do not think I'd like to move from the second-floor master with a large bath and two walk in closets into the study with only a tiny closet and a smaller bath, which is also the first floor public bath.

I don't usually like the idea of an elevator in a private house, but if you're restricted to this square footage, it might be an expensive-but-best-available option.

    Bookmark   August 24, 2013 at 11:42PM
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One more comment - if the goal is to make that study area a possible master suite down the road should one of you become unable to manage the staircase, here's how you could do it.

You could grab all of the downstairs closets and that little hall area to add to the study/bedroom suite.

That area from stairway to exterior wall is approximately 11 feet wide. That gives you a six foot wide bathroom and a five foot wide walk in closet. If you could push the kitchen back by a foot or two, you would have the same kitchen, just a little smaller, but you gain a nice little guest/future master bedroom suite downstairs complete with bath and walk in closet.

Good luck!

This post was edited by bird_lover6 on Sun, Aug 25, 13 at 21:48

    Bookmark   August 25, 2013 at 9:45PM
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But, they'd still have to get to that floor, which is a full staircase away from the garage...

I don't see this as a house suitable to stair-challenged family members.

    Bookmark   August 25, 2013 at 9:50PM
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I wouldn't want to live in this house if I wasn't confident about using stairs. I'd be trapped.

Also it's a lot of house to maintain and heat for the amount of space you could actually use. Would you even know if the roof started leaking if you were unable to leave the main level?

I wouldn't want my parents living in that house if they couldn't handle the stairs either.

It's possible that it will work out for you to retire in this home, but I wouldn't sacrifice your family's comfort now for that possibility. You can always remodel later.

    Bookmark   August 26, 2013 at 6:45PM
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