New Plans. Comments Welcome.

worthySeptember 1, 2012

To continue my earlier thread, here are the nearly completed plans for an infill home on a budget. The original design was 6,400 s.f. This one is 4,600 s.f. But I am considering provision for an additional 800 sf over the garages, necessitating a rejigging of the master bedroom/laundry.

First Floor

éNaser Taghavi

Second Floor

éNaser Taghavi

Some minor changes I have requested are: eliminating the dogleg between breakfast area and family room; exchange location of w.c. and sink in powder room.

Any other ideas appreciated.

The kitchen design comes later.

Sorry, there is no usable scale.

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Hi Worthy!

A few of my thoughts:
- A window in the second stairwell would be pretty.
- No linen closets in any of the bathrooms. (I've never understood this- where do people store their towels, deodorant, etc??)
- A pass thru from the master closet to the laundry would be a nice touch.
- Hope the formal front door will be clearly identified. What's the purpose of the second entrance? Can you eliminate it, altogether?
- I'm also wondering about the little outside hallway between the dining and kitchen. It doesn't seem like it serves a real function. Where I live, it would collect leaves and toads and slithering things. Maybe you could do a walk-through pantry there, instead?

    Bookmark   September 1, 2012 at 2:08PM
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Thanks for confirming my biggest concern and one I hadn't realized!

Hope the formal front door will be clearly identified. What's the purpose of the second entrance? Can you eliminate it, altogether?

I've been rethinking the service door too. The initial plan had a centre of door to centre of door separation of about 30'; this plan is 23'.

A window in the second stairwell would be pretty.

Right, there's no provision for natural light, other than a skylight, which I've only used in smaller homes. I'm getting claustrophobic thinking about it. Being stuck in an elevator just once will do that to you!

little outside hallway

I've built this detail before three times. Lots of glass gives a focus to visitors coming in the front door and gives an illusion of space by making the outside part of the inside.

    Bookmark   September 1, 2012 at 8:46PM
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Now that you've explained the 'little outside hallway' opposite the main entry...that makes a lot of sense. Could you do the same thing upstairs? Maybe make a little reading area or something in that space? Could two of the bedrooms share a bath (bedrooms 3 & 4) and then you could put bigger closets where bedroom 3 bath is now.

Also, I like the way Bedroom 5 has the window centered in the room. Could you do the same thing downstairs, in the library? Without that second 'front' door, there should be plenty of room for the library and still have a closet/bench area, off the garage.

Finally, the dining room seems a little dark. Maybe more windows/french doors on the back...or maybe some clerestory windows on the side? Hope that helps :)

    Bookmark   September 1, 2012 at 10:42PM
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Alex House

Will those stairs pass code? My understanding (I'm not a code expert) is that a.) a curved staircase must have a uniform radius throughout the run of the stairs, and b.) you seem to have 5 different sections of stair.

    Bookmark   September 1, 2012 at 11:03PM
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lavender lass

That may have to be the solution to opening up the hallway. There are a number of shared baths in similar-priced infill homes.

I haven't finished up fenestration details yet. After attending presentations last week on the "Perfect Wall" by Building Science Corp.'s Dr. John Straube, it feels like sacrilege to keep punching huge R2-3 holes in my R28+ walls.


Good catch.

From the Ontario Building Code Part 9 Housing and Small Buildings

" Winders
(1) Stairs within dwelling units are permitted to contain winders that converge to a centre point provided,
(a) the winders turn through an angle of not more than 90 [degrees],
(b) individual treads turn through an angle of not less than 30 [degrees] or not more than 45 [degrees], and
(c) adjacent winders turn through the same angle.
(2) Where more than one set of winders described in Sentence (1) is provided in a single stairway between adjacent floor levels, such winders shall be separated in plan by at least 1200 mm."

Landings or a redesign are required.

    Bookmark   September 2, 2012 at 1:26PM
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it feels like sacrilege to keep punching huge R2-3 holes in my R28+ walls Well you could get better windows. Of course they still won't be R28+ but there are many out there that are better than R2-3. Your skylight will probably be even worse. If you don't care if you can see out of the skylight, you might consider one by Wasco with aerogel. That is what we used. It lets in a lot of light and I really don't think I would look straight up to see the view much anyway.

    Bookmark   September 2, 2012 at 5:58PM
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Typically, wood or vinyl framed double-pane argon gas-filled E coated windows have a whole window U factor of .35, equivalent to R 2.86. You can buy more energy efficient windows, but at a long payback period.

I'll keep in mind the Wasco skylights.

    Bookmark   September 2, 2012 at 9:00PM
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Finally, an elevation and the original inspiration for comparison.

(Please note the entrance is inset and the garages angle closer to the viewer.)

I'm disappointed and ready to move on. What say you?

    Bookmark   October 7, 2012 at 12:37PM
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Choosing that as an inspiration for an infil lot that has to have a front load garage isn't making the planning easy at all.

I would really suggest NOT having an "inspiration". Let the lot and the surrounding homes suggest the constraints and style cues. If you throw away the inspiration, then on it's own merits, what you've got isn't bad. I do feel that the garage does need additional height. The lack of a second story for it emphasizes the fact that it's a garage more than it's a part of the home as a whole. It would look better with some height to integrate it better into the body of the home. However, because of it's size, it will need to still have to have a lower roofline than the home to avoid competing with the main home.

    Bookmark   October 7, 2012 at 2:15PM
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what is infill home?..not familiar with the term.
must be a nice budget!
is this house for you Worthy?

how did you like the building science perfect
wall class? it is pretty much the same wall
we have been doing in my area for energy
efficient homes. makes sense doesn't it?
putting the foam on exterior of walls...

if we could get oberon back here..he has
excellent window info.
nfrc has unbiased information on windows.
they rate windows & provide excellent
info on window stickers.
things like solar heat gain coefficients,
ufactors, air tightness, visible light
are things we need to know to chose efficient
windows. if you can find a window that meets
the .30 or less ufactor & shgc, those are the
windows that perform best.
the latest addition to this label is condensation
resistance info.
vinyl,metal clad wood,
pvc, fiberglass..these won't be the cheapest,
but will be worth the upgrade price.
low e coatings IMO are the best upgrade.
in my hot climate low e reflects heat out
in cold climate low e is on different glass
surfact to reflect heat into the house.
nfrc sticker has map of us that shows which
window is for each climate.
here is the link:
take some time on their site..good info.

what provisions for hvac have you planned?
not trying to blur lines between this &
hvac forum..but the sooner you plan for
hvac locations, ducts r/a & supplies..the
if at all possible put equipment inside
the conditioned space.
in planning stages it is also possible to
locate ducts within the living space also.
just to get you thinking about it!

what location?
gas or all electric for hvac?

when I look at the plans I see thermal bypasses.
on wall shared with garage there are three
triangle shaped areas behind half bath,
to left of entry from garage, and one
more nearer the front of the house
same wall.
if they aren't located centrally to be
turned into return air chase, they often
are unsealed into the attic.
making sure that these dead air spaces
are sealed into attic eliminates the
thermal bypass of attic air & temps into
the house.
builder says sheetrock guys will get it
sealed..but these areas are often overlooked.
I see these areas a lot in my attic inspections
of both new and existing houses.
energy star has a thermal bypass checklist that
helps to address these and other areas..for instance
dropped ceilins over tub/shower units and areas around
fireplace inserts.

nice plans..btw.
best of luck.

    Bookmark   October 7, 2012 at 3:03PM
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live wire oak

suggest NOT having an "inspiration". Let the lot and the surrounding homes suggest the constraints and style cues.

I appreciate your point.

Actually, an earlier elevation (below) looked fine. But I was concerned it would: 1) look too small for the lot--about 150 feet wide where the house would be situated; 2) too much copycat a new house underway on the adjacent court. (See pic below)

The mid 1960s neighbourhood--an upscale subdivision originally in the suburbs--is undergoing upgrading. Demolition is the word of the day. And the new homes are 4,500-9,000 s.f., usually with few constraints on cost. I'm on a pauper's budget by comparison and will have to sell it after it's built and move on. Something I've been doing for four decades now, but which my most recent spouse is balking at.

If I had a rectangular lot, I would copy the inspiration, minus the chimneys. In adding the front-load garages at an angle I've ended up with something else.

Actually, the designer's latest floorplan includes 800 sf over the garages, but he forgot to add it to the elevation. One of many odd slips. Such as a Jack 'n' Jill bath with a shower only and access via the second floor hallway.

Early elevation mimics "inspiration."

    Bookmark   October 7, 2012 at 7:47PM
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what is infill home

Simply a home or homes built where one or more are demolished in an existing neighbourhood.

There are many areas of Toronto that are virtually unrecognizable to someone who hasn't been there in 20-30 years. Infill encompasses everything from a single older home being replaced by a larger modern home to intensification where, say, five old homes are replaced by low-rise apartments or townhouses. Instead of a row of single storey workman's bungalows, you have may double the number of townhouses.

I really enjoyed the Building Science Class. John Straube is lively entertaining and informed. Sure, you can read the same thing in his articles and Lstiburek's books. But it's good to get away from the computer screen once in a while! It's like hearing music live. I've heard live music from Conway Twitty, to Leona Boyd, Marianne Faithfull, Little Eva and Harry James. Beats recordings.

Oops, back to building.

Virtually all HVAC is in conditioned spaces up here. That's what basements are for.

Many Canadian manufacturers are also voluntary NFRC members, as they sell into the US. A big difference from your area is the importance of using glazing with low heat transmittance values and high solar heat gain values. IOW, the extra cooling load is far offset by the reduced heating load by using such windows.

    Bookmark   October 7, 2012 at 8:32PM
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such is the difference in our locations.
here basement would be indoor swimming pool.

    Bookmark   October 8, 2012 at 4:51PM
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