Plan review please

vbonuraSeptember 27, 2012

Let me know what you think and if you see any glaring issues. House is 4000 sqft. thanks!

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Here's the upstairs plan

    Bookmark   September 27, 2012 at 2:33PM
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Build IT! I don't think I've ever seen such a sensible, perfectly designed house plan especially considering its size. The only thing I don't see is the entry closet, unless that's on the other side of the butler's pantry (in the kitchen?) & I'd play around with the kid's bath upstairs. I see what you're trying to do...I suppose if you have either 2 girls or 2 boys - it would work great. Don't see that bathroom working for a boy & a girl though :) Definitely put a washer/dryer in the master closet - just hide it in a small niche or cabinet - like they do in condos & you're good to go. Bedrooms are great size, plenty of storage, game room for the kids, laundry upstairs with the bedrooms, mudroom you walk right into from the garage, not far from the kitchen for groceries...just beautiful! You'll only have to turn around to put the dishes away & keep in mind it might be hard to hear the TV if the other is cooking in the kitchen & making noise. I'd open the french doors out in the living room instead of in but that's very minor. Please tell me who the designer of this plan is. Thank you.

    Bookmark   September 27, 2012 at 4:34PM
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Thanks for the compliment. I'm working with an architect but I pretty much designed it myself with some paper and scale ruler. We decided that we didn't need an entry closet just because we live in Houston and very rarely do we need to hang coats. Worst case, there is a small closet in the mud room. We have a 2 year old and another on the way so I hear you with the jack and jill. Never thought about putting washer/dryer in the master closet but something to consider. Thanks again for the input!

    Bookmark   September 27, 2012 at 4:53PM
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Looks like you're bumping right up against your setback lines so you may not have the freedom to make many changes. That said, here are a few things that would concern me.

Masterbath toilet room needs to have the door changed to outswing. When you enter the room and try to close the door behind you, you have no place to stand except maybe to straddle the toilet.

The closet for Bedroom #3 is too narrow. The drawing suggests you can have rods on three sides of that closet but the closet is clearly less than 6 ft wide. Clothing hanging on a rod sticks out about 24" from the wall which means your aisle down the middle will be less than 2 feet wide.

For the sake of privacy, many people prefer NOT to have the master bedroom and another bedroom share a common wall. Having a closet or bathroom or laundry room or SOMETHING between the bedrooms helps to muffle potentially embarrassing noise. Given the closet issue in bedroom#3, you might want to consider replacing bedrooom #3's "walk-in closet" with a reach-in that extends along the entire wall between bedroom #3 and the master bedroom.

I'm not a fan of J&J bathrooms. Too many potential issues for embarrassment when someone forgets to lock both doors, or lock-outs when someone forgets to unlock the second door when leaving the room. It looks to me like you have enough space to give both bedrooms their own full baths if you make the vanities a little smaller. I'd either go that route or rearrange the bathroom and utility room to make a hall bath AND give the utility room a window.


Double-check that your jurisdiction will allow the door from mudroom to garage to open into the garage instead of into the house. Also, because garage floors are often set lower than the house floor, you may wind up needing one or more steps down into your garage. Discuss with your builder and make sure that you won't need so many steps that they extend outward too far and get in the way of pulling your vehicle all the way in.

I too love deep porches but am concerned that the family room and kitchen might be a little dark. Consider adding some skylights or lighttubes to your covered back porch so that some natural natural light can reach your lving room windows.

What is the aisleway distance between sink (in the island) and the range? With these "back to back" you'll want the aisle to be at least 4 ft wide. 5 ft wide might be better. If you ever have two cooks working in the kitchen, you want to be sure they're not bumping butts while working at stove and sink. Fortunately, it looks like you have plenty of space to push the island toward the living room. (BTW - What is your plan for using that large space between great room seating area and the kitchen island?)

The downstairs powderroom looks awfully skinny to squeeze by the sink to reach the toilet. Where a PR is tucked under the stairs, it always seems best to me if it is accessed at the side instead of via one end. I suppose if your staircase is a full 4 ft wide, you have enough room for this arrangement not to be too terribly uncomfortable. But it seems like it would be better to turn the PR 90 degrees and run it parallel to the hallway. Put the sink at one end, toilet at the other with the door in the center. Then, tuck your mudroom cubbies under the staircase. You could even add a second door (pocket door) to the PR so that you could enter it from the mud room if you wanted to.

    Bookmark   September 27, 2012 at 4:53PM
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Bevangel, thanks for the feedback. Some of the things you mentioned, we are already changing. We don't love the bedrooms not being separated either but our builder says that we can put sound barrier in that wall which should help.

The distance between the range and sink is 4 ft and I think you may be right in increasing that some. The furniture will be set back even further so that space will not be as open as it seems but we do entertain a lot so should not go to waste.

The powder room is about 4 ft wide and I really like your suggestion of turning it 90 degrees. Will definitely explore that.

thanks for the feedback!

    Bookmark   September 27, 2012 at 5:08PM
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Hi westupper!

I think it's a pretty good plan. If I were building this, I would want to have a bathtub or shower on the first floor, in case of future stair-climbing issues. (Think C-sections, broken bones, back strains, etc.)

I'd also put some windows in the kitchen....but I crave natural light, so that's my personal preference.

And the last thing for the first floor (I didn't look at the 2nd) is the big void between the kitchen and the family room. Do you already have plans for that area? If not, maybe our solution to this same problem will work for you:

Source: via Kelly on Pinterest

This is not my kitchen; I just found the pic on Houzz. Our house plans call for the same kitchen--> family room run that yours does, and this seems like a good way to help fill in that gap.

Good luck with the build!

    Bookmark   September 27, 2012 at 6:21PM
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Nice plan! these are the things I see right off--

-Alot of wasted space in the mudroom You really can't do anything substantial with the walls on either side the way its currently set up.

-Looks like you have 3 eating spaces-island,dining room & breakfast room. Do you really need all 3? If not, you could either utilize the space differently or switch out that extra square footage in the breakfast area for somewhere else in the house.

-Powder room appears to be 4' wide at best and you have to squeeze past the sink to get to the potty. Maybe you could rework the mudroom & under the stairs area to better accommodate both.

-Is 14'6" wide enough for your furniture + the walkways you have designated on the plan? Today's furniture tends to be significantly larger than the standard furniture in most house plan software. Odds are, you will need to delete one if not both of the walkways along the sides of the room to have the furniture configuration as drawn.

-Master bath potty room door needs to be outswing for safety purposes (if someone passes out/requires assistance in there, their body will block the door making it very difficult to get to them).

-Alot of wasted space in laundry room--I would make a U-formation with the counters to maximize storage/work area & make the door a pocket door.

-Looks like you may enough space to give bedrooms 3 & 4 their own baths and minimize any of the common issues encountered with J&J baths.

Hope this helps!

    Bookmark   September 27, 2012 at 7:32PM
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Just a thought about the stairs to the attic - in lieu of the pull down stairs in the hallway, why not just stack the stairs on top of the others and enter the attic beside the game room. Great to have real stairs for taking seasonal stuff in/out of the attic.

In the master area, would you rather have two walls with windows in the bedroom or in the bathroom? My preference would be to move the bedroom out to where the bathroom is (to have two walls with windows) and then use the bathroom or the closet as a buffer for bedroom 3. But, that might make you lose having access to the closet from the bathroom which is preferred for some. Just something to think about.

Do you want a closet in the game room?

I agree with above posters about eliminating the jack and jill bath in favor of 2 bathrooms.

As other suggested if you turn the bathroom 90 degrees, you would have a much wider more usable space for your mudroom. You could use the space under the stairs as this picture I found on

    Bookmark   September 27, 2012 at 8:50PM
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Cool cubbies, DreamHomeDreamer!

    Bookmark   September 27, 2012 at 10:28PM
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I really like your plans. Our house is a simmilar size but a slightly different layout. I was also hoping to get feedback on our plans. I hope you don't mind my posting ours to this thread as well. Thanks!

    Bookmark   September 27, 2012 at 11:41PM
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Second floor. Closet is flipped so there is no exercise room on 2nd floor, 4 bedrooms upstairs now.
Feedback is welcome!

    Bookmark   September 27, 2012 at 11:44PM
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Landrey, it is best if you start a new thread with your floor plan so that it does not get confusing as to which house people are commenting on.

    Bookmark   September 28, 2012 at 12:00AM
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Second floor. Closet is flipped so there is no exercise room on 2nd floor, 4 bedrooms upstairs now.
Feedback is welcome!

    Bookmark   September 28, 2012 at 12:41AM
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Thanks, I just took your suggestion. This is my first time posting anything...been reading for more than a year!

    Bookmark   September 28, 2012 at 12:59AM
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Thanks again for all the feedback. Some of the issues everyone has brought up we had thought about and a lot that we hadn't. The biggest being the size of the powder room. I'm working with the architect to address that and some of the other issues.

You look at these plans so long, it's nice to get some fresh eyes.

    Bookmark   September 28, 2012 at 12:15PM
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I did a couple of cut-and-paste sketches on Paint for you. Just possible suggestions...

I have a neo-round shower in my guest bath and like it a lot. Gives plenty of room for showering.

I totally agree about "fresh eyes" LOL! I do think you're VERY VERY CLOSE to a final plan but strongly recommend that you post your final here before signing off on it. If I had done that someone here might have caught that on his final revisions, the draftsman doing my plans accidentally went back to a earlier iteration where he had had my porch columns in the wrong positions. I had had him correct the spacing on the porch columns once (so that they weren't right in front of windows) and I didn't notice that the error had crept back into the final drawing until we were well into the middle of building. It would have cost me about $1200 that I didn't have at that point to get the porch posts moved to the location I they're still "off."

Someday, when I have extra money again, I'll have them moved but, of course, by that point it'll probably cost me twice as much to fix as it would have if done while building. And the sad thing is, it would have cost nothing to get them in the right position had I simply caught the error on the plans. I didn't see it because I'd looked at the plans so long I was starting to see what I EXPECTED instead of what was really there.

Oh, and don't forget to change the door on the master bath toilet room. Even IF a person could get in and close the door behind them, if they passed out while on the john, their body would block the in-swing door from opening making it much more difficult for EMTs to get to them. When seconds count, you don't want an EMT having to cut thru the all of your toilet room before they can get in to give first aide.

    Bookmark   September 28, 2012 at 1:42PM
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wow, thanks. very impressed with your Paint skills. You're ideas really help. I'll be sure to post final plans.

    Bookmark   September 28, 2012 at 3:41PM
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I would add windows in the kitchen on either side of the stove. I would even add a window in the pantry. Natural light does wonders for these spaces.

    Bookmark   September 28, 2012 at 3:58PM
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I have lots of bathrooms myself, but it seems "crazy" to have one in every bedroom upstairs. When did this become the new "normal"!

    Bookmark   September 28, 2012 at 4:14PM
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we actually had 2 - 2 foot windows in the original plan on either side of the stove but took them out because everyone is saying that you'll lose too much cabinet space. We may have reconsider.

    Bookmark   September 28, 2012 at 4:14PM
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Personally, I think a "hall bath" that is shared by the kids would be fine but I'd rather see each bedroom have its own bath than see a shared J&J. To me, J&Js are the worst option.

Another possibility here would be a single bath accessed from the hallway and an enlarged laundry room.

    Bookmark   September 28, 2012 at 7:31PM
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Agree bevangel, I don't like J&Js either. The best setup for hall bath has the tub/shower and toilet separate from a 2-sink vanity.

With kids/teens I also prefer having the bathroom be "public" spaces accessed from the hallway, rather than very private spaces only accessed through their room.

    Bookmark   September 28, 2012 at 8:12PM
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I am not at all skilled with paint, but I am in agreement that you should consider how to get a hall bath in place (with separated toilet/bath area from vanity area) and a larger utility. This would not be difficult with the space you have.

If possible, also consider how you might get at least a shower in the bathroom downstairs. If needed, your study could function as a bedroom (temporary), if you were injured and couldn't get up/down the stairs. But, it is difficult/annoying to not be able to bathe in that instance.

I also find you have some extra space in front of your french doors downstairs, but I think that will be okay. You might choose slightly larger furniture than drawn here, or have your barstools out from the island, or??? It might get used up. But, you have the room there to expand something if you want.

Finally, I'd think about either a pocket or outswing door on your pantry. I find inswing to use valuable floor space... But, in my house, I need the floor space for storage (you have a larger pantry, so you may find you don't need it). Also, the door will keep you from quickly/easily accessing the right side of the pantry (on this drawing) as it will be a visual block. With an outswing, you can just reach in to whatever you need.

Finally, I don't know if it has been mentioned yet, but I am the WC police (HA!). Your master WC needs to have an outswing door for safety (same reason Bevangel suggests inswing on the 1/2 bath ONLY if you put in the pocket door on the other side, genious by the way... love being able to access that 1/2 bath from the mudroom side as well.)

    Bookmark   September 28, 2012 at 10:37PM
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Have they improved the locks on pocket doors? I've never owned or used a pocket door that could be locked properly, which is why I don't like them for 1/2 baths.

    Bookmark   September 28, 2012 at 11:54PM
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