Remodel floor plan help, with sketches

kirkhallSeptember 21, 2011

Hi all,

I had posted to this forum with a lot of long links. It was suggested, I figure out how to post in the post, my pictures. And, to use Black and White drawings. So, here goes!

A bit about my situation:

Our house was a 1982 built cape cod in the Pacific Northwest (think rain and shade). It was around 1300sq ft split between 2 floors (lower in the 800+ range, upper in the 400+ range). I am a SAHM, with 2 little kids, and a year and a half ago, I was going out of my mind in the little space we were trying to keep everyone occupied in. We couldn't move because no houses were selling, and there wasn't much worth buying at the time either. We opted to add on.

We added 300 sq feet out the south side of our house (a 15x20 addition perpendicular to the old house roof line), and built it up to 2 stories high. We finished the downstairs into a Great Room using our existing dining and kitchen areas. The upstairs remains shelled only--no windows, insulation, etc.

Our house also has no interior connection to the garage--in our rainy weather, we must still come into the house via the front or back doors.

My thoughts:

*To get an interior connection between the house and garage and a main level (although smaller) master--turn the north main level bedroom into a utility room with 1/2 bath?

*To gain up to 3 bedrooms upstairs--2 in the new addition, one by reconfiguring the current "office" space and bathroom which are horribly configured.

*Leaving us with a house about 2000sq ft, 4 bedrooms, 2.5 baths, great room, entry/living room, utility room, and an upstairs "bonus" room.

Here is my previous post:

Here are the layouts:

From Drop Box

expanded area of main floor where changes are to be made:

From Drop Box

expanded upstairs where reconfiguration needs to be made:

From Drop Box

And, one of my brainstorms for upstairs:

From Drop Box

Hope that helps everyone to help me! Thanks all!

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These sketches certainly help me understand your current floorplan and what you want to accomplish a lot better!

The first big problem I see is getting you direct access from garage to the interior of the house.

It is too bad that your garage is on the opposite end of the house from your kitchen and other public areas because that does make it difficult. Your idea of turning the small bedroom into a utility room, 1/2 bath, and hallway seems possible BUT I can't say I really like it. To get from kitchen to garage, you would have a long hallway with two turns in it....not fun when carrying groceries. Nothing can be done about the long distance from garage to kitchen but I think we should try to dispense with having to make any more turns than absolutely necessary. Plus, for a small house, that is a lot of space to waste on a hallway. Once you cut out a reasonably wide hallway (3 feet minimum), the space left over in the small bedroom area is going to be awfully tight for a powder-room plus even a very small laundry room.

Are you totally committed to the idea of putting the master bedroom downstairs? I don't know if all four bedrooms plus two baths would fit upstairs but I was just thinking that if you could turn the larger downstairs bedroom and current laundry room space into a bonus-room/mudroom/craftroom/playroom, you COULD have a door opening from that directly out into the garage. (Codes don't allow door opening directly from a sleeping area into a garage so you might have to replace the current closet with some cabinetry to make it clear that the room is not a bedroom.) Since you would be able to walk thru the new craftroom/playroom, you wouldn't need a separate hallway so the smaller bedroom would be plenty big for a nice size laundry (opening off of the craftroom) and a guest powder-room over next to the staircase.

At least while your kids are still little, it might be good to for them to have playspace on the main floor where you can more easily keep an eye on them while doing laundry/cooking meals/etc. Later the space could become the computer room, a home office, or the teen's hangout zone.

I'm not sure I totally understand all the parameters of your upstairs area tho so I'm not sure if four bedrooms, a shared bath, and a masterbath will all fit up there.

One thing that is confusing me are the "ceiling slant" lines that continue to be shown even where you've attached the new addition. In the are you've marked "gained area under old eaves" is the ceiling flat clear across and what is the ceiling height there? What about the ceiling over the current upstairs bathroom - has it been raised and made flat clear across or does it still slope down over the top of the toilet and sink? Same question with regard to the ceiling in the walk-in closet?

IF you still have ceiling that slopes downward, I'm not sure how the hallway you've sketched would work. If the ceilings are flat everywhere except over the bedroom on the right and over the front portion of the office space, it might be possible to fit all four bedrooms up there.

But, it would probably might mean moving the master bedroom and masterbath to new addition space so as to avoid having to waste any extra space on hallways to reach a second bedroom.

While it is clear that you're willing to move some upstairs plumbing, how much freedom do you have in moving it? Does the plumbing have to stay in the same general area as the original bathroom or, could you run plumbing lines and drainage pipes to the lower left corner of the new addition if you wanted to put a master bathroom there?

Also, since you mention two kids, I'm assuming the 4th bedroom is going to be a guest room or will be used as an office. What is the minimum size you would be willing to allow that room to be?

As you can see, I've got my thinking cap on and I'm sure that other forum members will chime in eventually.

It would help tho if, on your large sketch of the upstairs area, could you maybe lightly color in just the areas where the ceiling is LESS than 7'6" and indicate just how low ceiling goes? You can do it by using control C to copy your picture off of this thread, opening the paint program on your computer, and pasting the image there. Then just paint in the low ceiling areas and post the new image.

    Bookmark   September 22, 2011 at 12:24PM
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Hi Bevangel,
I'm glad this was easier for you to visualize...
Because the upstairs portion of the addition was only shelled, none of the existing upstairs or previous roof structure was removed. So, to answer your question about the sloping ceiling in the area of the addition--it is drawn as it is now, but when it is all opened up and we start gutting that area (bathroom, office, closet), the ceiling will be "full height" all the way across there to the E wall of the addition. So, anyway, I drew it that way, so you could see existing, but yes, the new roof/ceiling will run from the previous roof peak (which is at 1/2 the depth of the original house) across the entire addition. I will put up another picture with ceiling elevations in a bit.

About the bedroom situation.
I agree with you that this house was built almost entirely backwards. (if you saw our lot elevation, that would be even more clear). I think when they built it originally, they didn't plan so far in advance. Add in that the original elevations were a little different before the city cut a couple of roads...

I can appreciate that hallways take up a lot of unused space. (It is one of the reasons I sketched a diagonal upstairs hallway), but I think, in the case of this house, having 1 bedroom downstairs is important; even if it means 2 corners to the main living space from the garage. There are 2 reasons for this. One, our stairs to upstairs are not luxurious... They are a bit narrow, and they for sure are steeper with a less deep stair tread than optimal (I have large feet and so I go down them by turning my foot to descend...) And, two, our parents visit frequently enough to visit with the grandkids, that having a main floor guest bedroom is important to us. I am imagining at this point that we'd all sleep upstairs for now (so, a second master upstairs), but that the downstairs bedroom could be a master or well-appointed guest, or "nanny", etc.

I don't know, maybe a house with 2 master bedrooms isn't good?

Finally, about the plumbing. Yes, I am willing to move some plumbing, but I'd like to utilize the current stack (which I drew in). And, our floor joists run N-S. And, there is a big, solid beam that holds all the old floor joists at the old exterior wall location of the addition. Also, running plumbing to the SW corner would be very expensive, as there is no supply nor drainage in that area. And, the 2 crawlspaces (original and addition) are separate--so to run plumbing from one to the other would require cutting the old foundation, which I am told is expensive. There is, however, the laundry drain line (and a short stack) (that I drew in) from the existing laundry that maybe could be extended up to the second floor if that is helpful.

Finally, our street side is the north side of the house (top on all the pictures). And, all our utilities come in and go out that way (sewer included).

    Bookmark   September 23, 2011 at 11:34AM
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Here is a possibility. (Obviously the red-lines are new walls and black lines are the ones you drew. I partially erased walls that would need to come down but didn't totally erase them so that you could still see easily where the old walls are in relation to the new ones. Hopefully the leftover marks aren't too confusing.)

I put an en-suite guest room downstairs because a guest room can be pretty small and still be reasonably comfortable for guests. You need more room in a master bedroom to hold ALL the stuff of everyday life so scrimping there isn't a good idea. At least Grandparents won't have to climb those stairs! Note that the cubbies shown in the hallway to garage will have to be pretty shallow (say 12" deep) but that should still allow you a spot for all the jackets, gloves, hats, keys, backpacks, cell phones, purses etc. to land as the family comes/goes from the garage.



I have not attempted to indicate windows would be because I suspect you will want to line upper and lower windows up as much as possible. But I have sketched in doors and, while this is a very rough sketch, I have tried to make sure that I drew things like bathroom fixtures and doors close enough to scale that you can be confident that things will actually fit. Nothing is more annoying that thinking you have a great design all worked out for a remodel only to discover that it won't work at all because your need 3 more inches for the bathtub and there is absolutely no way to get those 3 inches. LOL!

OOPs - just noticed that I forgot to show the door opening into Bedroom2 but I guess it is obvious where it would need to be. BTW, because of the ceiling angling down there, you may have to get a bit creative with the door b/c a 28" wide 6'8" tall door might not open/close without hitting the ceiling....especially since you indicated that your "full height ceiling" is only 7'6". You might have to angle one-corner of the door off or use a shorter door or something.

Too bad there doesn't appear to be enough room at the top of the stairs to redo your stairs and add another inch or two to the depth of each tread.

    Bookmark   September 23, 2011 at 2:53PM
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Hmm. I hadn't thought of moving the extra room/craft/media room to use as a pass through. That is interesting.

There are a couple of things that I am concerned with with these layouts.

First, my 2 kids are girls. And, at 3 and 5 we already have bathroom fights--for sink and for privacy while using the toilet. I had hoped to get in a sequestered toilet area so they could use a sink and a toilet simultaneously.

Also, it seems like the first thing you'd see when you came upstairs is the toilet. (?) Not sure how I feel about that.

Downstairs, the bath seems really really far away from where we do must of our living. And, it seems likely that the girls, or visitors, could just as easily use the "guestroom bath". It makes me wonder if I need another 1/2 bath downstairs.

One idea I had for downstairs was to bring the garage door into the center of that north bedroom's east wall so that the "hall" space between the garage and house was actually also "room" space in the laundry room. (You'd walk through a combined laundry/cubbie room as the hallway). Is that too congested? I'll try to sketch that out tonight and post it (right now, I am being bugged for "how many seconds" until I can go color. :) )

    Bookmark   September 23, 2011 at 5:04PM
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These two thoughts give a couple of ideas about things I had sketched for the downstairs. One thing I really don't know: how much space is needed for a 1/2 bath? And, can you do just a toilet room, with a nice large sink outside of it that doubles for when you need to use a sink for laundry? (I don't do a lot of sink washing, fyi).

In both ideas, I would use a front load washer and dryer so that I could put a counter top on top of them work workspace (I am tall). Alternatively, I think a stacked unit could work in that space as well. Thoughts? From Drop Box

    Bookmark   September 23, 2011 at 7:45PM
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Anyone have any additional thoughts?

    Bookmark   October 12, 2011 at 12:29PM
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Minimum space necessary for a half-bath depends on several things:
1) the kind of toilet (round bowl? elongated bowl? wall hung?)
2) the size sink you get (google "tiny sink" to find space-saving designs
3) how you arrange the fixtures (side-by-side? facing each other? angled inward from the corners?)
4) code requirements in your jurisdiction regarding required clearances to the front and sides of the toilet and sink. USUALLY codes require 21" of free floor space in front of the toilet and 21" of free space in front of the sink for standing room. USUALLY the centerline of the toilet can be no closer than 15" from a wall or another fixture. (i.e., your toilet needs a 30" wide space). Some jurisdictions but not all require 4" of space between the edge of your sink bowl (not the top of the vanity) and the wall. A few jurisdictions require a bit more space SO CHECK before you settle on a design.

These drawings might be helpful.

And, unless there is something in your code requiring otherwise, I see no reason why you couldn't have just a toilet room with a sink that is shared by the outer laundry room.

BTW - in the sketches I did above, I can certainly understand you not liking the idea of the toilet being the first thing you see as you go upstairs. I think the bathroom door is offset from the top of the stairs enough and the toilet is tucked back into the corner enough that it wouldn't actually be a problem but.... If you're in a warm area or you can insulate the pipes enough so that you don't have to worry about them freezing, you COULD put the fixtures in the upstairs bathroom along the outside wall. That would allow you to shift the bathroom door so that it opens off of the bonus room instead of the hallway at the top of the stairs.

And, if you're not worried about plumbing pipes in exterior walls, you could also mirror image the bonus-room/bathroom section as well as the masterbedroom/masterbath section so that the bonus room is at the top of the stairs and the masterbedroom is on the right side of the addition instead of on the left side. This would incorporate the upper hallway into the bonus room but would require you to run plumbing pipes a bit further. A larger bonus room might be nice but without the hallway, more noise would flow up/down the stairs between the living room and the bonus room.

I'm sure you've come up with other alternatives as well. Looking forward to seeing your final design choices!

    Bookmark   October 13, 2011 at 4:55PM
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Thank you for the Bathroom guidance and sketches Bevangel. I will continue tinkering a bit. Cheap paper and all. :)

I will definitely keep people posted throughout the process.

Thanks again!

    Bookmark   October 14, 2011 at 8:38PM
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I am hoping to get additional feedback from people or new people, as it has been 3 months. I am also including a couple of work-ups from Summerfield--

One of the things I like with this first one of Summerfield's (the upstairs) is the top-of-the-stair space. But, it doesn't provide a "second master" space (However, the downstairs has a very nice master). The downstairs here is probably outside of our budget, as a support wall is totally removed in the new master, and that is probably more than what we are looking to spend at this time... So, hoping with these sketches (mine, bevangels and summerfields), I might get a little more feedback with fresh eyes this Holiday season.

One other relevant thing...I haven't decided to do it for sure, but if some good floor plan comes out I would love to... I've posted in remodeling forum (Renovator8 answered there) that our stairs are very, very steep. It is close to a 45degree stair--no where near code. As long as we don't touch the stairs, the city won't *make* us bring them up to code. But, it would be nice to have a little longer run/less rise to each individual stair, as I have to turn my feet to go down them. If someone comes up with a good design to fix my stairs, or if someone has a good program to design a winder, I think that would help our stair situation (we have a landing, so I think if we had a winder instead, the extra step it would bring would bring us to code, or close).

Thanks in advance! From GWfloorplans From GWfloorplans

    Bookmark   December 19, 2011 at 1:01PM
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Is you kitchen new...or just incoporated into the new great room space? How much do you want to spend on this remodel? I'm wondering if you can redo the kitchen/dining areas and make them larger...maybe take out the bottom bedroom (as Summerfield did) and make that the bathroom/laundry/mudroom access (that Bevangel suggested) and have a more direct route, from the garage to the kitchen. That would make it much easier, to bring in groceries and give the back bedroom a bit more privacy.

That would give you a bedroom and full bath downstairs...and I like your ideas for the master suite, upstairs. I think you have plenty of room for three bedrooms and two bathrooms up there. I really like Bevangel's plan (with the red walls) but I think I'd swap the hall bath and bonus space...making a little loft at the top of the stairs for bookshelves/computer (maybe some big pillows, for the girls to sit on and read/play) and then the bathroom could have a window. Hope this helps, a bit :)

    Bookmark   December 20, 2011 at 12:49PM
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Thank you Lavender. I like the whole house concept you and Summerfield are suggesting for downstairs. I think it will be too expensive though, at least at this point. I wonder though, if I should just wait to redo any of the downstairs for a while longer (but, it would probably be 10 years! before we'd be able to do the whole kitchen).

The kitchen is not new. It is exactly what we had, except we chopped off the one exterior wall (well, chopped 1/2 of it down. The pony wall/peninsula is still the lower 1/2 of that wall. And, we redid the countertops (using just Milano quartz laminate--I've been debating posting it in the design around: Golden Oak, since our cabinets are 30 yr old golden oak.)

I like flipping the bathroom. At first, I didn't think it would really work with the plumbing, but I am wondering how much, really, it is to add a second stack. Our joists run N-S, so sending plumbing (especially toilet plumbing) through floor joists would be an expensive choice if it would even be possible. I will ask my contractor about that.

Aside from all of that, Lavender, I just wanted to thank you for being so Can-Do, and positive on these boards. It is refreshing (and I wish I had more of that in written communication, sometimes!).

    Bookmark   December 20, 2011 at 4:01PM
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I'm afraid I don't see any options at all within the existing footprint for widening and lengthening your staircase to meet code. And legally, if you can't completely meet code, you're better off to leave it completely alone. Unfortunately, while getting the staircase "closer" to code would be a good thing safety-wise, what you currently have is grandfathered in but if you make any changes, you'll have to MEET the code, not just get closer.

Now, if you have the option of adding a bumpout to the front of your house, perhaps you could straighten the staircase so that you could use the current "landing" area to fit in another couple of risers. The bumpout would only need to be about 7' wide by 4' to 5' deep. But, we're probably starting to talk about some major $$$$ here... and, depending on your setback requirements, you might not even be able to expand forward.

If I couldn't get the staircase up to code, I'd probably want the guest room on the ground floor so that I didn't have to give up my bedroom when grandparents came to visit. I HATE swapping bedrooms b/c invariably, I think of something I need out of my bedroom or bathroom, ten minutes after my guests go to bed! LOL!

I'm so glad to see that Summerfield has jumped in to give you some suggestions! I don't think there is anyone on Gardenweb any better! If there is a design solution to meet ALL your needs, Summerfield will find it and if there isn't, she'll come closer to it than anybody else. I can't wait to see your final design.

    Bookmark   December 20, 2011 at 5:45PM
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Bevangel- I agree, there's no one better than Summerfield!

Kirkhall- Thank you, I have so much fun with floor plans and it's great to think maybe a few of my suggestions, actually help someone create a nicer home :)

As for your kitchen, I think it works really well, in your existing space. Having the sink overlooking the family room, must be great when you entertain! You can really be involved with your guests and not stuck in the kitchen, by yourself. Have a happy holiday!

    Bookmark   December 20, 2011 at 5:57PM
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Thank you both. :)
Lavender--I am with you on loving floor plans. I do not have so much time as to look at every house plan on every architect's website, but I do like to problem solve with people here on GW. It has been a fun past-time for me since joining. I've learned a lot, too (about kitchen design, in particular. Our kitchen is so small, so for people with actual kitchen space, I've enjoyed reading the suggestions.)

And, yes, although my kitchen footprint (or really anything in it) didn't change, it feels SOOO much bigger with the connection to a living space. And, I can supervise the girls playing while I make dinner so much easier with eye contact.

Bevangel--unfortunately, we can't go out the front of our house *at all*. When we did the research to add on to the back, we discovered that our house is actually already forward of the setbacks. The city put a street in front of our house after it was built (the street is a cul-de-sac, so it isn't a thoroughfare), and when they did so, apparently the setback is officially within our foundation. We are fine with that--grandfathered and all--but can't build to the north.

And, yes, I understand about how you can't touch a structure for it to be grandfathered in. I just can't believe the stairs were okay when they put them in! (Our house was built in 1982--not *that* long ago!) But, I was hoping someone would have a slick solution to that.

Also, great observation/thought about not wanting to give up your Master when guests come. I think we will continue to work with the mind-frame that our "Master suite"(!--kind of excited about that prospect) will be upstairs with the girls' rooms, and the guest/flex room will be downstairs on the main floor.

And, yes, I too was thankful Summerfield was able to suggest something. I've missed him/her on the board of late--must be really busy.

Merry Christmas to you both!

    Bookmark   December 20, 2011 at 7:24PM
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New thoughts after meeting with my contractor--
The first is a drawing of my current garage side of my lower level of my house. The E-W running walls are load bearing. However, after talking with him, he says it isn't too expensive to move the load bearing wall. So, I would like feed back on how you'd arrange the bathroom/laundry and new mudroom areas (we can take out, and probably would take out the N-S wall between the bathroom and future mudroom on layout 2.)
From GWfloorplans

I like this idea (to have the guest room be the north room, but large enough to be one) because it doesn't require another toilet. I think 3 toilets in this house (2 upstairs--hall bath and master) and then one down stairs is enough for us. And, I also like this because we can have the straight-shot hallway from NEW GARAGE entry door (we have no door to inside from our garage right now) to the rest of the house--no winding. What I can't figure out, is how to make a nice, usable, without wasting space, laundry mudroom with what is left. Do I finish the hallway (put up a wall with lockers/cubbies)? Any ideas from what you have seen/designed in the past? I'd really like a good folding area, and then a good spot for landing from the garage (garage is opposite side of house from Kitchen), as well as a place for all the backpacks, boots, coats, shoes, etc. I think I have plenty of space. But, don't have a vision.

Also, I'll soon post the new idea for upstairs (it is a combination of Bevangel's and Summerfield's ideas) on the small homes forum. I think that is where it should go. Contractor helped with how to do that so it isn't prohibitively expensive.

    Bookmark   January 4, 2012 at 7:45PM
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Okay, I have a new post up, with new upstairs sketches on the Small Home forum. I appreciate any and all your help and ideas! And, I know many people cross-forums.

Here is a link that might be useful: new small home Kirkhall link

    Bookmark   January 4, 2012 at 11:49PM
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Bumping. I have put a new idea for my upstairs on the thread in small homes linked above. I'd love to get some input on it by a few of you (who may not visit small homes forum that often).

Thoughts? And, knowing that floor joists run "N-S" in this picture, am I going to have a very costly plumbing bill? (current stack is the star in the middle of the hallway; proposed relocation is to the circled 'S' near it. A possible second stack could be put in on the far left wall where there is the other circled 'S'.
From GWfloorplans

    Bookmark   June 7, 2012 at 9:57AM
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