House design feedback

acward13September 20, 2013

We are near the end of designing a new house and would love to receive some feedback on it.
The dotted lines outside of the house are the setbacks we need to remain within.
It is intended to be farmhouse style exterior with a family friendly (two adults and two young boys), open interior for the first floor (living space) and bedrooms upstairs. Also an in-law apartment above the garage, for in-laws that visit frequently.
The open area above the third garage stall is designed as a deck for the in-law apartment but this is still under consideration (should we close it in and use it for another room in the apartment).
The right side of the drawing is approximately south (kitchen windows are on the north side).

Second floor is in first comment/reply.

Any constructive feedback will be appreciated!

Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Here is the second floor plan.

    Bookmark   September 20, 2013 at 9:08PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I think the in laws apartment above the garage (with the deck?) is very nice (lucky inlaws! ;))... and that kind of explains the 2 staircases. Do you have an elevation you could post? Is that your dining room adjacent to the kitchen? I really like how the plan isn't too wide. The only thing I don't like particularly is the lack of a real entry/foyer area, but alot of people don't mind this direct approach. Will you have a front porch? I really like the multiple exists though. Neat plan. Hopefully you will get more constructive comments from more experienced posters, but we are designing a farmhouse as well and I'm gathering ideas. ;)

    Bookmark   September 21, 2013 at 6:26PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Is that a pantry straight back from the kitchen? If you flip the shelves to the right side instead of the left, you could harness space from under the staircase and have shelves on both sides of the room.

What's the downstairs corner room? Could the closet in this room be flip-flopped with the half-bath? Benefits: More privacy for the half-bath, and the half-bath could gain a window.

An in-law apartment above the garage may not be practical, if mobility becomes an issue.

The master bathroom is going to be very odd: You'll walk in, and all you'll see will be two sinks on opposing walls. This could be better, even in the same small space.

I don't mind the lack of a foyer at all.

Why two staircases in a house this size? I'd opt for one, but place it in a more central location.

I'd suggest that you go with one double + one single garage door. If you drive small cars, this won't matter today, but if you ever get a big SUV or van (or if a future buyer drives such a vehicle), it might not fit into that small garage door. A double-garage door will buy you versatility for the future.

    Bookmark   September 21, 2013 at 8:48PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Thank you all for the feedback, it is very helpful to get extra perspectives.
We had been intending more of a foyer area but it is one of the things that fell off the design as a compromise for other things. We will be using the mud room most of the time.
Switching the pantry shelves to use some of the space under the stairs is a good idea, we will definitely look into that.
The practicality of the in-law above the garage is something we thought about but the in-laws it is intended for really seem to want it there... so there it is.
We did look at design variations with both one stair and two stairs and just liked it better with both stairs in it.
We will check on the size of the garage doors, that is definitely a good thought. We tend to drive smaller vehicles now but that is not always going to be the case, so good to be thinking ahead.

Thank you both for the input!

    Bookmark   September 28, 2013 at 10:12PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Have the half bathroom door open outward with hinge on the left side. That way the door will always be closed or almost closed and there won't be any views into the bathroom.

Consider posting on the kitchen forum for more specific kitchen help.

    Bookmark   September 29, 2013 at 11:08AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

It's a pleasure to see a small, simple house designed in a creative and imaginative way! Congratulations for avoiding all of the clichés so prevalent in today's housing designs. This should be a very livable and serviceable house for many years.

Some questions and comments:

--What is the corner room above the kitchen-dining area?
--Do you really need a 3-car garage, which is nearly 50% of the first floor coverage?

Making a second level deck above an enclosed, weather-tight space on the first level is highly dependent on proper design, detailing and construction methods if leaks to the first floor are to be avoided. Pay very close attention to how this area is designed and constructed. Otherwise, make it enclosed space on the second level and avoid the potential for leaks over time.

The living room seems small for a family of four, particularly with children who may fill it with scattered toys. As drawn, it will seat just four people. What do you do when the in-laws are visiting? Do they remain in their second floor bedroom? Or are the children not allowed in the living room? The space seems too small for four people, much less a larger number.

There is no thoughtful "entry sequence" for guests and visitors arriving at the "front" of the house; just open the front door and Bang! One or two steps and visitors are right in the middle of the living room! Where do guest coats go?

I know you've suggested that the front entry is "no big deal", but you may want to give this some further thought.

The open space in the ceiling of the living room is really not located, nor proportioned to do anything positive for the first floor. The two chairs in the living room are located in the open space, while the couch is located under the ceiling, making sitting in the living room rather odd, since the ceiling above the sitting area varies depending on where one sit.

All of these thoughts suggest that the living room and upper area on the second floor deserve some further design thought.

Post the elevations or exterior perspectives when you have them. The design should be interesting and instructive. And certainly a pleasant contrast with so much of what we see here.

Good luck on your project!

    Bookmark   September 30, 2013 at 8:55AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Some really great points/suggestions.

Privacy in a half-bath like this one is tough but that is a simple way to give it a bit more. Thanks.

That room near the dining area is currently going to be the domain of our young kids and their toys. Later this will be where board games, puzzles, books, and musical instruments hang out (instruments that currently occupy odd corners in other rooms). Far in the future it could be a first floor bedroom.

We have three vehicles that we want to have in the garage. The third garage stall is going to be shared by a motorcycle and lawn tractor, which is why it is a bit smaller.

The point about construction of the area above the third stall is well taken. We will definitely keep an eye on it.

The living room sizing is based on our current room. It is certainly not overly large but it fits what we have for furniture and some space for the kids to set up train tracks and such. I would go for a bit bigger but we had to pick somewhere to give and this was one of them. Including the opening, which was originally bigger but got smaller to accommodate more room for the second kid's bedroom... The foyer, or lack of, is a part of this same thing. We moved towards less of a foyer, using the mudroom as our primary entrance, in the interest of keeping the house smaller.

The elevations are under way. We will try to get them up once we have them all together.


    Bookmark   October 5, 2013 at 9:13PM
Sign Up to comment
More Discussions
Are these doors acceptable to you?
These are walnut interior doors. I understand that...
Window Trim
I found the attached picture, and like the window trim...
Floor Plan Critique
Building a narrow lot home and wanted to solicit input...
Interior Doors - any experience with this company?
Does anyone have any experience with
Ventless fireplace
I know there is a fireplace section on the forum, but...
People viewed this after searching for:
© 2015 Houzz Inc. Houzz® The new way to design your home™