New Plan!

TammyTEOctober 18, 2012

A lovely online friend of mine showed me this plan.

Dh and I both like it a LOT! Small changes would really make the main level ours. The 2nd story might need a bit more. I'm honestly not sure.

I emailed it to our builder to see if he thought we could do it within budget. I'm betting we won't get the lovely cape cod look we like so well, but that might give us some more room upstairs for bigger closets, bathroom space and an upstairs laundry.

The biggest problem we see is that we are unsure of how this will work with our property. I'll add a picture of the satellite view. You can see the driveway leading up to the building site. The house would sit to the right of the drive. It doesn't have to be right at the end as we are hoping to have a pole barn to the left tucked into the treeline. It would be at an angle facing N/E. The picture is accurately placed with N being directly at the top. The drive is quite a ways off the road. I'll try to get a pic of the whole thing. The drive is about 15 feet wide, to give you perspective.

The garage would be 28x28 (the plan shows 28x23) so it would come out the side of the house a bit. We aren't sure of what the traffic flow would look like for guests. We want them to use the front door! It's a big pet peeve of mine for people to go to the back/side door or come in through the garage when the garage door is up.

On the pic the L at the bottom is where we will clear out more trees for the back yard.

The two parrallel(ish) lines on the right point to about where the house would sit. We are hoping to save that tree with the larger shadow and maybe even some of that small cluster of trees below it. The house would be right in there.

Thoughts on how to direct traffic a bit?

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Here's a shot showing the full driveway from the road.

    Bookmark   October 18, 2012 at 12:13AM
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Tammy, if it were me (and my house), I'd:

--Orient the house due north-south somewhere close to the end of the (white) access road, with the entry on the north and all the major views from the house to the south, looking at the cleared area;
--Locate the entry on the north side, with a landscaped "visitor court" and walk-way if you feel strongly about visually indicating how visitors should approach and enter your house;
--Locate the garage door to the east or west of the house, so that the doors are not visible from the north as visitors approach the house (garages and garage doors are so large that they dominate the appearance of a house, so always avoid placing them on the front, entry side of the house wherever possible);
--Use the south-facing house for passive solar gain in the colder winter months;
--Develop the land south of the house as the usable outdoor spaces for adults, children and viewing

Good luck on your project!

    Bookmark   October 18, 2012 at 9:41AM
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Here is the link.

Does this house represent your space use program and and total living area?

Here is a link that might be useful: link

    Bookmark   October 18, 2012 at 10:14AM
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Sophie Wheeler

I totally agree with virgilcarter on all points. THAT is what an experienced architect can bring to a build rather than merely flying blind trying to find generic plans on the internet to suit a specific site's topography and climate.

    Bookmark   October 18, 2012 at 10:15AM
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The plan in Renovator8's link is a good one, and the appearance of the house is attractive. If you can make this work for you, it may be a good starting point.

Good work by Renovator8!

    Bookmark   October 18, 2012 at 10:25AM
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Thanks, but I only posted the link to the earlier URL. I'm not familiar with the house design.

    Bookmark   October 18, 2012 at 11:12AM
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Reno8-I don't understand your question. Do you mean "are we going to use the plan as it is"?

If so, the changes I see are:

-garage to 28x28 size
-switch main laundry with extra main bath and make bath a 1/2 not a full.
-make space for more of a mud area if possible
-maybe bump the master bath out a bit
-make the stairs switch back. My friend did that. Dh and I liked it.
-I would want to use the kitchen layout I've been working with and I think it will be fine. Puts the kitchen sink along the side wall.
-Maybe make the living room bigger?

-I haven't worked with it yet. We would use all the space indicated including the bonus room. I want to get feedback on the exterior before I do too much work on it.
-add laundry room
-more bath space
-bigger closets where possible
-closets in the hall taking advantage of space over living room.

Do you think it would be too dark not having any light through that upstairs area from the back of the house?I'm wondering if we would be better off using space above the living instead of that bonus area.

Virgil - You think facing exactly north and south and not at an angle? The two main reasons we were considering facing north/east was the view is prettier out the front and we thought it would give the front some more light so it wouldn't get covered in moss.

How would you make the guest court? Do you mean an area for them to park? I was considering a circle drive around that bigger tree we are trying to keep if it works out. Would something like that work?

    Bookmark   October 18, 2012 at 2:07PM
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Tammy, it's not rocket science, so if a house is oriented somewhat off the direct north-south axis there can still be effective passive solar strategies. On the other hand, orienting a house on the east-west axis will negate most passive solar planning. The exact orientation is up to you.

Generally speaking, I tend to think of the front facade of a house as a rather "private" space from visitors and passsersby, whereas I tend to consider the rear of the house as "open" or community/family space, where privacy is not a strong criterion. When combined with north-south orientation, and useful passive energy strategies, this tends to make the front facade rather private and closed to view, while the rear facade may be quite open to views and freely flowing between indoor and outdoor spaces. It's just one way to think of a house in its surrounding environment.

As to a "guest court", the idea is develop and have visually apparent how/where guests park, approach and enter the house. The use of "hard" and "soft" landscape materials will make this possible and successful. For example, the use of plant materials, paving/walks, fencing/screens, trellis/pergola, lighting, etc., will all help to define and strengthen the visitor entry sequence.

A circular drive is a fine idea--just do more than pave the road, or else guests may unknowingly follow the road to your garage and want to walk into your laundry or mud room! Even with a circular drive, you need to create a clear and obvivous point of arrival, place to park, pleasant and appealing path to the proper entry door, etc.

Good luck with your project!

    Bookmark   October 18, 2012 at 3:30PM
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Thanks! To get ideas in making this guest court should I search for that term? Are there any other key words that might help in a search?

    Bookmark   October 18, 2012 at 4:19PM
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I've been trying to find out what your program is and can't seem to even get a ball park s.f. house size. There is a process to the design of anything and the program comes first so you can test each design effort.

I have a design in mind but I don't want to finish it and post it only to find out that it doesn't meet your program.

Your desire to go to a plan as quickly as possible and tune your program as you do it is holding you back and limiting the participation of others.

The problem I see with most homeowners on the forum is that they focus on all levels of the design at once instead of getting the big issues under control and then working on the little issues.

An architect learns how to do this early in their career in order to be able to finish a project within the budgeted design time and cost and be able to make a living. People complain about the high cost of an architect but then they take 6 months and a hundred posts to design a house.

You probably gave us a program but you have started so many new threads I can't find it. I'm even beginning to think I designed this house once before. Am I getting senile? (Rhetorical question, no need to answer.)

    Bookmark   October 18, 2012 at 5:56PM
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Reno - My friend that used this house plan linked has posted over here. Maybe you are remembering her?

I'm really not trying to be difficult. I truly don't understand what you mean by "program". Do you mean how the house will function on a day to day basis and what our general sq footage desire is?

Most of the plans we have worked with have been around 2500-3000 sq feet plus a partial basement and garage.

My ideal home would have:

kitchen - lots of room to cook with helpers. My favorite layout has been about 17'x16'. I cook a lot and mostly from scratch out of necessity because of food sensitivities in the family.

dining - open to the kitchen. Nothing formal. Big enough (at least 16' but ideally 18') for our large table. Would like for the dining to be a room with no traffic flow through it except maybe an exterior door to a patio. It's okay to have a walk way between kitchen and dining. I don't know if that makes sense.

living room - good size would be at least 16'x16' but ideally more like 18'x20' or more. Also depends on traffic flow

master bed/bath - main floor. Large shower and would also like a tub. Toilet closet and large wic. Bedroom would be at least 14'x16'.

nursery - would like a small room off of the master that could be a sitting room later

laundry - main level laundry near or in master bath. Another laundry upstairs.

powder room - somewhere on main level where you don't have to walk on carpet to get to it. No walking through mudroom or laundry room to get to it.

mudroom - as big as possible but I know it will never be big enough. LOL We live in the midwest and have 5 children so far. Need a place to keep tennis shoes, snow boots, coats, hats, gloves, scarves, snowsuits, jackets for 7+ people. (I could put the snowsuits/boots in the garage as they are only really used when the children play in the snow not everyday.)

school/play room - We do school work throughout the house but I like to have a space for my desk, file cabinets, toddler and prek toys, kid's books and tables. This area does not stay organized much so I would love it to not be seen when you first walk in. It would also be nice if it wasn't far from the kitchen because I spend most of my time in the kitchen or in the school room.

kids' bedrooms - upstairs. We have 4 girls and 1 boy so the girls' space needs to be bigger. Boy room shouldn't be too small though because he needs a place for legos and such that the girls don't seem to care much for and to keep away from toddlers.

kids' bathrooms - I would like at least 1 full bathroom for our son with at least a separation of sink from shower/toilet. It would be even better to have the toilet/shower separate from each other as well.

For the girls I want it to be possible for several things to be able to happen at one time. eg., shower, toilet, tooth brushing, hair fixing.

kid laundry - A laundry room upstairs near their bathroom they can access easily with room for sorting dirty clothes and folding/hanging clean clothes.

basement - would love a walk out off the East end. (For references the house faces North and the drive is on the West end.) We probably can't get a full basement in the budget so we were thinking a 30'x30' and then the rest crawl space.

stairs - at least 3.5' wide if not 4'. Same for hallways.

Whole house - Light! Lots of light. Our current home is a dungeon.

I hope this is what you were wanting me to do. If not, please tell me. I will gladly give any info I can. I appreciate all the help.

    Bookmark   October 18, 2012 at 6:28PM
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Have you added up the sizes of all the rooms you want to find the total square footage? Sounds like once you add in the hallways and stairs you are going to be over your 3000 sq ft max.

    Bookmark   October 18, 2012 at 9:44PM
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Who will watch TV and where? Wasn't there a music practice room and a private space for you (sewing room)?

There's no point in trying to design a house without a written program. If it all won't fit you will have to revise the program and try again. I suspect 3,000 s.f. will not be enough for this program. An unfinished space above a garage might be important for later.

    Bookmark   October 18, 2012 at 10:50PM
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Yes I was hoping for a music room but it might not get to happen. Forgot about that, thank you.

3000 isn't really the max, just what the plans usually ended up around. Of course I was having trouble making it all work so maybe that's why.

Nope, no sewing for me. :) I would like a place (basement? girl's bedroom?) for crafts for the girls. Maybe that's what you are thinking of. I do own a sewing machine but it doesn't get used much. Partially because it's not easily accessible, partially because I'm clueless.

TV gets watched sparingly. We have a spot in the basement with a tv in our house now. In the living room we have a computer used for school instructional videos that can be a quick show for a younger child if needed. I would say we would like to have it in the living room or basement or both maybe.

I would like my home to be centered around people talking and playing games (board, card...) mainly. We will do a movie night occasionally but that's not the norm.

Grilling dinner and eating on the back patio would be lovely while kids run in the back yard.

    Bookmark   October 18, 2012 at 11:04PM
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Oh I just thought of something. With the kitchen sink window facing out the west side...will I constantly be looking into the sunset making dinner and cleaning up?

I *think* the trees are tall enough that it shouldn't matter for too long if it is a problem. Crosslighting should help right?

My in-law's house faces that direction and it is awful but I think their kitchen isn't really open enough to get cross lighting like we would from the dining area. There are some days in their house that I am blinded and get headaches from talking to them if they are standing in front of that darn window.

    Bookmark   October 18, 2012 at 11:24PM
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