Feedback on our plans...

zone4newbyOctober 7, 2012

I can't figure out how to upload multiple image files here, so I put them on my blog and will put a link at the end of the post. Our house will face East or Southeast, and will be on a heavily wooded lot in Minnesota (yes, light is an issue). We've got three kids who are heading into their teen years.

We are going for a very simple rectangular shape both for initial building cost and because it'll be easier to heat and cool (Minnesota's temperatures range 100+ degrees from summer to winter). I think we need to enlarge the mudroom and maybe move the powder room to come off the foyer-- I don't want guests to have to go through the kitchen.

We'd love to add a screened porch, but can't figure out where to put it so that it's easily accessible to the house, but doesn't block too much light.

Thanks for any help!

Here is a link that might be useful: Current house plans

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It's kinda difficult to read without dimensions. It's cool that it is 3d but that actually makes it harder to really determine the space and flow. The birds eye is not fully labeled so that is also making this a very rough plan to go over.

Can you do a simple black and white birdseye with dimensions and labels for all spaces?

    Bookmark   October 7, 2012 at 12:41PM
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Thanks for looking! I'll work on that this afternoon. The dimensions of the whole house are 40'x28'.

    Bookmark   October 7, 2012 at 12:53PM
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I agree, just a simple floorplan would be great.
But, it looks like the stairs are oriented to drop into the kitchen. I think I would not like that--I'd like to try to keep the kitchen free of traffic unless it needs to be there; and would prefer turning the stairs the other direction.

At least, that is what it *looks* like to me. a 2D might clear that up.

    Bookmark   October 7, 2012 at 2:34PM
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The stairs do drop into the kitchen. I'll tell you why we have it that way: we were inspired by "Designing your Perfect House" by William J. Hirsch Jr. He recommends designing a house so that spaces go from least private to most private, and since the upstairs bedrooms are among the most private parts of the house, orienting the stairs so that they start someplace fairly private is more comfortable. Also, we plan for the basement to be a teen hangout area (I've got a kid who plays guitar and wants to start a band), and I don't want *that* traffic coming through my kitchen. Since we switched the stairs around, I love the idea of getting up in the morning and coming down the stairs right into my cozy kitchen.

You've got a point about traffic (and worse, random kid detritus) in the kitchen though. I'll think about that. Thanks!

Now I'll go make up a 2D that's easier to read. I've spent so much time with it, I didn't realize what was hard to understand!

    Bookmark   October 7, 2012 at 4:49PM
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Wondering what would happen if the 3rd bedroom swapped places with the msater bathroom, and also you had the closets for the 3rd bedroom and master on the wall between the msater and the new location of the 3rd bedroom.

Two big advantages I would see
1 - plumbing becomes a lot easier
2 - someone taking a shower in the master bathroom would not disturb anyone in the otehr bathrooms

    Bookmark   October 7, 2012 at 5:29PM
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Maybe, rather than a straight run of stairs, you need a u or l-shaped staircase.
In my neck of the woods, we don't have basements, so basement stairs are never in my equation (I forget about them)... but I still don't know that I'd like this setup.

    Bookmark   October 7, 2012 at 11:13PM
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We have real drawings now! We only have floor plans at this point--our architect wants to figure out the inside before we move on to the outside.
Here's the main level:

    Bookmark   October 12, 2012 at 4:58PM
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And the upstairs. Sorry about the folds.

I'm not uploading it now, but there will be a walkout basement.

    Bookmark   October 12, 2012 at 5:02PM
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Such a better visual! I like the first floor as is. For the second floor I do not like entering the laundry room from the bath. That door should be in the hall.Maybe a pocket door. Also the master closet is very tight, but I guess you know your storage needs better than I.

Other than that I think it is real solid.

    Bookmark   October 12, 2012 at 6:14PM
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I've never built a home, just dreamed about it and known people who have, and I don't post here much... So feel free to take anything I say with a grain of salt...

I like it over all. It seems well thought out for your family vs for a "typical" family, with your specific concerns accounted for, as you mentioned them.

How are you planning on using the workshop room? It seems very small to me. It also seems awkward if most things done in it might go outside, in which case materials have to be dragged through the narrow mudroom and turned around a sharp corner to get inside. I would consider make the connection between the house and the garage wider so that the workroom can be larger. Or even having that room open to the garage instead of the main house. Or perhaps even moved into the basement? (I don't know what is in the basement right now, just that you say there is one). I just don't see it as very practical the way it is.

You could also push that area out if you want a pantry area near the kitchen.

As other people often point out, in-swinging bathroom doors can be potential safety hazards, if someone faints or gets stuck in one. Pocket or out-swinging doors are better for bathrooms.

Consider how you're going to bring wood into the house for the woodstove. Most people don't want to haul it very far through the house, as that can be messy. You could consider making the deck a little longer and putting in an insulated wood box that can be accessed from the outside (to put wood in) and the inside (to take wood out) without as much need for opening the doors in the cold winter.

I also agree with the point brought up about the door of the laundry room.

    Bookmark   October 13, 2012 at 8:37AM
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Thanks for the feedback!

The plan for the "workshop" is primarily for smaller noisy/smelly/messy projects. My husband has a 3D printer that tends to need babysitting (so he'd prefer it wasn't in the basement) but is too loud to have in our main living space, and that will live in the workshop room. Our real workshop will be in the basement until we finish it, and then we'll hopefully be able to swing an outbuilding. You're absolutely right that the room on our plans would be miserable for doing work of any substantial size.

We're rethinking the laundry room door. It looks like the architect decided to shrink the bathrooms in order to maximize the size of the bedrooms, and I think he went a little too far--we're going to take a foot from bedroom 4 to make the laundry room and shower/toilet space a little less tight. We're also going to grow the master closet- it also shrank from what we originally gave the architect, and gaonmymind is right, it's too small now.

Winger-- you're not the first person to warn us about the mess of hauling in wood. We're trying to figure out what solution we like best. Thanks for the woodbox idea, I hadn't considered that!

    Bookmark   October 13, 2012 at 11:50AM
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You're welcome :) It's not a common thing - but my husband grew up in a house with one and his entire family absolutely loved it.

    Bookmark   October 15, 2012 at 10:14PM
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