Floorplan Review Part 1

dbrad_gwNovember 8, 2012

I'd appreciate any and all feedback about this initial floorplan. This is only the main level (3 bedrooms/baths will be upstairs and we will have a full walkout basement).

The unmarked insets you see in that side entrance hallway are lockers.

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How do you get from inside to the backyard (porches)? I am sure you plan a door somewhere, but where influences whether or not I think your spaces are of a correct size in the back.

And, of course, you need to make your inswing MB WC door be an outswing or pocket for safety. For similar reasons, you shower door will probably need to swing both directions.

    Bookmark   November 8, 2012 at 2:20PM
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The land slopes from left to right (and back of course) as you stand in front of the house looking toward it, so the small porch off the breakfast nook will be at ground level, and it starts sloping down from there. The door to that porch is on the rear nook wall, nearer the family room corner.
The double french doors to the screened porch are off the formal living room.

I don't understand the master bath WIC door situation. In our current home's MB WIC, the door swings inward. Maybe a local thing?

    Bookmark   November 8, 2012 at 2:38PM
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Okay, it isn't a local thing, it is a safety thing and an education thing.

So, be prepared to be educated. :)

A WC room is small. Inswing doors have hinges on the inside of the room.

If a person has an emergency in a small room (like a WC or shower) and falls, they fall into a position that puts their body against the door/blocking the door. Necessarily. Because that is the only place their body can fall.

Now, a person trying to assist or rescue them (in the unfortunately event of cardiac arrest or stroke, for example--and don't think that never happens on a toilet), the body is dead weight against the door with no where for a rescuer to push them out of the way of the door. Hinges are on the inside of the room, so they can't just remove the door from the hinges, etc.

It isn't a pretty picture. It does happen. It isn't a code issue, or a local issue. It is just something you don't think about until you or a dear loved one is on the inside of that hinged door and you can't get to them. Precious minutes are lost as the EMTs have to break through the door. Had the hinges been on the outside (an outswing door) or it was a pocket door, you'd just be able to get to the person, no minutes lost.

Hopefully, you now understand the situation a little better.

I am not certain, but I do believe for a similar reason, code DOES require an outswing (or dual swing) shower door to an enclosed shower. The reasoning is the same, the scenario is usually attributed to a slip hazard though, rather than severe illness.

    Bookmark   November 8, 2012 at 2:54PM
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Thanks kirkhall - we'll make a note. A pocket door shouldn't be too difficult there.

    Bookmark   November 8, 2012 at 3:02PM
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Nope. It will easily work there.

Okay, another thing. Do you need a foyer hall closet for guest coats, etc?

    Bookmark   November 8, 2012 at 3:16PM
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I just realized, you have 2 stair cases. Which are used for what? And, any reason you didn't stack them?

    Bookmark   November 8, 2012 at 3:24PM
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We are in SC where coats aren't worn that often, but there will be a closet underneath the foyer stairs.

The staircase in the foyer is basically the formal staircase and the staircase near the kitchen is the one the family will use most often.

I'm not fond of a foyer staircase at all. Our current home has only the foyer staircase and I dislike having to visit my foyer & front door just to get upstairs. The foyer staircase is my wife's request. She is concerned that the foyer would feel too informal without it. My opinion is that guests who are the type to visit your front door aren't the same type of guests (family, close friends, etc) that go upstairs anyway. We are compromising on that issue by just putting in two staircases.

As for stacking them, the basement staircase will be underneath the family stairs.

    Bookmark   November 8, 2012 at 4:29PM
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You will need to layout the fully equiped kitchen before you can critique the kitchen-dining-family areas. Generally speaking, the kitchen area appears to be criss-crossed with circulation paths in various directions requied to access each of the adjacent spaces. This may cause you to lose valuable kitchen area.

Your master bedroom is larger than your living room. Your master closet is larger than a small bedroom and the same size as the "nook" adjacent to the entry. Are these really your priorities as to how you will live and occupy the spaces? Seem deserving of a bit more analysis on how you may live (and pay for) the various interior spaces.

You've explained the rationale for two stairs, but they do take considerable space and add to the cost, since stairs require skilled finish carpenters and mill work specialists.

Finally the exterior wall of the garage, laundry, kitchen and nook is very long and unbroken. Such a planar wall will appear very masssive and boring, if it will be seen from the exterior. Bumping out the kitchen 1'-0 would provide needed visual relief.

Good luck on your project!

    Bookmark   November 8, 2012 at 4:42PM
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Here is a basic scheme of the kitchen - we have yet to determine where all of the appliances go however.

The master bedroom & closets are sized as planned - we realize they are large but they are not much bigger than our current arrangement and those items/sizes were "on the list".

Good point about that exterior wall - it should not be all that visible though, since we are on the end of a cul-de-sac. We had thought about bumping out the breakfast nook though - we'll consider that more.

    Bookmark   November 8, 2012 at 5:23PM
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I agree with virgilcarter, the kitchen will become a pathway to other areas of the house. If you enter the house from the garage and want to go to the family room, you are probably going to go right through the kitchen. The same is true if you are going upstairs (since the family will be using the back staircase). Whoever is trying to cook in the kitchen might not appreciate all this traffic while they are cooking.

Do you have elevation drawings? It looks like there are a lot of porches.

    Bookmark   November 8, 2012 at 8:26PM
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I'm guessing you plan to have windows on both sides of the corner near the master bathroom tub-- do you want the porch to go right up to that window?

Unless you plan a built-in banquette, the breakfast nook seems small to me for the size of the home.

Where will you put the door to the master bedroom? Having it so close to the living room and foyer, people may wander in there looking for the powder room. And if the door is left open, people will be able to see your bed from the foyer. I know I'm pickier than a lot of people about this, but I thought I'd point it out, in case you hadn't thought of it. I'm not sure how to do it with this plan, but I'd want at least a small hallway separating my bedroom door from the most public parts of the house. Maybe you could frame a doorway from the stairs to the corner of the bedroom (you'd need to lose a little space in the bedroom to make it work) and that would signal to people that that chunk of hallway is not a part of your public entertaining space?

Despite my criticisms, I think it's a pretty good plan. Good luck with it!

    Bookmark   November 8, 2012 at 9:29PM
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We do realize that the kitchen is going to see lots of traffic, but we're okay with that. Neither of us are serious cooks that would be bothered by the foot traffic, and the whole family is constantly in the kitchen now anyway. Hopefully we don't regret this part of the decision!

We do have elevation drawings, and even some actual photos of the inspiration house - I'll post them up later today.

Yes that tub has windows planned on both sides of that corner - the plan is to put indoor shutters on the porch-side window for privacy. Think that'll suffice?

The breakfast room is sized according to our current one, and it *should* be fine, but thanks for bringing that up. We had considered bumping that area out a foot or two, and if we do that it'll only add one additional corner (I was trying to keep the corners down to save $$) but would also provide some relief as to virgilcarter's point about that long, straight wall. Good point - thanks.

The master bedroom door will be on the left as you walk down that "hallway" toward it. I like the idea of pushing that door into the bedroom by maybe a foot or two - that could also give us a little extra room in the master bath, which was something we think we could use too.


    Bookmark   November 9, 2012 at 8:36AM
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Here are some elevations:

    Bookmark   November 9, 2012 at 9:17AM
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I would go with no door on the "toilet closet" in the master bath. I personally think this as a safety-issue is a bit overblown, but a door in such a small spot is a constant inconvenience. As it's drawn, you have to walk into the room, scoot over next to the toilet to close the door. No thanks. In contrast, this isn't a problem in your half-bath because the door swings towards the sink. A person can walk in, stand in front of the toilet and still close the door without acrobatics.

What's the nook by the front door? I'm guessing a computer spot /office area. With built-in desks, it'll be small but functional without wasted space.

I read your rationale, but I would reconsider the two staircases. Find out from your builder just how much a set of stairs costs, and decide whether you really want to allocate this much expense to stairs.

I know that many people on these boards are fanatical about the guest coat closet. I assume they're all Northerners, but being a fellow Carolinian, I understand why you just don't care. Coats just aren't a big part of our lives.

I would make a change by your back door /laundry room. You have a small laundry room and a small hallway. You could shift your door a few feet over and have the outside door enter THROUGH the laundry room. Move your lockers to what is now a blank wall, and you have a large laundryroom/mudroom instead of two small spaces.

You have some expensive dimensions . . . everywhere. Sheetrock and plywood come in 4' lengths, and other building materials are sized accordingly. To give an example, your kitchen is 17' -- this means that the builders will use four sheets of plywood, then they'll have to cut a fifth one to get that extra one foot. Even worse, in the living room, you're cutting an extra board to get 8". You're paying the same price for that last board. If you go down a bit to 16' (or even up to 20'), you save materials. In a perfect design, all room sizes would be divisible by 4'.

For a couple of self-professed non-serious cooks, you're building a very large, expensive kitchen.

I'd definitely do a banquette in the breakfast room. With windows on two sides, it'd be adorable.

If this were my house, I'd like some sort of door between the living room and the family room. Otherwise, you're going to have noise issues between the two rooms.

Your house seems to be -- like most houses -- oriented towards the back yard, a more private space than your front yard. You have two nice porches out back. Why spend so much on a wrap-around front porch? The front-front area is necessary for protection of guests at the front door and for the ambiance of the home, but the front-side porch really has no purpose -- and it looks right into your bathtub.

    Bookmark   November 9, 2012 at 9:31AM
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Does your current nook, the one sized according to the plan, have a door off of it? I think your breakfast nook area is too small once you put in a door to the porch.

Also, I am not seeing a good place to put your cooktop in your proposed kitchen layout. The safest place would be where you have the sink, but I am guessing you wanted the sink to have a window? I am not sure you have the space in your kitchen for a pantry of that size.

But, after all these comments you've mostly come back and said, it will be fine/compromise/it is what we have now. So, I think you are set with your floorplan. If that is the case, take you kitchen dimensions to the kitchen forum for comment and help with appliance placement. Just because you don't cook often doesn't mean you will like any ole layout in the kitchen.

    Bookmark   November 9, 2012 at 11:06AM
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The designer just mentioned that master toilet door as well, and we are going pocket door with that now.

That front nook will have built-in shelves and perhaps a bench. Otherwise something like the shelves + a chaise lounge. My wife loves to read, plus we have 3 kids and it's nice to be able to send the older one (3rd grade) off by himself to do his reading homework while we work with our middle child with her homework. When she's reading we can swap them around - it'll be a spot well away from the activity of the kitchen/family room/tv but still within earshot.

I so wish the foyer staircase was negotiable. :)

That laundry room & hallway was actually a recent change *from* a much larger laundry/mudroom/side entrance - my wife's request. She is staunchly opposed to entering the house through a laundry room - even if it is just us or our close friends. As our children age into teenhood and we have even more traffic and laundry I think it will prove to be a good decision.

Great response about the room sizes - I had honestly never considered it. I will speak to the designer about it.

In the latest iteration we have increased the size of the screened porch and also added a bump out for the breakfast room to accommodate a banquette.

The front porch is mainly just a design element that we wanted. It was high on our list - we are both from the South and appreciate what it adds to the front of the home. We did make it large enough to accommodate some seating though, so it may well get used down the road. The window over the backtub from the porch will have indoor shutters for privacy - hopefully that does the trick!

That breakfast nook does have a door on that back wall to the porch. Several of you here have mentioned that the nook seems small, so we are planning to bump out that nook by a couple of feet and add a banquette. Hopefully I'll have another plan to post soon.

We are also struggling with that kitchen layout and work triangle right now. The kitchen floorplan did just change somewhat because we have moved the entire left side of the house back about 3' (to prevent the garage from being such a prominent part of the front of the home - we're just sensitive to that). I will definitely take it to the kitchen forum for layout feedback - thanks for that suggestion.

These are all great responses and we are making several changes as a result - thank you!

    Bookmark   November 9, 2012 at 11:36AM
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Maybe you can get a single L-shaped stair case (in the foyer area to jazz it up, but not a straight run that means you have to "go to the front door" to get upstairs? Just another idea. If you've already tried that, feel free it ignore.

    Bookmark   November 9, 2012 at 12:24PM
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