I'm no architect thats for sure! Anyone wanna help

tikilynNovember 17, 2011

I've been working on floor plans for a while. I've got an idea how I want my house and the size of the rooms but when I try to put them together, the rooms just don't seem to fit together.The part of my floor plan that doesn't flow together is behind the garage (master bedroom, master bathroom, and closet along with the laundry room. I also need a coat closet and don't know where to put it.

I guess I'm just frustrated because I can't get all my ideas down on a paper.

We want this house to be approx 3000sf. Master bedroom size is 18x18, both of the kids rooms are 14x14, living room 20x20, theater room 14x14, dining room 14x14 and kitchen with eat in nook 21x16. Hubby wants a three car garage that is front facing.

Here is a link that might be useful:

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Try using a pencil, paper and a scale (or graph paper) instead of that awful computer drawing program.

    Bookmark   November 17, 2011 at 10:30PM
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Epiarch Designs

sorry, but there is really no nice way of saying it...but yes, you need a lot of help. There are many basic concepts of programming and space allocation that are definitely not present that is a starting point. I would highly highly recommend getting with a designer and not waste your time and resources any further. Make a program (a list of problems or items you want) and bring ideas from magazines and online images to discuss with your designer. Feel free to email me and I would be happy to help get you on the right track.

    Bookmark   November 18, 2011 at 8:46AM
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Why is it everyone fancies themselves an architect (or a writer.)?

Not everyone is Thomas Jefferson. Really.

If you can afford to build 3,000 sf, you can afford working with a qualified designer/architect.

    Bookmark   November 18, 2011 at 9:44AM
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I would also suggest looking at lots of plans online and printing out the ones that appeal to you. The entire floor plan doesn't need to work - maybe you like the way the master suite is arranged in this one and the way the garage/mud/laundry area is arranged in that one and the way the kids bedrooms are arranged in a different one. Print those out, circle the areas that you are drawn to, and try to figure out what it is about that space that you really like.

You also need to consider budget and roof line. All those corners on the plan you drew are going to create a very complex and costly roof line. In almost all cases, each exterior corner you have is going to increase your cost. Are you trying to stay at 3,000 sq ft because of budget, lot limitations, or that is all the house you want? Often, you can actually add square footage to square off areas and come in cheaper or the same on cost - for a compromise, keep a bumpout or two on the front, but simplify the sides and the back.

You also need to understand certain required dimensions like on closets. You need at least two feet for each rod, and at least 2 feet for each aisle, but that is bare minimum. A walk in is more comfortable at 8' wide or more, especially if it serves more than one person. If you can't get that kind of width, you either need to make it a reach in, rods in an L formation, or add a shelving unit. Mark off the space the clothes will take, where someone would stand, etc. Also, normally closet doors open into the room instead of into the closet, so take that into account. If you have the room, fine to open into the closet, but if you expanded the depth of the closet just for the door swing, that doesn't make much sense. You either lose the area behind the door or would have to step inside the closet and close the door behind you get to that area.

I think there are also size issues with some rooms and wasted space. What will you put at the end of the bed in the master bedroom? Do you really need all that space at the end of the bed. That is a lot of wasted floor space in the master bath - for that sized area, you should be able to fit a much larger shower and longer vanities or linen closets.

    Bookmark   November 18, 2011 at 11:30AM
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I don't know what you do for a living, but if you can, imagine that someone with no education or experience in your field shows up and tells you that they will be working along side you in a similar function as yours. And then they start asking how to sharpen a pencil, how to use a computer mouse, how to adjust their office chair. They don't know how to do even the most basic non essential computer functions, much less any of the more complex software.

Not everyone can master every skill on the planet and DIY their whole life. People go to doctors when they are sick for a reason. They use tax professional to prepare their returns. They drop off their car at a mechanic and hire a arborist to take down that 200 foot oak tree. Professionals exist for just about every job that you can imagine. You need those professional services if you are serious about building. You simply do not have a good sense of spatial relationships or the human dimension within that space, much less the required code compliant engineering aspects of a home. Hire an architect.

    Bookmark   November 18, 2011 at 12:26PM
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My husband and I like to think we're brilliant :-), but when we tried to design our own home, we realized very quickly that we didn't have enough of a grasp of space and flow. All of our rooms were nice *individually* but they didn't flow together well.

We ended up looking at LOTS of different *existing* plans, identifying things we liked and didn't, and then modified an existing plan to meet our needs/desires/budget.
Most of our changes were personal preferences (and my desire for closets).

Even then, we did our modifications on a floor plan--all of the engineering stuff we hired out to someone who knew what they were doing.

The OP's plan here isn't compelling--I really do think the best place to start is with pieces of existing plans and THEN try to piece them together--with help.

    Bookmark   November 18, 2011 at 7:26PM
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I agree...I tried the same, I knew what I wanted as far as placement and size, but there just WAS NOT a perfect plan out there for me. I finally looked through literally hundreds of house plan books and probably 50,000 plans online! Still no perfect plan for me. I bookmarked and printed many many many plans, went through the stack over and over narrowing it down. Then I got stuck. Gave my husband the stack and he narrowed it to 2 of them. I decided that I could deal with what he came up with, with a few tweaks here and there! He was more worried about the outside appearance, and I was concerned about the interior plan and the flow. We moved the stairs and a couple walls and doors, added a stall on the garage and wallah! I did completely redraw the upstairs myself and when it came back from the drafter it was great! I still don't have EVERYTHING I wanted,. The pantry and kitchen are smaller than I have dreamed about for years, but I"m ok with that. I'll have a few less cabinets, but I'll be able to afford nicer cabinets and options. The only way I could have got everything I wanted is if we could have built a house twice the size. This way we both got most of what we wanted.

So yes, if you are not an architect or designer, try to find a few online that have the things you want/need. Then try to blend them together as best you can. Or maybe you'll even find one that is near perfect!!

Good luck!

    Bookmark   November 19, 2011 at 2:43PM
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This is a bit bigger than the 3000 sq ft you said you wanted but, if you like it, you might be able to pare it down some IF you're willing to cut room sizes down a bit. For the most part tho, I think the room sizes you mentioned in your post are pretty good. Not dinky but not overly huge either.

So, I tried to include all the rooms you showed on your sketch tho I wasn't quite sure what that room between the living room and the kids' bedrooms was supposed to be. I guessed that it was a computer room or playroom or something like that. I also stuck in a powderroom because that seemed to be missing.

I wanted to simplify the footprint as much as possible because all the "corners" you had make for a very expensive build. And, to do that, I wound up moving the secondary bedrooms behind the 3 car garage. With the width of the 3 car garage, the secondary bedroom just fit behind it better than the master did.

This arrangement allows all of the bedrooms except the guest room to have windows facing in two directions if you want. (Having windows that face two directions is GREAT for natural light and you won't believe what it does for the ambiance of a room!)

In case you're wondering, the secondary bathrooms are all 5'x7' which allows you to have a standard-sized alcove tub/shower combo, a toilet and a 24 to 28 inch wide vanity.

All interior doors except a couple of closet doors are 32" wide or wider so it is possible to get a wheelchair thru if you need to. Exterior doors and doors leading to the laundry are 36" wide or wider.

Master bedroom is buffered from the noise of the living room by the fireplace, built-in bookcases, and its own recessed door.

Tub in the master bath is 36"x72" and could be wider. Shower is 48"x60" and could be up 48"x72".
One bay of the garage is made slightly deeper than the other two in case you have a big car or truck but even the two shallow bays are deeper than many garages.

You could also put a nice deep front porch on this house if you wanted to. And/or you could add a screened porch on the back.

Good luck with whatever route you decide to take.

    Bookmark   November 19, 2011 at 11:34PM
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4 bedrooms and 3.5 baths on one floor is an unusually difficult design program. It is easy to simply lay something out as you might a 2 bedroom house but to avoid windowless spaces (often a code violation) and awkward connections between spaces, the shape of the house usually must bend or wings must be added to a central core.

If you decide to not get professional assistance I recommend searching the internet plan mills. The search is simplified by the fact that there are not many houses offered with your requirements.

I have linked one from Southern Living below. I'm not recommending it because I know too little about your lifestyle, site and climate but it might give you an idea of how this many living spaces could be arranged on one floor and still have a sense of home, privacy and personality.

Here is a link that might be useful: Southern Living #1

    Bookmark   November 20, 2011 at 9:02AM
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Southern Living #2

Here is a link that might be useful: Southern Living #2

    Bookmark   November 20, 2011 at 9:03AM
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Southern Living #3

Here is a link that might be useful: Southern Living #3

    Bookmark   November 20, 2011 at 9:05AM
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to avoid windowless spaces (often a code violation) and awkward connections between spaces, the shape of the house usually must bend or wings must be added to a central core.

And, as the professional plans show, even then there are awkward spaces, orphaned rooms, walk-through rooms. Want to reach the master bedroom? Walk through the library or take a stroll outside the house!

Large bungalows are rare in this part of the world. Though I did once enjoy a tour of a 10,000 sf one modelled on a 2nd Century Roman villa. Poured concrete construction with 14 ' ceilings. My designer was responsible for one wing.

    Bookmark   November 20, 2011 at 9:43AM
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When a house has been designed for another family and another location it is a mistake to think it should remain intact. The examples I offered should not be judged as they are; they should be questioned, pulled apart, the good parts used and the bad parts discarded.

An interior room can be made to meet the building code with mechanical ventilation or doors large enough to borrow ventilation from adjacent spaces. Skylights can also be effective.

A "library" is sometimes a designer euphemism for a "sitting room" that is part of a private Master Bedroom suite.

    Bookmark   November 20, 2011 at 1:47PM
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Four years ago, DH and I bought a beautiful waterfront lot. The lot was odd shaped had numerous old Oak and Magnolia trees. We could not use a standard house plan from any house plan magazine or internet because we did not want to lose many trees, and we wanted to orient the house to the water views. We also had to work with stringent setback lines for waterfront property. I worked with two separate draftsmen. Our house is now almost finished and I have seen two major mistakes in design. In retrospect, we would have been wise to use an architect right away.

    Bookmark   November 20, 2011 at 3:20PM
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