Floorplan Feedback Request - Round 3

dbrad_gwDecember 5, 2012

Thank you all for the previous feedback on our main level plan. We incorporated many of your suggestions, and made a few other changes as well. I also furniture planned with our actual furniture sizes so I apologize if this one is cluttered.

We are building a ~3500 sq ft 2-story french country home with a walk-out basement on a front to back and left to right sloped, wooded lot.

Some changes we made in this iteration:
- Smaller kitchen island to make more room to the right of it,
- Larger family room to enable us to enlarge the screened porch without losing a family room window,
- Much larger screened porch (roof will be gabled to bring in more light to the formal living room),
- Widened the master closet at the expense of the porch that was previously extended further around the corner,
- Shifted the wall separating the reading nook and master closet - shifted it into the closet by a foot since it is already large and reading nook seemed too tight,
- As a cost-savings measure, took 2 separate 1ft slices (front to back) through the home - one through the master suite and reading nook, and one through the foyer/formal living room. I'm concerned this made the foyer too tight, but other than that I'm okay with the sq ft & $$ savings of that change,
- Pulled out the master bath angled wall a couple of feet more into the bedroom to make that bath larger and simplify the wall angles,
- Rotated the powder room and moved the garage door.

I think those are the majority of the changes we made in this round, and I feel as though we are getting very close to a finished product. As I mentioned above, the foyer is our main concern right now - there is 5' of space to the left of those stairs, and 5' 7" from the front door to the first step - I just wonder if that's enough. We are also considering

We considered major changes to the master suite, and even drew up a decent plan that essentially flipped everything (bath/closet were against the back of the house) but in the end we just really like this layout. It does give a sightline from the formal dining area to the bedroom, but it is more toward the bedroom's sitting area anyway. The rear of our lot is the most beautiful, so we really wanted those back wall windows in the bedroom. We'll just close our door when company is expected - unexpected company will likely use the side entrance anyway.

I'm including the upstairs this time, which I did not do previously. So I'd appreciate any comments there as well.

And here is a shot of the foyer:

Thank you all!

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FWIW, I think you have enough space in the foyer--your door opens the right direction, and it will be fine. I would, however, lose the bulgy bottom step (that little circle/round end is nice for looks and all, but that is what will be tripped over).

The upstairs right bedroom's closet is a little narrow for a single door. You might want to consider a pair of bifolds there (and then the closet will function much like a reach in, only deeper). It will function fine as drawn, it just might feel a little cave like, to get to the far end of it... (maybe plan for a good light in there).

I think turning your powder room was a great decision.

    Bookmark   December 5, 2012 at 12:24PM
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Did you post your kitchen plan on the Kitchen Forum? I suggest you do, if not.

The island still seems weird to me. It's far from your work zones, so it might not get used as a functional space as much as it could. Do you envision it purely for seating? Also, how much room is between the DW and the island? When the DW door is open, will you be able to get by? (If not, do you care? I would... but someone else might be fine with it.)

    Bookmark   December 5, 2012 at 12:35PM
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Thanks for the opinion on the foyer - our current one is slightly larger so I'm probably just trying to compare too much. I did go a little overboard in the software on that bottom step, but that's a good point to ensure that form doesn't impede function there.

And yes I hate that we had to shrink DD's closet by a foot like that when we saved some space downstairs, but it was either that or the bedroom and the closet lost that choice quickly. We'll light it well.

That island will probably change sizes a few more times before we actually install it since we go back and forth about it now, but currently it is 5.5' x 5' and there is 3' 2" between it and the dishwasher. I hesitate to pull it down any closer to the stove though (it is 5' away from it now) since often we are all in there together.

I'll post it in the kitchen forum too - thanks.

    Bookmark   December 5, 2012 at 1:30PM
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Lots to like dBrad. I'd suggest building in a little more flexibility by removing the two center posts defining the dining room (yes, the arches are pretty, but theme carried out elsewhere?). 12-1/2 feet isn't all that wide when you have a sideboard and table, and you'd probably like a table wide enough to put centerpieces and/or serving dishes down the middle, so I suspect the additional physical and emotional space would be welcome in the dining area AND trafficway. No need to cramp when you actually do have plenty of space.

The other flexibility suggestion would be to consider moving the doors leading to the porch from the center of that back wall so furniture could be placed there if you ever wished to change the arrangement. BTW, if you do a Christmas tree, do you know where yours would go? :)

    Bookmark   December 5, 2012 at 5:39PM
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I've gotta say that while I like a number of things about the house, I think the major problems still exist:

- A kitchen that's plenty big, but poorly designed
- A dining room that's too far from the kitchen
- A family room and living room with no sound barrier between them
- Two staircases with no real reason for that massive expense
- Loads of jogs in the exterior and oddball room sizes, which will add to the cost

And a whole new thought: Do you anticipate grilling on the porch? I'm thinking yes since you have a table out there. If so, I'd consider moving the door from the living room to the family room (where the family room and the living room meet). That'd be a more direct route from the kitchen to the porch, which would be more convenient when you're carrying a tray of steaks or burgers to/from the kitchen. Also, a door in this position would allow access to the porch from either the family room OR the living room.

    Bookmark   December 5, 2012 at 6:30PM
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I agree with rosie and MrsPete on moving the porch access door from the living room to the family room. Replacing the french doors with windows will allow more flexibility with furniture placement. You may want to consider a single french door from the family room to balance the window on the far side, although double doors would look nice also. A door in this location will allow easy porch access from the LR, FR, and kitchen while proving a nice line of sight to the porch from the breakfast nook.

    Bookmark   December 5, 2012 at 9:29PM
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What caught my eye was that the floor plan doesn't need 2 staircases. The second one doesn't add any utility, but it adds cost and takes up space. You could eliminate either one.

    Bookmark   December 6, 2012 at 2:17AM
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Thanks for the responses.

Those dining room columns/arches are a specific item my wife wants in order to separate the dining room from the foyer. I think we may actually go with broken arches in this house instead of full arches, but the idea will be similar, just perhaps shallower.

I do like the idea of moving that screened porch door (or adding one) to the family room wall now that we've lengthened that room. That actually solves another problem I had too - so thanks! We will likely keep the existing double doors to facilitate traffic flow when we have large groups over, but we can treat them like windows most of the time and arrange furniture accordingly.

The Christmas tree will likely go along the back of the family room and supplant one of the chairs there while it's up. That's how we do it now in our current home and it works well. We had also considered putting up a large one right in the center of the formal living room since it will be open to the 2nd floor. Might be nice for Christmas parties - but our family tree will still be in the family room.

Those items are all workable for us as they currently sit. They may not be the ideal or universal layout for everyone, but they are very similar to how our current home is setup and we are comfortable with those items. Initially I'll be grilling from the small porch on the corner behind the breakfast nook. Down the road I do intend to build in a grill on the screened porch with a commercial hood, just not during the initial build. And I agree on moving that door or at least adding another into the family room.

Those two staircases have drawn quite the attention around here & I really didn't anticipate that. I understand though - I suppose it is unusual. It really comes down to two preferences that each of us have. We only have foyer stairs in our current home, and I really dislike having to head to the foyer every time I need to go upstairs. So I've always preferred stairs in the main living area to the foyer - near the kitchen, family room, etc. My wife prefers to have stairs in the foyer for mostly aesthetic reasons, and I understand that too. Our mode of compromise on this one is taking the form of two staircases. :)

We've softened on that stance during this cost-cutting phase though, and we're probably closer now to dropping one of them than we ever have been in this process. Since our master suite will now be on the main level (it's upstairs in our current home), only the kids will be making the frequent treks upstairs, so that has me considering dropping the back family stairs. Trouble is, the basement stairs are under those family stairs. And I'm not fond of having the basement access underneath the foyer stairs, directly across from our master bedroom door. Once we finish out the basement in a few years, it will likely be heavily used. We'd also lose the closet underneath the foyer stairs with such an arrangement.

If I could figure out a clever way to replace those back stairs to accommodate both a walkin pantry and basement stairs, I would be on board with dropping those.

    Bookmark   December 10, 2012 at 2:13PM
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Is that a microwave, next to the fridge? I'd just add a prep sink on that counter by the fridge and this kitchen would be very nice :)

I like the porch, too! I'd just add a lot of nice lighting (with dimmers) to the living/dining areas, since you don't have a lot of sunlight reaching those spaces.

    Bookmark   December 11, 2012 at 1:11PM
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Yes, next to the fridge that's an oven stack with a combination microwave/convection oven on top. The cooktop over on the other wall under the hood will also have a separate oven underneath it.

We had considered a prep sink in the island or that counter. I'm curious why you picked that counter though? Just trying to pick your brain. :)

    Bookmark   December 11, 2012 at 1:26PM
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For considerarion:

1) remove the bump out for the breakfast nook and make it a straight wall
2) increase breakfast nook by pushing porch 2-3 feet out toward back of house
3) larger window in family room on sectional wall
4) what is the purpose of the stairway in the LR? The area between the stairs and the wall with the doors to the porch seems too narrow
5) change the doors to the large porch to slider
6) the garage is small depth and width. Do you plan to have an outbuilding to store mowers tols, etc?

    Bookmark   December 11, 2012 at 4:26PM
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Thanks for the feedback. That breakfast room bump out was actually a recent change that we added so we could build in a banquette there. The banquette isn't yet drawn into the plan because I haven't figured out how just yet. And I also just noticed that I am missing the window that is supposed to be between that corner breakfast porch and the family room. Thanks for pointing that out.

Read up a couple of posts for my explanation of the two staircases - if I could figure out a better use for the space (walk-in pantry maybe?) but still keep the basement stairs underneath it, I might get rid of that.

There is 4' 8" between the last step of that staircase and the closest corner. Does that seem insufficient?

The screened porch doors that face the living room are also decorative, so we'll have to stick with french doors there. But after the feedback we received here, we are adding a single french door just around the corner from them on the family room wall.

The garage is something that I discussed with the designer just last night, and for the very reason that you mentioned. We are making garage space in the basement available for mower, tools, workshop, etc so that angle is covered. And those main level garage doors are 9', plus we designed that main level garage plenty big compared to our current home's garage. But I did start to wonder where the bikes, remote controls (my oldest is an RC fanatic), bats, balls etc that get used in the driveway and yard were going to be stored. His suggestion was to pull forward that left-most bump out on the front wall of the garage by another 1 - 1.5'. If I weren't concerned about the garage already being too prominent on the front of the house, I'd just make it a 2.5 or 3 car garage and be done with it. But we put considerable effort into rearranging the left side of the house already to prevent that, so my plan is to just build a detached garage a few years down the road if this one gets too full.

    Bookmark   December 11, 2012 at 5:09PM
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