Opinions on this basic and traditional floor plan?

olivesmomDecember 13, 2013

After viewing many existing homes we are back to the idea of building. Due to loan constraints our options for new construction are fairly limited but we have been able to find builder's floor plan we really like. We are taking a drive tomorrow to view a just completed version of this plan. I thought it might be helpful to hear any comments or suggestions for modifications so we can keep them in mind as we tour the home.

It's a fairly traditional floor plan with a master on main, which we like despite having younger children. It has the formal dining room that I've wanted (although it is a little small) as well as a mud room.

Changes I already envision: opening up the staircase/dining room wall so that the staircase essentially makes up the one wall. I would change the kitchen layout and reduce the size of the downstairs powder room so that cabinets could be placed on the other side in the eat-in area. I'd add a fireplace in the family room and one in the master. We may also bump out the master and/or put in a French door. I'd probably put a washer/dryer in the mudroom too. Down the road we would build a separate detached garage with a man cave upstairs.

Any problems you see, changes you'd make? Thanks!

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I was going to suggest a lot of the changes you already want! If you're moving the laundry to the mud room, make it larger, and put in a laundry tub (or at least a large single sink).

The kitchen isn't very functional as shown, but you already want to change that. Post the layout on the Kitchens forum, for lots of good suggestions there.

I'm not a fan of Jack and Jill bathrooms, or bathrooms with multiple doors. I'd access both upstairs bathrooms from the landing. Speaking of which - there seems to be a lot of wasted space in the middle of the upstairs. Off the top of my head I can't think of a solution, however. If you leave it as is, I'd make a half wall between the landing and the upper foyer, so you get some natural light in that space. If you ever turned the bonus room into a bedroom, you'd have no light up there at all.

    Bookmark   December 13, 2013 at 2:19PM
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I agree about the upper landing being wated space, not sure what can be done. I know J&J bathrooms aren't popular here, but I've always wanted one for some reason. I was thinking of doing a railing Or half wall in the upper foyer, to let the light in. Bonus room will be utilized a playroom with no plans to ever need it as a bedroom.

    Bookmark   December 13, 2013 at 3:51PM
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The small table in the nook is not going to work. First, it is too close to the sliding glass door to the backyard. Second, it is too close to the island stools.

    Bookmark   December 13, 2013 at 3:51PM
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I have the type of J&J in this plan, and I like it a lot. Basically, only the toilet/shower room needs to have a lock since it's a different room. I really dislike other types of J&Js where you HAVE to unlock your sink room door for others to have access... if that makes sense. With that said, that J&J is a bit narrow so you should look at the model house... are the doors annoying to move around in person?

I would square off the bonus room and add a door. I imagine that would be a loud space when utilized and the ability to close it off would be nice. Also, when squared off, it would allow for more usable space.... taking from the wasted hallway space.

    Bookmark   December 13, 2013 at 4:17PM
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dekeoboe: yes, I agree a table would not fit as shown. I was actually thinking of putting a smallish table right up against the island (perpendicular to) or putting a banquette style bench along the island. We will eat most meals in the formal dining room but I'd like a kitche table for quick meals and homework. I don't care for island seating in terms of barstools.

    Bookmark   December 13, 2013 at 4:49PM
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How many square feet is this plan? I like a lot about it as it seems to incorporate a lot on our wish list for a traditional house. We've designed something with an architect but have gotten up to 3450 square feet when we were hoping to stay closer to 3200.

I would think the great room and breakfast room would benefit from being wider, but I know from personal experience that the challenge with adding "just a foot" but keeping the symmetry and 2 stories really meant that if we wanted to add 1 foot to a room on the left then we also had to add a foot on the right and then upstairs as well so 1 foot became 4 feet.

    Bookmark   December 13, 2013 at 5:34PM
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Faulstr: it's 3217sq ft. The master is in the smaller side, but i don't spend much time in there so it's not a priority. The great room could be larger as you say, but by having all one flooring (hardwood) and by having a kitchen island banquette set up I think it will be fine.

    Bookmark   December 13, 2013 at 5:55PM
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If you make the pitch of the garage roof taller you might be able to move some of the jack and Jill bath or add a walk in closet for bedroom 3 over the garage. As I said, this plan has elements that really remind me of what we designed and that is what we did for our girls' shared bathroom.

Also I think that master size is fine. We purposely designed ours as 15 x 16 because we have almost 16 x 23 now and it is too large for our taste. If you don't mind having closet access through the bathroom you could move the bath into the closet space and the closet to the front to avoid that hallway. Also we are planning to put a stackable washer dryer in our master closet to keep the mud room purely that and then the full size laundry is upstairs.

    Bookmark   December 13, 2013 at 6:38PM
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Add windows to upstairs bathrooms.

    Bookmark   December 13, 2013 at 7:27PM
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I like the idea of having the stackable washer/dryer in the closet! Very practical and much closer to the source, than the mudroom. With the upstairs laundry, this makes a lot of sense, IMHO :)

The banquette against the kitchen island would be nice, too. Maybe something like this? From TV kitchens

    Bookmark   December 13, 2013 at 7:33PM
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RE: plan changes.... have you discussed with the builder how much they will/can change and at what expense? I know which builder this is (my mom used them for a previous home) and there wasn't a lot of variance allowed in previous years.

    Bookmark   December 13, 2013 at 7:48PM
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lolauren: some of the changes they already offer as an option. The rest, like moving walls, I have not yet spoken to them about. I'm fairly certain it can be done as they have a modified version of this plan (removed the den walls) featured on their website. I'm hoping their fees to modify are reasonable. I think that the builder now allows a fair amount of customization, this probably changed when the market crashed and they had to become more flexible to stay in business.

How was your mom's experience with them? I'm especially interested in how her kitchen turned out as I believe they have their own cabinet shop (or maybe I'm confusing them with someone else)

This post was edited by olivesmom on Sat, Dec 14, 13 at 1:10

    Bookmark   December 14, 2013 at 12:46AM
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Chipsa: do you think adding a solatube to each bathroom would be enough natural light? I'm fairly certain both upstairs bathrooms have those one piece vinyl (or whatever it is) surrounds and I'm not sure a window would work.

    Bookmark   December 14, 2013 at 12:50AM
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Lavender: the island banquette photo you posted is very pretty, fancier than what we will do. Here are a few pics I have saved:

With a deeper island and without the L

Or if we nix the banquette bench and just do a table perpendicular to the island.

    Bookmark   December 14, 2013 at 1:08AM
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Olivesmom, for a moment there I thought I was looking at Lavender's pics! Love the banquettes at an island :)

Re a solatube in the bathroom, they provide plenty of light (and a fun show in a thunderstorm), all you would need in the daytime. You can also get features added in, like a bathroom fan, light bulb, and natural-light-adjusters. But, a window gives that open "feel", since you can see beyond the walls. Can you put a high window above the tub surround, or will it go to the ceiling? I would certainly put a solatube in the sink area of the jack-n-jill.

    Bookmark   December 14, 2013 at 9:29AM
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Olive -

My mom's kitchen was nothing special --- the home she built was half the size of the one you're looking at and their cabinets were standard, as far as I know. She built about ten years ago, and everything held up really well, at least. (I was last in that kitchen this month, although this isn't her current home.)

We entertained going the same route with our build (and even drove to their model homes somewhere on the west side.) Hopefully, the models help you make your decision...

    Bookmark   December 14, 2013 at 10:50AM
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Nice pictures! I just saved that first one to my file :)

I think the first picture is a wonderful alternative to a built in banquette. If you decide you want stools later (as kids get older) or don't need the table, it's easy to change. With washable outdoor fabric, it would be easy to clean even an upholstered piece!

    Bookmark   December 14, 2013 at 1:42PM
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Interested to hear your thoughts after seeing it in person, and the name of the builder.

    Bookmark   December 14, 2013 at 6:29PM
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Overall, it's nicely done -- as you said, basic and traditional. A couple things I'd want to tweak:

- You said you want to cut down on square footage. The foyer seems very large in proportion to the rooms -- it's only a hallway, but it's larger than the den or the dining room.

- The problem with changing the foyer, of course, is that while your front rooms seem to be a comfortable width, and the master and kitchen seem to be a comfortable width, the Great Room and the breakfast spot are none too wide, and you cannot afford to give up space there . . . thus, you really can't cut down the foyer without making major changes in those other rooms.

- Up above the foyer, I wonder if that smallest bedroom could be made "equal" to the others by closing in that open space a bit? That might be impossible.

- Or, better yet, switch the bedroom to the back of the house and bring the -- what's it called? Loft? Rec space? Whatever, to the front of the house. This'd give you a smaller open area and a larger bedroom.

- Bathrooms upstairs were discussed. How many people will share this upstairs? Three bedrooms. If it's three people, I'd cut out one bathroom and save massive amounts of money. Three is a fine number to share one bathroom.

- I see that you don't care for island seating (and I'm with you on that), but you will have room only for a small, small table here. I find the "table against island" concept a little "busy". How would this do: Remove the doors in the nook area (move the doors to the great room). Bump a four-person table way back near the window -- wait, make it a bay window. This will allow you walking space in the middle of the room right in front of the island.

- I like the layout of the great room - nook - kitchen, but not the photograph. Carpet on one side and hardwood on the other makes the room look choppy, but that's a super-easy fix. And that fire place looks like some pre-fab something stuck into the wall. Yuck. I'd absolutely want a fireplace, but you can absolutely do better.

- I don't think the kitchen is as bad as some other posters think. I would have to get the sink out of the corner, of course. And the refrigerator is too far from the action; if you move it out into the main kitchen area, your pantry could be large enough for shelves on both sides.

- I like the beverage center on the way to the dining room and the location of the pantry. This is very practical and will be great for parties -- I'm imagining food on the island, drinks in the butler's pantry.

- Master bath: I do not like all those doors. They're constantly going to be in the way. I'd eliminate the one for the toilet; it's kind of silly to hide the toilet in a closet -- it's claustrophobic, it's difficult to clean behind the toilet, and it's a nightmare for an elderly person who needs a walker (and although you're probably not an elderly person today, you probably will be eventually). Then I'd make the closet doors into pocket doors.

- OR at least make the doors both bump "into" the closets instead of having one in /one out. Since both closets have a wasted "blank wall" inside, there's no reason both doors couldn't open "in" without blocking storage.

- I would flip-flop the whole bathroom so you'd have a window over the toilet. It would make no difference in function. And I'd get rid of one sink. No one actually uses sinks at the same time anyway, and this would give you better storage by the sink area as well as saving money.

I think it's an okay plan. I like traditional, and this one could be very nice.

    Bookmark   December 14, 2013 at 8:06PM
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Very much disagree with the statement that no one uses sinks at the same time. Isn't that the point? On the mornings that DH and I need to get ready at the same time, we both use our own sinks to brush teeth, fix hair, etc. We would not have bought a house with only one sink in master bath or would have offered much less to offset cost of remodeling the bathroom.

    Bookmark   December 14, 2013 at 8:35PM
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I agree. My husband and I use our sinks at the same time almost every night. Even when we don't use the sink at the same time, we like each having our own "station" in that bathroom.

    Bookmark   December 14, 2013 at 8:48PM
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Depends upon your habits, but I really suspect people who use the sinks together at the same time, or even who would miss that second sink if it were gone are in the minority -- perhaps not on this board, where houses are a bit "upscale", but in the wide world, I strongly suspect most people would rather have a little nicer tile in the kitchen or more energy efficient appliances than the second sink.

We have double sinks in my girls' bathroom, and I hate them. We've lived in this house 14 years now, and I don't think they've ever used the sinks at the same time. However, they cost me a small fortune last month: One faucet needed replacing. Of course, the store only had ONE of the faucet I liked best, so I had to go with my second choice . . . which was about 50% higher in cost. And I had to buy two of them. Then I had to pay to install two faucets, even though one was still perfectly good. What could've been a simple little job turned out to be a rather large expense. If the sinks were actually used together, it'd be one thing . . . but it was a total waste.

The best advice is, Examine your habits and priorities and spend consciously.

    Bookmark   December 14, 2013 at 9:38PM
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Okay, so I toured the home earlier today. The builder is Adair, they are one of several local, "on-your-lot" type builders. They generally build smaller, basic homes, often as an alternative to mobile homes. That said, they do offer larger, more upgraded models and this particular floor plan is their largest. They also offer two levels, the basic one and a more expensive version with upgrades such as solid surface counters, tile bathrooms, mostly hardwood flooring, nicer trim/window casing, window grids, 9ft ceilings, etc.

The home I toured today was the basic version with a few upgrades that the owners selected. Overall I left somewhat disappointed but I do see the possibility. Most of the dissapointment came from the fact that the home was only 95% complete and those last few unfinished things really detracted from the home. Also, the owners choice's in paint, flooring, cabinetry and random archways left a lot to be desired IMO.

The floorplan though, should work for us. The formal dining seemed smaller in person, which is a bummer since enlarging the room isn't really an option unless I wanted to give up the pantry space, which I don't. Surprisingly the living room and eat in kitchen space seemed larger in person and should not be a problem, although I still plan on doing an island banquette of some sort. I wasn't thrilled with the master closet/bath layout, but I'm not sure I would change much other than maybe seeing if pocket doors could work for both closets and the toilet closet. I'd also want pocket doors to replace the standard doors in each bedroom going into the jack and Jill bath.

I would do hardwoods throughout the main level (except for master and mudroom) as I agree that the split flooring between the eat in kitchen and living room is unattractive. I'd also want a nice wood burning fireplace with stone veneer hearth in the living room, maybe Inbetween the living room/kitchen(to be lined up with the foyer hallway). Something like this:

I'd do a different kitchen layout and definitely nicer appliances. The upgraded package includes all stainless appliances, but they are still pretty crappy. And of course to delete the builders appliances results in a credit of $1,000, lol.

I will definitely do a traditional open tread staircase with a nice wooden railing and balusters. The home I toured only had a sheetrocked half wall. The two story foyer let in plenty of light as the wall upstairs above is only a half wall and I would do the same or perhaps even a railing to match the staircase. Overall the home had good light, even on a wooded lot on a very gray, cloudy day.

So I've bounced all over the place, hopefully I've addressed all the points everyone has brought up. Bottom line, I like the floorplan and can see that it will work for us. I also recognize that we will have to spend quite a bit more, maybe 75K above the upgraded version price, to get the kind of home we want. That still works for our budget and even with the added uogrades, it still will end up being less than anything else we could buy/build assuming we can get a lot somewhere around 200K or less.

If I can find my phone I'll post photos from today in case anyone is curious.

    Bookmark   December 15, 2013 at 3:19AM
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Are you going to have a basement? The plan doesn't show one. Where will you store the out-of-season d├ęcor, gear, etc.?

As you say, the dining room is a bit small. If you can take over some of the shop area in the garage, you could slide the mudroom over and insert the pantry between it and the kitchen, and enlarge the dining room.

Consider adding a doorway from the den into the LR; it makes it more useful when you entertain, and you can close it off when you want the seclusion. Maybe a double pocket door?

This is just me, but I don't like a powder room that opens right off a living space. The door could turn so it's under the stairs, but you'd lose the closet. Maybe the door could simply be shifted into the PR a bit, so it's even with the linen closet? Creating a little entry?

Does that one upstairs bath really need a hall door? Looks like a door-banging opportunity. Who will need to get to it from the hall? If there's company using the rec room, shouldn't they go down to the powder room?

This will be a nice family home :)

    Bookmark   December 15, 2013 at 9:41AM
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We in the PNW live without basements all the time! :)

    Bookmark   December 15, 2013 at 9:27PM
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Oops, I guess what I meant to say was simply "where will you store those things, because I don't see much general storage." I didn't mean to suggest they should add a basement. (I once saw a house for sale, near a river, and the ad said "no basement to flood or clutter up". Good point!)

    Bookmark   December 16, 2013 at 12:42AM
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I would do away with all the doors in the master closet area. You can have one to close off the bedroom (pocketdoor?) and the opposite one to close off the bathroom but forget the interior ones. The closet would be much bigger as one large area. You could even have a small island with drawers and flat area for folding to the one side.
And personally I love the toilet in the WC. Makes the bathroom much more functional for two and remain private. Would not have a house without it.

    Bookmark   December 21, 2013 at 2:56PM
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