After a million of plans, we chose one and not sure if its good

kassikoloDecember 16, 2012

We are finalizing the house plan with our designer and i got some criticism that its not very well designed. So i am not sure what to do anymore. We already went through 2 designers and ready to start building. I love the plan, but i never built or designed a house before to know if its well designed.
I seem to have everything i need. Love bedrooms being on one side and all the public area on another.
- i decided to keep island where it is, because i dont need it for everyday prep (i prefer the space between sink and the cook-top) and i need it as a table, cooking with kids or big cooking projects that dont happen every day.
-The fireplace in the corner made sense to me because if put on the window wall it would be hard to place furniture..

So what do you think, good design or should i restart the whole process over (not sure if my husband will do that:))?

Thank you

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Sophie Wheeler

The kitchen island/table is very awkward and will be uncomfortable to use for every single meal. It doesn't work for food prep either as it's in the wrong spot totally for that. It doesn't leave enough room for a table in your breakfast area. The whole area could benefit greatly from being 5' wider if you want an island there. And 5' deeper if you want an island next to a seating area. That's the minimum space between seating areas to allow traffic through with the chairs pulled out.

I like the arches to separate the two areas, but it does limit the flexibility of the space more. And the door to the exterior also creates a traffic pattern that doesn't really work with the table in a horizontal position, yet if you put it vertically, it would collide with the island. You have to go around it to get outside, and that's going to be a tight fit with the stub wall there.

The traffic patterns are awkward and the space isn't laid out that well. I think you need more revisions, or just keep looking. Why aren't you working with an architect who can take your needs and translate that to something that works?

    Bookmark   December 16, 2012 at 8:58PM
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All Hands Working Carpenter


I think your plan is solid - I disagree with hollysprings on many levels. There are a few tweaks I would make, but I don't think it needs many more revisions.

It is obvious that the plans are from an architect or plan warehouse, just based on the size of the paper.

Here is what I would do:

Try to get the sink out of the corner just a bit, maybe extend the kitchen just a bit up the outside wall by the porch.

Reduce the wall that sticks out by the bookcase at the top of the pantry (this will extend the kitchen into the rest of the house, making it less isolated. (this will require increasing the size (length and most likely depth too of the LVL or steel that allows for the wide opening between the kitchen and living room.)

Change the shape of the island to increase traffic lanes - maybe take out the curve - this will bring those sitting at the island closer to those working in the kitchen - if anything put the curves on the sides slightly to make the island less "sharp".

I would jut out the breakfast area on the top - this will give you more room there for a table, and traffic - but the largest 8" concrete foundation wall you can pour is really 38-40' (which it seems that back wall is nearly that long. By jutting out the breakfast area, you could keep the 8" wall (reduce cost) or transfer the money to expanding the footprint 2 feet out.

(check out my own house design to see what I mean - I had the same long wall at the back and front)

You should try not to have dead end hallways - like at your master bedroom doorway and bathroom - maybe the end of the hallway could be a linen closet or turn the sink 90-180 degrees and place the door there (although then there is a site line into the bathroom)

Just some ideas - but this plan is obviously thought out, but from some of the elements it may be antiquated a bit - looks like houses I built in the late 90's early 2000's.

If it works for YOU though, then go for it - don't start over

Here is a link that might be useful: house plan link

    Bookmark   December 16, 2012 at 9:58PM
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You don't need to make everyone here happy. There are things about the house we plan to build that people here don't like at all. But it's not their house.

I think your plan is nice. A good amount of storage, private spaces are private, a nice open layout that keeps kitchen mess separate from the living room....

If you're unsure about your kitchen layout, could you make a cardboard mockup in your garage to see how you feel walking around in the space? I hear what Hollysprings is saying about the exterior door, but our kitchen table is in front of an exterior door in our current home, and walking around the table to get to it has never bothered me.

    Bookmark   December 16, 2012 at 10:17PM
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People hate my large covered porch (which I love) in my plan. Build a house that suits you and don't worry about what GW says on every single detail as you can't design the perfect house for this forum.

With that said the advice on here is also invaluable and can really strengthen your design. So try to have an open mind about things that are said as well.

    Bookmark   December 16, 2012 at 10:25PM
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I like your plan, actually. I do think the island and kitchen could use a little rethinking, maybe take your plans to a kitchen designer and see if they can rework and if you like it better. I know it can be hard to think of changes when you've worked long and hard on a plan, but so much better to do it on paper!

    Bookmark   December 16, 2012 at 11:04PM
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A couple of things that stick out to me. Obviously these are my preferences.

That's an awful lot of tile. do you like tile? i would change the entry foyer and study to wood.

Wouldn't the laundry be better near the bedrooms?

I don't like the kitchen layout at all. The range is too far from the range.

    Bookmark   December 16, 2012 at 11:14PM
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Have you taken the time to go through room by room and setup furniture the way you envision it? If not, its a rather crucial step. Not just draw a chair in and hope it fits..all to scale. If you still love it afterwards then go for it. I'd have some concerns about the living room myself. Its a major junction point in this house how you have it setup. What do you hope to have there..besides the desk I see drawn in...TV? where will that go? Will folks be walking through interrupting someone in there. If there is a decent traffic path it might be fine, otherwise awkward for sure.

    Bookmark   December 17, 2012 at 4:38AM
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There are people on the kitchen forum who are quite talented at layout. If you'd like some more opinions, I'd post your kitchen plan over there.

    Bookmark   December 17, 2012 at 7:33AM
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What is upstairs?

    Bookmark   December 17, 2012 at 10:05AM
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It has a number of things I don't like.... so I will say them in case it is helpful to you. They could just be my preference, but I do see why someone would say this plan has flaws:

* Most of the issues are in the the kitchen/breakfast room/pantry layout areas.. They are suboptimal. It has been said, but the breakfast room doesn't have enough room when you account for that weird island. If the island isn't prep space, you'd be better off eliminating it and putting a regular table there. The kitchen window view is mostly blocked by the garage wall (it's not a pretty view.) The slider outside will be inaccessible if a table is squeezed in the breakfast room.... etc. I would definitely put this plan on The Kitchen Forum for them to help... or have you?

* The master shares a wall with the living room.... likely the wall where the TV will be. This will be very loud in the master.

* Master bath doesn't have the toilet in an enclosed room.

* Laundry room isn't near the bedrooms, and it's a maze to get to it.

* The living room appears to be small after you account for walkways and those columns. Definitely think about what you need in that space and where it would go. If you move your fireplace where you have it in red, where would you have couches? The TV? I would remove the columns so you have a better, flexible space.

* I agree on putting wood in the entry and study. It isn't a design flaw... just a preference. :) I think the continuity would look better. I would even put wood in the breakfast room and kitchen.

    Bookmark   December 17, 2012 at 12:05PM
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Thank you all for taking time to respond...
-I understand that this might not be the "perfect" kitchen, but i dont see how it can be better..I looked at two other options (making it L shaped and having it in stations, but then its becomes to small imo)
I took the kitchen to the kitchen forum, but never got much feedback. Anyone has an idea exactly to make most efficient?

-Upstairs we plan on having a game room, with little toy/craft area for kids

-Utility needs to stay where it is because my husband comes home very muddy and i dont want him making entire house dirty carrying his clothes threw the house

-I like to have wood in the entry area, but i feel like tile will last longer...or not?

-What exactly is awkward about the living room? its 17x24. I plan on having a upright piano next to the wall where books are and switching book shelves inside the stairs

-Is breakfast area really too small? (its 10.8x16 from wall to wall)

We are on top of out budget with current s.f.cant make the house much bigger, but do you think that making the breakfast area jut out is necessary? and where would i put the door to the porch then?
Thank you!!! Please tell me what you think..this is a house forever on our farm land i really want to get it right!

This post was edited by kassikolo on Mon, Dec 17, 12 at 14:49

    Bookmark   December 17, 2012 at 2:43PM
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I just searched your posts on the kitchen forum. Have you posted asking for layout advice on your current plan? I would try again, and include the utility/mudroom area. (The earlier posts had a lot of revisions on them and were hard to decipher.. I think that's why people didn't help.)

While looking at your thread on legroom at the island, I could read the dimensions of the living room better. I also could see that is a piano and not a wall. (I thought that was a wall breaking up the spaces.) So, I take back what I said about the living room size. :)

RE: entry tile or wood... do you think people will enter through the front door often? Do you have bad weather in your area? We have hardwood at our front door, but we enter through our garage and rarely have wet weather. So, it works for us... it might not for you. You could do a small, tiled entryway that just goes past the front door and then changes to wood. That would leave an area for wet shoes if you are concerned. Again, this is just an idea.. do what works for your lifestyle.

RE: breakfast area: what size table are you putting in there? You need to account for walkways on all sides of the table, including extra room when people are seated. Have you, at least, sketched the table into the space? How much aisle room is left on each side? Can ppl move around others if they are seated? Can ppl still get outside when someone is seated?

    Bookmark   December 17, 2012 at 3:20PM
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I try to avoid switch back stairs because they take up too much space, have awkward railings, and are expensive.

I also try to avoid forcing people to walk through the living room to move between the major spaces of a house. It's nice to be able to walk around in a house and it is especially helpful when you entertain.

The kitchen is oddly too large and inefficient and the eating space is skimpy unless you eat breakfast more than once a day and never have guests. The dining table is a very important place in a house because it is where you see your family face to face on equal terms so in some ways it is the most important space in your house and therefore, if possible, it should not be part of the living room or the kitchen although it can have views into those spaces.

Here is what I would do with your plan, in fact it is similar to several of my houses:

    Bookmark   December 17, 2012 at 3:23PM
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Renovator8's version is MUCH better. There's actually enough room for both an island and a table. There isn't in the original plan. And although the living room is large, it really isn't by the time you put furniture and walkways into it. In fact, that's a HUGE failing with this plan. It really doesn't understand the spatial relationships of humans, passageways and the resultant reduction in usable space. Homes have to have furniture placed in them, and people have to be able to move from one room to another. That's the problem with your plan's main areas. It's deficient in that aspect.

    Bookmark   December 17, 2012 at 4:13PM
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I love Renovator's version! What he has done is incorporate space that was wasted in the hall between the kitchen and pantry and into the kitchen. It will also be much easier to unload groceries inot the fridge in this plan.

I did have 2 questions: 2 things-isn't it hard to vent a fireplace in the middle of the house like that?

And would it be better if the front door swing were reversed?

    Bookmark   December 17, 2012 at 4:48PM
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I will be the 3rd to agree that Renovator's version is VERY nice. You still have everything you had before but more space where you really need it.

    Bookmark   December 17, 2012 at 5:13PM
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I got a lot of grief about our plan since we have a locker room off the back hall. I kept hearing - put it in your main walk through space off the garage. I am a neat freak and I didn't want to see all that junk when I walked into my house! I have a view of my kitchen table and terrace when I walk in from my garage. On the left is our mudroom with 5 lockers in an L shape. No one has a problem going an extra 3 steps to put stuff in there and I don't have to see it when I get home, which stresses me out!

Point being - design this house for you and your family but look towards the future. I would personally hate the 3 bedrooms clustered together. My master has always been on the first floor and the kids have been upstairs. Yes, it makes for a few trips up and down the stairs when they are very little but the tradeoff is huge - run of the downstairs when they are asleep. When your kids get older, they will have friends over, spend the night parties, etc. Those are loud! I would want the master on the side opposite the kids, personally. Yes, a few more steps (it is exercise, right;)?). But a much more peaceful and private master which is important sometimes!

    Bookmark   December 17, 2012 at 5:23PM
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The fireplace is shown as masonry so it would have a large metal or masonry chimney which would be considerably cheaper to build if it passes through the interior of the house. And I prefer windows and doors in exterior walls rather than fireplaces. Of course, I have no idea what the outdoor view is like from the living room. If I were to try to really design this house I would need to spend a few hours with the owner on the site.

The front door is offset in the entry hall so it can be centered on the exterior entry porch. Swinging it the door the other way would be possible but awkward unless the door moved away from the corner. As I recall the porch is an important feature of the Tudor design. Respecting that design is another aspect that seems to be forgotten in this house. I tried to show some ceiling beams and if there are any arches they should be flat instead of round, however, I would stick to orthogonal beams and supports.

    Bookmark   December 17, 2012 at 5:29PM
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Renovator - I love looking at your sketches - *wish* I could draw like that. Question about the fireplace, I always thought it cheaper to go through an outside wall. I'm not sure why I thought that but being cheaper on the inside surprises me. Would that logic hold true for vented gas log also? I am not sure Kassikolo said what type she was planning so hopefully this will be helpful to her also and not just a mini-hijack.

Kassi-my 2 cents. I do like that with your bedroom set up you at least don't have to walk by the kids bedrooms coming and going from your own. That keeps it a little more quiet for the times you are up earlier/later than they are. We are opting to have our kids bedrooms upstairs like athensmom for the same reasons she cited (my kiddos are 7 and 10). I like the shared bath layout with the sinks separate from the toilet area for privacy. As for the kitchen area - you have definite ideas on how you want that space to function and if you are concerned it's not going to live how you envision now is the time to step back and see what else you can do with the space to have it meet your needs. I am not a layout expert but a lot of people on here are rather good at seeing things I don't until they are pointed out. I hope you do go ahead and post in kitchens and see what they come up with. In the end though it is your space and you can take what you like from what is offered and leave the rest. I can't wait to see how things progress for you. I'll be in your shoes in a matter of months myself (it is a bit daunting, isn't it?).

This post was edited by Autumn.4 on Mon, Dec 17, 12 at 18:19

    Bookmark   December 17, 2012 at 6:17PM
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I do not know how you will use the study but if you add a closet it can be counted as an extra bedroom. You could always have a built in in that space.
I love R8 sketch and tried to do something similar but the great room became too narrow (about 13'-4") and also, I have no idea how your second floor set up is.
I did not modify your exterior walls.

    Bookmark   December 17, 2012 at 7:16PM
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I LOVE Renovator's version! This is exactly what I've been thinking about proposing but didn't know how to word it. This plan flows so much better, and eliminates the awkwardness of the living-room-as-hallway. It opens the plan up and gives access to the kitchen without walking around the stairs and through the LR.

Renovator's kitchen is much more user-friendly and tight. I wouldn't want to work in the original kitchen at all (and I cook a lot), because it's so poorly laid out.

I also agree with athensmom about the bedrooms, but they do work as you have them. I just think about long-term living in the house, and as your children turn into teenagers, that close proximity of master and kid's rooms might become awkward.

And, if I were living on the family farm, I would absolutely want my master on the corner/outside walls instead of having the bath and closet taking up a potential view and sunlight. So I would reconsider switching the master bedroom and bathroom/closet locations.

    Bookmark   December 17, 2012 at 7:41PM
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All Hands Working Carpenter

R8's version is very nice indeed. The work triangle in the kitchen seems much better - along with the overall flow. I like the overall layout too. The wall way running between the stairs and the bedrooms is a definite improvement!

I might change only two things on R8's plan- move the door leading into the pantry from the hallway to the kitchen, and make sure the sink windows in the kitchen weren't right against the wall.

Jenswrens and athensmom both have addressed the bedroom issue. I would also do what jenswrens suggested with the master bedroom.

I think I might also reconfigure the hallway to the other bedroom's so they don't go by the master...a lot of space seems wasted by such a long hallway or maybe it is just the proximity to the master that seems invasive.

using R8's plan you could put master bedroom door by the "T" at the end of his hallway or inset it so it doesn't open up right off the hallway, and split the master bath and walk-in closet with the entry door to it.

    Bookmark   December 17, 2012 at 9:03PM
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Autumn.4, only a gas-fired simulated-fireplace can be vented through an exterior wall and, of course, the vent can't be on a porch or near a window or a door. The termination box gets extremely hot and produces carbon monoxide and other pollutants.

A real wood burning fireplace produces much more heat than a gas appliance and must have a double-walled metal or lined masonry chimney that rises to a point 2 ft above any point on the roof within 2 ft horizontally of the chimney. Placing the fireplace on the outside wall means the chimney must have its own enclosure up to the roof and if it is not against a gable wall, it might need to be braced above the eave line. Therefore an interior chimney is usually cheaper especially if it is near the roof ridge.

    Bookmark   December 17, 2012 at 9:51PM
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thank you for putting your valuable time to help me and draw it for me..i very much appreciate it. I have few questions before i contact my designer tomorrow:
-Where would i put the tv? We do watch a lot of it
-I love a wood burning Masonry fireplace, is there another furniture arrangement that we can do to fit it in instead of a gas one?
-What is it between kitchen and dinning table-is it a wall, a cabinet? does it go all the way up to the ceiling? Will the dinning area not be to small?

Thank you i am anxious to hear from you!!

    Bookmark   December 17, 2012 at 10:17PM
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Thank you renovator.

Kassikolo-are you planning on built ins on either or both sides of the fireplace? If so I would put the tv there. I think renovator has one drawn in on his sketch. Note that if you need to you can extend dining table into family room for the larger family gatherings. I noticed he sketched in a table for 8 so it appears to be sizable in its own right. That sketch does feel comfortable and natural in flow. Nothing feels cramped. Good luck.

    Bookmark   December 17, 2012 at 10:48PM
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Autumn, thank you for your nice comments. I like the idea of built in bookshelves, but i dont like to put tv there.We have a 65" screen that we watch everyday and should we put in over the fireplace? not sure if it will be comfortable to watch though. If i would have to rate it on importance level, i would rate 1st tv then a fireplace

    Bookmark   December 17, 2012 at 10:55PM
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You could always choose to orient your couches for TV viewing (with TV on M BR wall as you were previously going to do), and the fireplace then is the accessory piece (if you even want the fp at all).

If your TV viewing is a super high priority, then, that is probably what I'd do.

And, as previously stated, I'd reorganize your MBR and suite so that the bedroom is on the outside corner instead of the bathroom--insulating sounds from the LR/TV and your MBR.

Also, you've never answered what is up or down in your planned house (I don't think).

    Bookmark   December 18, 2012 at 1:09AM
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kassikolo-That is a large TV! I see how it wouldn't fit as a side to a fireplace. Ours is 32"-and currently it's in the basement. :) At that size I'd steer clear of putting it above the fireplace. It would overtake it and probably be at too high of an angle to be comfortable viewing. As Kirkhall said - bedroom wall would probably be your best bet. If you watch that much then it might be a bonus that you can see it from the dining room.

I too agree with MBR/M bath switcharoo. That would give you a nice buffer and allow for windows on 2 sides of your bedroom. Great for summer breezes and natural light!

    Bookmark   December 18, 2012 at 5:54AM
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A masonry fireplace is a significant expense. With a TV that large, I'd forgo the fireplace entirely in favor of putting the TV there. Just having something of that size will be a difficult enough endeavor to integrate without trying to have competing focal points.

One thing that I might suggest is making sure the foundation between the kitchen and dining area could support the weight of a fireplace in the future, and then placing a two sided fireplace there. It much more suits the ambiance of the cozier dining and kitchen area than it does the sports bar atmosphere of a family room with such a large TV.

    Bookmark   December 18, 2012 at 10:24AM
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65"is not that big. Our room is smaller- 16x17 and a tv that size fits fine with a fireplace without feeling like a sports bar:

I love having a fireplace in our family room. The fireplace is on most evenings in the winter. Our tv wall is shared with the master bedroom. We used a 2x6 wall with insulation to help with the sound.

    Bookmark   December 18, 2012 at 10:58AM
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You could use that same furniture setup ^^ for the space renovator sketched for you.

    Bookmark   December 18, 2012 at 11:38AM
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I meant no harm with the tv size comment. Just that I'd not want a tv that large competing with the fireplace by hanging it above it. My preference would be like pps-on separate walls. That said my priority would be Fireplace #1 and Tv #2 which is opposite yours Kassi so place the tv where you would enjoy it most. I love the warmth (visual and physical) that a fireplace brings to a room.

    Bookmark   December 18, 2012 at 1:04PM
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It's difficult to design a room when you don't know much about the family, you can't move any walls and the drawing is not to scale. I put a fireplace in the living room as an idea not a solution. None of my clients has ever wanted a TV in their living room- a different generation I guess.

The TV could go to the right of the fireplace and the furniture could be in an "L" shape facing it. It would be in a cabinet mounted on the back wall with an extension bracket/arm that would allow it to be turned toward the seating.

The thing between the kitchen and the dining area is 42" +/- high wood counter with shelves on the kitchen side. I can show you photos of one if you are serious about it.

If you don't need a large table you can use a smaller one with a leaf that can be added.

I don't understand the fireplace question.

    Bookmark   December 18, 2012 at 2:33PM
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ok so i emailed this to my designer and he got very angry at me. He was really rude and said that i need to make up my mind on what i want. We started working on the 29th of november so its been about a month and half and so far we had 2 drafts. He made it sound that i am making it too difficult and that it will take another week or 2 to get it done (which we are not in a hurry, but is there a reason why he is?)
Anyway, he really pressured me to print the plan as is and i am not sure if i AM over thinking it and he is correct or not?

Also he said that making the stairs like on Renovators sketch would not fit and i would have no pantry. If thats the case is it worth just redesigning the kitchen dining area? To do that i would have to go to war with him and my husband:) is it worth it? I am 30 and i will be leaving in this house until i die, selling will never be possible

    Bookmark   December 18, 2012 at 5:36PM
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Kassikolo-if you are truly in no hurry and will be living in this house on that land forever - take your time and make sure YOU are good with it. Maybe tell the designer you need to sit with it a while and mull it over. If you are paying him I cannot see how he can be angry, seems unprofessional. That would be annoying - after only 2 drafts. That does not sound unreasonable. Anyone designing a house would want to get it right! It seems like you are being pressured to just settle so he can be done with it. We bought our first house in our mid 20's and I remember feeling somewhat intimidated and just 'going with the flow', works to others benefit but certainly not your own. Stand firm on what you are certain on.

Is he struggling to understand what you want out of the space? Can he work some of the flow or the parts that you like from Renovator's sketch into the space?

My advice is - the kitchen area is really important to you. You have stated clear expectations for it and how your family will utilize it. If it takes some re-designing to have it live how you want it to then do it. Oh the pain of regret and possibly cursing a heavily used space every single day!

I hear ya on the husband side though. I'd be more concerned about that 'war' than the one with the designer. It is much easier all the way around to get a new designer than a new husband, lol!

Good luck.

    Bookmark   December 18, 2012 at 5:56PM
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If the designer had given you a reasonable design we wouldn't be having this discussion. The pantry is ridiculously oversized. It's not a living space; it's storage space. There's plenty of space under the stairway for a reasonable pantry.

The stairway seems out of scale; the treads appear to be 12" which is unnecessary. If the ceiling height is 9 ft., the risers can be 7.5" and the treads can be 10". That will give you adequate headroom for a pantry that is about 8 ft long and if it can extend into the living room it can be 6 ft deep OR it could have cabinet doors along the hallway and be 14" to 24" deep. I've done it in larger houses than this one.

The designer's inappropriate treatment of you makes me angry so I'll be frank: find a better designer.

Naf naf, how were you able to draw a plan in scale? If I had one I could show this Busch League designer how to design a good house.

    Bookmark   December 18, 2012 at 7:06PM
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Autumn and Renovator, thank you for your kind words. If that helps here are some measurements:
The space that includes stairs AND pantry is 16'8"
We have 12' ceilings in living room and 10' ceiling everywhere else

    Bookmark   December 18, 2012 at 7:44PM
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I also agree that R8's kitchen is a vast improvement. It seems to me that designers often dream up complicated, oddball kitchens and baths full of angles, etc. . . . but in the long run, something simple like this works best. And is cheaper. So many times a fresh set of eyes can see something good like this, whereas the person who's stared at it for hours (even dreamed about it at night) can't see the obvious.

The one thing I'd suggest is that you could open the pantry door into the kitchen rather than the hallway. Yes, the door in this position seems to provide a better shelf layout, but I'd rather have the pantry open into the kitchen. A friend of mine has a looong narrow pantry under a staircase, and it's good-sized.

I must disagree with the idea that this pantry's oversized. Mine's going to be 2.5-3 times larger, and I've already mapped out what goes where -- and it's what we actually need. We're building a small kitchen that can hold just what we actually use on a daily basis, and the pantry will store all the things that are used only occasionally (roasters, stock pots, my 100+ cake pans). This will be cheaper because simple, sturdy shelves cost much less than cabinetry and granite countertops. I'm a big fan of pantries.

Okay, I do have another kitchen-related comment, and I say this only because you've said this is your forever house on family land (which is my situation exactly, so I understand). I was planning just what R8 has drawn here: A nice kitchen with a good-sized casual dining room attached. That's what I really want; however, I have only recently been convinced that we should have a "real" dining room and a small breakfast room attached to the kitchen. Why? Because our kids are almost out of the house, and this is going to be our empty-nester house. Although we'll have our children over frequently and will host family gatherings, MOST of our meals will be just me and my husband. I don't like the idea of the two of us sitting at a dining table for eight. It'd feel sort of oversized and lonely. Okay, maybe you could take out the table leaves, but that only does so much. So I've decided that a large casual dining room for guests and a small breakfast room for everyday is a better choice for our situation. And -- long time getting to the point -- if you're going to stay in this house, eventually you'll be empty nesters too, and you might like the smaller, more intimate eating area.

Fireplace thoughts: Sure, you can have a fireplace in the interior of the house. This is efficient because you get some residual heat through the back wall; of course, in this case, it's just a hallway, but the point is still valid -- you're keeping the heat. If you do a direct vent fireplace, you don't need an actual chimney at all -- just a vent, which can be positioned inside the wall. You can still have a masonry stone front and the look of a fireplace, but it'll cost less AND be more efficient than an old-fashioned fireplace.

TV sharing the wall with the master bedroom: Yes, it is potentially a problem, but if you insulate it, the problem disappears.

Pressure from your designer? Time to kick him to the curb. Unless you have been unreasonable in your meetings thusfar, he's the one who's out of line here. Sounds like he's pressuring your to accept the stock plans, the standard offerings rather than trying to see what you really want. He's forgotten that he works for you.

    Bookmark   December 18, 2012 at 7:56PM
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Here's the kitchen; the pantry is under the stairway. The island was supposed to be wider but the granite fabricator made a mistake so there's more room for guests and the space is packed with people at Thanksgiving.

This is a different house with a small dining area.

    Bookmark   December 18, 2012 at 9:01PM
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renovator-what dimension is that kitchen and the family room is on the other side of the stairs from it like in your drawing? A picture is worth a thousand words but for the spacial and visually challenged its priceless.

    Bookmark   December 18, 2012 at 9:36PM
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Thank you for pictures! Just as Autumn i am curios what are the dimensions on the kitchen and what is the actual size of the island?

    Bookmark   December 18, 2012 at 9:42PM
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My designer is working for someone who owns the design firm, so i guess my plan is to go straight to the owner. My husband totally supported me, so thats the plan.
RENOVATOR, is there anything else i need to know before i take your drawing to him?
Thank you for guiding me through the process

    Bookmark   December 19, 2012 at 10:01AM
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You should have a better drawing; that's just an idea sketch because I couldn't read the dimensions on your plan.

I'll try to post the plans of the kitchen in the photo.

    Bookmark   December 19, 2012 at 1:25PM
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This post was edited by kassikolo on Wed, Dec 19, 12 at 14:14

    Bookmark   December 19, 2012 at 1:38PM
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Here are some measurements:
Kitchen is 13x15 and lenght of stairs + pantry is 16.8

This post was edited by kassikolo on Wed, Dec 19, 12 at 14:18

    Bookmark   December 19, 2012 at 1:52PM
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    Bookmark   December 19, 2012 at 2:42PM
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So i heard from the my designers boss and he said we can go forward with the changes, so i have 3 questions:

1. Island direction (make it 6'5" and parallel to the dinning table)pic.1 Or make it like naf naf did ? It then can be 7'5"? (second pic)

2. I like the arches, but if i make an arch separating kitchen and dinning then it will be bigger than the one separating dinning/living. Is that ok or do they have to be the same size?

3. I like the idea of TV on the wall of the stairs(then sound will not be as big of an issue with master). Can i put the TV between books instead of fireplace? (i dont like TV and fireplace next to each other) and when would i the put fireplace..could i live it in the corner?

    Bookmark   December 19, 2012 at 6:24PM
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pic 1

    Bookmark   December 19, 2012 at 6:25PM
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pic 2

    Bookmark   December 19, 2012 at 6:27PM
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Do you want to see the TV from the kitchen?

    Bookmark   December 19, 2012 at 11:16PM
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no, but i would love to put a little tv on the wall where the pantry will be.
I guess this is how it will look, is that what you suggest?
(i want to leave bedrooms the way they are...)If the tv will go on the stairs wall, sound shouldn't be a problem

This post was edited by kassikolo on Wed, Dec 19, 12 at 23:26

    Bookmark   December 19, 2012 at 11:24PM
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Sound on that wall will depend on what is upstairs (which I don't think you've said yet).

I know for our house, the TV sound travels up the stairs when the TV is on the Stair wall. (ie, it disturbs whoever is upstairs more than if it is on a different wall).

Is there any particular reason you don't want to simply flip your master and the bathroom/closets?

    Bookmark   December 20, 2012 at 2:09AM
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Upstairs we have a bonus room..It will be a play room for kids, but we are not sure if we will be able to finish it right away.
Where we live sunlight is not the best just gets way too hot here in the summers, so we dont want another window in the master. Also our designer said that if we switch out master closet it will become smaller. So i dont really care to switch the bedrooms.

    Bookmark   December 20, 2012 at 7:45AM
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