Floor Plan Review..

flyboyyyDecember 22, 2013

Hi All,

I'm a looong time lurker and this is my first post! Firstly, after reading thousands of pages of posts over years I can say this site is a veritable wealth of information! I'll be starting a new build this coming spring, and am just starting to firm up the floorplan - and would like some input from all the experts. Note, those of you who hate open floorplans will hate this, but that part isn't going to change (the combined living/dining/kitchen area)!

Also, since this is a self build house, you'll note the lack of fancy architectural details and the simple lines (for ease of construction and use of trusses, etc..). That also won't change, but as far as the basic layout can y'all take a look and see if there is anything egregious I missed? At this point I figure I'm too close to notice obvious things, so some outside input would be of value. The main "greatroom" is vaulted, the rest of the house is not.

Thanks in advance!

This post was edited by flyboyyy on Sun, Dec 22, 13 at 20:10

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What is this little "walk through" closet-thing in the entryway /laundry?

When you walk in the front door, your view is . . . a wall. Not particularly exciting. Perhaps you're thinking of a hall table and a nice piece of artwork there? But then you walk through a twisted hallway, and your guests' next view is the kitchen. The "experience" of entering the house is less than ideal.

If you flip the entryway with the laundry, your guests would have a view of the greatroom as they enter, though then you lose your functional casual entry.

If you bump the washer/dryer to the exterior wall, you'll be able to vent the dryer directly to the outside.

Your pantry bumps up to the garage. How wonderful would it be to have an opening between these two . . . so you could shove your grocery bags through a little door /and when you come into the pantry, they're sitting there waiting for you on a little shelf. That's probably impossible, but isn't it a lovely idea? I would want the pantry to be larger.

Your bedroom is a nice, comfortable size, and I like the entry area to your bedroom (bath to one side, closet ahead, bedroom to the other side), but I'd change the master closet a bit: As it's drawn, you have space for clothes on only one side. If you add only 1' more, you'd have space for clothes on both sides of the closet. I love a big closet because it keeps the rest of the room clean.

In the master bath, I'd give up some of that giant vanity space and include a linen closet. Do you anticipate yourself aging in this home? If so, you might one day be sorry that your toilet is so very far from your bed. With it tucked away in this little private corner, I would not include a door to hide it away further; the door only makes it harder to clean that little room, and -- if this is the home in which you'll one day be elderly -- the door'll become a barrier. This toilet closet does seem to be 'specially deep.

With such big windows opening towards the deck, the secondary bedroom isn't very private.

The kitchen is functional, but it will be a bit dark.

I assume you'll have a table in front of the island? I like that arrangement. Why the sliding glass door though? It appears that your deck is the focal point of your back yard (two doors to it already). I think I'd be tempted to go with a bank of windows by the table.

On that subject, you do have a lot of exterior doors. That's an expensive choice (doors cost more than windows). It's more to secure each evening. If you're looking at a home security system, the more doors you have, the more you pay.

I assume your TV will be beside the fireplace in that one spot without a window. I can't quite see how furniture will arrange nicely in this space, but I'm never all that good with living rooms.

    Bookmark   December 23, 2013 at 9:43AM
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The biggest issue I see is the stairs are right at the entry door. The door for the stairs will need to swing out towards the entry door. With the shower adjacent to this area you will need to plan the plumbing carefully if you want to use a pocket door for the stairs. It's a big safety concern as far as I am concerned. I'm not knowledgeable about building codes, but I do wonder if that is a violation of some code.

    Bookmark   December 23, 2013 at 9:50AM
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I think the dual-access closet is inspired! Great idea! However, the entry is long and narrow, with the bedroom door straight ahead (if it's open).

    Bookmark   December 23, 2013 at 10:08AM
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Hi Guys,

Thanks for taking the time to give me some views, I appreciate the input. I'll try to clarify a few things.

The stairs have a sliding barn door I front of them due to aforementioned door swing/plumbing issues. The 2nd bedroom upstairs should probably be marked "office" - the real guest bedrooms are in the basement.

The sliding door off the kitchen is to assist in lighting and opens to a nice shade/wooded patio/hammock area. As far as the deck - the house will be on a hill side with a large expansive view south (my lot is basically the high point in the county, but that's not saying much here in MN), which is another reason for all the glass. There really isn't a "back yard". My lot is a piece of a neat plateau that I acquired about 8 acres of - incidentally about 1/4 mile away is an old abandoned NIKE missile base (also built there due to the high elevation).

The closet in the entry way with two doors was basically so I could gain access to it from either the entry or the mud room. The master closet is planned to have built ins along one wall, with rods/hangers on the opposite long wall (again not vey well shown).

The main entry is something I've swapped many times, and now that someone else noticed it, I'll revisit again. I ended up with the current solution due to my desire or a dedicated mudroom/laundry with a garage entry. The wall at the end of the main entry is slated to showcase some pieces of nice artwork. I also kind of wanted to avoid the difficulty of designing an entrance as the intersection of those two rooflines if I swap the entry with the laundry...but as mentioned, I'll take another crack at it.

Regarding a linen closet, I intend the 36" space between the 2 master vanities to be a linen closet (and to divide the two vanities). Should I put it at the "end" of the vanities and not break them up?

Anyway, thanks again for the input - I'll take them into consideration for sure.


    Bookmark   December 23, 2013 at 10:26AM
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The garage looks like it will be tight for opening car/truck doors. And it doesn't look like there's much room for bikes / lawn mower / snow blower / shovels / garden tools / ladders etc. if you have those things (and even people with yard services usually have at least some of those things.)

It might help to draw in the cars (pick ups?) with the doors open, and draw in all the other myriad things you'll want to store in there. Sounds like you have plenty of land and I think you'd be disappointed if you underbuilt the garage. Even if you plan on a separate storage shed for yard tools, I'd double check the amount of room you need to comfortably open the car doors.

    Bookmark   December 23, 2013 at 12:11PM
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I like it! I agree with Bpathome...the closet is inspired :)

Everything looks great and I think the entry is fine. That back wall (what you see as you walk in) would be perfect for artwork or photographs. The barn door on the basement stairs is wonderful...all I would consider in this area is flipping the way the front door opens, so you don't hit anyone coming up the stairs.

The kitchen is very good! So many kitchens need work, but I think yours is very well thought out. The corner pantry actually works (so many do not) and the oven/baking area is in a great location. Your main work area (fridge, sink, range) are well laid out...the fridge is not against the wall (well done!) and the dishwasher does not open into the range. Very nice!

it is a very straight-forward, simple plan, but that's a nice change from some of the more complicated ones we often see. I hope other people use your plan as a jumping off point for their own home design :)

    Bookmark   December 23, 2013 at 1:58PM
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Are you planning on always keeping your master closet door or master suite door closed? If not, anyone coming into the house (through the garage or the front door) has a view into your master closet.

    Bookmark   December 23, 2013 at 2:45PM
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Thanks for the kind words, you can thank GW members for all the kitchen work zone/triangle and real world knowledge for that. I have a lot of work into such a simple kitchen trying to keep things workable (and spaced accordingly). I'm revisiting the entryway as well as the front door swing as noted (good point) to see how it works. The closet door can be worked around a bit - thanks for pointing that out. I may end up putting a door into the bedroom instead, but I was thinking quick/easy access from the closet to the laundry (hence the sliding doors on the closet as well).

As folks have obviously noticed, it is not a complicated plan. This is somewhat of a function before form design, but that also translates into being very affordable from a construction standpoint. As I've read in another thread, there seems to be many more folks out there trying to do a build on a smaller budget. While I'm extremely envious and jealous of some of the large, elaborate, architecturally pleasing and beautiful homes I see going together here (that thread on the Garrell houses is amazing), it's just not in the cards for me at this point. I'm going for the "100% down and zero $$'s per month payment plan", so while it may not be as fancy as some, it'll be paid for! :)

I already own all the windows/doors...they are new Marvin Integrities of decent mid level quality that I got for a steal (they are new in their wrapping). The sink is a Kohler stages found on Craigslist new in the box for half price, the appliances aren't necessarily matching but reasonably high end (Viking Ovens, Fischer/Paykel dishwasher drawer, Sharp Micro drawer, Miele Induction cooktop, and probably a Liebherr fridge) that I've also scrounged for at least 50-80% off (and all are still new in their boxes).

Thanks again for all the insight. It's nice to see input from folks who have so much exposure to this!

    Bookmark   December 23, 2013 at 4:14PM
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Okay, taking your clarifications and other people's comments into consideration, I have new thoughts:

- I was lost on the double-door closet -- I was trying to make it into a walk-through, and I couldn't see the point -- but now I agree it's clever.

- I didn't pay much attention to the stairs at first, but now I am concerned about them. Even the experts deem them 100% safe, consider this problem: You said you'll have guest bedrooms in the basement. The stairs will plop your guests out in the far corner, meaning you'll end up with lengthy hallways in the basement. Hallways are wasted space. If you could move the stairs to a more central area, your basement rooms'll work out better.

- Knowing that the 2nd bedroom will function as more of a study /office, I'd consider leaving off the closet doors and making them deep bookshelves. If someday the room needs to become a "real bedroom", installing doors is a small project.

- So your master closet will have 12" built-ins on one side, 2' of hanging space on the other side . . . leaving you 4' of walking space. Yes, that's good. I was thinking of two sides of hanging space.

- I would definitely bump the linen closet down to the end of the bathroom -- across from the toilet. If not, the sink on the end will be kind of remote and "hidden". Actually, I'd downsize to one sink, but that's not a popular opinion around here.

    Bookmark   December 24, 2013 at 9:07PM
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I really like the house, the rooms, the double door closet and the kitchen. But don't you think your guests will have a long walk to reach the living room? Did you consider flipping the master with the living/kitchen area?

    Bookmark   December 25, 2013 at 6:16PM
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I like the great room space, but I think the stair placement and entry could use some work.

What if you swapped the stairs/master bath/closet with the study (basically swivel the master suite 90 degrees and then put the study up by the front door)? Then you could have the stairs in between the master bath and great room, which would be more central, and the study would be closer to the front door, which would be better if you want to have a meeting or something in your home office. Also you could have french doors from the foyer into the study, which would make the entry area feel larger.

    Bookmark   December 25, 2013 at 8:45PM
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Annie Deighnaugh

Lot of good thought into your plan already.

Just wanted to mention the deck and the southern exposure....we too built into a southern facing slope, and during our many many iterations of our house, we learned from Acorn that a deck over the windows of the lower level rooms will still make them feel like a basement as the windows are covered. So we were able to put our deck (southeast exposure which is the best) behind the garage and not overhang any of the lower level windows, so those rooms feel like above-ground rooms. It makes a tremendous difference, especially if your deck is fairly deep.

Deck behind the garage leaving other windows exposed.

View from basement level guest room:

    Bookmark   December 26, 2013 at 8:35AM
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Annie Deighnaugh

Also, when you're building a smaller home, think about if you need a tub in the master bath. We talked to so many people who said they never use it. So we put a steam shower in our master instead and put an air jet tub in the guest suite so we have it if we want to use it, but it doesn't take up valuable space upstairs.

    Bookmark   December 26, 2013 at 2:03PM
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Thanks folks! There are definatley some bits of great advice here. I'm going to endeavor to change a few things for sure, starting with the location of the stairs. I mapped it out on the ground and it definately creates a lot of hallways downstairs, not to mention the unattractive entry upstairs.

Also some good ideas on the MB layout as well, I'll look at moving things around to better utilize space. It's nice to see people spending time helping someone with a modest house after seeing all the beautiful homes y'all have. While building a home isn't necessarily a democratic effort, ghe advice from those better experienced in this is appreciated. I'm open to all the suggestions, most have been valuable I think.

Lastly, good points on the deck and windows in the basement....I'll revisit that as well.

Thanks again and happy holidays!

    Bookmark   December 26, 2013 at 5:21PM
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