Floor Plans... Which one better?

abrshaferDecember 8, 2012

Hi again! You may remember me posting last month. I had a floor plan that I really liked and had given it to the builders we are considering for feedback and estimates. Since then, I went into my neighbors house and saw their angled keeping room, which I loved! I am changing that on my floor plan. The question now is how to adjust the rest of the floor plan. Below are two ways I think I could do this but was wanting to see what others thought. Also, because of the large first floor "footprint" we either need to reduce the square footage back to 2500-2600 on first floor OR lose the unfinished basement.

We were thinking to try and compromise and do a partial unfinsihed basement and keeping about 2700-2800 on first floor. However, the builders are all saying that it won't save much money to do a partial vs a full unfinished basement.

We wouldn't be finishing the basement for 5-7 years and our plan is another family room (place to send the kids when they are teenagers and college age- currently 4/6 now) or man cave.... otherwise using it for storage and a utility garage.

If we don't have a basement, we could have 3000 sq feet main level and 1200 on second level. With basement we would need 2500-2600 main level and 800 on second level.

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Here is the second variation. The one above has more square footage but I like how there is a hallway between keeping room and mudroom and the bathroom only has one door. With that floorplan I would lose my basement.

This floor plan has less square footage and we could possibly have a partial unfinished basement. However, I have shrunk several rooms and lost the hallway.

Also, I know this question may be better on kitchen forum, but what's your opinions of kitchens? I have also changed this from my previous floorplan. What do you think about having the walkway through the kitchen (above) or separate like in this one?

    Bookmark   December 8, 2012 at 8:46PM
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oops here is second variation.

    Bookmark   December 8, 2012 at 8:48PM
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oops here is second variation.

    Bookmark   December 8, 2012 at 9:01PM
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Because, what I see as the main difference is a hallway, I'd do variation 2 (or stick with your original).

Except, I'd choose a different closet door style or swing. Swinging inward is really working against you there.

    Bookmark   December 8, 2012 at 9:20PM
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I like the first plan, especially not having so many doors around the bathroom. If you didn't mind moving your sink to the island you could get rid of the counter there and pretty painlessly take 2 feet off the depth of the house which would reduce by roughly 140 sq. ft. You could make the island longer if you wanted more prep space and you would still be able to move in the kitchen. You could have the hallway closet by the bedroom end that hallway and that would also reduce noise making it back to the bedroom. If you wanted to reduce more take 2 ft. Off the depth of the master closet/bathroom and also the study to cut out another 40 sq. ft. That would get you just under 2600 ft and I think the living area wouldn't be impacted much by those changes.

Hope there's something useful there, good luck!

    Bookmark   December 8, 2012 at 9:42PM
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You have two children, ages 4 and 6? On the first floor there are two bedrooms, the master and one other...where will the two children sleep?

This first floor plan is huge: a very large master and humongeous bath, a study, a dining room, a living room, a breakfast room, a keeping room, a large laundry-garage entry-pantry, with all the corridors and circulation space to connect all of these.

Real estate statistics indicate that the average American family moves every 5-8 years. Are you really sure this floor plan works for your family now, and in the next 5-8 years?

I think you could drop this standard builder's plan and start anew and be much further ahead for your family and your budget.

Only a thought!

    Bookmark   December 8, 2012 at 9:48PM
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Why would you lose the basement in one plan and not the other?

    Bookmark   December 8, 2012 at 10:12PM
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Thanks everyone! Keep the suggestions coming. I have been looking at the floorplans so long that I have lost perspective.

Our two daughters will share the one bedroom until they want to move upstairs into separate rooms and then the first floor bedroom will become guest room. I didn't post the second floor since it will be the same regardless of first floor. The second floor will have two bedrooms(above study and dining room) and a playroom (which will be unfinished for now).

This is the floor plan that I drew myself from using what I like from various houses I have walked through. The last two houses we have lived in have been ranches (reason for large first floor plus subdivisions requirement for 2500 minimum on first floor).

A little more about our build. We are building in a gated, golf course neighborhood and we will be one of the smallest houses. We really feel this is going to be our "till the nursing home" house, but just in case we do need to sell in future we are trying to have the rooms that are expected for this neighborhood. Also, I am thinking every stage of life so now we wouldn't need a basement but once our girls are in college I could see that being an important space... and then later it could be an inlaw apartment. However, this is what I feel I would give up first since it really is space I don't need now.

The hard part is visualizing what's on paper and translating that into what it will be like in reality.

    Bookmark   December 8, 2012 at 11:07PM
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I played around with your plans a bit and tried to keep the dimensions as close as you had them in your sketches.
This version ended being just over 3000 square feet.

I took the second bedroom and angled it with the keeping room, then switched the bedroom door to the hall. If you are worried about resale value/college kids/inlaws, an isolated suite on the main floor with an exterior entrance nearby is a good idea.

Up front I streamlined the four front rooms to share one wall. The multiple corners and jogs you have planned around the dining/foyer/study/closet will get pricey, so lining up the front wall would be good idea if it doesn't affect your front elevation too uch. The extra square footage created by pushing the study and foyer out to meet the front wall would cost less then having all the corners in the origial plan.

I'm not sure if the pantry arrangement would be handy or not, but I do know that a kitchen in the center of the house isn't going to be full of light. However, both these placements just depend on personal preference.

Let me know what you think!

    Bookmark   December 9, 2012 at 6:50PM
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Nick360: Thanks for the layout. I really like the bedroom angled as well as the keeping room. I will have to keep that in mind for my next revision. I think my big two problems with this plan is the guest bath is so far from the rest of the house (since it is the main bath for the first floor) I want it as close to garage entrance or keeping room as possible. Also, I want the garage entrance and side entrance to share the same "mud area" (but laundry keep a window...) I do really like the pantry having two entrances with separate space for freezer.

I did go back to my designer/draftsman and this is the revision she gave me. We did decide to try to move the bedroom upstairs to reduce first floor square footage (our goal was 2500-2600 first floor) but I don't like where she placed the bedroom. Basically she placed it where we had a large "playroom/family room" and then made the over garage space the future playroom. I told her I did not want to use this space since I do not like the steep angled walls for a main living area (especially one so narrow). The space above garage was planned to be attic storage. I also feel the kitchen will not have enough upper cabinets. On the left wall the upper cabinets end after six feet to be open to staircase, then on the right wall the cabinets end after stove to be able to see into keeping room and back wall is mainly refrigerator.

    Bookmark   December 17, 2012 at 8:47PM
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Second floor...

    Bookmark   December 17, 2012 at 9:08PM
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I don't think you need that many uppers in a kitchen with a pantry that size. (just saying). Think about what you would actually put in uppers v pantry v pots/pans. I think your kitchen and pantry have enough room.

Are you really, really, married to a 2 story great room? To me, that is where you get your extra, inexpensive square foootage upstairs. (and above the garage space that is long, narrow, etc, is also fine space for a playroom. If it will morph into something more later in life, then you need to think about what that would be, and if it is appropriate for the space or not. But, as play space, it is fine (and cozy).

Does this new plan give you a basement? In real life, toys migrate down. So, playroom might most appropriately be downstairs/basement.

Just some thoughts.

    Bookmark   December 18, 2012 at 12:37PM
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Some observations about this plan, now:

From the foyer, there is a clear view into the kitchen.

Is your keeping room for the TV? If so, do you really want your laundry right next to it? (my laundry machine is noisy and I wouldn't want it running if I were trying to listen to a TV right next door).

I am not sure your 1/2 bath location is in a much more accessible spot/desirable spot than in Nicke's design... I guess you don't have to go around the kitchen, but I think you can play with Nicke's to get the same accessibility. (end for end the kitchen/pantry for example). (or, flip the locations of the closet/bathroom in the "suite" and have bath accessible to both keeping room and bedroom.)

    Bookmark   December 18, 2012 at 12:44PM
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Thanks for all the suggestions. Here is what we "hope" are our final revisions. We are ready to get started! Any other tips and suggestions with this plan?

Kirkhall: I like my kitchen so have no problem with it being seen from entry :)

I am a little concerned about width of entry. It is 6.5 feet wide by 10 feet in length. We really won't use this space much as most guest will actually enter through side entrance. Is this an acceptable width? The entrance will be two story to give it a more spacious feel.

    Bookmark   January 19, 2013 at 9:12PM
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Here is the upstairs...

I believe I want to add a pocket door to the back bedroom closet and have only one sink in bathrooms.

Any other suggestions?

    Bookmark   January 19, 2013 at 9:18PM
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The laundry room couldn't be any further from the bedrooms, which in my opinion is ridiculous. I'd trade its location with the study.

    Bookmark   January 19, 2013 at 11:51PM
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It has to too common failing of looking like a garage with some living space only incidentally attached. And there are too many spaces with similar functions. Study, keeping room, family room, theater room, and tons and tons of wasted (and hugely difficult to HVAC) space in the rotunda and open to the family room vault. Even for a large square footage home, there is too much duplicative function. The dining room, the eating bar and the breakfast area

For such a large house, the entry way is strangely hidden and small. It looks forgotten. A forgotten and unfriendly mineshaft. It's certainly not proportionate to the rest of the space.

All in all, it's main distinguishing design characteristic is it's size and poor use of space. Other than that, it feels psychologically cold and unfriendly--despite the 17 different locations to sit and potentially have a conversation. Part of that has to do with the initial impression it makes from the street, and then the unwelcoming entry, but most of it comes from the awkward proportions that aren't human friendly in the interior.

A project of this size and visibility should have an actual architect involved. Your draftsman isn't guiding you to something better than you drew out. She's just translating it with software. And that is a disservice to your family. You can do SO much better. Especially on a build this size. Your need to go to someone who can give you better.

    Bookmark   January 20, 2013 at 12:13AM
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How will the mudroom work? I see a bench, but I don't see enough space for coats, backpacks, book bags, shoes, etc. We use our mudroom as a place to drop off all the stuff you don't want to clutter the house with.

    Bookmark   January 20, 2013 at 8:54PM
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I agree with dekeoboe as well. We currently have a walk in closet in that area and I still feel that we need more room. With two teenage boys, a husband and an unending supply of coats, shoes, cleats, bags, boots, etc, the next house we are building will have a bigger coat closet.

    Bookmark   January 20, 2013 at 9:29PM
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Dekeoboe: The mudroom has a closet and a "drop zone" that are across from each other by the side door and behind the half bath. I will either have a table and mirror in the "drop zone" niche or I will have a built in with drawers and shelves. In both cases I will have an electical outlet for charging cell phones, etc. The "bench" will also be a built-in with hooks for backpacks, umbrellas, coats, etc and space for shoes underneath bench.

The location of laundry is a small concern of mine, I did initially have a second laundry room upstairs, and I may rework the larger bathroom to have space for a stacked W/D closet. It does have now a laundry chute to the laundry below so that will help some. Otherwise, I only do laundry 2x week (as in 3-6 loads at a time) so it's not something to bother me on a daily basis...

I feel that size of an entry doesn't mean an entry is "unwelcoming". In most homes, I feel the entry has wasted space which is why I told my designer to make it as small, but functional as possible. Again, 90% of my guests will be entering through side entrance and mudroom. Also, the guest closet will not be directly off entry so guests will not need to take coats off/on in this area. With that said, I had suggested to my designer a width of 7-8 ft wide... However, to make it wider I would have to reduce the size either of my garage, dining, or study which I do not want to do if not really needed (which then changes room size above too).

I could move the doors of the study to the entry wall and remove wall separating dining room from entry to make it feel more "spacious" but that would make the study feel more isolated from living room which is something I am trying to avoid.

Also, the back of the home will be seen as much, if not more, than the front of the house. The back yard is adjacent to the golf course and the commnuity pool is on the other side of golf course. So anyone playing golf or swimming at pool will seeing the back of the home.

Any more obsevations or comments?

I am thinking I may want to move my refrigerator to stair wall and then double ovens to where refrigerator currently is... So that the stove would be centered on its wall.

    Bookmark   January 20, 2013 at 10:03PM
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Here is the front elevation to the house.

    Bookmark   February 4, 2013 at 9:58PM
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That is a beautiful elevation. My laundry is strategically located between the guest rooms in the lower level and our master on the opposite end of the house. We did not want our adult kids or any other guests to be doing laundry by the master. We have the option to add a second laundry in the lower level, but I have not found any trees that grow money. Good luck on your project.

    Bookmark   February 6, 2013 at 10:11AM
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