Frustration with split entry
I did post some of these concerns on the building a new house forum, but really it is more of a reno question as we are building an addition and renovating an existing split entry (also goes by terms split foyer, bi-level house, or raised bungalow). I hope it is okay to cross-post.
We are 90% done with the framing stage and are taking a fews weeks pause with the framers as we wait for the windows to come and garage floor to be poured. However, we are unhappy about the outside entrance and inside foyer for the following reasons:
a)It is small (about 6' wide X 5.5' deep). We have included a mudroom off the garage entrance, so for our family's daily use this will be great. However, when guests come and go, we would like to use the main door entrance. We could take two feet from an adjacent room (study) by joining the two small bedrooms in front into one room and then take some from the garage to increase the width by 2 feet for the full one and a half story. So the issue of interior size can be solved by this wall adjustment.
b) The second problem is we feel we have destroyed the curb appeal. We are finding the main door, especially now that the garage bump out is framed in, is lost from view. The fact that it is a door that is on a level in between the basement and main level seems to make it all the worse. Also the traditional pre-cast concrete steps when put back on will not help beautify it at all. In a book by Jerold Axelrod on building additions there is an idea that brings the main door of split entries down to ground level. With this you include a second set of wide stairs inside the house (instead of the concrete steps outside). So for this solution you enter at the level of elevation, then there is a small foyer, followed by a wide staircase, followed by another foyer and last the regular half flight going up and the half flight of stairs going down. Has anyone seen this done? Essentially from the outside, this would look like a bump out for the main entrance with the door at ground level which might make it more visable. We can't bump it out too far as we have a man door to the garage close by. We also wondered if some sort of porch or overhead trellis might be worth pursuing. We will be re-bricking, adding a fantastic garage door and board and batten beige/grey siding. So it will look better of course with these changes -- but these won't fix the fact that the entry is not welcoming or visable.
We are desperately looking for any input on the ideas listed above, or brand new solutions, especially those that address the outside look of the front entrance. I have included the floor plan below as well as the elevation picture. Also, you will find two pictures of the house at our current stage of construction. BTW, you will also see that the bedroom windows over the new garage bump out are also getting lost from view as well which is not helping the curb appeal either. The elevation pictures we were going by did not help us visualize this change either. It is so hard to see things in 3D from 2D pictures.
Thanks so much for any suggestions. I really need hope that this costly project will look good in the end.