need input on floorplan for addition

EngProfJuly 24, 2012

Hoping maybe for insight/input for my renovation plans?

The plan is to make the addition 13' wide x 35' deep/long, with LR/BA/BR for newly arriving in-law. Not doing a kitchen & cannot fit a walk-in closet. No desire for a separate entry.

The 13' width is firm due to setbacks; can go back more than 35' BUT existing home is only 25'deep (x36' wide). Cost and proportionality are issues. We will add upstairs area (master bath, dressing room, possible office) but I'm not there yet w/ design.


* Don't love the location of the closet in the new bedroom, but I can't figure out an alternative. If there were no closet there, the wall would be 8'3" and be right next to the door OR to a hallway from the door. I cannot figure out whether it's enough to accommodate a headboard.

* Thought about having the wall of the addition overlap part of the existing dwelling -- maybe just 2' to allow a closet to be recessed -- but then I don't have a location for the AC compressors. Putting it behind the addition deprives that addition of a patio. Also the wall would be getting mighty close to the window of one downstairs BR (used as a den).

* Architect drew the downstairs bathroom w/ the door opening to obstruct the shower, not the linen closet, which I thought was weird. Maybe didn't want shower across from toilet? or near the exterior wall?

* We plan for 4' hallway so that we don't have a "tunnel" and so that we have wheelchair clearance if we ever need it. Does a 4' width make it more elegant? or just a waste?

* I did draw in a built-in bookcase at the rear wall of the front room, for books and storage and blocking noise from the bathroom. Should the edge go all the way to the corner of the wall @ hallway? or stop a few inches short of the corner?

* Haven't drawn in windows yet. Lazy. And that side of the house looks at the neighbor's house, so I'm unenthused by view.

Background on us:

* small Cape Cod, 2BR/1BA up & 2BR/1BA down

* close-in suburbs of major metro area; no McMansions

* homes have small footprint; upstairs master merely 14x14

* 2 adults, 2 dogs, no kids ever, & newly arriving in-law

Any input, observations, etc. would be super helpful.


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Image of the whole house w/ planned addition.

    Bookmark   July 24, 2012 at 4:21PM
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One idea that just hit me:

* Move BR closet alongside the hall to the BR
* Put doorway to BR in hallway prior to BR closet

* BA was going to be 8'3" wide, but now is 6'3"
* But can make it longer (e.g., 10' or so)

Is this a good idea?

    Bookmark   July 24, 2012 at 5:29PM
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I'd narrow the bathroom, and keep the closet out of the bedroom. Otherwise, it seems the bedroom has limited wall space.

    Bookmark   July 24, 2012 at 11:53PM
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I don't know the dimensions of hallways and such, but would make sure you have at least 36" wide doors in case a wheel chair is needed at some point.

    Bookmark   July 25, 2012 at 12:24PM
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How are you using the bedroom/den? Is that currently a dining room?

If so, this is what I would do...make the back bedroom a true dining room, with access to the new back deck. I'd flip the new addition's bedroom and living area, so the deck access is off the living area.

It seems more likely (and safer) that your in-law would want to access the deck and backyard from their living area, rather than their bedroom. Hope this helps :)

From Cottage house plans

    Bookmark   July 25, 2012 at 8:12PM
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The hallway between the additions sitting room and bedroom is wasted space. But, how do u go from room to room? Any hallway is dead space. U only use them for transit. So new house will be: area 1 for u and area 2 for inlaw. Awkward.

    Bookmark   July 26, 2012 at 3:12PM
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Totally agree that there is too much hallway, but I don't have good alternative.

A different inquiry:

We have tried to keep the new bedroom at the back of the addition, as bedrooms tend not to be on the front near the street & so that in-law's guests don't have to traipse through the bedroom area to get to a living area. But lavender_lass suggested that it would be better to have the porch area (in back) connect w/ in-law's living room, not BR. Do others agree?
To what extent does it seem strange or dangerous to have the bedroom in the back?

    Bookmark   July 28, 2012 at 12:34AM
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The way you get rid of the hallway effect is to use a portion of a room as a hallway/walkway. For example, you place your living room/living area in the center and arrange your furniture in such as way as to create/allow the walkway without actually boxing off the space as only hallway which has no other use and makes things feel small...

As for the bedroom placement.
I don't think it is odd to have a bedroom in the back of the house. In fact, I think that is a normal location for it (usually quieter, etc). However, given that you have a deck there and you might want to access the deck, I could see putting your public space in back, as LL did with bedroom on front.
Is your house on a busy street?

    Bookmark   July 28, 2012 at 1:15AM
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The bay window would be nice in the bedroom and the deck access off the living area seems more convenient.

Sorry, if I confused you, when I said 'safer'. I was thinking of a friends' situation, when her grandmother started getting 'confused' (especially after being asleep) and would be more likely to wander out the wrong door. Just seems better to have the only door out of the bedroom to the hall and bathroom...not the outside.

Of course, that may (hopefully) never be your situation. And a hot tub on that deck might make a big difference, too! Much more convenient to have deck access off the bedroom, then.

    Bookmark   July 29, 2012 at 7:08PM
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In the bathroom area use a pocket door or an exterior open door in case an elderly person falls you are still able to assist them. I like the 4' hallways for access but you could get by with 3'6" as a compromise if your needing space.

Re: The bookcase, I would stop short of the entry for accessibility and a more spacious feeling. Also, it makes room for light switches.

If you make it a public area in the back with the bedroom in the front I'd do a french door entry for light and since you mentioned it was a less than stellar view from the neighboring side. You might want to consider higher windows for light but not view.

It's so nice your making room for a family member.

    Bookmark   July 29, 2012 at 10:46PM
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Thanks everyone. You all have been super helpful.

I have new questions bubbling up, but they probably should be part of a different post/query.

FWIW, here are updates on our plan:

* keeping BR on the back, so that in-law's guests don't have to venture deeper into our home.

* Re: The bookcase, will stop short of the entry "for accessibility and a more spacious feeling".

* Re: The bathroom, make sure we have a 2-way door in case of falls.

* Re: The hallway, probably reorient the porch to the side, decreasing the amount of hallway-itis being suffered by the BR. That shift allows us to move toward lavender_lass's drawing if we make a future renovation turning den into dining room. Cannot do that right now.

* Re: The closet relocation, the reorientation of the porch may reduce the need for that. OR we will move closet into initial part of BR hallway, making that more like a foyer for the BR and not just "hall".

    Bookmark   August 2, 2012 at 12:33PM
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If you changed the floor plan to put the bathroom at the very back of the addition (doorway from the bedroom), you'd have room for a walk-in closet and no hallway. You would have to change the layout in the bathroom but that is minor. That would be my choice if the space is only to be for one person using the bathroom. This gives an extra wall as well.

When my mother downsized, the biggest problem was not having storage space for a lifetime of "stuff" and a large closet with non-clothes shelving on one side helps tremendously.

    Bookmark   August 3, 2012 at 11:00AM
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How do you use the den, right now? What if you did something like this?

From [Cottage house plans](

Move your den to the front room (with bay window) and make the den, your in-law's living or bedroom area. They would still have the new bath and back room (living or bedroom) and their suite would be L-shaped...with easy access to the front door. No walking through any of your rooms, to reach their rooms.

The den would be handy to the living room and you could have shelves along the wall to the bathroom...for books, display, etc. Great place for a study!

The other downstairs bedroom (behind the kitchen) could at some point, be the dining room...maybe with some changes to the kitchen at the same time. If possible, it would be nice to have an opening between the two rooms to make each feel a bit bigger.

Then, the in-law rooms and the dining room could all have access to the deck. Up to you if the access in the in-law suite is from the living room, bedroom or both.

    Bookmark   August 3, 2012 at 3:50PM
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Also, if you did something like this, you could move the in-law bedroom to where you have the bathroom/closet...and move those back, as suggested by GW fan. There usually is a lot of stuff to store and you could have deck access through the old den/now in-law living area.

Then, you could also make the living room/bedroom one big space...maybe with arch/pocket doors in between. The bed could go on the 'west wall' with small windows on either side...and leave the french doors/slider in the living area. Just another idea :)

    Bookmark   August 3, 2012 at 3:56PM
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basement,crawlspace, slab? do not see stairs. how about adding a 2nd story?

    Bookmark   August 3, 2012 at 4:03PM
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