Needing down-sized retirement house plan

phoggieJanuary 11, 2011

We are needing to down size due to age and economy and am in need of all of your trusted help.

Our present home is 4090 SF and way TOO big for me to take care of anymore. Our ages are 69 & 79 and I have severe arthritis, so need it to be handicapped assessible and no steps. We are wanting a plan with about 1800 SF and our new lot has a view to to the back, so need windows to take advantage of it.

My DH is a retired architect and we just can not come up with a plan that we both love and could live in alone, should one of us pass away.

I sure do appreciate all of your help...and am looking foward to a smaller home. THANKS!!

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Hi, Phoggie !!!

Tonight I cannot offer any comments which might be helpful, but I think you've come to the right place. Many of us here are similarly oriented, although no architects among us. But there are some folks with lots of super ideas who have gone the path you ask about.

Lots of times, the problem begins not when the partner passes, but when one becomes disabled. Then you might want to have a place for a care-giver to be in house. Yet not have a lot of space when the time comes to be living alone.

In fact, that is where we are at this time in our lives too. So yes, this is the right place.

Might I ask you a few details. Will your retirement home be in the city, near family, in what zone or state? What sort of climate, and garden areas do you have on your property?
Do you want to have ramps or an elevator, or a single level and ground level home? Will you want a backup power supply and so on? Do you want builtins instead of pieces of furniture? Handicap accessible features can be quite attractive w/out looking institutional.

Well, I'm sure more questions and answers will soon follow. Hope it leads to some exciting ideas for your new home.

    Bookmark   January 11, 2011 at 8:48PM
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Phoggie- I hope you liked some of the plans, on the Building forum :)

Everyone here is so nice, I think you'll get lots of wonderful ideas!

    Bookmark   January 11, 2011 at 10:06PM
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lavender lass~ I have visited this forum before and yes, they are indeed a friendly helpful group of posters~~ and thanks for the pics on the Building forum~~they were helpful.

moccasin~~I'll try to answer some of your questions--
We live in central Kansas and plan to build about 120 miles from here if this house ever sells. We bought a lot there about 3 years ago (when we were a bit younger and health better), but is is in a small town of about 3,000 of the nicest people you would ever hope to meet. I grew up in the area and have a son living in the same town, my other children would be about an hour away, and I have two brothers near there, as well as a host of "old friends" of years ago.

Our climate is a "4 season" climate...right now, we are pretty cold, as is the rest of the USA.

We want to build our home ground steps even to the front door, wide doors and halls, walk-in shower, lever door knobs, it would be easy to live in even with walker or wheelchair.

I guess I would rather have builtins other than furniture...never thought about that before.

I had convienced myself that we were not going to build at our ages...but DH is a retired architect/contractor and building to him is not the stress that it is to ME~~ We went down and looked at several homes that are for sale and all of them would take a huge amount of remodeling and I was disappointed....the internet pics looked so good~~

We drove out to our lot and the sun was going down behind the trees on our wonderful little 5 acre pond in the HOA, and DH (who is never emotional about anything) said, "This is home...this is where we need to be". How can I nix those feelings? I have lost so much sleep already and the plans are only drawn on the paper, what will I be like if we do build? I have built enough times, that the enjoyment is gone for doing it again....and we just can't seem to get together on a plan that we both like...and after all his years of doing it, he thinks everything has to be "his way" or nothing.....too old to change him now.

Thanks again and keep those ideas coming~~

    Bookmark   January 12, 2011 at 3:44PM
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phoggie- I posted our (tentative) floor plan over on 'Building a Home'. I realize my plan is unusual, but is designed to make a spacious, yet cozy home for two people, and take advantage of 360 degree woods, and a view to the back. If you look at stock plans, try looking at waterfront plans for rear views- that's where I got my original inspiration.

I also make sure that my designs are Universal design, so if one of us is ever incapacitated, we will still be able to move freely around the house. Hall ways are 4' minimum, and door ways are 36" minimum. I think the weakest part of my design is the small number of rooms, but I'd rather have a few large rooms than a warren of tiny rooms. I've since extended the plan enough to have a full bath in place of the powder room.

My front door location is odd, I know, but the driveway has to come from that direction, and I wanted the living room and porch on the east side for various reasons. Our lot is 7 acres, but has a slope, so we're limited on house and driveway location (Unless we want to spend a LOT of money). Since your DH is a retired architect, maybe he can fix my plan LOL!

    Bookmark   January 12, 2011 at 4:43PM
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Phoggie- Your land sounds ideal and the small town perfect for your new home. While it may not be as exciting to build, after a few homes, this one will be special. I'm sure you can use everything you've learned from the other homes to add all the features and built-ins you enjoyed or wish you had.

To give us some idea of what you'd like...what rooms do you want in your home? A separate dining and breakfast room, or one dining space? Do you want a great room? Do you watch TV in the living room, or prefer a smaller den? How many bedrooms and bathrooms would you like? Any special features, like fireplace, window seat, screened porch, covered patio, front porch, walk in pantry, etc?

I have helped my mother and my grandmother with their homes and universal design was very important. As my grandmother got older (she passed away a few years ago) she started using a walker and eventually a wheel chair. '

You have a great start with no steps, wide halls and doorways, walk-in shower and lever door knobs. I would also recommend rocker switches for the lights, cabinets under the sinks that can easily be removed, in case of wheel chair use, plenty of area around the toilets for grab bars...and in the shower, too. You also want to make sure that all doors (including patio or french to the outside) are also wide enough for wheel chair use.

My grandmother used to laugh and say, if I could push a stroller through this area, I can get my wheel chair through :)

    Bookmark   January 12, 2011 at 8:23PM
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Ah, the old "his way or no way" thing. I know it well. If yours is like mine, the trick is to make him think something was his idea.

    Bookmark   January 12, 2011 at 10:19PM
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lavender~~ You are so kind.
To answer a few more questions...we want three bedrooms, 2-3 baths, great room, large eating room island between kitchen and GR, dining room area in or off of the GR, we watch TV in the great room, DH thinks he needs a room for office (I think is is not necessary, he could use a bedroom), we are at an impass over a fireplace..don't ever use the one we have, but know it is probably good for resale(after all, at our ages, it won't be too many years before this happens), a covered deck area, he thinks we need a three car garage (I think an oversized 2 would work), a large walk-in pantry, walk into a kitchen from the garage, I'd like a front porch, but not a necessity. This is a start~~

We will have grab bars on all of the showers and in the master by the toilet. DH's first wife was wheel-chair bound before she passed away, so he is very aware of handicapped needs.

marti8a~~ How do you make him think something was his idea? I'd like to know...I get so tired of it. He forgets that I put half of my own money into this also so it should not be all "his way"!

Thanks for all the responses....keep them coming.

    Bookmark   January 13, 2011 at 1:36PM
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LOL, I give him a few days to mull over what we've talked about, and then start a new approach, something really far-fetched, and when he argues against it, if he doesn't come up with my original solution by himself, I'll say something like "so why do you think such & such (my original idea) is better? And voila, it's suddenly his idea.

    Bookmark   January 13, 2011 at 1:46PM
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Oh, btw Jay & Scott, that was just hypothetical thinking. Wives don't really do that. *hehehe*

    Bookmark   January 13, 2011 at 1:49PM
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You can't rattle me about wives/women Marti. I'm single but not really looking. The chances of me finding a like minded female are about as good as me lining up the right six numbers on a lottery ticket.

A quick question for the group. I used to have to log in everytime I wanted to put up a post. Just this week I logged in to GW and now I stay logged in even after I shut down and reboot. Anybody know why?


    Bookmark   January 13, 2011 at 9:01PM
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Phoggie, I agree with Lavender about lots of grab bars in the bath. Maybe installing the bars at the time of construction would be better than just putting "blocking" in the walls to give the grab bars a mounting spot later on. I had the contractor block inside the walls all over the place, because I want also to hang some of my humidity-loving indirect-light loving flower pots in there come winter time. I have bird nest ferns and staghorn ferns and African violets and Christmas cactus/cacti.

I think having rooms multi purpose is a very good idea too. If you have a view, and you want to have your morning coffee looking at it, there is no reason you HAVE to put that as a special dining area. It could just as easily be a corner of your living room/great room with a small bistro style table and two chairs. Or a window seat good for the same function, which can be built in. That has the advantage of no dust, and no food falling beneath it to be cleaned up EVER. If you anticipate limited mobility, don't make more housework for youself, even if it sounds charming.

In the mid-sized Cape that my DH owns, when I redid his house, he had a very large family room (34 x 12) and a quite small living room at the front. I dearly LOVE the cozy feel of that living room. There is room for a loveseat, and on either side of the fireplace an armed dining a console table behind the loveseat, and one lamp table between the two windows facing the street. That room now serves as our quiet conversational area when single visitors drop in, or before dinner when we have a cocktail. Only candles in this fireplace to avoid cleaning it out--but it has recirculating features which would allow it to heat the whole house if the power went out.

I'm sure your DH has a handle on things like backup power, ways to make sure you do not freeze or cannot flush toilets or have running water and a water heater under dire circumstances.

Maybe if you can insert your desire for more builtins to keep cleaning/maintenance at a minimum, you will be able to feel an "ownership" for this future domicile. It is wonderful that you have family and friends so nearby. That will make it much easier to keep the size of your house in bounds. By that, I mean, you won't have to plan on a livein caregiver. Should such a time arrive, having a good sized garage/carport which has enough headroom for a fairly large camper/trailer to park beneath some protection and have a good power supply connection, that would be good.

Somewhere I saw some closet mechanisms which allowed two rows of clothing to hang one above the other. The person was in a wheelchair, and they had it set up so the upper row of clothing was on an arm that swung down to same height as the lower row of clothing. I think it was on a Vern Yip show on HGTV, but don't hold me to it. Making your closets quite deep, would be a good idea. Maybe do not have them walkin, but have the doors fold back out of the way. Then you could have closets along a long and wide hallway, with room for a wheelchair to maneuver while pulling down the clothes racks. I imagine such closets would need custom doors which go all the way up near the ceiling. Using all that space with swing-down racks would be GREAT.

Regardless of the size of house you wind up with, you can NEVER HAVE TOO MUCH STORAGE.

On TV the other night, they were advertising a garage door which opened remotely even when the power was off. This is a good feature to build in based on your 4 season climate and ease of entry to your home under less than idea conditions.

......Columbiasc (Scott).....if you have not changed your browser, or updated it, and have not changed your antivirus software, I have no clue. I am unable to hear any sound on my computer, don't know what is going on there either. Bummer.

    Bookmark   January 13, 2011 at 10:02PM
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I don't know either Scott. I know GW is having log-in problems right now. Sometimes I get caught in their log-in revolving door and finally go to another website and then back to GW and I'm finally logged in.

    Bookmark   January 13, 2011 at 10:11PM
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Phoggie- When you say 2-3 bathrooms, are you thinking master bath, hall bath for bedrooms, powder room/third bath....or maybe his and her bathrooms with a guest bath?

My little farmhouse plan is not big, but I want a bathroom with a claw foot tub in front of the window (with drapes) sink with big vanity, armoire storage, slipper chair by the tub, and a little bookcase...and lots of light for reading.

My husband doesn't really mind how I design the farmhouse (as long as he has a hot tub and basement men's room) but it would be strange to have two bathrooms off our bedroom. Instead, the master bath is fairly small with a walk in shower...and my bath (I mean the hall bath) is right next to it :)

As for the office/bedroom situation, will you use your two guest bedrooms for guests? Would a front bedroom, that could be a den or bedroom, make a good office? Or would he still want two extra bedrooms?

When it comes to finding a home that will work for both of you, maybe let him have more input on the overall layout (since he is the architect...and that might be what's bugging him) but you get to have the final say on all design/decorating concerns. Now, of course, to have a functional kitchen, bath, dining, etc...we all know that good design starts with good placement.

So, the fireplace would be a design decision, the way the rooms face the back view and how much light (which determines color) is available...those are design decisions. Storage in the kitchen (and the pantry) not to mention closets...these are design decisions. And finally, window seats, built in china hutches, bookcases, TV storage...I would say these are all design decisions, too :)

Compromise is good, too, maybe a three car garage, his office space, and maybe a gas fireplace (less mess, no wood to cut) might be some possible areas of compromise. Of course, the big, beautiful kitchen, walk in pantry, and front porch would be nice compromises, too. If you're not sure about the fireplace in the great room, what about a little gas fireplace off the kitchen? Maybe a keeping room/dining area?

Have fun looking at plans! If I see anything promising, I'll post it for you :)

    Bookmark   January 13, 2011 at 10:45PM
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The manufactured home we had several years ago had 1800 SQ FT.Was three and two with open great room living room kitchen. there was an addition on it which I included in the size and a step up but if you were building from scratch this could be eliminated.

The link to the house is below and the big windows are across the front but you could flip the plan totally and make the mud room the entry. It is the way we usually entered the house anyway.

The pictures are when we first bought it and then when the people we sold it to were selling it so there have been some changes. You can see the pictures and it was in my clutter stages. I am over all of that now. Anyway if you think you like the feel of the space I will see if I can dig up the floor plan for you. Was a very nice house to live in.I LOVED IT. The only draw back was it really was a lot of work to keep clean.Took 20 minutes to vacuum the living, dinning and kitchen as it was 35 foot long and 26 foot wide.

Also since these pictures have been taken there has even some more inside changes I do not have pictures of. Best was that huge garden tub was removed and turned to shower over tub. And tiny walk in shower was removed. This is in the master bath.

Here is a link that might be useful: 1800 SQ FT

    Bookmark   January 13, 2011 at 10:46PM
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Phoggie- What about this plan? It has everything you and your husband have asked for, except the covered deck...but that would be easy to add.

It's a little more square footage than you said you wanted, but still much smaller than your current home. The only thing you'd have to change is taking out the basement stairs...but the office could either be larger, or move it towards the great room....and make the front porch larger. You'd have enough room to add a closet or wall of bookcases, depending on what you'd like.

So, what do you think? :)

Here is a link that might be useful: Very nice ranch home

    Bookmark   January 14, 2011 at 12:35AM
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lavender lass~~ I love this plan...but it is bigger than I want...I'll give it a closer look though, THANKS so much for all the help you are giving me....nice of you!

shades~~ Your home looks so inviting....and you do a good job of growing those beautiful plants :-)

    Bookmark   January 14, 2011 at 12:12PM
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A fellow Kansas, I check in from time to time and post on this site occasionally. My first response to this issue is to ask "how important is it"... the perfect house you both LOVE? I am late 60's with arthritis also, and have a beautiful 1200 sq ft cottage. There are two of us, and it is PLENTY to keep up and clean.

Two baths should be enough. One for owners, one for all else (guests or possible caregiver). Bedrooms... one for owners, one for guests/caregiver, one for office/study/den. If you are the one doing the cleaning, simple is best. If you can afford help, then it doesn't matter.

In a former time of life, I had the HUGE house, with lots of extraneous space. Many friends currently have that and live in just three rooms: kitchen, bedroom and great room. The remainder goes unused. What a waste to heat/cool/clean!

In this house I thought first about actual NEEDS, and provided for that. Then I considered WANTS... and who will be responsible for the maintenance. At this stage in life, I just want to simplify. I have had the fancy, elaborate and 'bells and whistles'... and now think, 'so what'?

Focus on enjoying this time in life and on what is important. Don't waste emotion or stress on stupid little stuff. It's just a house... make it comfortable and let the rest go. Don't get me wrong... I ADORE this little place, but it is not the house that makes it wonderful, it is the love within. That's what matters!

    Bookmark   January 14, 2011 at 12:32PM
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I forgot to mention that a BIG PLUS would be to RAISE THE DISHWASHER IN THE KITCHEN. Or else have two of those washer drawers sort of like oven warming drawers.

I would not want a microwave above the stove top, because it seems so awkward putting things in and checking on them and taking them out. Of course, having the stovetop to set the hot pots on is a big convenience.

Wide aisles in the kitchen is good too. Low upkeep flooring.
I'd look at Silestone quartz counter tops. We have the Stellar Snow Silestone in the kitchen up north, and I am VERY happy with it. Never stains, never needs sealing, is antimicrobial, and you simply cannot see dust or wiping streaks on the surface. I'm planning to use in in half of my galley kitchen in Mobile....with stainless steel counter tops on the cooking side of the room. Stainless is, to me, a gray color, and yellow and gray and white cabs is a happy combo IMHO.

I'm always reminded of an old addage which says, A MAN LIVES HAPPILY IN HIS WIFE'S HOME. I have a friend who is an Army wife. All was great for the couple while the DH was occupied with his profession. The discord began when he retired, and tried to tell her how to run the house, even how to load the dishwasher properly. It just does not fly.

And in Japan, they have identified an ailment for the wives who have now to contend with retired or unemployed executives. You know, the men who were used to giving orders to hundreds of workers, if not more. They called it RETIRED EXECUTIVE SYNDROME. The poor wives were the only ones left to give orders to, and now they are coming down with all sorts of psychological problems.

My DH and I have been married for 4.5 years even though we are both retired. HE was the big boss at the University, and when I worked I was the Captain of my vessel. So we both have assertive attitudes and are used to having our own way. We remind ourselves that if we'd married 50 years ago as planned, it would have been an interesting trip!! It gives us a lot of laughs, because eventually we reach an agreement, even if it is not a compromise. We do make some tradeoffs, like I give up one thing to get something I really really want.

Our best example of a resolved disagreement, however, was the placement of the door to the bathroom up north. I had the design worked out, and when I came home, he'd moved the actual door adjacent the closet door. That meant the bed could only be slid into the corner, with NO ROOM for bedside tables. Quite an unbalanced room. I said to him, "the door must be moved" and he said "I WON"T MOVE IT." And so I slept on the sofa that night. Next morning, I said nothing to him, and he went again to work on the master suite project, no words spoken between us. While he was in the garden having his lunch, I peeked into the bedroom. He never admits he is wrong, and I do not rub salt in his wounds, but the new door was moved to the other side of the room to give room for the bed and a balanced furniture arrangement. So I without a word began preparing his favorite dinner and we had a fine evening. When I said to him, "Thank you for the door," he replied, "What door? That is not a REAL door, it is a VIRTUAL DOOR." We always have a big laugh about how this became a family joke.

    Bookmark   January 14, 2011 at 1:11PM
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Shades- Nice house. I love all the light and plants...and how it's open to the kitchen :)

Kity- Your house sounds so cozy. My mom downsized to a 1,080 square foot manufactured home and loves it! She's got a huge kitchen, living room, den and bedroom with a very nice bath and soaking tub. She also has a covered front porch and a deck...and all of her garden space. She's so happy and it's cheaper to heat and easier to clean!

Phoggie- Can you believe that was the one of only two plans that came up, when I put your 'likes' in on the website? The other one was almost 4,000 square feet...much too big!

Although this plan is larger than 1800 square feet (and has a huge master closet) I kind of like that feature. While I like the idea of the 'island' it would be easy to put a bench or chair (with arms...easier to get out of) in the middle of the closet, with a small table. Some place to sit, put on shoes, and catch your breath. I also like the access to the laundry area!

If I see anything else, I'll let you know :)

ML- You and your husband are too perfect for each other. Did you know him 50 years ago? It sounds like you almost got married then...or did I misread that?

    Bookmark   January 14, 2011 at 1:58PM
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That's a nice plan LL. I bookmarked it because I love the way the main rooms all face the back.

Great advice on the raised DW and closets. I'd add to that a taller toilet and bidet. I think if I were building right now, especially in a neighborhood, I'd want to see what was comparable for the neighborhood - for resale. You don't want to make your house hard to sell.

My in-laws just moved to our little burg because fil's health is going down. He was a builder and we thought the adjustment to a smaller place (they live in a senior apartment complex) would be hardest on him because he had to give up his shop. But it has actually been harder on mil because she loved her large home and being stuck in a 1 bedroom apartment all day with fil gets on her nerves. However, this one is much easier to clean and they are adjusting.

From watching them, my mom, and even seeing how we have changed since becoming empty nesters, I'll make these suggestions.

The older we get, the less most people want to cook - especially big meals. So a big kitchen becomes less important except at gatherings, when it's good to have a big bar or island to set out food brought by others.

Fil is on coumadin and is always cold. Doesn't help that I am menopausal and always hot. Their senior apartment doesn't have a fireplace at all. They didn't think they wanted one since they didn't want the upkeep. But a gas fireplace that put out heat would be ideal because it would give fil a warm place to stand by when he was cold.

They have 10 foot ceilings, which look nice, but are impossible for them to clean. And speaking of cleaning, I have finally figured out why grandpa's house was always neat but a bit dirty - the older you get, the harder it is to see the floor! And the harder it is to keep a grip on dishes, especially when they are wet. For that reason, I'd put laminate on the counters and vinyl on the floors. Cushioned vinyl to make it more comfortable to stand on very long. If you are going to be there 10 years or so before you sell, your kitchen might need updating anyway and you could add granite (if that's still popular then) when you sell.

If you ever do need live-in care, a mother-in-law house plan might be better. We had friends who turned their garage into a mother-in-law apartment, and now their taxes have doubled because it's considered a 2nd residence. It would have been so much better if they had just turned one bedroom into a living room for mom and given her a separate entrance into the house. That's where your husband's "office" could come in handy, especially if it was next to one of the bedrooms and bath.

This may not be the kind of suggestions you were looking for, so feel free to ignore.

As far as just living in a small house, the only thing I wish we had were bigger closets and more storage. I can see where a walk-in (wheel-in) shower will be very handy some day. In-laws have a shower base that is only a couple of inches tall, but fil has Parkinsons and sometimes has trouble getting over that edge.


I have to tell you this - has nothing to do with house design.

Wednesday, dh & I had a discussion about the plan for the dining room and I suggested we leave off the porch to make it easier to get the permit. Dh didn't say anything and I dropped it.

This morning, I suggested that we submit a detailed specification list along with our drawn plan and dh said "I had an idea too. We could leave off the porch and not have to deal with all that extra support."

I looked at him for a minute, smiled and said "Gee, that sounds familiar." He said "It does?" And I told him I said that Wednesday. He said he probably wasn't listening. Uh, ya think? ROFLOL

    Bookmark   January 14, 2011 at 2:24PM
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Oh you all give such good advice....needing to soak it all up....and I appreciate each and every post. Lavender, you are right...this is a very friendly helpful site and I am glad I posted on to it~~

KityKat~~ I am glad to have a fellow Jayhawk on here...I haven't read from any more of us. We live in Junction City KS (bedroom town for Ft. Riley army base) you mind sharing where you live?...maybe we are "neighbors" LOL. I am going to sit down with DH tomorrow and ask ourselves what we really most people, we use the kitchen, bedroom, living room, utility room and bath room.....and the other two bedrooms maybe get used once or twice a year..I guess that is why they build motels... and the formal dining room for a couple of holidays....heck, card tables would do the job just as well~ You have really given me a different spin on our problem...THANKS SO MUCH!

    Bookmark   January 14, 2011 at 7:43PM
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Phoggie- My mom's sister and her family live in Lawrence, Kansas. Is that anywhere near you and KityKat?

Here's an actual handicap accessible plan I found. I don't know if this is what you want, but it shows the bigger bathrooms and the laundry behind the sliding doors.

I like the kitchen and the master bedroom and bath. It does have the covered deck/patio and if you moved the fireplace to the other wall...a great view out the back.

The front bedroom could easily be turned into an office. If you took out the closet, it would be a pretty good size. No walk-in pantry, but if you stretched the garage a bit, you could redesign the laundry room and add a pantry :)

Here is a link that might be useful:

    Bookmark   January 15, 2011 at 12:45PM
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Phoggie- I was doing an image search for universal house plans on Yahoo, when I found this picture. I just went back to get the website, in case you wanted to see the front of the house...and it's in the Dominican Republic! LOL

Isn't the web wonderful? :)

Here's the link...just scroll to the bottom. It's not a bad little plan...and there are some other laundry rooms in the 'villa plans' if you're interested in seeing their handicap accessible layouts.

Here is a link that might be useful: Link to Accessible plans

    Bookmark   January 15, 2011 at 12:51PM
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Phoggie- Last plan...then I'm off to watch the playoffs! My husband is a huge football fan. Go Seahawks :)

I think this plan has great possibilites! Since you don't want a basement, you could easily eliminate the stairs and slide the bathroom and bedroom forward. This would still leave a cute front porch :)

There is a nice pantry, I love the kitchen/great room set up...and if you don't need a dining room, that could easily be the office...just put a wall of shelves, where it's now open to the kitchen side...and you'd still have a guest room (or room for you for crafts, etc.)

So, hope you like it! I know your DH will like the garage...and easy to cover a deck/patio off the great room. What do you think? This is my favorite, so far...and only 1,829 square feet!

Here is a link that might be useful: Very nice floor plan :)

    Bookmark   January 15, 2011 at 1:39PM
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Oh my those homes in DR are beautiful~~~and I do like the floor plan of the last one also....I'll run it by DH but as I said, he can rip everyone's work except his OWN~

I can relate to your team of choice is the KU Jayhawks...which happens to be located in Lawrence KS...which is about 90 miles straight east of here down I-70. If you have never been there, it is a really nice city...but oh so busy when college is in session~~

    Bookmark   January 15, 2011 at 5:31PM
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phoggie... I now understand your choice of name. We are in Overland Park, and unfortunately our allegiance lies with another team... we favor the color 'purple'.

Our house is 60 years old with three bedrooms. Closets are only three or four feet. Cramped to say the least! One bedroom is ours, one is the office. Until this weekend the third was a guest room, used every two years. No more... we are converting it to a 9x12 walk in closet. Just think... all clothes in one place.

The bedroom now has the queen size bed, two night stands, and a bench under the window to view my beautiful front garden. Simple, practical and relaxing...

    Bookmark   January 15, 2011 at 9:38PM
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OMG My family , way back, was from Lawrence Kansas and then the family farm is still in Elkhart. Small world for sure.Lots of my family is still there and OK. Also in MO.

If you have heard of the CW band Live Wire. My nephew is the drummer.They made it all the way to the Colgate finals a couple of years ago. I think they got second. WWAAAHHH They were so disappointed.

    Bookmark   January 15, 2011 at 10:28PM
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kitykat~~ Oh no, not that "purple team"...we live only 17 miles from them~~~ LOL Glad to know where you live...I have a daughter and family who live in Olathe. OP is a nice place to live.

shades~~I know where Elkhark is also...a good friend of mine was from there. No, I hve not heard of Live Wire...but I'll watch for them now.

lavender~~your Seahawks didn't fair too well today, did they? I know you were disappointed :-(

    Bookmark   January 16, 2011 at 4:25PM
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kitykat, I have a neighbor who did that with their 3rd bedroom. Sounds heavenly to have a closet with enough room for everything.

    Bookmark   January 16, 2011 at 8:15PM
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phoggie ...

tweaked one of the floor plans that lavender offered ... managed to reduce the square footage , and hopefully , keep the things that you listed as priorities ... the 3-car garage is optional :-)

house is completely one level ... no thresholds ... even in master shower ... wheelchair accessible in all spaces ... all doorways 3-feet wide except for 3 closets ... let me know your thoughts ...

    Bookmark   January 17, 2011 at 4:23AM
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Summerfield, that is fantastic! I like it tons better than the original. Especially love the convenience of laundry area to master bedroom closet.

Gee, and to think how hard we are struggling to get one small dining room drawn!

    Bookmark   January 17, 2011 at 11:42AM
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Summerfield- That is a beautiful plan! So many wonderful features...much better than the original. I love the big pantry and all the bookcases...and the great access to the back patio :)

Phoggie- What do you think your DH will say about that?

Yes, I'm a little bummed about the Seahawks, but at least they made the playoffs! My husband is a huge fan (as are many of his friends) but I'm a Detroit Lions fan, so I'm used to disappointment (LOL) but they are slowly getting better.

    Bookmark   January 17, 2011 at 11:57AM
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Check out Ross Chapin's small house designs. They are great. We had one of the small cottages and loved it. Perfect size for 2 people.

    Bookmark   January 17, 2011 at 6:28PM
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While we are all looking at floor plans and chatting, let me throw out a question about master bathrooms and dual sinks. I realize this is probably one of those personal preference things but I'm curious to hear from others. While I was married and during my dating thereafter, I have almost never brushed my teeth or washed my hands at the same time as the woman in my company. So why are dual sinks in the master all the rage? I personally prefer his and hers drawer space rather than his and hers sinks. Or, I would think that you ladies would prefer an opening to pull a chair up and apply makeup in lieu of the extra sink. Yet the standard is two sinks regardless of how small the vanity. Am I just that far out of touch?


    Bookmark   January 17, 2011 at 8:53PM
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Well, the reason I'd like to have dual sinks is because my dh is a slob. lol Maybe not a slob, but when he uses an electric razor, there is always beard stubble on the sink, or if he uses a blade, there's shaving cream. After I finish with the sink in the morning, I wipe it all down with my face cloth, and the next time I go in there, it's got the stubble on it. Grrr. I just want to be able to use the sink without having to clean it first.

    Bookmark   January 17, 2011 at 9:18PM
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I agree with you, Marti. And I also like to have the mirror free of toothpaste spots. Having separate sinks if you share a bathroom usually means you can have a separate mirror, and medicine cab too.

We have a small house and two baths very close together, so except on occasion, he uses one bath (single sink in there) and I use the other (single sink in there). Guess what.....the bath with the clawfoot tub is MINE. :)

    Bookmark   January 18, 2011 at 12:25AM
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I guess I am the luckiest woman in the world. My husband is so tidy. Not only in the bath but kitchen the whole house. We have had duel sinks once and there really is no need for us. We do use the bath room at the same time some times in moments of rush.

Summerfield you really do so well with these designs. The only problem I had was in master bath I kept looking at NIT and with tired brain and eyes I could not figure what it was. Then the light bulb moment. DOH on me.LIN

Great design.

    Bookmark   January 18, 2011 at 1:57AM
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summerfield~~ I guess my last post was lost....but THANKS for your house plan....I LOVED it...but the verdict isn't in yet from DH! Do you do this for a living or it is something you just enjoy doing? You are great! and I really appreciated it!!! THANKS~~

    Bookmark   January 18, 2011 at 11:55AM
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Phoggie- Does your DH like any of the plans? Any part of any of the plans? :)

I forgot to ask you, what style do you like? Exterior and interior? Do you and DH agree on this...or do you have different styles?

My style is what I would call french country farmhouse meets English cottage...but my friends say it's Snow White. Okay, maybe the stone bunnies in the garden are my downfall there (LOL). My husband doesn't care, as long as he can have John Wayne in the TV area (which I also like) and sports in his office/guy room.

So, good luck with your new home and let us know how things proceed!

Here's one of the bunnies :)

    Bookmark   January 19, 2011 at 3:33PM
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Well it went just as I expected...he found lots of reasons it wouldn't work on our lot~~but I loved the footprint of that plan (in fact, he also said it was pretty good), but we have a "triangular" lot and if we moved it back far enough to get it on the lot, we would be too near the set-back and it would take about $3,000 more in cement for the drive, $5,000 for fill dirt, the roof line was much more costly, electric panel, plumbing, etc. would be much more expensive and on and IF we build (and I hope we don't have to), we'll just use the plan he drew. It is only about 300 SF more and not worth the hassle with him anymore :-( He is too old to change and does have 55+ years experience drawing and buiding of hundreds of homes and business buildings, so he should know what he is talking about...but I think his designs are stuck in the 70's, but the expense of building this house should be very reasonable and that is what we need~~
THANKS for all the help and are so kind on this "small house" forum.

    Bookmark   January 19, 2011 at 7:02PM
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You know he does sound like my dh. His dad was a builder and made his own cabinets for the houses he did. So dh learned to frame and build cabinets in the 70's, and that is how he continues to do it even though styles have really, really changed. I told him a couple of weeks ago that he is too narrow-minded, and he agreed! He could read and keep up with new trends, but he just doesn't want to.

    Bookmark   January 19, 2011 at 8:00PM
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Phoggie- I'm not sure if this is what you mean, but if you both like Summerfield's plan...what if you switched the garage around, like in this plan...wouldn't that fit on your lot? Would it solve the problem of the extra costs associated with the driveway?

Here is a link that might be useful: Other plan

    Bookmark   January 19, 2011 at 8:38PM
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phoggie ...

nothing is set in stone with this plan ... that's the beauty of the forum !

we can tweak the plan until everyone is satisfied ... i'll be happy to make any changes necessary ... it would be very helpful to know the actual buildable size of the lot ...

additionally , it would be great to have some idea of your husband's proposed plan ... i appreciate his experience and knowledge ...

    Bookmark   January 20, 2011 at 12:14AM
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WE also have a triangle lot so I totally understand the problem of placement. Add to that we slope 5-8 foot from the high corner to the lower corner. WE had to bring in so much fill. We even changed house plans midstream to make it all work. We only have a half acre and part of that is up a steep hill side. We do have step up at all four doors. Joe said if needed we can ramp the front door entrance to the porch with out too much trouble.

Ignore the inside house pictures. We officially moved in July 1,2008 and these pictures were taken with a week or two of that.Several things have moved once we kind of got settled.LOL Some times more than once.

Here is a link that might be useful: Sloped lot.

    Bookmark   January 20, 2011 at 11:03AM
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Thanks for you kind offer, but I doubt if anything will change his mind at this point....who knows, maybe we can find a house already built that will satisfy our needs and the building problem would be saved.

The lot is hard to is a triangular lot with a water-way going down the back side. He always says that the lot determines the house plan. The plan he has drawn is like a L shaped ranch...with a much lower roof pitch...he thinks high roofs are a wasted expense.

Some of his comments were that the 2 bedrooms were too small, pantry was way too small, no toilet in the laundry room or place to sew, fold clothes, etc., dining area was too small for our table (we have 8 chairs around it), the plan had more windows and doors (which is more costly), didn't like kitchen arrangement (wanted a very large island and something about the arrangement of the sink, DW trash,etc.), we plan a walk-in shower and no tub, but do have two sinks with a make-up area, we would lose hanger space by putting in a door in closet (but I liked being able to go from the closet to laundry room), too much space in the foyer, long distance down the hallway to the master bedroom (wasted space), no mechanical room (doesn't want it in the garage), the electrical, gas and plumbing would be very expensive to run to be able to join in the hook-ups to the house, etc, etc, etc,....he had so many reasons, but mostly adding up to a lot more money than doing the one he designed and having a 4th bedroom and about 300 more SF. He is hard-headed and it is his way, or no way!

SORRY, but I LOVED your plan with a few minor would be easy to increase the bedrooms and extend the dining area... You were a jewel for trying~~ THANKS!

    Bookmark   January 20, 2011 at 11:26AM
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Phoggie- Do you want to post his plan? It's always nice to get some feedback, before you build. Summerfield and others made some excellent suggestions for my plan...but it's still my plan, just better :)

    Bookmark   January 20, 2011 at 12:13PM
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Sorry, but I don't know how to post pictures...and the plans and lot plat are drawn on a very large pieces of architect how could I even scan that? One of these days, I'll try to catch a daughter long enough to show me. I started with technology too late in life~~I just know enough to be dangerous :-(

    Bookmark   January 20, 2011 at 8:50PM
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phoggie, I think you'd have to take a picture of it with your camera and then load it to a site like photobucket.

I know what you mean about technology. My mom called (she's 79) and said she sent a picture to my phone. I told her I don't have picture capability on my phone and then it dawned on me that she did that. So I asked how she knew how and she confessed a friend did it for her. lol

    Bookmark   January 21, 2011 at 10:44AM
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Phoggie, if you do not have a scanner, then tape the plan to the wall and take a picture of it just like Marti suggests.
If you do not know how to upload it, then email it to someone on here who can do it.

I have a (free) account with which is where I upload the photos I add to Gardenweb. What you must do is upload your photo to a spot like Photobucket, Flickr, Tinypic, or any other place which gives you a line of HTML CODE. It is THAT LINE OF CODE that you then include in your posting to GWEB. Works like a champ, as long as you leave the uploaded photo in the same place online.

    Bookmark   January 22, 2011 at 1:01PM
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Phoggie- Is there anything that DH's plan does not have...that you'd like in the new home? It sounds like it's a practical plan, but you don't seem to be in love with it. If you are able to post it, we might be able to help you make a few changes...making it a plan that you both love :)

    Bookmark   January 22, 2011 at 2:01PM
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Phoggie- I keep running into this plan, when I look up french country kitchens :)

Anyway, I thought I'd link it for you...if you don't want a tub, it would be easy to put in a bigger shower with the toilet, and have the current toilet space increase the size of the mechanical room. I would make the laundry area larger, with the sink and more pantry space. This would give you work space on both sides...and easy access to the mechanical room.

The garage could have the doors facing the front...and it could be two or three car size. I like the covered back deck, you have the dining room for your bigger table (could add a few feet on the front if necessary) and your nook would be a great breakfast/sunroom space!

The kitchen has a really BIG island! The second bedroom could be the office and the guest room would have views out the back. I would put bigger windows looking out the back, from the master bedroom, with the small windows and bed on the 'west' wall.

I like this plan...and I don't think you'd need the complicated roof lines. It's basically a rectangle with a garage on the front. A little front porch would be easy to add on, too.

If my recommended changes aren't clear (and no one comes along to draw a much prettier house plan) I'll break out the white out and give it a try! LOL

Here's the plan, with the link below, having more information. Hope it gives you some good ideas! It's 1800 square feet :)

Here is a link that might be useful: Link to houseplan

    Bookmark   January 23, 2011 at 1:34PM
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Too funny- that's almost exactly the house we live in right now, but a mirror image!

    Bookmark   January 23, 2011 at 3:05PM
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Jay- That's a funny coincidence! :)

Phoggie- Here's a plan I came across, looking for something else. The exterior is really pretty (although the roofline could be simplified, like the back view) and then I noticed...shower only in the master bath!

If you added just a little space, between the hall to the laundry and the garage...I think you could have the extra room for pantry and mechanical area.

From left to right, walk in pantry (right of the fridge) then door to garage, then mechanical room, then door to laundry, but I'd add cabinets across from the washer/dryer (maybe with a laundry sink) and leave the space under the window, open.

So, what do you think? Access to the THREE car garage, from the front, direct access to the kitchen from the garage, shower only in master bath, big dining area...and the little pantry now in the kitchen, could be more pantry space or the broom closet. And, you have DH's study on the right...and maybe your craft/hobby room on the left...with the window seat!

Notice the pretty plant sheves, as you enter the great room...and plenty of space for cabinets/shelves on either side of the fireplace. You could keep the screened porch and add more covered patio area, off the great room and back bedroom, too :)

Here's the plan, plus the link to see the exterior and other details.

Here is a link that might be useful: Link to floor plan

    Bookmark   January 24, 2011 at 8:56PM
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Here's one more plan, with simple rooflines and a very pretty front porch! I think DH might really like this one :)

It's got a huge dining area and a nice kitchen, with a great room. Notice the covered patio, off the great room. There is the option of stairs, but I like the way that not having the stairs, gives you a larger master bedroom.

If you took out the big tub in the master bath, and moved the shower to that location, you could put more pantry space, where the shower is now. The flexible space, off the master bedroom is wonderful and you could put the mechanical room, between that and the garage.

What do you think? Here's the plan and the link to the house, below. This plan is 1,852 square feet, while the one above is 1,875. Hope these plans give you some good ideas :)

Here is a link that might be useful: Link to house

    Bookmark   January 24, 2011 at 9:33PM
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We have been gone for about 10 days....went to the valley of Texas to get out of this deep-freeze in KS.

I looked at the first picture of the two plans you posted on 1-24 and it is VERY close to what DH has drawn...with the 4th bedroom being used as an office/study. Do you know the square footage of this plan? DH has a large walk-in pantry and some other very useful storage spaces,a sink, stool, and sewing area in the laundry room, a walk-in shower, two sinks and a make-up area in the Master Bath, etc., minus the stairway to the that is what we will probably use if we build again.

You have been a dear to help me so much trying to find a suitable plan....THANKS!

    Bookmark   January 28, 2011 at 9:07PM
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