Yet another floor plan

flgargoyleFebruary 2, 2011

How the heck do people ever decide what house to build?! Here's yet another variant. It's a small two-story design, but there is enough room to live on one floor. The idea is that I can put a door at the top of the stairs, and finish the upper floor at a later date. If we use the second floor- mostly for a master suite, if one of us is ever incapacitated, the den is designed to be converted to a bedroom simply by enclosing the closet. Despite being a small house, if I were to finish all 3 levels (it has a basement) I would be booted off this forum for being 'oversize'! As always- your opinions are appreciated!

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Jay, I like the idea, but I think you're losing more than you're gaining, compared to your previous plan.

The kitchen has no island or seating area. I'm guessing the table will be at the window seat? The living room is nice, but lots of pathways go through it. Are there going to be any porches, besides the front?

One idea, add a little higher roof to the low side of the entry, screen it, and bring the garage forward a bit. Then you could move the garage door (for people) down to the porch area. This would make one less door coming into your living room...and you could add a bench and maybe a few plants to the porch.

Maybe a small walk way up to the front door (porch) so you don't have to walk on the driveway, only? It would be very welcoming :)

    Bookmark   February 2, 2011 at 6:57PM
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Hey, Jay. It would take more than a basement to make us boot you off the forum. Basements don't count. Attics don't count.
If it is not heated it doesn't count.

I'll have to spend more time envisioning that new plan, I was so immersed in your other one. I'm sure you have mentally placed it on your sloping lot, but does it fit as well as the other one?

And are you thinking that a design pulled without modification off the shelf will be easier to build? Are you also thinking that you have more time left to climb stairs and such? Bad knees can come upon you quickly, even before you are otherwise incapacitated. The first plan has stairs too, so what is the attraction of this new plan? Getting cold feet, like before saying "I do?" It is definitely a commitment.

    Bookmark   February 2, 2011 at 9:43PM
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Jay I like the looks of this plan ................ I agree pulling the garage more to the front and matching the roof line with front roof line and door from garage onto porch then into house would work better. You could straighten the bump out on back side of garage,cutting costs and even have a work or storage space in the longer garage.

Even at my age my hips are starting to bother me with stairs. I am still trying not to give into it but it causes me pain to go up and down. Basement is a great idea. Not so sure on the second floor unless it it what you really want.

    Bookmark   February 2, 2011 at 11:59PM
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Jay- Have you seen that new plan by Umstead something, on the building forum? The first floor reminds me of a little bigger version of what you're looking for...lots of views out the back and a master bedroom/bath with an office off the living room and a powder room. You might be able to tweak that a bit and get some ideas :)

    Bookmark   February 3, 2011 at 11:08AM
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Jay- I really liked your previous plan! It was unique and beautiful, but I'm guessing more expensive to build, too.

Have you ever thought of looking at manufactured home plans? I know you want to build your own home, but there area some amazing small homes out there and you can make a lot of adjustments on some of the plans. Energy efficiency is amazing, too. Our inherited manufactured home is 24 years old and we pay four times more than my mom for heat. She has a home about half the size of ours, but it's amazingly efficient...but we chose all the super good cents options, for her, too.

She loves her little home...and we added 8' to the front (half to the kitchen and half for a front entry porch). Anymore, you can even put them on a basement or add a garage. Her home is barely over 1,000 square feet, but her kitchen is 13' x 20'. She's very happy in it and wouldn't change a thing! Just an idea :)

    Bookmark   February 3, 2011 at 11:21AM
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Where to start.... I keep going off on different tangents, based on a germ of an idea. Once I get it tweaked, I air it in public view, where all my friends can point out things I never thought of!

At this point, sadly, it's all about money, or the lack thereof. I keep trying to find ways to shrink and simplify the design. Then I add everything I want, and wind up with the same size house LOL!

A few random thoughts- I really prefer the appearance of a two-story house. It is somewhat cheaper, since you (theoretically) have a much smaller footprint and roof. We have a 'seasonal' view of the mountains, but the higher up you go, the better you can see it. We would REALLY like to have some kind of elevated place to sit and ponder the universe while listening to jazz and sipping red wine. The obvious thing is to have some kind of second floor with a small balcony. It needs to have regular access, as I don't want to climb a pull-down stair and navigate through the attic. That leads to- a second-floor bedroom! By stacking the house, you can make a much smaller footprint.

The one caveat is our age. We are on either side of 60, but are in pretty good shape, and have never had injuries that effect climbing stairs. Odds are, we'll be able to climb the stairs for another 20 years, and there is something to be said for getting a little exercise! My mother climbed stairs until she moved at age 85. I'm not naive enough to think we are immune to the effects of aging, and anyone can be incapacitated without warning.

The basic 20X34 house really doesn't have enough room for a first floor bedroom. It can be done, of course, but you wind up with a tiny kitchen, or some other compromise. We strongly want two bathrooms- ours, and everybody else's. All this leads to a design with a second floor master suite, complete with laundry, but also a Plan B room on the main floor. I figure that if life restricts our mobility, we won't mind being limited on bedroom size, closet size, and a second bathroom. By then, we won't be having much company anyway.

I agree- I think my original cross-gable concept makes for a unique and interesting small house. It's also much more expensive and complicated to build. In my frustration, I turned to something small and simple, and then proceeded to enlarge it and complicate it! In working with the 20X34, I had an idea today about turning it sideways so the long side faced the mountains, and then put a full-length lean-to addition on the uphill side, which could encompass both the garage and a spare bedroom. The entire addition could be on a slab, which reduces the cost tremendously. I would only have the basement under the 20X34 section. The living room, dining area, and kitchen would then all face the view. The spare bedroom/den would miss out on the view, but with woods in all directions, there isn't really a bad view. Unless used as a bedroom, it would be our TV room anyway, so the view is secondary.

So, my friends, there you have a peek into my convoluted thought process- scary, isn't it? At some point (soon) I'll have to decide! I'm getting quotes to compare based on several different layouts, and I'll ultimately make my decision based on that. The shell of a house is actually the cheap part, since every house has to have the expensive stuff- flooring, kitchen, bath, utilities. If it turns out the shell only changes the bottom line by something like 10%, it's a moot point- you go with what you want. Thanks for listening, and especially the good advice!

    Bookmark   February 3, 2011 at 5:11PM
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I mean this in the kindest way possible. The best person to make this decision is the guy (and woman) who are going to live there. We love seeing your project and sharing in the excitment of the build. And it's great to get input but just make sure you don't loose perspective on the intended occupants. Sit with it, look at it, walk away from it, draw in the furniture, 3-D it, whatever, but in the end if you follow your instincts it will be perfect for you. And that is what we all want to see.

My mother-in-law (now deceased) designed and built a house in Banner Elk, NC several years before she died. She raved about that place. The first time I visited I saw 100 things I would have done differently but she loved it and thought is was perfect. She built it for herself and it came out exactly like she wanted and that made it perect.

Follow your gut my friend.


    Bookmark   February 3, 2011 at 7:01PM
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OK then if you really like the upstairs I would suggest making your stair slightly wider then usual.When we were trying to get my Mom to come live with us we looked into stair lifts as the house we were going to buy for all of us was two story with steep stair. The lift was only about $2500.00.

So keeping it in mind it might be needed some day make it easier to install. We have friends here that have a lift on their stair way and it is really neat. She sends her laundry up on it from the basement. Their house is a really old victorian. Wonderful house.

I love the idea of a look out balcony. Love your ideas of a private suite upstairs to sit and listen to Jazz. I like Jazz very much.

What Scott Said. I am enjoying your process and we went through the same with putting this house together.

    Bookmark   February 3, 2011 at 7:19PM
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Jay- I think your vision of sitting on the balcony, sipping red wine and listening to jazz, sounds amazing!

Just a thought, but what if you put the bedroom downstairs, on the main floor, where you could easily access it, no matter what happens. Upstairs, maybe have a second bath, guest suite/office and if there's space, a separate music room...with a balcony. Great place to go in the evening, enjoy the view...and be able to share it others, when desired.

If your main rooms (living, dining, kitchen, bedroom, bath, laundry) are on the first floor, that leaves you free to expand upstairs (or down) for other spaces. Did you say you're on a hillside and want a daylight basement? Would you save much by making a slightly larger main floor, with just the upstairs? Sorry, I should know this, but I've lost track...too many people building homes! LOL

The stair lift is a great idea, but how much easier to use it (if necessary) to go enjoy the view or listen to music, when you feel like it...not have to use it to go to bed or do your laundry.

Best of luck with your plan and the process. I know it can be a challenge, after helping my mom, but believe me, it will be worth it! And definitely get what you and your wife want, no matter what anyone else says...although I think your balcony idea is WONDERFUL! :)

    Bookmark   February 3, 2011 at 7:40PM
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Jay, I just looked at the bathroom in the plan you submit here. The one off the den.

Hmmm, they have the tub and sink located on one wall, and the toilet on the opposite wall. Why not one plumbing wall? Is there a soil pipe upstairs over that toilet which makes it function better that way?

Anyway, myy comment about that bath, there will be no room for a walker or anything in that bath setup. And I think the entry door to the bathroom would be best moved to the wall shared with the den, out of the kitchen. And then the toilet could be moved to the other side. between sink and tub spigot area. Be sure that you can fill the tub without having to sit down on the toilet....which is what I had to do in my MoccasinLanding bathroom.

That is definitely an "old style" bath, from the 50s and 60s, because these days, having more space in the bath is the norm.

I loved your original house plan, customized to your needs. This one, well, I'm not feeling it so much.

    Bookmark   February 4, 2011 at 1:12PM
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Jay- I've always liked this plan...and finally found it, again. This is a really nice floor plan and I think it fits a lot of your criteria. I've actually been in this floor plan (with a few tweaks) and it's very inviting :)

The house I visited belonged to friends, who built the house themselves...and did everything but the stairs. They put in spiral staircases, to make it easier, but recently changed them out to regular stairs...which they like much better.

The main floor just needs a few adjustments...getting rid of the bedroom fireplace (?) and sliding the master bedroom "back" to even up that wing, with the rest of the house. If you got rid of the bedroom fireplace, you could add built-in cabinets for TV etc. on each side of the living room fireplace.

The living room could have one set of doors out to the deck (or just windows) and the dining room could have your cool bay...and maybe a door to a screened porch? The kitchen might need a little updating, too. Change the garage to a single and leave it as is, or move it to the side. Either way, the laundry and pantry could easily be reworked.

The second floor is great, as is, with the two bedrooms, but you could trim it down to the one with the bath and BALCONY, overlooking the back!

The basement was a walkout, which worked well on their site, too. They had a deck off the living room and patio off the lower level family room.

If you like this idea, at all, you might think about posting the plan on the Building Forum and asking Summerfield to help you with it. Hope this gives you some good ideas :)

On the link, you can click on the plans and make them much bigger. Notice that the pictures at the very bottom are far different than the plan...they made a lot of adjustments, themselves.

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

    Bookmark   February 4, 2011 at 4:14PM
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Thanks for all of the input and support. I realize that what I like may not appeal to others, and vice versa. I post these ideas mostly as a check to make sure I'm not really getting whacky ideas, or to help point out major or minor flaws. The plumbing being on two different walls is a good example.

The small bathrooms are 5X8, which is the minimum for a full bath. I never got the idea of huge bathrooms, especially when trying to keep the total house as small as possible. I do realize that such a bath is very tight for a handicapped person, and likely out of the question for someone who needs assistance in the bath.

LL- That's a neat house! I would have a lot of re-arranging to do, but I'll play with it. Despite having 7 acres, our land is surprisingly limiting in the way things can be laid out. The garage has to be on the uphill side, with the opening in the direction I always draw it, and the view is on the downhill side. Anything else would require a lot of dirt moving and resulting retaining walls.

A few must haves (which I've listed before): Big kitchen facing the view. My wife has specifically requested that 'her' sink face the view. Attached garage- for our safety, especially as we get older. Not only are there wild animals and bad weather, we live in a day and age where you don't always feel comfortable outside in the dark. Sad, but true.

This is a sketch based on what I was talking about. The house would be a very simple salt box shape. The roof would slope all the way down to the garage wall from the peak over the main house. I extended the nose of the garage to make for a bigger room behind it, and for architectural interest at the front of the house. The view is to the left, so the Parlor, dining area, and kitchen all face the view. We could start out living on the main floor if money is tight, although there is only one small bathroom. Eventually, the upstairs would become a master suite, and remain so unless we weren't physically able. The main floor is 904 square feet, so it would be cheap to run. The upstairs wouldn't be considered living space until it was finished, and I sometimes forget to tell the tax folks about such upgrades for a year or 10. This is a pretty tight design, and compromises had to be made to fit it all in. And yes- it would have a balcony!

    Bookmark   February 4, 2011 at 5:15PM
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Jay- I'm a little confused...aren't the garage entry and view on opposite sides of the house?

I'm glad you like the plan. I know it's probably too big, but I thought it might give you some good ideas :)

I like this bathroom a lot better than the last one, but could you put the door, closer to the bedroom, opposite the dryer? If you reversed the bathroom arrangement (tub, toilet sink from left to right) you would make the bathroom more accessible, if you ever use the downstairs bedroom.

    Bookmark   February 4, 2011 at 6:18PM
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Sorry for the confusion- The view is to the left; the street is to the right (but 300' away). The garage entry isn't opposite the view, but at a right angle to it. As you enter the property, you go up a hill, and then down the other side, with a turn to the right. It's a 'flag' lot. meaning a long, narrow entry, with the bulk of the land off the road. Because of the hill and woods, you won't even be able to see the house from the street.

Don't know why I did the bathroom that way. There is a shallow pantry outside of it facing the laundry, so moving the door over moves the pantry closer to the kitchen. For some reason, SketchUp doesn't run on this computer, so it will have to wait until Monday at work to do any editing. I don't know if I'd actually build this version, but if push comes to shove, it's about as small an envelope as I can can fit everything in to.

    Bookmark   February 4, 2011 at 6:36PM
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So, in your earlier plan (top of this post) the view was outside the kitchen and den? I thought is was outside the living/dining/kitchen areas :)

    Bookmark   February 4, 2011 at 7:43PM
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Correct- the view is at the top in the first pic; on the left in the second plan. I guess I should label it, or orient each plan the same way. My brain tends to move too fast, and I have to wait for common sense to catch up LOL!

I'm really driving myself crazy with this; I don't have the time or money to make a major screw-up, and start over. The fact of the matter is that we've lived in all sorts of houses with all sorts of design flaws, and we've always been happy and completely satisfied. The conflict arises between what we love (the cross-gable design) and what we can afford (yet to be determined). There's a lot to be said for going in either direction, and I know we'll be quite content either way.

An anecdote about tiny bathrooms- My mother's house had a main floor bathroom that was only 5X5'! A full bath- toilet, sink, and shower. Even more amazing is that she was able to use it at age 84, after she broke her hip. She didn't have round-the-clock care, so somehow she got herself in there, and did what she had to do. I didn't ask.....

    Bookmark   February 5, 2011 at 8:05AM
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Jay- If you both love the cross-gable design, maybe you should find out how much that is going to cost...and then make a decision. I think it's a beautiful design and would be well worth it, even if you had to finish the basement and possible upstairs loft/balcony area, at a later date.

One other thing...have you ever looked at modular homes? They are available in lots of plans, often they can even customize your own plan, and they have second stories and basements. They're usually less expensive to build and can be set up within a few weeks, on your lot.

The finish work (inside) takes about as long as a standard build, but the walls, windows, roof...the basic structure is built in the factory and shipped to your location...and assembled. There's one down the road from us...and it's much prettier than the stick built homes, nearby. It even has a huge front porch, daylight basement, side balcony, and large upstairs.

Since all the 'bones' are built in the factory, there's far less chance of weather negatively impacting your build...and again, it's usually less expensive than stick built. Might be worth looking into :)

    Bookmark   February 5, 2011 at 1:11PM
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We talked to a couple modular dealers early on when we bought our property. In SC, at least, the cost was close to that of site built; less than 10% difference for the same trim level. They were surprisingly nice, though.

Designing and building a house has been a lifelong dream of mine. I can remember trying out house designs as a teenager. This is my one shot at it. I'm going to hire out some of the heavy work, and the stuff I'm not qualified to do, such as excavation, but the rest of it will be largely done by my son and my self. I've budgeted a year to work on it full time, even though it will take some longer than that. If I can make it basically livable, I can go back to work and finish it in my spare time. I've been told that it would be more cost-effective to keep working, and pay to have the house built, but it wouldn't be the same! Meanwhile, my wife (God bless her!) is going to keep working to maintain the income stream, and keep the all-important health insurance active. I call this 'our last great adventure'!

    Bookmark   February 5, 2011 at 4:49PM
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Jay, I understand about trying to cut costs and still get all you want in the house. Your original plan was beautiful and flowing, but also costly. Besides the bathroom plumbing (which you changed) one thing I'm not crazy about in this one is the den access. I realize it will only be you & the wife most of the time, but having to walk through every room on that level to get to the den would bother me, especially if I had the dryer door open while I folded clothes and dh chose that moment to want by. I like the design of the 2nd one best, both because the living room seems a bit bigger but also because the garage doesn't take up all the front. It also doesn't have any wasted space, and you've got all the plumbing centrally located which is both cost efficient and gets your hot water to the taps faster.

Could you (or would you want to) take up the right corner of the front porch for a foyer that could access both living room and garage? Then you could keep the cold air or gasoline smell from coming straight into the house.

I'll tell you the very little I know about building, and you are right about the smaller footprint being more economical. 1. Having it all under one roof is cheaper when it comes to materials and labor. 2. A hip roof stands up to wind better than a gabled roof. 3. A higher pitched roof is twice the labor both in building and every time you re-roof. 4. Wind will come in north facing doors even with a storm door and will rip the storm door right off the frame. (Ask me how I know that one.) And then there are all the passive solar things to look at when determining placement of windows and doors.

    Bookmark   February 5, 2011 at 10:50PM
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Jay, I can appreciate your feelings about the Last Great Adventure. I ask myself, "If not now, when?" And the answer to that one is NEVER IF NOT NOW.

One thing I don't want to say when I'm dying, is Well I could have, but I did not.

And when Marti brings up the passive solar things, I'm reminded of south facing windows, especially in more northerly latitudes, that is the spot to put some dark tile floors to absorb the heat in the wintertime. I am fond of the unglazed porcelain, super durable, not slippery, available from the big box stores in good variety.

    Bookmark   February 6, 2011 at 11:45AM
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The one flaw in our lot is the exposure. The view that I keep trying to orient towards is roughly north. That means that all of those windows are facing the 'wrong' way for solar gain. Luckily, SC is a mild climate, with A/C costing as much or more than heat, so it's not a huge flaw. The second design is a saltbox, with a long roof facing- south. This will help with the A/C, but of course eliminates any direct solar gain.

Among the many subjects I've studied over the years is solar energy. While direct solar gain isn't an option (except to keep the garage warm), I have a huge canvas to install other solar technologies on. I had already planned to have a solar water heater on the roof, and store heated water in a large insulated vat in the basement. I'll go ahead and embed radiant heating tubes when we pour the basement, which will give me the option to circulate hot water through the basement floor. I'm guessing that a toasty basement will go a long way to towards taking the chill off of the rest of the house.

As for the den- yes, it is a little awkward as shown. If we have (and use) an upstairs master suite, the laundry will be up there as well, not on the main floor. When I build, I'll stub in the laundry hook-ups there, but just use it as a closet or pantry until (if) we ever move downstairs. In the meantime, it will be our 'TV room', and rarely if ever seen by others. We have the same set-up here; we took a small bedroom, and put a sofa and the TV in there. That keeps the TV out of the main traffic areas of the house. It has turned out to be a brilliant idea for our life-style! With a house full of antiques, there's nothing uglier than a big blank TV screen staring at you. The den location in my plan is also very handy to the kitchen- what more could a couch potato want? If it is ever used as a full-time bedroom, we like the proximity to the kitchen for that, too. The first thing I do after rising is use the bathroom, then it's straight to the coffee pot. Our current BR is close to the kitchen, and we find we like it that way.

Marti- I might play with the idea of a foyer. We would really like to be able to get from the garage to the house without going outside. Right now, my wife leaves for work at 4:30 AM. That's a scary hour for a walk in the woods! It would be much safer to stay inside to get to the garage. Normally, I would have the garage in the back, off the utility room and kitchen. The den could then be at the front of the house. Unfortunately, the way our land is laid out that wouldn't be practical.

Another issue with this plan is porch location. It's not shown, but living in SC means having a large screened porch, which will get used a LOT. The above design could either have it off of the living room, towards the view, or off of the den. Off the den, it wouldn't spoil the view, and it would be handy to the kitchen (I'm picking up on a theme here LOL) but it would be awkward with a lot of guests, especially if the den becomes a bedroom. Putting the porch off of the living room spoils the view from the living room, of course. I could put it at the end of the kitchen, but the resulting door eats into precious counter space. It would also block the morning sun, which I love in a kitchen.

I haven't ditched the cross-gable plan yet, either. I had an epiphany about the front door location, so I'm revisiting with a new eye towards shrinking it a little. The cross-gable with an upstairs would start being a rather big house for what we need, but without an upstairs, there is only one public room besides the kitchen- in other words- no den, just a living room. Hmmm.......

    Bookmark   February 6, 2011 at 1:19PM
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Jay- I can understand why you want to build your own home and would regret it, if you didn't. I just want you to build the home you really want (if it's affordable) and not regret compromising yourself into a home you don't really love.

I just went back and looked at the last version of your gable plan. If you print it off, hold it up to the window and retrace it (mirror reverse, basically) then switch the locations of the parlor and master bedroom, it may be a better fit. I made a few adjustments...the stairs are still on the new parlor side...but I reversed the master closet and master bath. This makes the foyer smaller and more convenient and gives you room to either enter the master bath from the foyer, add a mudroom to the back of the foyer (for garage access and laundry) keep the access from the garage in the front of the foyer and work in a powder room and laundry. What do you think?

Can you put the porch off the living room, if it's on the same side as the garage entrance? I think it would be very nice, as you'd still have the view, but you could put lattice to the view of the driveway and grow climbing plants up that side of the would give you more room for an entrance sidewalk, too. Just something to consider :)

If this worked for you, then instead of the main floor den, maybe have a bigger den, downstairs...with your office and maybe a guest room/bath. In the living room, a firplace with french door on each side, would be wonderful between the living room and screened porch. A flat screen TV would work great, above the fireplace. Can't you just imagine having the fire going on a cool evening in the fall? Beautiful!

    Bookmark   February 6, 2011 at 2:48PM
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LL- I admire your determination- that old thread was kind of buried! As for the room orientation- I started out with it that way, since it makes more sense, but- That puts the porch on the west side, which will make it very hot in the afternoon sun. Our porch here in FL is on the west, and it's unusable 6 months out of the year- it's too hot! That's why I flipped the plan- for the sake of the porch. I have a friend who lives near our property, and he said his porch gets very hot in the summer (facing west).

This leads to the epiphany I had about this design. My friend's house has the same lot layout- a flag lot with the driveway up the left side, so you turn right towards the house. His front door is actually past his garage, on the other side. You park in the driveway, and follow the sidewalk around the garage to the front entry. I don't know why it took me so long to realize I had the exact same situation as his, and I never noticed his was peculiar (that's probably why it didn't occur to me). Most of the time, when we visit, his garage door is open anyway, and friends and family just troop through the garage into the house, especially if you've been out in the yard and have dirty shoes. My barn is going to be east of the house, so I'm going to have the driveway run past the house, on over to the barn. Maybe I'll make my guest parking on the east side of the house, past the garage, so visitors are closer to the front door.

Armed with that awareness, I'm off to re-explore that design, reconfiguring that end of the house to have the foyer over on the parlor side. There should be plenty of room for a full bath with that hallway eliminated! If I go back to that design, I'll probably forget the second story, and concentrate on doing something in the basement, as you suggested.

BTW- Even the closet and bath configuration has a purpose. If you look closely, you'll see that there is a blank wall space on that wall, which is where we'll put the bedroom TV, opposite the bed, which will be on the outside wall. Switch them around, and most of that inside wall becomes doors, and there wouldn't be room for a TV. Also, by having the bathroom entrance in that private hallway, people getting up to use the bathroom early in the AM won't be shining the light in the other person's eyes. That's a pet peeve in our current house!

Thanks so much to all for participating in this thread- it really helps to hear other viewpoints! Keep it up!

    Bookmark   February 6, 2011 at 4:45PM
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Jay- Great idea about the driveway! I like using the garage as a 'mudroom' entry, sort of, and having a dedicated walkway up to the front porch. That's so much more inviting and will give you the chance to create a welcoming area for friends and family.

I tried to scan my 'idea' but it wouldn't work. Anyway, I switched the closet, so that you could make the hall to the bedroom a little longer, put a pantry (backed into the closet). I left the doorways the same as you had them, but just switched the areas.

Of course, I have no idea if this would all fit, but it looked good in the drawing :)

    Bookmark   February 6, 2011 at 7:31PM
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Well- I think I drove everyone away..... Anyhow, here's a quick revision of the cross-gable, this time with the foyer on the parlor side of the house. Not much of a foyer- about 5-1/2 feet square, but it would suffice in a small, unassuming house. The dotted line and posts separating the parlor are for support- I'm not sure if they're really needed or not, since there would be a truss right there for the side gable. No upstairs in this house- too big and expensive. The stairs go down to the basement, passing under the coat closet. It occurred to me that I could build cubbies in the end wall of the master closet, utilizing some space over the basement stairs.

    Bookmark   February 7, 2011 at 5:08PM
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Jay- LOVE the plan! :)

One you need a full bath in the hall? If not, could you flip the plumbing and make it a half bath...maybe with access into the laundry area? Then you could slide down your garage entry a few inches and not be bumping doors at the entryway.

I really like the cubbies over the stairs, the laundry access from the master closet and the master bath layout. I also like this kitchen a LOT better!

Are you still planning the porch, off the living room...with possible fireplaces? It's a lovely plan and I think you've made a wonderful choice!

    Bookmark   February 7, 2011 at 5:30PM
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I'd probably have to shift things a little to get a hallway past the powder room. Right now, there's 5'7" to work with. A code-legal powder room has to be 36", plus a hallway with a minimum of 36", plus the wall thickness. That's about 10" more than I have now. Something to play with, certainly. I like the idea of a secondary exit out of the master suite in an emergency. I could also flip the plumbing, eliminate the tub, and simply have a second door going through to the laundry. Although I'm shooting for Universal design, the second bathroom doesn't need to be handicap accessible.

Yes, I still plan to have the porch off of the parlor. I have to do my sketches at work, and there's just so much you can get done during a lunch break! I still haven't figured out why SketchUp won't run on my lap-top. It's loaded in there, but when you click to start a drawing.....nothing.

    Bookmark   February 7, 2011 at 7:25PM
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I love this plan too. I'm really enjoying the creative process as you work through your ideas!
As some one said "if not now, when"?
Good luck.

    Bookmark   February 7, 2011 at 8:51PM
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Jay- Exactly! If you make the bathroom a powder room, then you can have a door from there right into the laundry. Maybe a door that opens into the laundry area and locks from that side? Then no one can wander into your bedroom (I'm thinking visiting kids) and you have your privacy and second exit.

    Bookmark   February 7, 2011 at 9:25PM
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OH Wah. Hate to add to any confusion. They do make small corner showers. Since this is going to be your guest bath I might consider a small corner shower in the same corner on other side of the wall to the washer and dryer. Might still leave room for a door. And still have 1 3/4 bath for guests.

Really like the rest of the plan this way.

    Bookmark   February 8, 2011 at 1:06AM
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Jay- Are you going to have a guest bedroom/bath downstairs? Are you still planning a walk out basement? I really like this plan! :)

    Bookmark   February 8, 2011 at 10:16AM
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Here's the powder room version, which does allow for easy passage from the master suite all the way to the foyer, if desired. I was able to move the garage door over, which does free things up quite a bit in the foyer. I could just barely squeeze in a 32 inch shower if I left the bathroom the same, but eliminated the tub. As shown, this plan seems really workable.

I might put guest quarters in the basement, but not until I'm convinced that it will be dry. Despite all the advances in home building science, I've seen too many damp, musty basements to rush into it. It will be a walk-out basement, with the open end being at the same end as the view. I think with being a walk-out, with adequate windows, the basement could be very nice.

The other plan I have for guests will be a finished space in the barn. The barn will be 28 X 48, and divided, so on the 'view' end there will be a 15X28 great room with a 26' ceiling at the peak. Plans are to insulate, panel the walls and ceiling, and put in a full bath. That way, overnight guests will have their own guest house. Other uses for this room will be for large get-togethers, and maybe a truly huge Christmas tree once in a while. The barn is going to be built first, so it's not a matter of 'if'. At first, we'll use to store all of our stuff, and as a place to live while I build the house. When it's all said and done, it will be my workshop, and the aforementioned great room. No animals housed there; I'll build a small out-building if we ever get into farm animals.

    Bookmark   February 8, 2011 at 6:36PM
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Jay- It's a lovely plan! I think you've managed to create a truly beautiful, small home :)

    Bookmark   February 8, 2011 at 7:33PM
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Jay- Are you still liking the latest plan? I love it, but I know there's always so many details to work out!

I'm having a few challenges of my own, but I think it may turn out to be a good thing. While I may have to lose the master bathroom, due to roof line problems...I may gain a small greenhous addition...finally, star jasmine! LOL

    Bookmark   February 11, 2011 at 8:11PM
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Jay, lost this thread for some reason, just now caught up to it. I looked at your latest plan, and realized it was basically the CROSS HOUSE I was familiar with, just turned a different direction. Or the garage was turned to face the bedroom and thus present no exposure to the entry. I like that.

And have you ever thought about a "barn door" hardware for hanging a door on the surface of a wall instead of building a pocket? MUCH easier done, and in the right circumstances it would be very private. A plain slab of wood could work for that. And it might work to separate your powder room from the laundry, if you think a guest would be more comfortable and/or secure from intrusion if there were a door to give privacy feel. Nice thing about a barn door hung on a sliding track, it can be mounted at a later date if you put blocking in the wall ahead of time. Adding a pocket door at a future date, well, it required a lot of tearing out before it would work.

And I really like the idea of using the big barn as a future guest house/compound. It is making wise use of facilities you will have created at the start of your Carolina adventure. No need to tear them out. I don't know what kind of heating/cooling load would be necessary, but I know they make portable heat pumps which heat/cool and they could serve for the guest wing of the barn, right? I think one that my DH is ordering for our Teahouse reno can do 14,000 BTUs. A second such unit could be used if needed, and the units all run on 110 current.

    Bookmark   February 12, 2011 at 3:53AM
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I didn't draw a door between the powder room and the laundry because the drawing was getting cluttered. I would definitely have one there. Yes, it is the same basic design. I rotated it on the page because it was causing confusion (I'm good at that) as to where the view is.

I have been looking at barn door ideas, but I'm not sure if my wife is on board yet. It might be a little too rustic for her. You also lose that much wall area, which is precious in a small house. I do plan to build my own internal doors- basic plank doors with thumblatch hardware. Painted white, I think they will add a vintage look. The old house I grew up in had doors like that. I actually dislike pocket doors, having dealt only with cheap ones that eventually fail, requiring tearing a wall apart to repair. There are decent ones available, though. And if we ever have grandchildren, kids love to play with pocket doors until someone inevitable gets a finger pinched.

While we're at it- I learned a new trick on SketchUp. For some reason, it didn't render the chimney I laboriously drew, though.

    Bookmark   February 12, 2011 at 8:23AM
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That really looks nice Jay.

    Bookmark   February 12, 2011 at 10:37AM
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A question about your laundry area. Do you know definitely that your washer will be a top loader?

Will you be able to remove this laundry equipment after the bathroom doors are installed with their molding/framing?

Have you considered a stacked single laundry unit? Everything that goes in has to be able to come out. It is a joke about someone building a boat in their basement and not being able to take it out, but laundry equipment is on a par with such problems.

Frontloaders NOT stacked can have a folding table across the top, with towel storage, detergent etc in the shelves above.

And I look at the garage doors you drew, and I'm seeing a nice low maintenance flower bed in that roofline setback.
Or maybe that is a good spot to put your rain barrels? And perhaps put an underground pipe to run the water away from the home foundation.

A request, please, about putting NORTH on your drawings? I can deduce the sunlight once I know that bit of info.

I thing the CROSS HOUSE will provide many opportunities to collect rain for many uses. And a variety of plantings which can thrive in each place. But whatever you do, avoid shrubbery which must be trimmed every year or it will swallow up your house and your leisure time.

    Bookmark   February 12, 2011 at 12:49PM
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We had a front loader once, and I liked how dry the clothes came out, but the door seal failed rather spectacularly, and I found I couldn't soak my really grubby clothes. Since I work with my hands, really grubby clothes are a way of life for me! We find we like the old top loaders better, and they are a lot cheaper.

There is plenty of room to remove the appliances. My smallest doorways are 30", and the path through the master closet and bathroom has 36" doors. Average washers and dryers are 26-27".

We could go stacked, but it might be a problem for my vertically challenged better half. The laundry area looks tight, but our current one is only 54" wide (across from the appliances), and it works fine. As drawn, the one in this design is 67" wide, a full 13" wider than we have now.

That's one thing I've noticed in our current home- how tight a lot of places are, and we don't even notice. Our kitchen only has 48" across the aisle, and it works. The fridge is across from the sink, and blocks access to the hallway when the door is open, but no one ever was inconvenienced much. You just wait your turn. Our foyer is only 4-1/2' X 5'. By comparison, this house will be very wide open.

For the sake of discussion, north is approximately in the direction of the view. In actuality, the house will be rotated about 15 degrees clockwise from the top view. I think in high summer the sun may hit the back of the house a little, more likely in the morning. The northern exposure is the weakest feature of our land, but in SC, that's where the mountains are. Luckily, it's a mild climate, where A/C probably costs as much or more than heat on an annual basis. Therefore- the parlor and porch face
east, done purposely to keep the porch cooler in the hot afternoons. That puts the bedroom on the west; not my first choice, but all that is left. In reality, all we do is sleep there, and we are both up WAY before sunrise, so the exposure isn't all that important (to us). The dining area will get morning sun, the kitchen afternoon. Again, not my first choice, but I think the dining area should be adjacent to the parlor, not the other way around.

What else? The barn will be ESE of the house; about 100' away. We have woods in all directions, although I plan to have a pretty good open area. There's too much risk of ice storms to have lovely trees hanging over the house. Also facing north, and the view, the ground falls away at about a 15% grade. The approach from the road (300' to the south) goes up a rise of about 20', over the ridge, then downhill and to the right towards the house. That's why the garage faces in that direction. I'm going to have the gravel driveway wind back and forth slightly rather than dead straight. It's likely you won't see the house at all from the road. The barn is up on the ridge, and may be partially visible when the leaves are off the trees. Here's an aerial to give you an idea of the orientation. The top of the pic is due north. You can see the long, narrow entry. The house and barn will be to the right as the land widens out.

    Bookmark   February 12, 2011 at 2:37PM
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