Ranch plan feedback kindly requested

lesleypMarch 9, 2011

Hi GWers!

I have a little L-shaped ranch house (1250 sf) that I am trying to remodel. I would love to get your feedback on this plan:

In particular:

- what do you think of the room sizes?

- is the walk-in closet big enough?

- would an entry that leads through the kitchen bother you?

- is there a better way for me to do the layout?

Thanks in advance for your thoughts and suggestions!

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Do you have children living in the house? If so, 10x10 is a bit small for a bedroom. It works, but it's tight. Our 2nd & 3rd bedrooms are both 10x10. With a twin bed, it's ok, but anything bigger takes up most of the space.

Are you planning to put rods on both sides of the master closet or just along one side & the back? If both sides, you are going to have a narrow space to walk between them. Clothes need about 2 feet of space.

Yes, the main entry through the kitchen would really bother me.

Is there a better way? You could flip the kitchen & living room spaces.

How is it laid out now?

    Bookmark   March 9, 2011 at 3:15PM
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Hi there. Neat house. First, a few questions as to what you need to have, and what you are trying to do with your redo.

Do you use all the bedrooms? Do you have a business or work out of your home? Do you have many overnight guests, or do you have small kids or grown kids and grandkids? Is your basement stair an OUTSIDE access basement, or do you access it from inside the house? Is that basement step landing the entry you use to get into the house? Is your front porch covered by your house roof? Is that walkway paved and is the entry at ground level, or do you step up to the porch? Do you use the office as a bedroom also?

I'm seeing a couple of options which will rearrange some functions and a few walls, but give you more storage space and a better flow, while keeping front door traffic from trotting through your kitchen. I'll try to draw it out this afternoon while it is raining and I am watching paint dry.

Always nice to play with another small home.

    Bookmark   March 9, 2011 at 3:25PM
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I just read over my reply and it sounded sharp. I'm sorry if it sounded that way.

    Bookmark   March 9, 2011 at 3:35PM
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    Bookmark   March 9, 2011 at 5:33PM
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Thanks for the feedback and great questions so far!

Marti, you didn't sound sharp at all - no apology necessary. This home is for me, my SO, and one adorable gray cat. No kids or grandkids, and only a very occasional house guest. Even though I expect to be here for a while, I don't want to do anything that would jeopardize the home's resale value.

As for the master BR closet, I figured I would only be able to have rods on one long and one short side. I would really prefer to do a reach-in closet since I hate the wasted space of a walk-in, but I can't figure out how to make it work.

Here's how the house looks currently, except that the giant three-flue chimney on the south side is now a pile of cinder blocks in the yard, waiting to become terrace supports! (I'm trying to minimize the impact of my remodel on the local landfill.)

Also, the central stairs have been moved to the NW side of the house, but the original stairwell walls are still in place. The NW stairs to the daylight basement are enclosed, but given how the yard slopes down, this wouldn't be a normal entry (except when I'm working in the yard).

ML, I work from home and would plan to use BR2 as my office. BR3 could be for the rare houseguests and/or my workout stuff, but having a third BR is not an absolute requirement.

The front porch on the NE is covered by a generous roof overhang. There are two steps up to the porch and then another step up into the house.

The current entry drives me crazy for three reasons:
- the hallway is only 4' wide so I have to do a do-see-do with any visitors before I can close the front door
- part of the entry is tiled, but then you have to cross hardwood floors to get to the coat closet
- I really would like a single mudroom where all the shoes can live so I can have a shoe-free house

This last reason is why I am even considering the entry that passes through the kitchen. It is the only way I have been able to lay out the space so that you come through the mudroom regardless of whether you enter from the front door, the garage, or from the basement. Given the 70+ inches of rain that we get, not to mention the snow, this is an important practical concern.

All the good views are on the south side so I can't flip the kitchen and living room. Plus the kitchen plumbing is already in place and I know that shifting the bathrooms is going to be a budget buster already.

But on the bright side, the way the house is constructed almost all the interior walls are non-load bearing. I am looking forward to some new ideas because I have been staring at this for way too long!

    Bookmark   March 9, 2011 at 6:01PM
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ML, I didn't see your post until after I submitted the one above. Thank you so much for taking the time to make a drawing! I couldn't read your comment on the upper right side, but I think I got the general gist. So with that as inspiration along with a drawing by Lavender_Lass on another thread, I have come up with the following:

I have ditched the third bedroom in favor of a larger master bath and a generous walk-in closet. I am also reluctantly giving up the central mudroom in order to create what I hope will be a nicer entry.

I am keeping a wall between the kitchen and laundry area because that is also where I will stash the kitty's litter box. (Note that there is an opening in that wall, it's just hard to show in the program I'm using.)

So what do you all think? Better? Worse? Would you want to live in this house? Thanks for your input!

    Bookmark   March 10, 2011 at 5:10AM
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Better. Since you made the walkin closet six feet wide, you will have room for a rod down each long wall of the closet. Mount the rod 12 inches from the long walls, that gives each rack the 24 inches required for hanging clothes, and then it will be 10 foot long. I'd recommend that up by the door you put in some drawers built into the closet. By being six foot wide, you will also have a two foot wide strip in the middle to walk the length of the closet. I would consider making at one end or the other some shoe cubbies vertical built to take up less linear space.

When we created our master suite in DH's cape in MA, we allowed an 8 foot deep space which was 6 foot wide, with the door in the center of a short wall. I had him build into the middle of each side a stack of drawers for folded clothing or purses/hats/sweaters. Then I had a double hi-low hanging space for shorter clothing, and one single rod mounted higher for my longer clothing. This also allowed the rods not to be so long that they needed more support. It works out very well.

If you have a walkout basement, in the future you might find a way to install a spiral stair to access it from the inside, and locate another bedroom down there. If you want to sell in the future, even having a separate apartment down below with a private entrance would be a plus to some buyers, who might find an income property quite attractive. But folks with kids might not like the lack of the third bedroom in the main floor.

Is the wood stove the heating system for wintertime? Or, is it used only occasionally for mood or atmosphere?

Think about turning the entry closet along the bathroom wall, borrow a little bit of the wall depth for bathroom storage, and have a bench in the foyer between two areas for hanging coats in one, personal family stuff in the other. Put a long mirror over that built in bench....which would be like a window seat w/o the window. This way, there would be an opportunity to take out part of the hall wall and put a couple of wood columns to make the hall very short and the house feel more open.

    Bookmark   March 10, 2011 at 9:50AM
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I like your new plan much better! Yes, I'd like to live in that house. I realize this may not be "doable", but I would keep playing with the masterbath and master closet layout. If you could get the plumbing for the two bathrooms back to back it would save you some money (although I have no idea how much!). ML's idea of a spiral stair to the walk out basement is a good one, if there is any potential for a future third bedroom down there. Good work!

    Bookmark   March 10, 2011 at 11:40AM
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I like the new plan much better, too. I know you hate to give up a bedroom, but I think it will be much nicer walking into your new foyer, than the mudroom, especially if that's where your kitty box is going to be. I speak from experience, here :)

What is the little white square in your mudroom/laundry...a sink? I would put the kitty box there and switch that to the other side of the washer/dryer, if possible. It would give you a little more room, from the kitchen door, and the kitties would probably like their privacy. Maybe have a built in countertop and upper cabinets, over the kitty box, for extra storage?

The bigger master bedroom closet and bathroom are going to be so nice. Kim makes a good point about the plumbing, but at least the two bathrooms aren't very far apart.

I still think you'd have more room, for a small dining area, if you moved (or got rid of) the wood stove. Could it go downstairs, in a family/rec room? If not, could it go on the wall to the office? That would be the only downside to resale (more than two upstairs bedrooms and baths) is no space for even a small bistro table and chairs.

It looks like you're making progress with your plan! I'm sure you'll get lots of wonderful ideas and advice, on this forum :)

    Bookmark   March 10, 2011 at 1:41PM
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Thanks everyone for your feedback and encouragement!

ML, thanks for the great suggestions regarding the walk-in closet. Do you think 6' is a good width or would you go wider? Right now I think I have the closet width at 6'4" but I could certainly give those extra 4" to the second bath if they are not needed in the closet. Did you use a pocket door or an inswing? Would an inswing door hit the clothes behind it when opened fully if you don't make the closet 6'6" wide?

The stairs to the basement are enclosed and I do plan to put a guest bedroom down there. I realize this third bedroom wouldn't work well for a future buyer with young children, but it might be perfect for someone with a teenager! ;)

The wood stove is both a source of heat and mood so I use it a lot. All the views are to the South and West which is why I put the stove on the West wall. The old chimney was on the East side of the LR and it was a drag to have the chairs turned around to face the fireplace.

ML, I'm going to try to draw up your suggestions for the foyer, so please let me know if I get it right. This is a particularly important area since right now the entry works so poorly (see the floorplan I posted on 3/9). I always hear Benny Hill music when trying to get from the master BR to the kitchen!

Kim, I could put the bathrooms back to back if I put the walk-in closet on the NE corner of the house. This would definitely cut down the plumbing costs and it would put more distance between toilet flushing sounds and anyone still sleeping! Originally I was thinking it would be nice to have two windows in the bathroom but maybe that's not critical?

LL, thanks for taking another look at the plans! You are a dedicated GWer! That is a laundry sink you see in the corner of the laundry area. I could flip its location if the plumber gives the go-ahead.

Regarding the ability to have a proper dining area, how about if I swap the island for an eat-in kitchen table? Or perhaps a table across from the wood stove. I'll start working on another layout...

Please keep the comments coming -- they are helping so much!

    Bookmark   March 10, 2011 at 6:06PM
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Our walk in closet it 6 by 5 and it is fine. Give your 4 inches to the bath. You have so much more length in your closet I do not think you will miss the 4 inches.

Great plan. I laugh at how we all accommodate the litter pans and dog bowls beds etc. I look around from my chair and see dogs and cats flopped all over the living room. LOL

Even though you might be giving up a bedroom I think you will be happier with this plan. If you can convert the office as guest for the rare times it would be used for guest it is better in my mind. The rest of the time you can work in a nice spacious space with day bed to take a break on.

My dream home was of large multi purpose rooms. I am doing that here only my large rooms are pretty small. LOL When we were going to build the shop house= house and shop,garage, as one. I was going to have my studio and guest and sewing room office all one big room. At the time I was also working from home and needed a home office.Not so much now.

    Bookmark   March 10, 2011 at 8:10PM
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Hi again, I have reworked the plan so that the bathrooms are back to back. By making the foyer just a bit narrower, I will have one less wall to move. Yea!!

I have also added some furniture, including a dining room table to get a sense of the flow in the main room:

So what do you think, better? worse?

A few things I am still wondering about:
- what size should I make the foyer? I don't want to make it any bigger than it needs to be, especially if I can reclaim some space for storage.
- the central hallway is just 3' wide -- is that acceptable?
- the master bath vanity is 5' wide -- is that enough?
- is it worth moving the south wall of the walk-in closet so that it is line with the bathroom/hallway wall?
- anything else you would change?

Thanks again for taking the time to look at my plans. I'm hoping to get it (mostly) figured out before I fire up the nail gun!

    Bookmark   March 11, 2011 at 4:29AM
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Very good. I think you'll be a lot happier with it that way. What software are you using to design it? Do you have to start over every time or can you go back to the old plan and just move a few walls?

    Bookmark   March 11, 2011 at 10:10AM
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My first thought was to move the closet wall so it lines up straight with the bath/hallway wall (remove the jog). Looks like you might lose about a foot in the closet - is that right? In a couple of places in our upstairs remodel, now that it's done, I've thought "why did we make the wall jog like that?". If it is straight it will give you nice wall space for pictures, etc.

I wonder if you could use a pocket door for the master bathroom? That door swing just looks like it is going to be inconvenient. Or maybe it could swing out into the bedroom. Probably, that's not much better. I think five feet of vanity would be fine. Ours is four feet and another foot would feel luxurious in our house! I might keep playing with the arrangement in the masterbath. No real suggestions; sometimes it just takes a while to get baths laid out the way that will work best.

I don't have any feedback on the foyer size. It has been so long since we lived in a place with a foyer. Wish we had one! It looks plenty big enough to me, but I'll be interested to read what others think.

It does help to see some furniture. How much aisle is there between the dining room table and the woodstove in your drawing? Looks kind of close. Not sure the scale of your table. Maybe try a smaller round table with four chairs, so you can angle people on the stove side?

I think you are getting there! It is looking good!

    Bookmark   March 11, 2011 at 11:44AM
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Marti, I'm using SketchUp which is an amazing free program from Google. It takes a bit to learn how to use it, but once you get the hang of it, it's very powerful. I can generate plan and perspective views and even do virtual walkthroughs.

Kim, moving the closet wall definitely looks better, but I'll lose 13" off the length of the closet. Plus, I'm wondering if the BR then becomes too big at almost 15' wide (is that possible?) I agree on putting in pocket doors -- in fact, I would like to use them for both the master bath and closet.

In the living room, there is about 4' on either side of the dining room table, so I'm hoping that's enough. I have made the foyer a bit smaller (6'x5') by putting in a hall closet -- you can never have too much storage, right?

I appreciate all the input -- it gives me confidence that I'm on the right track! Keep those suggestions and feedback coming...

    Bookmark   March 11, 2011 at 3:23PM
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Hey there. I think our walkin closet is exactly 6 feet wide, and that is adequate. That is the finished width. A few inches extra would be nice, but not if it would be better added to the bathroom. I see that in the last plan drawn above, it is reduced to 6 feet exactly. Nice.

Keeping the ideas coming is a good idea, you never know when sheer genius will hit you like a bolt of lightning.

    Bookmark   March 11, 2011 at 6:58PM
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