Our little house needs some tweek'in (pic)

movin-onApril 21, 2008

As empty nesters we are looking to purchase a small house 794sf which we will use 6months a year. We don't expect houseguest, and if we do, we can use our RV which is parked on the other side of the patio.

I've tried to draw the plan ... but I'm not very professional, but hopefully the layout can be understood.

I keep fighting with two areas of the house and with every inch at a premium I just wonder if there is a way to rework them and ask for your help.

The first is the kitchen. The fridge sits right next to the wall which means we will have difficulty opening the fridge door more than 90o. I would really like to see this changed somehow.

The second is the utility room, we are considering adding a little computer area, but there is so much space - can it be used better? I have considered re-arranging the utility and kitchen, but I don't have the vision.

Finally, and not quite as important, the hallway between the bath and bedroom is really wide.. about 5', can this space be improved upon???

I should also mention the main/front door is near the bedroom and we are considering adding the second door to stop the walking thru the L.R. which I have drawn next to the kitchen

I cannot move the exterior walls (we are on a slab), but I think we can modify some of the interior walls. So, my question: Can improvements be made to improve the flow, maximize space and enjoy our little house even more??

Thanks in advance for the help

Here is a link that might be useful:

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I'm not sure about how to fix the fridge issue -- maybe swap the location of the fridge and the range? But then (unless you get a counter-depth fridge) you've got the fridge sticking out in the middle of a run of cabinets.

Regarding the hall to the bedroom: How about taking the short wall that has the bathroom door and moving it in toward the hall so it is along the other side of the box that holds the HVAC. This leaves room for another linen closet in the bath, or facing the hall.

Then, get rid of the second door to the patio that opens off the short hallway -- just make it a window. Then, take the window from the bedroom onto the porch and make it a door onto the porch. It would make more sense to access the porch from the bedroom than from an odd spot in the hall.

    Bookmark   April 21, 2008 at 11:55PM
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It would help a lot to know which of your walls are load bearing and which are not, and therefore free to come down if you do decide to reconfigure things. For instance, the wall between the Utility room and kitchen - if it were to come down, you might have a whole new option for how your kitchen's laid out and the fridge might well be able to move (along with other things). A good kitchen designer (from a dedicated kitchen 'store') could advise you best once you know if you can tap into all the U. room space or not. And the same might even apply to the door/bedroom problem. You're not going to figure out all possibilities just by looking at them hard (tried it, too untrained to see the whole picture as it could be!) but someone in the business could come up with scenarios you never thought possible and it could be worth calling on 'designers' (not decorators), who will be less expensive than architects, but still trained to see more options (if they're any good) than we are.

    Bookmark   April 22, 2008 at 5:19AM
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I would 1. Enclose the W/D behind wooden louvered bi-fold doors if there is enough room/depth. 2. Assuming the wall between the kitchen and laundry is load-bearing, completely open the wall from the closet to the other side leaving only a foot of wall left. 3. Install a laminated "I-beam" header, frame it out, and have a 12" deep cupboard built-in accross the newly-made 5'10" wide X 12" deep niche...with lit-up glass-front doors for display on the top over a counter that could provide extra serving space for the dining table, and lower cabinets for extra pantry storage, etc. Then, next to it, in the current niche in the kitchen area, either a built-in counter to make a desk under the window, or if there is not enough space, possibly a built-in window seat w/storage. This leaves the fridge where it is. When I moved into my small house 6 years ago, I was very concerned about the same problem; my fridge was in the same corner and my side door is right next to it, where the door to your laundry is located. I found a GE Profile stainless steel refrigerator with features that made the placement work. There is only 2 3/4" space on the right which allows for greater than 90 degree opening. The door is hinged on the right, obviously, and the bottom freezer rolls out. The fridge opens enough to fully extend both crispers, but it doesn't open enough to allow the right-hand crisper to be pulled completely out -BUT after the left hand crisper is removed, the right-hand one SLIDES to the left, allowing full removal of both. Other refrigerators may now offer these features. Frankly, despite all my initial concerns, I had completely forgotten that this was once an issue for me until I read your post! I like your idea of moving the front door as it will be away from opening next to the bathroom, and will allow closer access to the patio from the kitchen. Jakabedy's idea is great, to switch the door and window if there is enough room in the bedroom, and if you would feel safe with a door in your bedroom - a french door would be pretty. The present arrangement you have with the space between your bedroom and bath seems really nice! There is room for artwork or family photo's on the walls, or maybe a corner bookcase. Please keep everyone posted on your decisions! - Penny.

    Bookmark   April 22, 2008 at 10:54PM
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If the wall next to the refrig is not load bearing I would get rid of it. Leave the refrig where it is and than put a built in desk area to the right of it. I would get rid of the door between the laundry and kitchen and close off the space at the other end of the utility room from where the desk would be for the laundry. Does that make sense?

    Bookmark   May 3, 2008 at 10:36PM
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Speaking completely off the cuff, I would knock down the wall between the utility room and kitchen and if possible move the w/d to the other end of what is now the utility space, enclosing it in a closet. (Our "laundry room" is about 5x5' and is perfectly sufficient, and will be even more so once we get someone in to stack the machines.) I am told that the French-door style fridges are much more comfortable to use in tight spaces than regular ones and much more efficient for storage than regular side-by-sides.

I would completely eliminate the exterior door that opens onto the vestibule by the bedroom and replace it with a window. (BTW, that vestibule's corner is perfect place for a tall block of shallow cabinets to work as a linen closet.) I would relocate the main entrance to the middle window in the living room, below where you have the outward-swinging door on this floorplan, although if you have the budget for it a wall of French-door type windows there with one as the entrance would be positively dee-lish.

Consider using laptop(s) and a wireless Internet connection instead of a space-eating desktop computer. They are IMO SO much more space-efficient for small houses because you can just stuff them in a cabinet or the bottom shelf of an end table when you're not using them! There are folding laptop desks that can pop behind a chair when not in use, and Ikea has one that folds up to slip under the couch.

    Bookmark   May 5, 2008 at 7:01PM
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