What do you think?

jenilynMay 5, 2007

Hello everyone. I don't post often. I lurk around and follow a couple of different forums here at Gardenweb.

I wanted to jump in here and ask your opinions on this house plan. It's on the smaller side so I thought you all may be able to spot potential problem areas as far as functionality in a small home. We recently bought a 10 ac piece of property that is basically a corn field right now. Having the land and privacy was more important to us than having a huge house. We plan to pay on the land for a couple of years before we think about building, but I've already starting browsing home plans and clipping pictures.

This is one of the home plans I keep going back to. The bedrooms seem to be a nice size. I like the smaller kitchen because I'm not much of a cook or an entertainer. I spend most of my spare time reading or on the computer so I like the sitting area off the master. I'm not sure I know what they are talking about when they say "dividers".

The only negative I see so far is the small windows, but this may be a plus as far as conserving energy? or I guess I could modify the plans I'm sure to allow for larger windows or more of them. The other thing is I think it would be nice if there were another 1/2 bath in the mud room/laundry area but then again that would just be another bathroom to clean, ugh!

Once upon a time, we lived in a one bedroom ranch and I thought I would die to have a few more bathrooms. Now, we live in a tri-level and have three and between emptying the trash cans and keeping them stocked with TP and linens, I'm suprised I have time for anything else, LOL.

I'm not a sewer, so I think I would change that area to maybe add another storage closet or something more functional.

What do you guys think? See any other down sides to this plan?

Thanks a bunch!


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Mostly it looks like a really well thought out floor plan. The only thing that would seem odd to me is the master bedroom entrance through the kitchen. We had a house growing up where the master was at the opposite end of the house from the kid's rooms. I sure they loved the privacy, and so did we. They could not hear a thing we were doing, and in our case we were up to no good. I think the dividers are half stub walls.

    Bookmark   May 5, 2007 at 11:43AM
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I think I would prefer more direct access to the kitchen when carrying in groceries. I'd cut out the sewing nook and put in a door.

I agree with cuddlepo too. I wouldn't want to enter the bedroom from the kitchen. Maybe a door could be moved to the livingroom wall.

Otherwise it looks like it has nice room sizes.

    Bookmark   May 5, 2007 at 5:57PM
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Since you don't need the sewing area, I would make this a computer desk. That way the computer user is near the kitchen (so parents in kitchen can monitor the kids) and near the MBR (my DH is hooked on online chess, I am hooked on these forums), so it is nice for the computer addict to be near the heart of the home and near the MBR so others can FORCE them to interact!

This house has some features that we saw a lot in 1970s ranches when we were house hunting last year. First, the dividers. I think they mean those half walls that visually divide a space, but do not completely wall them off. So the wall between the reading area in the MBR and the wall between the DR and LR are only about 3 -3.5 ft high. It is an awkward arrangement, believe me. It means that sounds and light travel between the living spaces. These dividers are used instead of real walls to make small spaces feel larger.

The other feature similar to our local 1970s ranches are the 6 inch step-downs between rooms. The MBR is a step down from the sewing area, the LR is a step down, etc. This is also awkward. I have lousy knees and had to exclude all houses by one architect in our area because of all the steps. I now have an aluminum ramp going from my eat-in kitchen area to the FR, because I cannot always do the 6 in step. Wheelchairs, walkers, crutches, strollers, baby walkers, and short wiener-dogs all have great difficulty with all the drop-offs in some of these homes!

On the plus side, I don't agree that the garage and grocery-drop area are too far apart. The pantry is over by the bedroom door, and it is a straight shot to the garage. I like the size of the bedrooms and the living room. I love the storage room next to the garage. I wish I had one of those.

The dining room looks a little small, and with the half wall and the 6 inch step, you cannot just extend the table to the max and make use of the end of the living room. We did that in our last house, we pushed all the big LR furniture against the walls, carried all the small furniture out of the LR, set up a buffet in the dining L and put banquet tables in the LR. I could serve Thanksgiving dinner for 15 or so in a 1000 sq ft house. The half wall and the drop-off make this impossible, and I am not sure a 11 x 12 dining room will always be big enough.

I don't mind the MBR being off the kitchen, because it is off the pantry/sewing/computer area, not off the kitchen proper. This house is set up to really keep an eye on the kids! No looking at porn in a computer niche outside Mom's kitchen and bedroom, no sneaking out to drive the car to meet friends after Mom and Dad are asleep. No sneaking in late (as long as you don't give the kids the keys to the deadbolt on the front door!).

Here is a link that might be useful: Your plans

    Bookmark   May 5, 2007 at 9:16PM
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Others have pointed out most of what occurred to me. One thing that I haven't seen mentioned yet is that this is a "slab" floor plan -- no basement. I don't know where you live, but up here in Minnesota, putting the less-used stuff outside the house and not having a good place to go in case of severe weather would make this plan a non-starter for me. In fairness, they do call it a "Southern" floor plan. Just something I noticed.

I'm also a little concerned about the A/C system by the bedrooms. First, no furnace? (This really is a Southern floor plan!) Second, given the need to move air through an entire house, I would imagine that the blower could get quite noisy. And it's right next to two of the bedrooms.

Finally, I also will echo the comment about the 6" steps. If this is intended to be your "forever" house, you might want to reconsider these steps and either remove them from the plan (if possible) or make sure you have a way to get around using the steps if you can no longer negotiate them. Ramps will chew up a fair amount of space in a room and they're not excessively large here to start with. This may not be an issue for you now, but it increasingly will be as we all get older.

    Bookmark   May 5, 2007 at 10:03PM
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If you do nothing else and haven't already done so - a MUST it to check out Sarah Susanko's various books about small well designed houses. Among the numerous ideas she embraces in her design work and incorporates into her homes you will surely find some other options to employ in the house plan you are considering. It appears a trim and non wasting use of space. I would avoid the kitchen/master bdrm set up in it - inconvenient in general and noisy - listening to dishwashers set to run late at night, refrigerator compressors - or others if you have kids or guests in the kitchen late at night - appears you could rework your bedroom entry by cutting out the sewing room ....If you could rework the layout of the m/bdrm - but that may not be an option. Also rethink the dividing wall things - consider movable wall panels - they are in vogue these days if you look thru MET HOME - can be made from numerous materials and if planned well can compliment your decor and provide privacy/screening/or openness very easily allowing for full access to your space if you want it or not if you close it up. When I say in vogue I don't mean in a passing fancy "hip" now - but again an idea that constructed with the right materials for the job will be a great addition to your use of space overall. and yes windows appear smallish - but don't know where you'll be building. good luck.

    Bookmark   May 6, 2007 at 12:58AM
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Thanks guys! You have definitely given me fuel for thought! and I will check out Susanko's books. Thanks for the tip. One thing I don't think will bother me is the MBR near the kitchen. Our MBR is right off the kitchen now and right next to the garage door. It was an addition put in by the previous owners. I tend to agree with Nancy on that one. Its kinda nice to be laying in bed reading a book in the evening and still be able to keep an eye on DH or kids as they come to the kitchen in a steady stream for drinks or snacks all evening, lol.


    Bookmark   May 6, 2007 at 8:52AM
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BTW, it's Sarah Susanka....

    Bookmark   May 6, 2007 at 11:02PM
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You don't say what area of the country you live in, so I have no idea how important saving energy means to you. Since you have time before you build, you may want to learn more about how to build an energy saving home that is also safe and healthy. For example, how you build your home, in what direction it is sited can make a difference, not having a garage attached to the home is a safety and health issue. (For example, it is felt that garages give off dangerous fumes that can seep into the home.) I would even guess that having a MB off the kitchen is not a wise idea as the kitchen can create unhealthy fumes. There is much to think about and much to learn. but what an exciting adventure you are embarking on.

    Bookmark   May 16, 2007 at 9:40AM
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