House plan...what do you think?

lavender_lassAugust 24, 2012

Here's my latest 'not so small' smaller homes plans. So, what do you think? It's Summerfield's design from a few months ago, but with a few small changes... From Lavender Lass farmhouse pictures

The last few months have been awful, yet I'm amazed at how much I've been able to do. I'm sure I'll collapse soon, but so far, I've managed to keep the farm and the business going, while my husband has been sick, in the hospital and now in rehabilitation. I don't like to talk about things on the Internet, but many of you are good friends (even though I've never acutally seen you) and I need a hug, if only virtually.

My husband is getting better, but this has been difficult and as always...when I need to think about something (anything) else, I draw house or garden plans. To me, they're like a puzzle...where everything either fits or it doesn't. And like all really good puzzles, there are more than one possibility for a 'right' answer.

So, even though my husband is expected to make a full recovery, I decided to go with a larger version (beautifully drawn by Summerfield) and not so beautifully 'tweaked' by me...to allow for wider doorways, hallways and overall better accessibility. After my grandmother's experiences with less and less mobility...and now my husband's brief stay (hopefully) in a wheelchair...I'm convinced more than ever that homes need to be universally accessible...if at all possible.

So, I guess smaller, better designed/more storage, green design, heating/cooling efficient and universal accessibility might be the things we need/hope to see in new homes. At least that's what I would do, if I were building them.

My fifteen minutes of freedom is over and now I have five different things I need to do this afternoon. Take care and have a great weekend...and thank you all for being such wonderful 'small home' friends :)

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desertsteph

well, lots and lots of hugs to you! had no idea you were dealing with this! did I miss a post? I hope his recovery is speedy and complete!

"I'm convinced more than ever that homes need to be universally accessible"

I sure think anyone building or remodeling should do what they can toward that. After hobbling around for over 6 wks when I broke my kneecap I've lived it in a minor way. And it wasn't pretty!

You just never know what can happen to cause you to need a walker, crutches or a wheelchair. that also means easier access to a shower/tub and toilet - and sink. doorways and hallways too. bracing for those grab bars in the bathroom should be done when the walls are open even if you don't put them up until a need arises.

I had to attempt to get over the side of a tub to get a shower. I took a few showers outside with the hose rather than the agony of going over that tub side. I am so very, very happy that I now have a regular shower. No more climbing over the side of a tub!

My ext doors are 36" and the doorway I'll be making into the tv room (off of the kitchen) will be about 32" I think. more if I can squeeze it out of the space.

That'll give me access to most all of my rooms even if using a walker. My bdrm doorway would probably need to be made bigger. but my bathroom doorway is already 5'.

My sister and BIL did this in the house they built a few yrs back. Wide halls, big doorways and tile thru out the main level. lever handles on all doors.

The front of your place is the east? I'm still concerned about the distance from the utility room to the kitchen. Do you park on the right side?

    Bookmark   August 24, 2012 at 10:47PM
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EATREALFOOD

Oh Lavender BIG HUGS to you. I hope your husband is doing well and you are able to get some rest yourself. Stress is so draining. In addition to (re)drawing up your plans, look at all the absolutely beautiful photos you have collected. Those photos have cheered all of us up and given us great ideas, so I'm sure looking at them will make you smile too. Best wishes to your husband and to you also.(and to your beautiful horses)

    Bookmark   August 24, 2012 at 11:51PM
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marti8a

LL, I had no idea. I had noticed you weren't around as much. I bet you are exhausted and I hope your husband recovers quickly.

I quite agree that houses should be built for future wheelchair access. Ours isn't and no way to change a lot of it. When and if, probably when, dh can no longer walk, we'd better not be in this house.

    Bookmark   August 25, 2012 at 5:25PM
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camlan

So sorry to hear about your DH's struggles, and yours.

The one thing about your floor plan that I would change, if I were living there, is the location of the kitchen in relationship to the entry doors and where the car will be parked. It might not bother you, but I've lived where you have to carry groceries and stuff through the entire house, or where the driveway is on the opposite side of the house from the kitchen door, and it is a huge pain in the neck to have to lug everything that far. My dream house has the shortest distance possible between the car park and the kitchen counters.

As for universal access--you are on the right track to work that into the house now.

It was clear shortly after his birth that my brother's oldest child would need to use a wheelchair. Since their house wasn't set up for one--no first floor bedroom, narrow doorways, etc, my brother and SIL went househunting for a house that had already been adapted for handicapped use.

What they found was a lot of really bad remodelings and additions. Things that were done just to get access, and with no thought to how the additions or changes worked with the rest of the house. This had led, in many cases, to truly bizarre floor plans, bad architecture and in some cases, surprisingly little privacy for the disabled person--people had to walk through the bedroom to get parts of the house, or there was no real door on the accessible bathroom.

They ended up hiring a architect who did a great job with the addition, which includes a bedroom, accessible bathroom with roll-in shower, a stairway to the second floor of the house wide enough to add a chair lift in the future (the addition is only one story), a mud/laundry room (which the house didn't have before, and a therapy/play/family room (the house didn't have a family room before).

All the light switches are lower and wheelchair accessible. The doors are all pocket doors, so the person in the wheelchair doesn't have to bother with which way the door swings open. The electric outlets are higher on the wall than normal, to allow someone in a wheelchair to reach them. The architect brought in a wheelchair and wheeled himself around to make sure he could reach things and open doors and fit the wheelchair under the bathroom counter.

The finishes and trim style match the original house seamlessly. Even though the addition is completely accessible, it doesn't strike visitors as a "handicapped zone." Interestingly, the feature that most visitors notice and comment on is a small one--the rocker switches used for the lights. Not the doors with no threshold, or the wide doorways, or the pocket doors everywhere. Just the light switches.

The entire focus of the house shifted. Everyone gravitates to the family room because of the huge amount of light it gets and the friendly, cozy layout of the rooms in the addition. Even though the rooms are large, to accommodate both a power chair and furniture, the layout is warm and cozy.

    Bookmark   August 26, 2012 at 11:58AM
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mama goose_gw zn6OH

Lavender, I'm sorry that you and your husband have had to deal with this. Hope he'll be better soon.

When we bought this house, I realized that the first floor was arranged so that 'aging in place' would be possible. Not sure about wheelchair use, other than enough space for a ramp--the sinks and vanities would need to be changed, grab bars installed, etc. It's good that you're considering those things now, before remodeling.

    Bookmark   August 26, 2012 at 3:53PM
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dekeoboe

Neither of the bathrooms would work well for a person in a wheelchair. Not sure if there is enough room for a person in a wheelchair to turn around in either the utility room or the master closet. There could be, but I can't read the dimensions to see if the clear space is five feet or not.

    Bookmark   August 26, 2012 at 5:51PM
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springroz

Praying for you! I had been missing you, and your always joyful renditions of the plans!

Take care!

Nancy

    Bookmark   August 26, 2012 at 8:55PM
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debrak_2008

A few years ago I was reading an article by a home builder. He talked about the frustation of "seniors" and "universal accessible" homes. He was building in a senior community and trying to make all the homes accessible. When he would point out the wider doorways, etc. many would not like it and want it changed. The seniors didn't want to hear about grab bars in the showers or any of the features mentioned above and didn't want them in their home. Ignorance? Stupidity?

As camlan mentioned most people would not even notice the changes. I agree that all homes should be built with at least the ground floor being universally accessible.

Maybe rework one of the bathrooms or both.

Hope DH reovers fully. Smart of you to think about this now.

    Bookmark   August 27, 2012 at 9:17AM
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desertsteph

"The architect brought in a wheelchair and wheeled himself around to make sure he could reach things and open doors and fit the wheelchair under the bathroom counter. "

that was a really awesome thing for him to do!

and I'm suddenly grateful I have rocker switches. I've been in here a few months and still try to 'flip' those little flipper ones up or down. I really don't use a lot of lights and only late at night. I do have 2 lite thingies that plug direct into an outlet. Those little lights come on automatically (sensor) when I get about 5 or so ft from them. One is on a LR wall opposite from my bdrm door. So when walking out of my room, thru the LR to the kit it pops on for me to lite the way. The other is plugged into the outlet in the short hallway (about 5' long) between my bdrm and bathroom. It comes on when I reach the entrance to it on my bdrm side. It's all I need at night when nature calls. they're like bright nightlites. bought at Sam's I think. my BIL picked them up for me.

    Bookmark   August 28, 2012 at 9:06AM
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lavender_lass

Well, my husband is still in the hospital, but slowly seems to be getting better. Meanwhile, I found 5 tons of hay so far and have more coming, over the weekend. Six horses eat a lot of hay!

I should be working on our taxes today (we have corporate deadline on Friday) but I just don't feel like it. Instead, I decided to play with my house plan for 30 minutes and then go to the hospital. Taxes (why does this feel like one of those homework assignments that nobody wants to do???) will have to wait until tonight.

So, here's my idea. I felt like staying smaller this morning (house wise) and this is what it would look like, if I added 6' along the back of the current kitchen and took out the hall bath. Keeping the bath in the bedroom/study. What do you think? Each square equals 6". Thanks for looking! From Lavender Lass farmhouse pictures

    Bookmark   September 12, 2012 at 4:49PM
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AnnaA

LL, life and work have hijacked my usual GW lurk time, but when I saw posts today about your DH, I just had to jump on to send you well wishes. It is so unsettling to see our life partners hurting or sick, in addition to the added stress it adds to all sorts of other urgent demands - such as running a farm and preparing taxes... That's a tall order lady!! I hope you are finding help and rest along the way. House/remodel planning can be a great escape! :-)

Warm wishes your way,
Anna

    Bookmark   September 12, 2012 at 7:06PM
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orcasgramma

Dear Lavender Lass,

I am sorry to learn your husband is still in the hospital. I think of you often. It is good to know that your husband is slowly getting better and that your horses have hay.

I have little meaningful to say about layout but smaller seems like it makes sense - but I am absolutely not good with layouts.

I concur with AnnaA about the stress you are under and her wish that you find help and time for rest.

Sending my best wishes, OG

    Bookmark   September 12, 2012 at 10:59PM
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marti8a

(((LL)))

I was going to tell you to get to those taxes, but then I remembered that I have 3 invoices I need to send out and I don't feel like doing them right now, so I guess I'll keep my mouth shut on that. lol

I like your new kitchen plan, except that it seems like a long way to the fridge. Before doing anything though, I'd go about a normal cooking session and see how many times you go from fridge to sink. It may be that you don't do that as often as fridge to stove top.

Do you have a low counter with open under it for a wheelchair, or someone in a regular chair? Since your dh likes to cook too, that might be a consideration.

I've been looking at duplex plans lately, trying to find one that has accessibility, and they are hard to find. My mil is walking slower and slower every day and pain in her side makes it harder to stand. I thought it would be easy to find plans with a wheel-in shower and counter in kitchen and bath that allowed a wheelchair to roll under, and there just aren't any.

    Bookmark   September 13, 2012 at 12:17PM
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lavender_lass

Anna and OG- Thank you for the very nice responses. My husband seems to be getting better (it's just a slow process) and the doctors don't see any reason he shouldn't be able to walk just fine, once he goes through rehab. Keeping my fingers crossed that all goes well! :)

Marti- I got an extension on the taxes...now get busy with those invoices! LOL

Seriously, thanks for the review of my plan. I actually use the fridge to range space more often, at least I think I do. The fridge is by the sink now and I wish it were closer to the cooktop. We have a cooktop now and it would be wonderful to have a second oven.

    Bookmark   September 13, 2012 at 4:38PM
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lavender_lass

I like the wood stove in the kitchen, but it might be a little too crowded. So, I'm thinking a half wall to the den (with wood stove) might be a better plan. Here's the idea, with the half wall behind the banquette...and I really like the island and stools on this magazine cover! From Lavender Lass farmhouse pictures From Lavender Lass farmhouse pictures

    Bookmark   September 15, 2012 at 4:12AM
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lavender_lass

After more measuring, I think the wood stove may still fit...and I like the small seating area in the kitchen! From Lavender Lass farmhouse pictures

Kitchen in relation to living room and dining room... From Lavender Lass farmhouse pictures

And very cute picture I just found, of a cozy, country kitchen...complete with kitty :) From Lavender Lass farmhouse pictures

    Bookmark   September 18, 2012 at 12:35PM
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marti8a

I like that. Also, it also looks like you could remodel the existing house to this, and then add the master suite and pantry later if you needed to do it in stages.

    Bookmark   September 18, 2012 at 1:12PM
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CamG

LL, I love the idea of a wood burning stove in the kitchen. What a fantastic and fitting item for your home. Plus you get the kitchen table rather than just an island, which is fantastic--we would be doing that if we had room for a formal dining room, too.

I do love that island, however! Small Kitchens, that's a neat sounding magazine.

    Bookmark   September 19, 2012 at 2:17PM
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lavender_lass

Marti- Good point about remodeling in stages!

Cam- Thanks! That is a cute little island. I believe I found this magazine, at Shopko.

I love the idea of this kitchen plan, but my mom came over and helped me measure and I think it's going to be a little too small for the wood stove. Instead, she asked if I still wanted a sun/screened porch on the back...and suggested I put the stove in there, right off the kitchen. It would also give me a sunny spot to sit in the winter and a space for my plants/herbs :)

So, back to cute island, little round table and access to the porch. Then, I could put a little wood stove like this out there...with more room for seating. Like my mom said, we need at least THREE comfy seats by the stove, so she has a place to sit, when she comes over to visit! LOL From Lavender Lass farmhouse pictures

And my favorite little wood stove picture... From Lavender Lass farmhouse pictures

    Bookmark   September 19, 2012 at 3:26PM
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