One of many floorplans

flgargoyleSeptember 14, 2007

I'll try to post one of my floor plans here- it seems like I've been through thousands! This is a center hallway, and I'm trying to keep all our daily needs on one floor, since we plan to retire in this house. There will be a full walk-out basement, and this floor plan could easily have bonus space upstairs, so storage is not an issue. All of the more public rooms face the back, which is where the best view is, although there will be 360 degree woods. The walk-out is in the back, too.Sorry for the crude sketch- I'm still feeling my way with design software. Thanks for any input

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Some random thoughts...

Is the front door the only outside entrance? Where's the driveway? Is there a carport or garage? Think about hauling a dozen bags of groceries inside when you've done your big shop for a party or Thanksgiving dinner - we rented a house and a condo that both had a looooooong hallway from the d'way/parking to the kitchen, and carrying a big load of groceries got to be a major drag. Especially if the d'way is going to be on either side of the house rather than right in front. Personally, I don't really like to see cars parked right in front of a house, I don't think it looks nice. (Another note about the front, I do think window sets should be symmetrical if you can possibly manage it, especially on a small square house.)

A way to mitigate this would be to bump your 32' dimension out to, say, 38' (or why not just go 40x40? do you have setback limitations?) and slip a hallway out to the side of the house between the kitchen and the master closet/bath. If your driveway ended at about where where the existing bathroom window is, you could have two or three steps (which could easily become a ramp if need be) down - off a porch that wraps around from the front - a few feet forward of a side door, which would be a short shot up the hallway. Do you really need that second sink? It seems like overkill in such a small kitchen. A passthrough right there would make unloading groceries so easy, cutting down the distance things had to be lugged. Since you have put in that wonderful big window, what about one of the new big three-bowl sinks under it, or an oversized two-bowl (I've seen one that has the same size bowl as a single-bowl on one side and the size of a bowl from a double-bowl on the other, very very cool)? One person could do prep at the small sink while another could wash dishes at the large, both can look at the lovely view out the window and talk to each other instead of being back-to with each other.

And speaking of a dozen bags of groceries, since DH and I love to cook I would want plenty of pantry storage, not just a cabinet or two. Dunno about you. :-) What about, instead of that curved bit of counter that ends between the two windows, you put a set of tall (full-height) cabinets between the windows, either to be a pantry or to put all the dishes (so they would be closer to the dining area) to free up other cabinet space for other storage?

Also, think about pocket doors for your bathrooms and as many closets as possible, they are such space-savers and are nothing like those nasty hollow-core things we remember from the 70s that always fell off the tracks.

Have you worked out your furniture placements on this floorplan? Think especially about the bedrooms: maybe set those windows high so you can put beds in front of them - think of the breezes!

Are those French doors off the dining area, perhaps to a deck or porch? If you choose not to do a side entrance, you need an egress from that side of the house in case of fire.

    Bookmark   September 16, 2007 at 3:33PM
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A little further explanation- In this plan, the only other egress is down the basement stairs. Originally we planned to have a driveway loop in front as well as one in back. Since it's on a hillside, the back of the house is essentially 2 stories. We'll have a big screened porch either off the back or the side, but I hate to have it off the back, blocking the mountain view from the other rooms. So, there would be another exit via the porch. 40X40 is much too big; I originally had a goal in mind of 1200 ft, but I'm having a hard time with that. We have lots of room- 7 acres- but are on a very tight build budget, and don't want to feed, maintain, and pay taxes on a big house, since we will be empty nesters. I really want 2 sinks; we are both cooks, and it seems like every time I need a sink, it's full of dishes being washed, or something. So a smaller prep sink would be great. I've always hated pocket doors, having had to fix a number of them in the old days. If I can be convinced that a good looking, functional product is available, they're a good idea. Window placements are pretty random right now- more worried about workable living space!
I've had an epiphany of sorts about the stairs, since they're in the way of every design I've tried. A friend suggested putting them outside. I don't want to do that, since I don't want to go out in the weather to access the basement, but- what if I enclosed an 'outside' stairway? I drew another sketch with just such a stairwell off the back of the house, between the kitchen and dining area. I eliminated the center hallway, making the entrance directly into the living room. I'll post that sketch here soon. I know the weird little bump-out will look odd from the back, but hardly anyone will ever see the back of the house. Actually, being 300' from the road, and over a small hill no one will see the house at all except friends and relatives, so outside appearance is less important to us than usual.
As for the sacks of groceries- we'll either have to climb a set of stairs, or walk through the house from the front. The kitchen is going to be in the back, since my wife really, REALLY wants the view from the sink.
It's harder than I thought to get everything we want in such a small house! If all our relatives showed up at once, it would only be about 12 people, plus kids. We entertain only in small groups, so we don't need much. We had 24 people in an 800 sq ft house for our wedding, so it can be done in a pinch. Thanks for your input!

    Bookmark   September 16, 2007 at 5:06PM
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Flgargoyle, I do like the basic layout of your floor plan. A couple of things.....

If your sketch is to scale, it looks like the combined lr/dr is maybe 20 x 12. Unless you have minimal or small scale furniture, you might find it difficult to fit the furnishings you need in that area, especially with the fireplace taking a chunk out of the space.

It also looks like your hallway is at least 17' long - while there are many windows in the lr/dr area, I would find that long and dark. Maybe incorporating double frosted glass doors or something similar into the MBR in the centre of the MBR wall section would break that length. Unless the hallway/stairwell wall can be left open with a railing rather than a wall....?

A final thought about the stairwell. It looks like you've allowed a space at least 12' in length for the stairway clearance. I think that is more than you need (or code requires) to go down the stairs without bumping your head. What if you move the door to the stairs so that it is right beside the entry closet door? You enter the stairs from the side (onto a landing), then at the other end where you currently have the stairwell door, put in a built-in china cabinet (so the dishes are close to the DR) or a pantry cabinet. I realize the pantry wouldn't be right in the kitchen but it would still be close enough to provide great storage.

Anyway, my thoughts for today....

    Bookmark   September 18, 2007 at 5:15PM
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Here's something completely different. I eliminated the center hallway and the stairway, moving it to its own little bump-out off the kitchen. The back wall of the foundation will be frame construction anyway, so it's not too hard to do. This opened up the LR/DR/Kitch (maybe too big?) The warren of small rooms at the front of the house divides the space into specific tasks and specific needs- a 2nd bathroom, a small 2nd bedroom which will serve as our TV room, a small office; just enough for the computer, and a separate dressing room/closet, which should be big enough for an ironing board even with clothes hanging on both sides. The kitchen is good sized, with an island featuring a second sink and an area for stools. It's hard to see, but there is a built-in pantry over the stairs where they go down. I'm starting to think in terms of which rooms I spend the most time waking time in, and that would be the kitchen, followed by the computer room, then the TV room. Sadly, the LR/DR will probably see little use! I'm up over 1500 sq/ft now, which is a lot bigger than I wanted, but I can't really eliminate any rooms, or shrink any other than the LR/DR.

    Bookmark   September 18, 2007 at 7:20PM
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Is it essential to have the 2d bedroom upstairs? We recently bought and remodeled a 24x36(864sf) walk out ranch. It had two tiny bedrooms which we made into one spacious bedroom with a 11 ft wall of closets and room for a comfy reading chair by corner windows. When we have visitors they stay in our downstairs "bunk room". With a big open kitchen/lr/ dr area you would probably find that you really used the area. Maybe a small computer nook with or without a pocket door could complete the upper level. Plan for plenty of storage. I added a large built in storage unit to our bathroom for linnens, etc.

Do you really need 2 bathrooms on the main level if you are empty nesters? What about a large walk-thru that can be accessed from the mbr or hall? Would save a lot of $ and space. If you are going to have a finished lower level a 2d bath or half bath stacked below would be functional and less expensive. A sleeping room(with an egress window) for guests, a bath, maybe a hobby or fr (pull out sofa for big crowds) room you still have plenty of room for utility and storage in the lower level.

Our house did not have a 2d egress on the main level. Just a sun porch off the back. We have added a door and tiny deck and steps down. What an improvement! Our main door was too narrow to get things through so we ripped it out and widened it to 36". Be sure to have a wide door if that will be the main way to get furniture in and out.

This is a second home for now that we expect to be our primary home at retirement. We are really happy with the way it has turned out. Comfortable and easy to maintain.

Here is a plan of a house I have walked through and liked-very liveable. Maybe it will give you some ideas. I would put a screen porch off the dining area and widen the counter between the kit/dr for extra storage and eating bar, and use a pocket door on the mbr closet.

Good luck!

Here is a link that might be useful: Homes Plus Inc

    Bookmark   September 20, 2007 at 9:14PM
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Look at the Stonebrook- 1233sf.

    Bookmark   September 20, 2007 at 9:20PM
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If you look at the "models"section of the company website there are several interior pics of the "Stonebrook" plan.

    Bookmark   September 20, 2007 at 9:25PM
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The number of rooms comes from a careful study of our actual living habits. The 2nd bedroom is our 'TV room'. We will also have a TV in the master bedroom, but we often go to bed at different times, or watch different shows. I need a separate computer nook, since I write a lot, and don't want to be distracted. Two bathrooms, because my wife likes having a private bathroom that nobody ever sees. The second one could be a powder room, but it's nice to have a bath tub somewhere in the house, and we don't really want one in the master. Everything is on one level, since this will be our retirement home as well, and is being planned around the possibility that one or both of us may have limited mobility at some point in our lives. All doors will be 36" for this reason. Toilets will be taller, and there will be blocking in the walls to attach handrails. I discovered, in studying the building codes, that the office is not a legal room, since the minimum is 70 sq/ft for a 'habitable room'. I'm not sure how to get around that rule yet, but I'm sure there is a way. Maybe if there isn't a door? Or I could call it a 'closet' for the sake of inspection. Thanks for the link- I'll take a look at it!

    Bookmark   September 21, 2007 at 7:53AM
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