Going with the 1.5 Story - Thoughts on this plan?

autumn.4September 25, 2012

Hello all. I decided to post in smaller homes now that I have realized that 2000 sq feet is small?! This plan is actually a little over 2000 NOT counting the screened porch. We originally planned on building a ranch but found it to be too wide for our liking and didn't want the bedrooms flanking the outside views so we decided to look at 1.5 story homes. We prefer the master on the main floor as this will be our forever home and eventually I am sure stairs will be a pain. We have 2 boys - 7 and 10 (tomorrow, sniff sniff).

This is our lot. 2 acres wooded. House will face West. Neighbors to the north and south so we do not want to clear anymore trees in those directions. Will have to clear some to the West and it is already cleared to the property line in the East. It backs up to state land so there will be no neighbors to the East. This view is facing East or the back.

This view is of the front looking to the south.

Here is the plan that we keep coming back to.

Upstairs (we would only want 1 bathroom and not a Jack and Jill):

What appeals to us:

The screened porch for sure

The separate laundry that is off of master bedroom

The general layout/location of the rooms to the east and south.


The kitchen being right off of the garage entry and splitting the mudroom area. I will want cubbies for 4 people at least as well as space for a broom closet and dog dishes/treats/food and all of her other assorted goodies.

She does not like her picture taken but I did manage to get one without her looking completely down and out (seems most on here have a pet or 2):

I would like some sort of an office nook that is not so much out in the open. I have got to believe we'd have room for it somewhere near the kitchen - any ideas? I really like nini804's office nook off of her kitchen but not sure that is doable with this plan. The link for that is at the bottom - not sure how to get it in the middle of the post.

We will have a basement so there will have to be a downstairs with the upstairs.

The 1/2 bath - seems kind of large and I'm wondering if there is a better location for it but still close to the garage entry.

What do you think of the front and garage entries being parallel with each other with no visual separation?

Kitchen - thinking about transoms above the cabinets on the south wall to let in light.

Porch - which I love and yet a little concerned on it making the family room dark. ???

General thoughts / comments? Any place that looks overly large or small for this size home? We are looking at architects now but haven't yet made contact. We hope to have a plan solidified by next spring.

Thank you for any all comments/critiques.

Here is a link that might be useful: nini804's office nook from kitchens forum

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I like your plan. I've never seen one with a bathroom for every bedroom, but I like it. Doesn't seem to have wasted space and the views are in the right direction.

How do you feel about the garage out front?

    Bookmark   September 25, 2012 at 10:45PM
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Thanks marti8a.

Yes and I have boys so cleaning one for the both of them is PLENTY!!!

Well we have went back and forth on that. The land is partially cleared and there is a driveway in it already (not that we couldn't change it but it's not in a bad spot). It actually starts pretty far north and curves in to almost the middle of the lot. It's 335 ft wide and about 250 ft deep so a rectangle.

The thought is if we do a side load garage (which would then be on the other side or north side) you will never see the front of the house. And to keep the south side the living areas then the master would be off of the garage. I think we prefer the garage to be by the kitchen instead and that has led us to the L shape. We would cut down that garage too - it's massive. I think we'd shave 4 feet off of it at least.

I forgot to mention also that there will be a 'mancave' or barn on the north side of the property. We didn't really want to drive straight in to the house either so the house will have some cover to the front and we have 40' setbacks on all sides. The other factor is there a are a few huge oak trees that we are trying to avoid having to cut down....

Any thoughts on the porch causing too dark of a space or the stair placement? Is there a getter spot? We've only lived in ranches so the whole upstairs thing is completely new to us.

Thanks for your input.

    Bookmark   September 25, 2012 at 11:11PM
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Also - thoughts on a pass-through from the laundry room to the master closet? DH works all kinds of shifts so that might be handy to enter the shower/closet area without going through the bedroom and waking him up. Do you think that would eat up too much closet area?

    Bookmark   September 26, 2012 at 8:57AM
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Just some general thoughts.

In the master, you will need to walk through the bathroom to get to the closet. Some couples don't mind company in the bathroom; some do. Are you and DH comfortable with this?

You could eliminate that issue by swapping the WIC and the master bath. Then you could add a door from the laundry to the bathroom. You'd have to reconfigure everything, though.

One thing I noticed is that if someone wants or needs quiet, they will have to go to their bedrooms. There isn't any other room where you can go and shut the door (well, except for the bathrooms).

Sarah Susanka, who wrote "The Not So Big House," makes a good case for an "away" room. Just a small, multipurpose room where you can go and shut the rest of the house away, read a book, have a quiet talk, listen to music. This would be a good place for your office. There's going to be a "man cave." Where is *your* private space in the house?

You might be able to reconfigure the halls/pantry/powder room to achieve this. Or you could convert the upstairs into a larger shared bedroom for the boys and a smaller "away" room.

Here is a link that might be useful: about away rooms

    Bookmark   September 26, 2012 at 7:05PM
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I love this plan. Would you mind sharing the source?

    Bookmark   September 26, 2012 at 9:43PM
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I love this plan. Would you mind sharing the source?

    Bookmark   September 26, 2012 at 9:49PM
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Camlan, on my nook will respond to your thoughts tomorrow, thank you for your input.

Mrspete, its on a few sites. Cant include a link on the nook, will tomorrow. You can google: lamare houseplan. Its on house designers and lchouseplans. The elevation is a bit busy in respect to the roof lines and not as symetrical as we like but otherwise we like the look. Love the back elevation with the porch.

    Bookmark   September 26, 2012 at 10:54PM
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camlan-thanks again for your thoughts. We have a similar master bath/closet layout now and it's worked fine for us so I'm not so worried about that. As for an away room - something I haven't thought about at all. Currently, most days and evenings are filled with activities and yes it's busy busy and loud all the time (unless dh and I are home alone which is rare)! In our current life phase - not much time to sit down or 'rest' and because it happens so rarely I hadn't given any thought to the possibility of having a space to do just that and the time to use it! We will have a daylight window basement and we will have a rec room down there as well as a spare bedroom/bath and an exercise room. I wonder if that will suffice? I would like to fit an office space in there somewhere on the kitchen/mudroom side - but not large. More like a 1-2 person room or nook - don't want people in my paper 'stuff'.

My *woman* cave will be the screened porch - so excited for that! I can absolutely picture sitting out there reading a good book! We do live in MI though so it will definitely be seasonal.

Any changes you might suggest? I had to request the rest of the dimensions that are not shown on their website - that is why they are typed in the layout. Here is your link.

Here is a link that might be useful: Lamare House Plan

    Bookmark   September 27, 2012 at 6:16AM
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Really like this plan. I have looked a couple times for recommendations, can't think of many.

Your living room is really big. The kitchen seems a little closed off. What if you decreased the width of the house (taking a couple of feet out of the living room), pushed out the dining nook a few feet, and then increased the kitchen depth a few feet? Then you could have a angled island that is open on both ends, rather than terminating at the wall. You could almost do that now, but pushing the island towards the dining nook a few feet would give a real nice space. Does that make sense?

    Bookmark   September 27, 2012 at 10:07AM
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Hi Autumn,

My thoughts. I would not make your garage shorter or smaler side to side. We have a 30 by 30 and the Dodge Pick up fits in with only a few feet in front of it. the car has space in front of it for a small work space=bench for Joe. We can fit the Ranger side by side inside in the winter between car and truck but it gets pretty tight.

I would consider making the kitchen counter a walk through at the wall into living room. Loosing a couple foot counter and cabinet there will save so much traffic through the kitchen from garage.

Doggie is cute. I feed ours under a table in living room. One house had table in laundry room and they ate under there. Was not a problem fishing the bowls out for refills and it keeps the pups out of the traffic. I am not thrilled to feed them in the living room. but it works and it not all that noticeable.

Maybe a small door or shoot into laundry from closet or bath. I have seen this done and the people say they really like it. It does not have to be very large.

We have laptops and wireless printer. We keep important papers in small portable file boxes. The kind with handles on them. No real need for an official office. There is no visible office in our house. When I need to do quiet computer work from home,I am the city clerk and do most of the city work from home, I use my sewing table in the sewing/guest room. I keep the printer in there on shelf under my sewing table . It is actually a very small writing desk. The extra computers and calculator and paper are there all tucked away out of sight yet easy to access. Breaking away from the desktop computer was the best thing we ever did. Cost is about the same and lap tops can be tucked anywhere.

Your house plan looks like a really nice one. Your lot is really pretty.

    Bookmark   September 27, 2012 at 11:03AM
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Cam-I was wondering if we could make the family room a few feet narrower. But it would end up with a square then - not that I think that is a problem but you don't see that very often on floorplans. We are trying to build only what we think we need and no extra fluff.

Kitchen - I am bothered by the peninsula they have going on in the kitchen AND that you'd have to walk right through from the mudroom. I was thinking about trying to have an island instead but like you said I'd need more depth for sure I think. I also want to 'hide' the front of the fridge from the living room...still pondering the entire kitchen layout. The kids would sit at the island often for small meals/snacks/homework while I'm working in the kitchen so I need seating on the family room side.

So if we pushed the dining room out then I'd probably want to push the master out to keep it symmetrical. I think the master bath is PLENTY large and we'd actually get rid of the bumpout to save cost. Any suggestions on a more efficient layout let me know. We do want a tub - don't have one now and I do dream of a bath every once in a while.

OT-we are planning to GC also and do as much work as possible ourselves, are you planning on completing within a year? I think we have to for loan purposes. I am nervous about the 'never ending' build...where you are close but can't move in!

Shades-thanks for the garage tips. We do have a smaller sized truck and a smaller sized suv but that could change in the future (not likely with gas costing a mint but you never know). I also want to fit some sort of a dog rinsing tub in there too. More just a shower pan with a sprayer so I can wash her feet easily. The bucket is routine is getting old. So if I've got the chance I'd love to do something like that.

We currently feed our dog in the dining room also. She's not messy from eating but it's that BEARD! Water drips everywhere. If I could make that a little further out I might have a better chance of keeping my socks dry!

Master closet pass through - I think I *meant* to say walk through. I am thinking of being able to get into the closet/shower without through the bedroom/walking by the bed. I run/walk in the early morning and would rather not go back through the bedroom with dh sleeping as he works afternoons quite a bit.

Where do you keep your computer when you are not on it-the sewing/guest room? We have a desktop (mistake) and a laptop (much more convenient, enough so that we don't even USE the desktop anymore). Right now the desktop and printer (wireless) are in the basement - no other place for it. The laptop gets shifted from peninsula to table depending on what's happening in the kitchen. Paper - school papers and mail everywhere, mostly in the kitchen and it drives me NUTS. I don't feel like I need a big space but just something on the main level for that stuff to 'live'.

Overall anything you can think of to make it more cost effective? I know get rid of corners but I think it's pretty square. I think if we can get the roof line calmed down that won't be a problem either.

Thank you both so much for taking the time to review it. With all of the plans out there and looking through millions of them I think it's sometimes easy to miss things.

    Bookmark   September 27, 2012 at 12:48PM
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You could bump out the master to keep it symmetrical--my thought was you would probably end up with the same square footage if you reduced the living room. Not sure how bumping out the master would leave you.

Looking at it, you might be able to break off the peninsula right now. If the island is divided into 3' long sections, roughly 3' wide, as I do the math it might work.

The master bath will be tough, if you want everything in that pretty narrow space. Do you need the WC? You could get rid of the bumpout if you didn't, but the WC probably needs to be, what, 5'6' or so stud to stud, so you're looking at least 9' wide bath at a minimum--plus you've got the hallway and the wall in between... tough to make that smaller, IMO.

I think a lot of your corners and bumpouts could be just cantilevers, which would save foundation costs, but you've still got a lot of corners... the ones in front are necessary to get the interesting roof line you show in the other post, but you might rethink that.

If you were talking to me about us being a GC on our plan--we aren't. After meeting with our general, I'm pretty thoroughly convinced that unless someone does some kind of construction for a living, or has a lot of experience with being a GC, it is hard to say it makes sense. There are just so many things to think of, and even a small number of money saving tips a GC thinks of (or a small number of discounts he gets that you wouldn't) could pay for his fee--plus you wouldn't have to visit the site every day. Consider the thread below (I made some other comments there), a long with the discussion of financing. In this climate particularly, there are lots of hungry generals about...

Here is a link that might be useful: Other thread

    Bookmark   September 27, 2012 at 4:06PM
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Thanks for sending the link. I absolutely adore two things about this floor plan:

- The back porch. I see that the photo on the link shows it with a pool backyard -- that's exactly what we're planning, and that porch is absolutely dreamy.

- The garage-entry area. I love how it brings you right by the pantry, so you can drop off groceries before you enter the kitchen. I love how it also opens into the foyer and would let you scoot straight across to the master bedroom. It's things like this that make a house liveable, and I"m all about building in function.

However, I can see a couple small things I'd change -- keep in mind that I'm older than you, and I'm planning a retirement home. With two school-aged kids, your needs may be different:

- I love that the laundry is right next to the master bedroom, and I totally agree with those who say add in a pass-through. I'd make it just a small "door" at arm-level, and I'd keep a laundry basket underneath it in the laundry room. Inexpensive, and so convenient.

- On a simliar note, I'd like a pass-through between the pantry and the kitchen. Imagine: You go into the pantry, choose a couple cans, some pasta . . . and you just open the arm-level door and set them onto the countertop. As I'm designing my house, I'm thinking about my 99-year old grandmother's physical struggles, and I know that this would be easier for her than carrying cans on her walker.

- While we're talking pantry, I am definitely planning a small work space in mine. It'll be a place to set down bags of groceries before you begin sorting. A place to let a crock pot simmer. A place to store dessert while you're serving dinner. A place to measure out your flour rather than bringing the whole cannister into the kitchen.

- I'd also like more pantry than this floorplan allows. I might move the powder room over to the small space under the stairs (who cares if it's tiny?) and expand the pantry into the powder room area. This'd give you space to store large cookware, platters, etc. You don't have all that much counterspace in the kitchen, and more storage is always good.

- I think I'd put a wall up to screen PART of the kitchen from the great room. I'd put a wall up to the first bend in the island.

- I would move the door that leads from the great room to the porch . . . and instead have a door from the dining area to the porch. This would give you an uninterrupted wall of windows in the great room, and I would like the symmetry of having two porch doors, both opening from the sides. It'd allow furniture placement in the center of the porch.

- I do not care for the double-doors in the entryway. I don't think double doors can be as secure as a single door (they're easier to kick in because they have "less" holding them together in the middle. In contrast, a single door can be attached to very strong side bars. Also, the double doors look kind of 70-ish.

- I am probably in the minority here, but I do not care for double sinks in the master bath -- and I think too much space is devoted to the sink area. It's more to clean, and it's two sinks to give you plumbing problems -- it's also less storage space underneath. I'd keep a good 5-6 foot of vanity area, include one nice sink . . . and have one nice big linen closet rather than those two piddly little ones on the two ends of the sinks.

- Upstairs I'd want only one bathroom, but I say this because of cost. One of our girls is already out of the house, and the other is almost grown. I am not willing to pay for two full baths that'd sit unused the majority of the time. However, your boys have years left at home. You may feel differently.

- Lack of office space is the biggest issue with this plan. I'd use the upstairs loft as an office space. I'd put in a built-in desk /shelves. Alternatively, you could also use some of the garage-entryway area for a built-in desk. Maybe your desk area could be downstairs, while your boys have the upstairs loft for a study area. However, neither of these is light-filled. Is that a storage space upstairs where the door seems to open into nothing? If so, that could be an office area; however, that's getting you into a larger and larger house.

- The loft area could also be a cool TV room for your boys. With a couple big sofas for lounging, it'd be a great spot for them to bring friends over. Downside: With no door between the great room and this loft, you'd hear everything upstairs -- wait, maybe that's good.

- Finally, several people mentioned an "away" room. I am a fan of Susan S's books, but with the nice big bedrooms /baths for every bedroom, I don't see the need for more private space. I think you have it.

Overall, I really like this layout. After looking at the plan, I don't think it's "enough" to take me away from the plan I've been considering -- it's 500 square feet bigger than ours, and it's definitely a more expensive build with the complicated roofline and the irregular footprint. But I sure do love that porch! I think we might have to finagle our designa bit in the porch area.

Thanks again for sending the link.

    Bookmark   September 27, 2012 at 6:37PM
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Cam-I am thinking I would want to put the fridge on the wall where the peninsula is touching so I'd need space for that depth plus an aisle. I am thinking this would keep the hungry boys out of my work space.

I don't HAVE to have a WC (you mean water closet as in separate toilet room) or are you talking about the walk in closet? Sorry I am not sure.

Yes I thought it was you that was gcing but I will have to re-read. I thought you were going to do much of the work yourself with built-ins and things (actually that doesn't mean that you are gcing so that could be the mix up right there).

On the corners - I actually prefer the rear elevation more - much more simple. Truly I kind of like this one, it seems more simple:

These are things I do not know enough about on what you can change and still have the rooms you need. I do not like how the front is asymmetrical with that little window up top and not even roofing on both sides of the windows. That bugs me visually and it's so busy. I think we'd bring the laundry room out to eliminate that corner. And revamp the bath on the side to also get rid of that one.

MrsPete - do tell! Is your floorplan on here somewhere? I'd love to see it. We are trying to stay compact but have the rooms we think we'd use and trying to stay uncomplicated too. If you've got one 500 sq foot less that is similar bring it on! I'd love to see it! I agree about the double doors - it would be a single with nice side lights to let some in from the west. Very good call on the kitchen and building out the wall by the peninsula. I do feel it's so open that I wouldn't want to be THAT exposed while in there. I'd like to see out the back though. Would you consider putting the fireplace on the window wall as well as moving the door to the dining room? I am already thinking that would have to be an out-swing door otherwise furniture could be a pain.

As for the porch - sigh - yes. I am dreaming of sitting out there sipping on lemonade and not getting attacked by mosquitoes. My poor kids have seen the pictures and they think the pool comes with the plan, lol! Ummm sorry, not in the immediate future! Thank you so much for all of your thoughts, I really appreciate it.

Here is a porch I found that is awesome (but it's a bit out of our league I'm afraid):

    Bookmark   September 27, 2012 at 7:22PM
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LOL I got to laughing at you trying to squeeze through a pass through. A door would be a great idea.

When I was a kid there was a laundry shoot from upstairs down to the laundry room.It was in bottom of linen cabinet. Open cabinet door and no shelf on bottom. Might have to guard it until kids were old enough to not try to ride the laundry down too. I would see if you could work that in some how between the kids rooms. Just be sure they understand that toilet is NOT the laundry shoot.

I also like the idea of walking in from garage past the pantry as a drop off spot. And what a great idea for a kitchen pass through there. That would be pretty easy to do.

I totally understand the muddy dog feet and dripping jaws. Add to that our cats also play in the water bowl???? I keep a tray under ours. Foot washing station in garage will be wonderful. We use our master bath as the dogs mud room. There is an outside door to their yard in the master bath. Weird but it works for us.

If you are worried about your dog foot washing station freezing in the winter ??? and you do have small car /truck. Maybe you could build your mudroom wider into your garage space. You would not see it from the outside. Not sure how that works structurally. That would make a great feeding food storage for your dog. Move the small walk through door towards the window three foot. That would make a huge difference in how your mud room functions with out adding to the house foot print.

    Bookmark   September 27, 2012 at 10:26PM
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We have a old commode between our recliners in the living room. The lap tops just sit on that. His and hers kind of thing. The surge protector is screwed to the back of the commode. I also have a funny shelf with small drawer screwed to the back of the commode for my thumb drives pen camera and note pad and address book I keep computer information in. Then the phone bracket is also screwed to the back of the commode. A regular little work center. Honestly if it still had it's doors it would be a perfect place for papers and things There is two drawers. I keep some magazines in the open cabinet and Joe keeps his newspapers in there.

I have many pieces of furniture re-purposed. Our linen cabinet in master bath is the top of an old kitchen cabinet sink base. I am using a trunk as a window seat. I have a funny end table with large drawer in the bottom that I use as a file drawer. Just keep your eye out for the right piece.

    Bookmark   September 27, 2012 at 11:03PM
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Yes, I think we're on the same page re: GCing--I'm planning on doing the roofing, siding, laminate flooring, drywall in garage, maybe tile in master shower, installing outlets/switches/light fixtures, etc. (Think about how many outlets and light switches there are in a house--time consuming but does not require much electrical skill!) Re your comments on the other post re cost, I think if you find a good GC who is willing to work with you and understands your attitude, he can help a lot. Ours could name off the top of his head the cost for a bumpout, window, etc. Once our plans are finished, hopefully next month, he will give us a very detailed cost breakdown, and we can choose fixtures, finishes, etc. He said his breakdown has 70 items where the finishes will often vary by a thousand dollars or more--you can see how much money can be saved on finishes alone.

The expanded office/mudroom you posted on the other forum is exactly the other idea I was thinking--I even played around yesterday in photoshop a bit for the idea. Not just an office, but perhaps a mudroom/multipurpose/craft room, maybe with a table or desk? A lot of neat examples on houzz.com.

Regarding the irregular footprint, I think people often underestimate how much cost this adds to the plan. If you had a front porch like that picture you posted above (which when I saw it a few months ago, I thought it was so neat I *nearly* abandoned our plan for something like it) you could have your front be entirely square. I would rather add interest to the house with a porch and architectural details than making the footprint more complicated, adding to construction costs, heating and cooling costs, etc.

Regarding the exterior, I think you have a lot of flexibility. If you're going to hire an arc, he or she can put those upstairs rooms wherever they will fit to match the exterior you're looking for--especially since you're willing to have a hallway and loft area, which adds a ton of flexibility. So maybe find an exterior you like that is 1.5 stories, and take it in? A general might even be able to do that, sans architect.

    Bookmark   September 28, 2012 at 8:56AM
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Just lost my whole post. Grrrr.

Shades-Good call on trying to fit a laundry chute in for the boys. I am sure a great many lego men will take the ride but as long as they don't try themselves we'll be good and thankfully the dog simply would not fit! We plan on going with insulated garage doors so we shouldn't have too much trouble with freezing pipes. We have a couple times but not much as our current plumbing is on an inside wall and we will likely do a similar arrangement for the build. We wash feet every single day (walk every day-spoiled pooch but it keeps me accountable too). In the winter we also wash feet due to the ice and snowballs that gather on her feet. Then I need warm water to melt it off, it's quite something. I have to really keep at the haircuts or it's obnoxious the amount of snow that gathers in her fur! Little snowballs everywhere. We use the main bath to actually bathe her but that is only every couple of weeks or so and she still needs the foot bath first before she walks across the whole house.

Very creative work space! I do not have vision (well I can see but only what's in front of me), lol! I always envy those that can look at something and imagine it re-purposed into something else. I know what I do and don't like by sight but I can't make that leap of imagining it as something else.

Cam-we are on similar paths I think. We also plan on doing as much as we feel comfortable with...wood flooring, floor tile work (a little leery of tiling a shower but we'll see), paint, finishes, stone for fireplace (have done that already once and it was actually fun - but more time consuming than we thought of course). So the goal will be to find a GC that will allow us to do the things we feel comfortable with. I hope they aren't hard to come by. Did you find many that were 'all or nothing' out of those you checked into? We also have a particular plumber and electrician we'd like to use - great luck with them in the past. They do a really nice job and are pretty reasonable - not sure how a GC would like us dictating that.

Footprint - yes when kelhuk posted that layout mod with the front more square it took me back, in a good way. I am drawn to the more square look with the porches. Especially with our house facing west, I think a porch would help with energy costs. I think that is also why we are okay with the L shaped as the garage will take the 'heat' that we don't want anyhow. I would like the porch bigger though... It seems that most elevations that we like the look of don't have a floor plan that works for us. A lot of square plans I've found have formal living/dining spaces which for our family would be wasted and adtl sq. footage. However, with how kelhuk drew it I think it would make for a perfect multi-purpose space! That might be the perfect thing for an architect to help us with, marrying the outside elevation with what we desire on the inside. I do really like that one I posted above - dh can't get over the left windows actually being garage and not living space. But otherwise he likes the feel of it too.

I am not too fussy on the upstairs, really just want 2 bedrooms, 1 bathroom (not j&j) and a small general area so hopefully that will help in this process!

I posted this on the other site - it's a sketch of the land and where the clearing is. It is what is making the garage such a struggle. There is a large mature oak tree on the right side of the existing driveway. We either want to go to the left of it or turn in before it (L shaped would accomplish this). We will need to clear trees but some are much smaller or not so healthy so we are trying to go for that. I realize though we may need to entertain taking it out. It is pretty much to scale EXCEPT the curve of the driveway is not exact haven't measured it. It starts on the far north of the property and ends up right about dead center. We are assuming the previous owner cleared this way to have the house on one side and then space for an outbuilding on the other. Works for us - just difficult with the trees.

Overall goals:
outbuilding will be on the north side and driveway also
kitchen/dining/living spaces on the east and south.
Master on the west and north.
Then there is that pesky garage...............

Kelhuks version with the bumpouts in the front and on the side removed:

Thanks again. I fluctuate between feeling like we are getting there and wondering if we will EVER get there.

    Bookmark   September 28, 2012 at 11:22AM
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I'm terrible at floor layouts; I'm still working on mine, and the house is half built! I just wanted to point out that oaks are VERY sensitive to traffic around them, and that you need to try to stay away out to the drip line with your construction, including the excavation equipment. It is recommended to put up a temporary fence around the drip line of the tree to keep equipment away from it. The problem is that it takes several years for the tree to die from soil compaction, so you will think everything is OK. Just something to keep in mind if you would like to keep Mighty Oak!

    Bookmark   September 28, 2012 at 4:29PM
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YES the last drawing is what I had in mind for the mudroom. and since you are doing the dogs foot station I would go ahead and include it in the half bath making it a 3/4 bath. Double use for one space. I know you do not have a cow but the boys playing in rain mud whatever would be a wonderful place for them to get the big lumps off. I mention the cow because on more then one occasion I had to streak through the house disrobed because I fell or was pushed over into the mud while milking. No way I would bring poopy clothes into the house. I just had to wash both dogs in our master shower the other night because they got skunked. So much easier for me then the bathtub. They are getting hard for me to lift over the edge while they resist.

    Bookmark   September 29, 2012 at 4:32PM
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Per your request, here's my 1.5 story houseplan. If you'd like to see the "original" online, here's the link: http://www.familyhomeplans.com/plan_details.cfm?PlanNumber=41000. Our floorplans have many similarities: Same basic rooms, though yours is a more open floor plan and all your rooms are larger. I absolutely love yours -- especially that porch area, which is beyond perfect -- but I'm still sold on mine.

My my square footage is smaller (1694 sf + 192 for the two rooms we're adding = 1886 sf). You'll note that my rooms are smaller than yours overall. Taking away one bathroom upstairs cuts out some square footage. Also, I don't have the large entryway and the spacious garage-entry hallway space. All this adds up to less square footage.

I'd also point out that mine will be less expensive to build because my roofline is much simpler. And my overall shape is simpler. I have kicked around the idea of adding 2-4 foot width to the kitchen/dining room; look at the roofline and you'll see that for this house it'd be easy to add width, but adding depth would change the upstairs and the roof, which would get expensive.

To give some specific details about my plan:

We are building a retirement house, so our focus isn't the same as yours. Our oldest is already out of the house, and our youngest will be gone in a few years. So this is a "the two of us" and occasional guests house. We are definitely building with an eye towards "aging in place".

I drew an arrow to show that we're flip-flopping the kitchen and dining room. I am certain of this choice for several reasons:

- When walking in the front door, I want the sight-line to be across the dining room table and towards windows or glass doors. I do not want people at the front door to have a view into my kitchen /my sinkful of dishes.
- I imagine my sofa and love seat forming an "L" in the living room, and I want the wall space to place a big-screen TV in the living room -- right in the space that is now the door to the dining room.
- Garage - Pantry - Kitchen is a sensible flow for our "everyday entrance". Walking through the dining room isn't quite as natural, in my opinion.
- I like the idea of the pantry and the kitchen being side-by-side. I suppose we could walk through the dining room to get to the pantry, but why am I building my own house if not to have things just as I want them?
- On the negative side, this means our plumbing has to run a little farther, and that means a little more cost.
- Also on the negative side, by moving the kitchen to the corner space, I am losing those wonderful windows that're all over the downstairs.

We're adding on an 8x12 pantry, which will also serve as a pass-through between the garage and the kitchen. The kitchen is small, and my cookware collection is large. I also can my own vegetables, so I need the storage space. Pantry shelves are much less expensive than kitchen cabinets. We'll also have a 4' workspace in the middle of the pantry. This'll be for setting down groceries to be sorted, for measuring our a cup of flour, for setting a crock pot out of the way of the kitchen, for setting dessert out of the way during a dinner party.

And we're adding on an 8x12 office (with a large bay window in which a small round table will sit -- this'll give us a space to leave a craft project out overnight, without interferring with the dining room table). This will have built-in shelves for books, crafts, collections of various sorts. And we'll have a built-in computer desk.

I didn't draw in doors on my floorplan, but we'll have a door between the kitchen and the living room on the faaar left, and the office door'll be right there. These doors could change.

Note that we have no attic space. Thus, we're doing a 3-car garage. 2 car spots, plus space for tools, floor-to-ceiling shelves for holiday decorations, camping gear, etc. Though I am the exact opposite of a packrat. This area will also house a couple exercise machines.

Note that I added an exterior door to the laundry room. We are going to eliminate the wall (currently marked pantry) between the laundry and the half-bath. Living in the South, we're building a pool and a large covered outdoor dining area, so this door will be very functional. People can come straight into a room where it's okay to be "drippy", and we'll have hooks on the wall for towels. And this'll allow guests to come straight in to a rest room without walking through any other rooms. I am not entirely settled on this long, narrow laundry-and-bath combination, but I haven't figured out anything better. If I flip-flop the bathroom /laundry room, guests don't have access to the half-bath from inside the house.

I do not like the layout of the master bath, but I don't seem to be able to do any better. I want a large shower (with seat), a tub, a five-foot vanity with single sink and a toilet. I want a door into the laundry room. I want nice sight-lines as I enter the bathroom.

I am a little concerned about too many doors in the master bath /closet area. I'm thinking we want just an open space from the bedroom to the closet area . . . then bi-fold doors (with mirrors would be practical) on the closet . . . and a real door leading in to the bathroom. I'm concerned about getting too many doors in one spot. Oh, and we are going to replace the smaller closet with drawers /put a mirror above. This will replace the dresser. We will have NO clothing storage in the bedroom. I love that the closet acts as something of a light/noise barrier between the bedroom and bathroom.

Upstairs, I am making some changes in the right-hand bedroom. As I said, we are concerned about aging-in-place, and I want the upstairs to be appropriate for one of my adult children /grandchildren (or a paid caregiver) for the future. I'm thinking of eliminating the existing closet (to allow a door straight into the bathroom) and making the "bonus space" (which is too small for any other use) into a large closet for that bedroom.

I also want to double the windows in both upstairs bedrooms.

Since your boys are still young, I'm sure that my upstairs plans do not mirror yours in the least.

So, that's my house plan. I am very open to anyone's thoughts on my 1.5 story house. Thanks so much.

    Bookmark   September 29, 2012 at 10:18PM
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Sorry - busy weekend of football and birthday party.

flgargoyle-had no idea about the delicacy of oaks (it certainly doesn't look very delicate) so thank you for that! I really hope we can keep it...

Shades-nope no cow but dh wants some laying hens...... My dog was skunked last year and thankfully it was about time for a haircut so we pretty much had the smell cut out. Her nose (it was a square on spraying right in the face) still stunk for a while but the rest of her was okay after that. Mine will at least get in the bath tub upon command but her ears are so low its like the worst day ever for her! It is hard on the back bending over the tub though. I might have to see if I can finagle something like that - or a raised stall or something.

Mrs.Pete-the pic with your changes didn't come through but I was able to get to the original one. That's the toughie - I like your plan also - but no garage. I find many that I like but then when I try to fit the garage in there it really destroys some of what you love about the house. I like your office idea with a craft table. I didn't have a chance to really look at your plan hard over the weekend but I will tonight. I am going to continue to work at tweaking the one we like also. We are thinking of ways to make it more symmetrical and make the roof much more simple/less expensive/and more pleasing to the eye. I'm not really a fan of all those rooflines everywhere.

You might want to post your post in a new separate one to get more feedback. There are a lot of creative visionary people on here that are so helfpul at seeing past what is there and I'm not one of them, lol! Have you looked at other plans where you like the master bath/closet layout and tried to see if you can manipulate it into this space?

    Bookmark   October 1, 2012 at 1:03PM
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Check out Seven Pines and Champion Hill on this floorplan site. They came to mind when I saw yours. They are too big but might help you brainstorm since the flow is so similar to yours.

Here is a link that might be useful: plans

    Bookmark   October 8, 2012 at 12:57PM
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Thanks young-gardener - I will have to check that out. So sweet of you to take the time to post amidst your kitchen remodel and newborn baby boy. :)

    Bookmark   October 8, 2012 at 9:58PM
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