Beach house kitchen layout review please! (Modular reverse living

beach_houseAugust 29, 2014

I am helping my parents design a modular reverse living beach house and would appreciate feedback on the floor plan. They are in their early 60s and hope to retire at the new house in the next 5-7 years. My 91-year old grandma might move in with them permanently if her health requires it. Until retirement, the house will be used heavily as a vacation home with the possibility of some light renting to people we know or friends of friends.

My parents have 4 grown children (ages 24-32) with 3 significant others, plus one infant grandchild and a 50 lb family dog. The house will be primarily used by this group of 10 people, sometimes all at once, and the group will likely grow as more grandchildren and dogs enter the picture. Visits will mostly be long weekends, but there will be a full week or two here and there. Once my parents move in full time, they will still have frequent visitors, mostly from the same group.

Our goal is to maximize communal areas where we spend most of our time. We don't mind having smaller bedrooms and bathrooms, as we don't spend much time there. Based on past vacations we've shared, I expect the vast majority of time to be spent in the kitchen/dining room/living room/upper deck area.

3 family members are cooking enthusiasts and will enjoy preparing elaborate meals, often working together at the same time. The rest of the family has more of a grab-and-go cooking/eating style. I am trying to design the kitchen to allow non-cooks to snack and interact with the cooks without clogging up the work space.

It's hard to tell from the plans, but the kitchen/dining room is vaulted. A roof deck sits directly on top of the living room, and there are windows looking down from the roof deck into the kitchen/dining room.

The island is a single level with counter height seating. I think it may be too large to avoid a seam. We are trying to have storage on both sides.

I am concerned there may not be enough space around the dining room table as well.

We do have some wiggle room with the dimensions of the kitchen. The fridge wall could be pushed back a little and steal some space from the master bedroom if necessary, but it would make the shape of bedroom #2 more awkward.

I'd love to hear what you think! How can we improve?

This post was edited by beach_house on Tue, Sep 9, 14 at 18:01

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I am generally not good at this, but one thing I do want to point out is, get that laundry on the main floor! There will come a time when your parents will not want to be trudging up and down the stairs schlepping laundry.

In general it looks like you have already done so, but definitely examine the guidlelines for wheelchair-accessibility. Your doorways already appear to be the recommended 36", but check out turning radii (5'?) in the corners, including kitchen.

JUST my opinion, too, those bedrooms could easily be shrunk. 12x12 is more than enough for a pair of people or a trio of kids, plus carpet comes standard in 12' rolls and that makes purchasing that much more efficient and less expensive. ;o) That point is moot if they choose not to use carpet, of course.

The MAIN point is that if those bedrooms shrink some more there is more space to be gained elsewhere, like a main-floor laundry. Or additional main floor laundry. If the home will frequently be populated by a lot of people a second set of w/d downstairs could be a real boon.

    Bookmark   August 29, 2014 at 7:36AM
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Your main floor is labeled top floor, is it a raised cottage or is there a basement? With the elevator, having to go to a different level for laundry is less of an issue to me.

I think your biggest issue is sleeping arrangements. Our beach cottage is much smaller, but has 3 bedrooms. I think if they are there year round, your parents will want a larger bedroom, but a beach visit bedroom can be pretty small and still useable. Our rooms basically have room for a queen bed or "double bed with bunk above", a dresser and an aisle to walk around them. We also set up air mattresses in the family room when needed, but its a lot less comfortable not to have your own bit of private space. It's good in family situations to have somewhere you can retreat to to take a nap or read a book. Ideally, you have a bedroom for each family unit. We've also set up a tent outside when needed, which I prefer over an air mattress without privacy, but I like camping.

Is the attic potentially useable space? I've always thought the attic bedrooms with the built in beds looked fun, but I have no experience with them.

    Bookmark   August 29, 2014 at 8:32AM
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Whoops, just realized I didn't post the bottom floor. Sorry about that! Here it is:

greenhaven, do you think having the laundry room on the top floor is important even with an elevator? Because I have no idea where I'd put it! My parents want two bedrooms on the top floor in case my grandma ends up living with them. That way they can turn the heat off downstairs most of the time in the winter. That doesn't leave much room for shuffling around. I was thinking the laundry room on the bottom floor near the entrance might be good for containing sand before sandy items have a chance to get very far into the house. Any ideas?

I did not think to check the turning radii in the corners - will definitely do that!

I'd love to make the master bedroom bigger and the others smaller, but I'm not sure how to do it, at least on the top floor. I don't think I can gain space in the master by making the ADA bathroom any narrower, and I really don't want to take away from the kitchen. There might be a way to expand the master bedroom into bedroom #2 that makes sense, but I haven't found it yet. Then again, my mom says she doesn't mind the current size on the plans. We'll see if she still says that when I lay it out in her current bedroom which is huge. :)

I completely agree about keeping the visitor bedrooms small. The problem I'm running into is the hallway on the bottom floor. If I try to shrink the bedrooms, I need to extend the hallway to provide access to them, and that makes them an awkward shape. It's a puzzle for sure.

This is a raised house set on pilings, so there is no basement. There will be some attic space, but the possibility of finishing it hadn't even crossed my mind. I'll check if that's feasible, thanks for the idea, anldsmom!

This post was edited by beach_house on Tue, Sep 9, 14 at 18:03

    Bookmark   August 30, 2014 at 1:15AM
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I don't think there is enough space around the dining table....perhaps you'll generally keep it as a table for four or six that can be quickly expanded to 12? You have "utility" rooms on both floors and the one on the top floor is so large why do you need a second one-what is the purpose of these rooms? Bedroom 5 and bath 5 are not connected...IMHO the bedroom without the bath will likely end up being used as the office and the office closer to the bath as a bedroom. Consider two bedrooms each sharing a walk through bathroom with toilets and showers with separate doors so that the sinks can always be accessed.

    Bookmark   August 31, 2014 at 12:38AM
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I wish that I had more time to really use my noggin', but these are just a couple of things that are sticking at me at the moment.

There are a couple of things that are odd to me with this layout. First is that there is no true entry. Houses on pilings, whether reverse plans or not, generally have some sort of "main" entry that is not on the ocean side nor under the house. Where does the house welcome guests? Is there a plan for the piling floor?

As for the next floor, the utility area is taking up a LOT of room. If that floor will only be used by guests, why not tone down the utility area and just have space for a small area for a second washer/dryer set? Have both of the HVACs and the water heaters on this floor (or have the water heaters under the house?).

It would be nice to have the ADA bathroom closed off from the hallway to allow more privacy for those that would need to utilize it. That would give a little more room for the MBth, and even a little space for a 1/2 bath where the current ADA bath is. By stealing space from the Pantry/Utility and moving the HVACs from this floor, you could have a nice sized ADA bath with a much bigger walk-in shower. There would be enough room directly to the left of the elevator to put a stacking W/D, a utility sink/folding area, and a tall pantry in a reach-in closet type scenario.

As for the kitchen, it looks fine with the exception of the squishy space between the dining chairs and the island.

    Bookmark   September 1, 2014 at 5:32PM
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I would second moving the 2nd bath on the main level to the current utility area, I would use the freed up space as master closet, walk in or walk through to the bath.

Also, when someone needs to use the restroom on the main floor are they using that scond bathroom, or is that expected to be grandmas bathroom and everyone else treks down to their assigned bathroom when needed? Could be a problem on a couple of fronts, mostly with little ones around. When potty training your not goin to have the time to get that little one downstairs in time. Now means now! Second, if the second bathroom is grandmas bathroom there is a likelihood of non kid friendly items ( and possible privacy issues) to consider as well.

    Bookmark   September 1, 2014 at 9:50PM
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Having that bottom floor plan makes a big difference! Visitor bedrooms don't need to be big, but since you do have the space, big is great. Each family can have their own room with space for kids as well as parents. Another thing I would do is have double washers and dryers. Perhaps stacked on top of each other if that is possible. The washer and dryer at our cottage always seem to be going non stop to keep up.

    Bookmark   September 2, 2014 at 5:04AM
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We built a beach house 3 years ago.

I haven't had time to look at your plans in detail, I have just a few quick observations . . .
The largest size allowed for a residential elevator is 3' x 5'. This requires a slightly larger shaft. I don't have my plans in front of me right now and dont remember the exact dimensions, but assume approximately 4' x 6'. I highly recommend the larger size in order to fit the wheelchair and the person pushing the wheelchair. Not to mention, a 3x5 space is pretty small and gets filled with people quickly, if everyone wants to take the elevator to the top floor.

I cannot read what it says in the utility space behind the elevator, so I'm not sure if you have the utility space there for a reason. My suggestion would be to swap the locations of Bath 2 and the utility. So that you can have a door from Bedroom 2 into Bath 2. The shower in the ADA bath does not look large enough ??

All of the windows to the left and right of the fireplace will make the sun shine in your eyes when you are watching TV and the sun is setting. And it's a whole lot of windows for a theater !! Normally, you want your theater to be a pretty dark room.

I suggest a 4 foot wide dining table, so you can have 2 people sitting at each head of the table. I REALLY wish we had done that !!! Our table seats 14 (6 down each side, 1 on each end). I think our clearance around the table is 36", at the most it is 38". It is fine for getting past people to go to your seat. When there is no one in the seats, there is more than enough walking room. The suggestion is for 36" from table edge to obstruction (wall, counter, furniture) to allow someone to 'slide behind / edge past' a seated diner, or minimum 42" from table edge to allow traffic to 'walk behind' a seated diner. And allow 60" for a wheelchair to pass.

Storage on both sides of the island: good idea. You may not find it necessary, or even a good idea for that storage to be 24" deep. Think about what they will be storing there ?

If the storage on the back of the island was less deep, this could allow for a rounded island seating. This would be better so everyone could converse when seated at the bar and not 'lined up' at the counter.

We have one tankless gas hot water heater which only heats water on demand, and we never run out of hot water. Great because our house sleeps 26. Two or three showers can be going at one time. And when the home is empty or its only the two of us, we aren't paying for water to be heated that isn't used.

Is there any type of code limit on how many bedrooms you are allowed to have ? Are these going to be your actual bed configurations in each room, or are they only on the drawing for examples ? Have they figured out where they want other furniture to go (nightstands, dressers, chairs, etc) ?

The kitchen definitely could use some re-arranging. The sinks are basically right across from each other and neither are particularly close to the fridge. A better work flow would have the prep sink close to the fridge which would have food going from fridge > prep > stove. It looks like the upper cabinets go almost all the way across the cooktop wall including in front of the windows ? It would be convenient to have the trash accessible from both the stove and the prep sink. It is also convenient to have a trash accessible to the cleanup sink.

What is the short wall looking thing with the line through it behind the barstools at the island ? Is that a support wall ?

On your bedroom/bottom floor, it would be better to have 32" doors. Easier to move furniture in !!

What is your timeline until you build ?

I know I could come up with more if I had more time to study the plans, but I really need to run. Also, it would help if they were bigger ! Many of the numbers and text on the plans are very hard to read.

Hope this helps ! I will try to come back again later.

    Bookmark   September 2, 2014 at 10:48PM
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Thank you for all of the wonderful suggestions!

Remember that infant grandchild I mentioned? Well she's mine, and she doesn't believe in sleep, and certainly never more than two hours at a time. :) I spent some time looking at the plans tonight but just can't keep my eyes open anymore. I'm going to take a good look at everything and make revisions (and figure out how to post bigger plans! and answer all of your questions!), but in the meantime I just wanted to let you guys know that I'm still here and greatly appreciate the feedback.

Hoping to make good progress tomorrow while grandma and grandpa take over baby duty!

    Bookmark   September 3, 2014 at 1:55AM
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I just noodled around with the main floor, and this is what I came up with (click on it to make it bigger):

1) I thought it was odd that the master bathroom was not a full bath. I think the addition of a full ensuite bath will make that bedroom feel more master, as you would like to do. Also if your grandmother moves in, at the times when the other floor isn't being heated/isn't in use, it would be nice if she just had her own bathroom on the main floor, separate from your parents'. For three adults long accustomed to living without roommates, that just makes sense.

I don't think the master bedroom itself needs to be bigger. You already have very wide walkways (5 ft.) and a large amount of closet space -- that is basically all anybody needs. More space doesn't add to the amenities. If you want it any ritzier, maybe vault their ceiling too?

2) I thought it was odd that the pantry was so far from the kitchen. If I need a can of beans when I'm cooking, I wouldn't want to leave the kitchen and walk down the hall to get them.

Also the very square shape of the pantry isn't the best -- you just have a lot of random empty standing space in the middle that could be better used elsewhere in the house.

Conclusion: I moved the bathrooms and pantry around to alleviate these problems. Both bathrooms don't have to be ADA -- I'm just totally unfamiliar with that and your needs for it, so I just left the bathroom layouts as you had the original. If it is not needed in your parents' bathroom, I would suggest a very different layout.

3) Your sinks are nearly back-to-back. It's not all that helpful to have a second sink so close to the first. What you want when you're cooking up a storm and using the sink is for someone else who wants to use the sink to go VERY far away from you, totally not in your way at all. I moved both sinks so they are far apart now. This also fixed the problem of the stove and sink being nearly back to back. When they are in a line on the same wall as I put them, various cooks using them never bump into each other.

4) You should not have ovens directly next to the refrigerator. Since one appliance is fighting to keep things cool, and the other to keep things warm, you make both work twice as hard when they are fighting against each other. This shortens the lifespan of the appliances and raises your electrical bill.

5) I also felt that the wall ovens were crowding that corner of the kitchen, making the corner counter space not really usable. You definitely want that corner to be a true working space because you specified three enthusiastic cooks working in the kitchen at the same time. You'll have someone in the corner (using that corner counterspace and the stove w/ easy access to the prep sink), someone between the stove and sink (using that middle stretch of counter with access to both the stove and the sink), and someone else using the sink & dishwasher & counterspace above the dishwasher. Three work zones without bumping into each other. (And extra cooks/helpers can set up around the island.)

Conclusion: I moved the ovens to under the counters elsewhere in the kitchen. This had the added bonus of giving you some counter space right next to the fridge -- handy for piling things on that you are pulling out or putting in.

6) I agree with you and everybody else that the dining room is too close to the kitchen. I shaved two feet off the kitchen island to alleviate this. I don't think you'll miss it -- island is quite large still, and there is plenty of seating with the dining room right there.

Another idea I had (but I'm guessing this is impossible, so I didn't put it in with my other edits to the plan) was that it's a shame the bay window in the living room isn't in the dining room instead. Living room seating doesn't really fit all that well in a bay window, but an oval dining room table would fit beautifully and make great use of the space. Plus there is something grand about dining room with a wall of windows.

The bay window bump-out would buy you a couple more feet, so you could move the dining room furniture over a smidge into it, gaining kitchen space. You could get back most or all of what I cut off the island.

7) Round or oval dining room tables can fit more people than the rectangular one pictured and flow around them is better. Just make sure it's a pedestal-style table (no legs around the outside to get in the way of seated people).

8) The microwave seemed hard to get at and use -- you'd have to lean over the corner. I moved it the island.

9) You said you wanted the non-cooking snack people to be able to get what they need without clogging up the cooking areas. What I did was set up the prep sink and the microwave and the pantry and the fridges all together in an area entirely separate from the main cooking area (the area with the stove and big sink). So snackers can get water, heat, food, and use a counter top without ever entering the main work zone. (Growing up, my dad used to stand directly in front the fridge, mulling over his options for about ten hours whenver I was baking, so I'm especially sensitive to this issue.)

10) The walkway between the island and the main working area (where the stove and sink are) needs to be wider so multiple cooks can pass each other easily. I'd aim for 5 feet wide.

11) This isn't necessary, but I added a second dishwasher. Given how many cooks you have in mind and how many people you'll be feeding at once, you will easily create more dishes than any one dishwasher could fit at once. And especially on vacation, who wants to keep getting up to move the dishes along? You just want to do them once and sit down for the evening.

Both dishwashers are on the far end of the kitchen, so the rest of the kitchen can still be used while they are open. (Neither opens into the middle of things.)

12) I think you need a washing machine on this main floor. If it is to be the primary residence while the other floor is closed up and unheated sometimes, you want to have everything you need for normal living on this floor. The idea of gathering all my loads of laundry to go to a cold, lonely floor, and to have to leave what I'm doing and take the elevator just to check if a load is done -- it just seems un-ideal.

I think a pair of stacking machines could easily fit in or around the bathroom where the pantry used to be. I added a second closet in bedroom #2 -- perhaps some of that second closet space could be comandeered for a washing machine. I just don't know what you require in that bathroom, so I haven't suggested a new layout. Are both the bathtub and shower needed for ADA reasons? You could eliminate one or do a shower-over-tub situation to get room for that laundry.

Here is a link that might be useful:

This post was edited by Jillius on Sun, Sep 7, 14 at 16:05

    Bookmark   September 3, 2014 at 3:40AM
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Just took a look at the downstairs floor. Here are my notes (click on the image to make it bigger):


1) The hall bath doesn't have a window, which is aesthetically less pleasant & causes mold issues. The only place where a small room could border both the hall and an exterior wall is on the far left, so I moved it there. That had a domino effect on the location and type of closets on the floor.

2) You don't have, like, a communal kid's room. The most fun part of any family vacation is having sleepovers with all your cousins. I know you had the smallest room earmarked for an office, but the long wall in that room is actually the perfect length for bunkbeds like this:

Just something to consider.

3) I'd actually already thought before seeing your floor plan that you'd want to have a kitchenette down here, so good going with that. I'd just add the notes that you should have a dishwasher (so you don't have to trek dirty dishes upstairs or clean ones downstairs) down here too and maybe a microwave.

4) It would be nice if this living room downstairs had a game table (combination cards/pool/ping pong) or play area or something like that for the kids to enjoy. It's nice for the kids to bond and have conversations they wouldn't have with the adults, and it's nice for the adults to let the kids amuse themselves for awhile. And it's generally nice for everyone to have something to do other than watch something one of the other 10 people chose to put on.

Here is a link that might be useful:

This post was edited by Jillius on Sun, Sep 7, 14 at 16:10

    Bookmark   September 3, 2014 at 5:44AM
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Thank you so much for your efforts!

I had a big planning session with my parents tonight and was able to get a bunch of stuff settled - yay! I started making revisions and had grand plans of finishing them and typing up a novel to accompany them, but again it has gotten late way too quickly and I am hoping for at least a few hours of sleep before the little one is up. :)

So I'm posting the plans exactly as they were when I last saved them. They are a work in progress - lots of stuff unfinished, missing doors, suggestions I didn't have a chance to incorporate yet, etc. But at least we'll be on the same page for discussion purposes:

This post was edited by beach_house on Tue, Sep 9, 14 at 19:14

    Bookmark   September 4, 2014 at 2:13AM
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I just saw your revision. A couple thoughts about those:

1) Edits to the upstairs (click on the image to make it bigger):

The main thing is that the second bedroom's closet space needed to be larger if grandma was going to move in. It was fine closet space for a guest, but not enough storage for a permanent inhabitant.

Here is another version that gives the very large closet to your parents and still-larger-but-not-huge one to grandma and creates a small closet that can either be a hall closet, a closet containing a stacking washer/dryer, or additional closet space for your parents (click on the image to make it bigger):

And a third option with a big walk-in for your parents and a larger closet for grandma, but it only works if the utility area can be shrunk a little -- it would be accessed through the bathroom (click on the image to make it bigger).

2) Edits to downstairs (click on the image to make it bigger):

The main thing here is that, in the lounge, the sofa had to be a lot closer to the TV for comfortable viewing, and there wasn't a great place to put a table for people to sit around and play games or cards or make Christmas tree garlands or whatever. My solution was to move the kitchenette and to add big sliding doors that would allow the office (and its table) to be incorporated into the lounge activities when it isn't needed as an office.

This post was edited by Jillius on Sun, Sep 7, 14 at 19:46

    Bookmark   September 5, 2014 at 6:06AM
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Please ignore this message. Gardenweb won't let me delete something I accidentally posted.

This post was edited by Jillius on Fri, Sep 5, 14 at 18:42

    Bookmark   September 5, 2014 at 5:58PM
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That earlier post about there being no defined entry is really important. There is no meet and greet area and no place to stack luggage when people are waiting for their ride back to town/airport etc. you may want to consider a casual mudroom type area as a place to temporarily hold luggage and as a place to remove sand (and shoes?) so that sand is not tracked into the house.

    Bookmark   September 7, 2014 at 1:06AM
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Practigal (and someone else, apparently) brought up a great point, and while I have not double-checked it against the layout, I agree.

I totally missed, the first time around, that there was an elevator, so that does alleviate most of the concern for a non-main floor laundry. I still think it is ideal for a person or couple to have everything they need on one floor, but I understand limitations. What should be kept in mind is the proportion of time spent there by just the homeowners to the amount of time they will spend having guests.

And fwiw, I have a pantry down the hall in my laundry room but it is more of a stock-up pantry and a place to store little-used appliances that I am not ready to pitch. Things I plan to use for the next week or two get stored in my kitchen.

Is it possible for those folks posting links instead of photos to embed photos instead? It is terribly, terribly clunky to copy and paste links then have to click around to enlarge them, too.

    Bookmark   September 7, 2014 at 11:30AM
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I would happily embed the photos in my post, except when I do, the picture quality is terrible. Everything is blurry, you can't read my notes, the measurements, etc.

I'm new to posting here, and I see that the person who started this thread managed to post without quality loss, so I'm sure it's possible. I just don't know how you'd do it.

This post was edited by Jillius on Sun, Sep 7, 14 at 13:35

    Bookmark   September 7, 2014 at 1:34PM
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Jillius, I use photobucket to embed photos, and while I pay a nominal yearly fee for extra storage I think there is an option for a free account. A lot of people I know use flicker. That is weird about your pics posting all grainy, must be something with the resizing.

    Bookmark   September 7, 2014 at 1:41PM
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Thank you. I figured it out & edited my previous posts.

    Bookmark   September 7, 2014 at 4:29PM
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AWESOME! Huge relief, I learn so much by studying people's suggeations and reading their notes. Thanks!

    Bookmark   September 7, 2014 at 4:49PM
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Thank you for your patience as I try to carve out time to work on the house in bits and pieces. I reworked the design and incorporated many suggestions. Here’s how it turned out:

Now to address your questions:

- Our timeline to build is ASAP. We are trying to crank out the floor plans as quickly as possible without sacrificing good design. It would be wonderful to have the house built by the end of next summer, but at this point that sounds overly optimistic to me, even for a modular.

- We won’t be finishing any of the attic space.

- I created a floor plan for the ground level. Due to flood regulations, we are only allowed to have breakaway walls on the ground floor, and it can’t be a fully finished living space like upstairs (i.e. no drywall). Any items stored on the ground level are not covered by flood insurance, so we don’t want anything pricey down there. I am struggling with how to handle the main entrance. The front door is under the deck, and once you enter it’s about a 23 ft walk to the stairs going up to the main house. How can I make it feel like an actual entryway and not like you’re walking through someone’s garage?

- We are waiting to hear back from the builder about our elevator size/shape options.

- I’m showing king beds in all the rooms to help with window placement and give a sense of scale to the drawings. It’s likely that most, if not all, of the rooms will have two twin beds pushed together (with something in the middle to make a smooth surface?) to make a king, at least during the first few years before we’d consider bunk beds for future grandkids. That way we’ll have flexibility when non-couples are sharing a room. I am trying to figure out the rest of the furniture placement as well and would appreciate any input.

- Love the idea of a kids’ bunk room! Since there’s only one infant grandchild so far, we’ll hold off on bunks for now. But it’s good to keep in mind that they would fit well and could be added at a later date.

- We laid out the proposed master bedroom in my parents’ current bedroom, and they are happy with its size.

- I combined the utility rooms into a single space with both furnaces and the tankless water heater, although it looks a little snug to me. We’re waiting to hear back from the builder about the feasibility of having the ductwork for both furnaces in the same room. My dad says the tankless water heater needs to be on an outside wall.

- My parents say they don’t want a second washer/dryer set. They want to get side by side front loaders.

- The ADA bathroom is also the public bathroom on the top floor. No one currently needs ADA facilities, but we are designing it that way to future-proof since my parents are retiring there. The bathroom has a transfer shower. It is small, but it is ADA. It’s possible that grandma might move in, but far from definite. If she did move in, there are no privacy issues with her sharing a bathroom. She currently does not have any personal belongings stored in the bathroom at her house because there isn’t any storage space. She’s very set in her ways and likely wouldn’t change that even if her bathroom were suddenly three times as big. She could probably fit all of her personal belongings in bedroom #2 with plenty of room to spare (not exaggerating!), so while I’d like some more closet space in there, it’s not essential. If grandma doesn’t move in, bedroom #2 would function as another guest room.

- The office and lounge are now both off the deck, so the communal areas of that floor are clustered together. I also added another bathroom so each downstairs bedroom now has its own, and there’s a public half bath with a closet that could be replaced by a shower in the future if desired.

- We are avoiding putting closets in the office and lounge so they aren’t taxed as additional bedrooms. As far as I know, there is no code restriction on the number of bedrooms the house can have.

- Great point about the disadvantages of having lots of windows in the theater. We changed the location to gain more space and are also using it as a lounge when the tv isn’t on. We plan on having heavy curtains drawn across the windows for movies, though I’d imagine those would mostly be at night anyway. I love Jillius’s suggestion to have bar seating along the couch!

- It would be great to have some sort of game area for ping pong or foosball, but there just isn’t room for it in the lounge. It might work for the outdoor living area under the house (though anything stored at ground level isn’t covered by homeowners insurance).

- My parents don’t want a dishwasher in the lounge. I agree that it probably wouldn’t be used. People will mostly be eating snack food straight from the packaging (classy, I know :).

- I forgot to add a 3’x3’ audiovisual equipment rack to the lounge and need to find a home for it. Hubby is an audiovisual professional and will go to town setting this room up.

- The western light coming into the living room shouldn’t be an issue because there is a house next door mostly blocking it, but also because we aren’t planning on having a tv in there.

- I really like the idea of a 48” wide dining room table, but is there really enough room for 2 people on each end? Don’t their knees hit the person next to them on the side of the table? Where would you find an 8 ft long table that wide?

- So far the only places I have found 8 ft long extending dining room tables are Pottery Barn and Restoration Hardware, and they are mostly 42” wide. Does anyone have any other sources? angela12345, where did you get your table?

- My mom is short, so the microwave in the kitchen can’t be above counter height for her to use it comfortably. My parents don’t want a microwave drawer, and I think a below counter regular microwave sounds awfully inconvenient (though I’ve never had one). I imagine lots of bending to check on the item being heated and to view the display and buttons as you’re pressing them. So I’m thinking a microwave at counter height would be best, preferably hidden by some sort of cabinetry.

- I am not concerned about having the fridge and wall ovens next to each other. I have double wall ovens in my kitchen, and while they put lots of heat out front, the sides of the ovens are just barely warm to the touch when they are on full blast. Has anyone experienced otherwise?

- I am concerned about the wall ovens putting out enough heat to make it uncomfortable to work in the prep sink area in front of the windows while they are on. But I’d rather avoid under counter ovens because of all the bending and heavy lifting that would be particularly troublesome for my parents as they age.

- I am not a fan of sinks in islands that are not centered. Aesthetically they just look out of place to me. I’m really hoping to make the kitchen design work with the main sink centered in the island.

- I really like Jillius’s suggestion of an arch over the rangetop to echo the curved island, though I’m not really sure how to incorporate it into the design or represent it on the plans. I’m totally new to kitchen design (and house design, for that matter!). I'm currently using AutoCAD. Is there different software I should be using for kitchen elevations?

- How does the kitchen design look to you? I’m having a hard time picturing the prep area under the windows and if it will look out of place with the rangetop and cabinet run on that wall. I’m not very familiar with appliance garages and don’t know how well they will work here. I’m also concerned about having enough cabinet space since there are hardly any uppers. How does the work flow look?

Many thanks!


    Bookmark   September 15, 2014 at 12:25AM
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I had a relative with a similar entry situation into their house. Their solution was to use plants/planters to indicate the walkway into/through the garage and to the entry way to the house. If there was a problem in that area due to flooding or wind damage all that was lost was the plants.
These plans look much more livable now. Good luck with the building.

    Bookmark   September 15, 2014 at 2:00AM
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> How does the kitchen design look to you? I’m having a hard time picturing the prep area under the windows and if it will look out of place with the rangetop and cabinet run on that wall. I’m not very familiar with appliance garages and don’t know how well they will work here. I’m also concerned about having enough cabinet space since there are hardly any uppers. How does the work flow look?

The work space on either side of the cooktop looks tight now, especially since you mentioned 3 avid cooks might be working at once. And I agree with you about cabinet storage being tight now.

In general, it seems like there are a lot of appliances, small and large, and all of them have been placed in prime working and storing places as if all of the appliances will be in use all the time by people who can't bend over or reach very high.

Which appliances (small and large) would your parents be using every day when guests are not there? I assume just one of the fridges, one of the ovens, one of the dishwashers, one of the coffee makers, and the microwave. And maybe, like, the toaster.

Extra stuff that is more rarely used by your parents, or used only when able-bodied guests are there (and either those able-bodied guests will be the only people who will be using them or would be delighted to do the bending over/reaching for your parents) don't need to be located in such prime real estate.

There are LOT of options if you split the appliances into "every day" and "not every day."

If not used every day, the second coffee maker, the blender, etc. can be stored in the pantry. They don't need prime real estate on the counter. I've even seen people who use the microwave all the time just leave it in the pantry and used it there.

Your second fridge, if it is not used every day could be split into two under counter fridges or fridge drawers for able-bodied guests to use, and an appliance garage like this could be put in the original second fridge's place at whatever height works for your mom:

That would remove both the microwave and coffee station from the counter next to the cooktop while still keeping them in a prime "every day" position.

Also, if the second fridge is split into two under counter fridges, they don't both have to be in the kitchen. One could be in the kitchen, and one could be in a built-in buffet under the three windows in the dining room (maybe with the coffee station on top of the buffet?).

Or perhaps you haven't been considering the fridge downstairs in the lounge as a place overflow food could go, and you don't actually need that second fridge space in the kitchen at all or maybe only one under counter fridge would do. My mother has a second fridge and second freezer in her garage for times like Thanksgiving or when I made my sister's wedding cake. It's not a big deal to run downstairs in those rare times, and it is plenty of extra space.

If your parents won't use the second oven regularly, the second oven could be under the stove while the one they use regularly could be stacked with the microwave where you have double ovens now at whatever height allows your mom to use both easily without reaching or bending over. That would also get the microwave off the counter while keeping it in a prime location.

The wine rack should be in the pantry anyway because wine should be stored in the dark. Cookbook storage is nice, but not mandatory in a kitchen since usually you just need one book at a time, and they're very easy to pick up and transport to the kitchen. Cookbooks could live in the pantry, I keep mine on a bookshelf in my living room with other books, etc.

There are just a lot of options for freeing up counter and storage space in the kitchen proper if you could let us know how to prioritize.

Also, I'd move the island to right at least 9 inches. You don't need more than 5' on either side of the dining table, and adding 9 inches between the fridge and the island would make it easier to pass by someone who is standing in front of the fridge with the doors open.

Lastly, I found a picture of an appliance garage in the corner like what you have planned currently next to the wall ovens:

I thought that might help you visualize that area. It seems like a good use of that space -- the corner wouldn't make for good counter work space unless you moved the wall ovens. I'd also been thinking one of those appliance garage doors that lift up would be kind of awkward to operate at this angle, but this one in the picture that opens like a normal cabinet door seems easy enough. You'd just have to make sure the prep sink was far enough over that this door didn't hit the faucet.

    Bookmark   September 15, 2014 at 3:05PM
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Quick idea : Laundry chute for dirty clothes from upper level to laundry room

    Bookmark   September 16, 2014 at 7:28PM
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