Please help with kitchen size and layout

ILoveCookieOctober 4, 2013

DH and I are planning to build a house in the foreseeable future. I am trying to come up with a sensible floor plan, but I am a bit lost when it comes to the kitchen design.

Here is some background info. DH and I are 30 years old, planning to have 2 kids. We have a very small (extended) family, and don't cook/ bake/ entertain often. We use the microwave daily for breakfast/ dinner. I cook (mostly stir-fry) about 3-4 times a week. DH grills outside about 1-2 times a week. It would be nice to fit 2 cooks in the kitchen, but it's not a requirement.

I desire a powerful vent hood that vents directly outside, as I have a very sensitive nose and don't want any smells to stay inside the house. Having lots of windows and natural light is also important to me. I prefer to have no upper cabinets, so the floor looks more open. DH wants a drawer-type dishwasher (which we currently have), or a regular one that can be mounted higher than usual, as he really dislikes to have to bend down to load/unload things.

I want to have one and only one eating place, i.e. a large table either in the center of the kitchen, or next to the kitchen. I hope the table can double as a homework place for the kids. I don't want to have an island again, because everything seems to pile up on it, and people tend to eat their meals on the island (vs. table), which doesn't feel like a real meal to me.

Below are my preliminary drawing of the first floor layout, and the zoomed-in kitchen and pantry area. Nothing is final, so the countertop/ appliances/ etc can be resized and/or moved around.

[ Edit to add:

There will be two decent-sized bedrooms upstairs (half-story) for the kids, above the kitchen/ dining/ living room, instead of directly above the master bedroom and study. There will also be a large entertainment area in the basement for TV/ games/ etc. I don't have a drawing for these areas yet.

Also, based on the feedback I've got so far, I updated my main-floor drawing (scroll almost all the way down), to include a powder room and a separate laundry on the main floor. I will probably add a bathroom to the basement as well. So there will be 4 bathrooms total for me to clean, about the same amount of work as the current house.. ]

Is the kitchen size okay? The legs are 15' each, the bottom of the "U" is 11' (including the corners). Should I make the bottom wider, e.g. 14' rather than 11'?

I am sure the work triangle could use some improvement. I am thinking of either switching the sink/dishwasher with the oven, or moving the microwave to the oven leg. I thought of moving the kitchen door somewhere else, so the fridge can be placed next to the countertop (the sink leg), but it seems convenient to have that door there.

Any feedback will be greatly appreciated!

This post was edited by ILoveCookie on Thu, Oct 10, 13 at 12:23

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You'll get lots of advice. As a general start it looks very promising to me. What I'd like to say is that, although your general preferences may stay much the same through your life, many details are likely to change (more than once), and it's guaranteed that your needs will change.

Your cooking habits will change, more or less, who knows, but they will. People often end up enjoying cooking for itself over time. Happily, this sort of design will accommodate a lot, just don't get hooked on current details. Technology is going to change too. Will you have room for tomorrow's must-have appliances you don't dream of now?

So, I'd think in terms of flexibility. For instance, with that particular layout you might put the support posts to the outside of the kitchen cabinets (you could deepen the counter, and cabinet for that matter, to have visually the same effect, but this would allow you to create more separation between kitchen and upholstered areas should you ever desire to.

You currently have a plain cabinet at the bottom of the peninsula, which is good in that it would be easy to remove it and create a circular flow through the kitchen should you ever desire that in future. You've allocated lots of room to the refrigerator/freezer, and that's great in case tomorrow's appliances require plenty. But, what if that "desktop printer" that makes casseroles from scratch and is a must-have for every kitchen remodel requires more depth? Etc.

Regarding the ground floor as a whole, I notice that you have only one place to sit and relax. (Regardless of where the sun and various views are, regardless of changing weather the changing moods it brings.) Although your bedroom currently has a place where parents could go hide from the kids (or, say, parents who come to live with you), it's unlikely that you would be able to use this space for well over a decade. In fact, many, many people with the giant master suites popular for the past 20 years or so are finding they use them for sleeping, and that's all. Same for giant baths; they groom and get out, use the powder room the rest of the day.

Given how precious main floor square footage is, you really need to know now if you're going to be among the relatively few who use that space enough to even begin to justify its allocation. Would this space be more used if designed to be, say, a quiet sitting area accessed from the kitchen/dining area, where an aggravated father could get a respite from the toys and noise of the living room? You could sip a cup of coffee while you watched the children playing out that way, the sun rising or setting, or neighbors coming home from work? Where you could chat with friends while the guys yell at the game on TV? Where, some day, you could both give a gaggle of teens in the living room the distance they crave from adults, but still be in surveillance distance?

Note that the average time a family spends in one home is around 17 years, not at all coincidentally strongly overlapping with the enormous expenses of raising children. Many, many of those families did not expect to be there so long. Life happens, though, so it's wise to plan as if it could be your forever house and as if you might wish it were somewhat different.

    Bookmark   October 4, 2013 at 2:54PM
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Hi, Cookie! :)

I like your big window over the sink! And the door to the outside. Very nice flow and lots of views. It might be nice to have a landing area by the fridge, but the end of the peninsula should work, if you don't have too much traffic out the back door.

As for the island, I think I would change the peninsula to an island, but you don't have to have seating. You could have storage on the kitchen side and bookcases or more storage, on the dining room side. This would give you access from the range, directly to the table...without walking around the peninsula.

Is that a second oven? That would still work on the island...or you could get a larger range that has two ovens. More counter space in that area with the island, too.

I am confused about the living area. It's so small...especially if you made the kitchen any wider. I like the fish tank, but where do you plan to sit? Do you watch TV, read with the kids, have company over to talk? It's pretty small. The bedroom is huge (nice) but out of scale with the living room.

As for the kitchen and dining room, though...I really like it and I think it would be even better with the island. Make sure you have space in the entry for the 'junk' (mail, keys, phones, etc.) and the island should stay clear. Also, not sitting there will encourage the kids to sit at the table and leave the island for it should be :)

A few examples... From Farmhouse plans From Farmhouse plans From Farmhouse plans

    Bookmark   October 4, 2013 at 3:42PM
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RE: "I'd think in terms of flexibility" -- rosie, this is great advice! I am sure our habits and lifestyle will change once the first kid arrives. I try to read other people's stories, so I could learn from their experience and plan ahead somewhat.

I think I'd change the counter/cabinet depth from 24" to perhaps 30", as there is space.

Hi, lavender! I love your idea of having some bookcases on the dining side. I will play with the "island with no seating" idea tonight - I thought it might be better to close that end off so that the kids cannot get near the dangerous cooktop, plus I get the desired symmetry between the posts. :)

There is one under-counter oven in the oven-leg. There is no oven under the cooktop. DH wants a wall oven that's mounted at his chest level. (We currently have two wall ovens and only use the top one, as it's more convenient in terms of height.) But since I don't want upper cabinets, I don't know where to mount a wall oven. We are also considering a range to save some space.

We intend to have a large living area in the basement, for TV and games. I think the kids could hang out in the basement TV area when they desire some distance from us. DH will have his hobby room (i.e. a fish room) in the basement too, and I hope he can supervise the kids somewhat when I cook meals/ do laundry/ etc on the main floor.

Since there is going to be a large living area in the basement, I thought it might be okay for the main-floor living room to be on the small side. Most of our guests/visitors (in our current house) seem to feel more comfortable sitting at the table or the island. Would make the living room 2' feet wider help balance out the room scale? (Edit to add: DH has agreed to replace the fish tank with a smaller one, i.e., 2' x 8' instead of 4' x 8'.)

The master suite could use some downsizing. I thought about getting rid of the dressing room, and doing a wardrobe wall in the bedroom instead, but I think I would have to lose some windows. The washer/dryer could be moved out of the master bath into the breezeway between the house and the garage (which I haven't added to my drawing), so there will be space for a powder room or something, although I am a bit inclined to put the powder room in the basement, for people who entertain down there.

A very quiet study is a must for us, regardless where it's located, as both DH and I need to get certain work done in the early mornings before we leave for work, and DH often needs to work at home at night. Anyway, I combined the study with the master bedroom to reduce the square footage needed. The reduction is achieved mainly because the circulation path for the giant partners' desk and the bed can now be shared. I tried some layouts where the study is a separate room (about 14'x14') -- it feels less space efficient and makes the open floor plan less open. But I am going to keep trying moving the staircase around, and see if I can make the study separate and accessible from the kitchen or dining area, without compromising the "openness".

This post was edited by ILoveCookie on Sat, Oct 5, 13 at 15:41

    Bookmark   October 4, 2013 at 4:44PM
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larecoltante Z6b NoVa

Hi Cookie, I'm sure you'll get lots of advice here and will leave the kitchen advice to the experts. I had one immediate reaction when I saw your floor plan. I had a study off my master bedroom in my previous house. It was really quiet, which was good, but I often found it difficult to relax at night when I could see "one more thing" to do. It took a lot of discipline to let work go and focus on my family, especially my husband, when I walked past that desk every night. You, of course, might be more disciplined--just something to think about.

    Bookmark   October 4, 2013 at 8:16PM
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The only bathroom on the floor appears to be the master bath. When you have guests over, what bathroom will they use.

    Bookmark   October 4, 2013 at 10:17PM
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Hi larecoltante, that's a great point! I've been thinking about it.

While DH agrees it may not be healthy to have a desk in the bedroom, he thinks it looks very convenient - jump out of bed in the morning, walk a few steps to check emails, do some work, go back to the bed for a short nap, then get ready for work.

My instinct says it's better to have no TV, no laptop in the bedroom...I just need to figure out a good way of making the study separate and quiet, and not taking up too much floor space. :)

nycbluedevil - for the guest bath, I think I have 3 options:

1) carve some space out of the master bath for a powder room, by moving the washer/dryer somewhere else;
2) put the powder room in the basement, which kind of makes sense because there will be a living area down there;
3) make the master bath accessible from both the hallway and the master bedroom, so it can be shared when (and only when) there are guests.

I am trying to have as few toilets to clean as possible, so option 3 is appealing to me. Option 2 is a close second.

This post was edited by ILoveCookie on Fri, Oct 4, 13 at 22:38

    Bookmark   October 4, 2013 at 10:25PM
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Sharing a bath with master bedroom and guests would be a deal breaker for me. Something to think about for resale.

I love the master suite! The LR appears pretty small though, especially with the fish tank- so I would not consider making the kitchen any wider.

Kitchen -consider your work triangle and distance between stations. Maybe a range instead of separate cooktop and oven. I'd want the fridge in the U rather than standing out by itself. Maybe floor-to ceiling pantry cabinets by the door? Consider whether you have enough space between the stairs and those cabinets too. I'd consider leaving off the last cabinet on the U to make the space flow better to the DR.

Oh - and the laundry room - hated having mine in the master suite. Hard to imagine it now, but those prospective kids will become teenagers some day and you'll want them to do their own laundry. They will stay up until the middle of the night (or so it will feel to you) and do their laundry at 1am. It was amazing to move that laundry into its own space.

    Bookmark   October 5, 2013 at 7:40AM
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Cindy - I am a bit surprised and flattered that you like the master suite! And thank you for warning me about teenagers! I will rework the master bath, move the laundry out of there, and add a powder room somewhere.

Having a range does seem to free up some space. So yes to that. I couldn't figure out a good place for the fridge inside the "U", so I added an under-counter fridge near the range. Would that be a big improvement? I am thinking of the drawer type fridge made by True, although DH is a bit concerned about the cost.

I changed the "U" to an "L" with an island. Cindy, is that what you meant by "leaving off the last cabinet on the U to make the space flow better to the DR"?

I increased the base cabinets' depth to 30", and left the island cabinets' depth at 24", but added some 18" deep storage to the dining room side of the island, for books and other things.

I chopped 2' off the fish tank, as the previous size (4' x 8') is out of proportion with the small living room. I am also considering enlarging the footprint somewhat to make the living room bigger.

Anyway, below is my updated drawing. The entry and master suite still needs more work; I haven't got around to do it yet as I was focusing on the kitchen.

Any thoughts on the new kitchen layout? I feel quite excited just by imaging what I would put in which drawer, LOL.

This post was edited by ILoveCookie on Sat, Oct 5, 13 at 17:55

    Bookmark   October 5, 2013 at 5:28PM
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I really like your preliminary plans for the kitchen, particularly with the island now in your drawings. I don't usually post on floor plans as am definitely no expert, but wanted to chime in on some points other have made and add a couple of suggestions.

Regarding bathrooms on first floor: While I understand not wanting to clean any more bathrooms and you are probably going to have a powder room in the basement, I really think you need one on the first floor. As someone mentioned, if I were looking at this house to purchase, having guests use my bathroom would be a deal breaker. Your stairs say "open below"--could you possibly put one there? Possibly even make your stairs a little wider?

Regarding your study in the bedroom: Could you make the bedroom a little longer by stealing some space from your dressing room? If so, I could see putting up a wall w/ double "barn doors" or sliding doors between the two rooms in order to give you some privacy in your bedroom. We currently have a desk in our bedroom and the other night I woke up early because I couldn't sleep and went into the den because I didn't want to disturb hubby by using the desk.

Regarding your washer 'n dryer: While it would be convenient right now w/ just the two of you in your master bath, I have to agree with being not so convenient when kids come along. I just don't see where you could put it in your current layout for your first floor. Could you possibly move upstairs where a good bit of your laundry will be coming from once kids arrive? I would say look at down in the basement but then you would have to be going up two flights of stairs once kids arrive to put clothes up which I wouldn't like.

    Bookmark   October 5, 2013 at 6:17PM
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The under counter fridges are usually better suited for drinks than for things you'd use for cooking. Not sure that gains you much.

Could you move the door off the kitchen have to be in that location? If you moved it to the end of that wall, you could put your fridge/freezer at the end of the U on the right. The view when you open the door would be to the stairs though, don't know how that would look.

The LR proportion is much improved by lopping off part of the fish tank.

    Bookmark   October 5, 2013 at 9:06PM
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Cindy, it's good to know the under counter fridge is not suitable for cooking. I tried moving the kitchen door towards the study, and putting the fridge/freezer where the kitchen door was. It seems I'd have to reduce the fridge to 3' to fit, which is a bit small for us because we shop only once a week. However, if I increase the overall width of the hallway by 1'-2', it may work. Going to try that.

farmhousebound, thank you for posting your thoughts! I love the barn/sliding door idea for separating the bedroom and the study. Pocket doors might be good too. I am going to shrink the dressing room & the master bath, and put more space towards the bedroom and study area and add the double doors. I wouldn't get as much morning light in the bedroom, but I guess that's an okay comprise.

The "open below" thing is the stairwell. The basement stair runs in parallel to (and below) the stair leading to the 2nd floor, so the powder room cannot go there. But I agree the staircase should be wider. I am thinking about increasing the overall hallway width by 1'-2', so the staircase can be a little wider, like 42" or even 48".

Our current laundry is upstairs, and I often forget to move things to the dryer. I feel like it might be better if it were on the main floor. If I widen the hallway, maybe there will be enough room for a small powder/laundry room, on the left side of the entry (i.e., next to the master bath). Yeah, I am going to try that tonight. Eventually, I might give up and put the laundry in the breezeway or upstairs. :)

    Bookmark   October 6, 2013 at 5:55PM
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As someone who has a study/office in a similar configuration, I would strongly urge you not to do so. My husband & I are both techies, & the resulting accumulation of computer equipment, peripherals, network cabling, books, etc. is not something to have in your bedroom.
Also, those early morning or late night conference calls with people in different time-zones are not a lot of fun when the other partner is trying to sleep or not feeling well.

    Bookmark   October 6, 2013 at 6:58PM
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It may be easier to place the fridge on your sink wall if you resize your windows there, and have 2 other windows flanking the range.

Since you'd have the main fridge in the kitchen now, I think the other one can be on the DR side of the island so you'll have more storage near the DW. I would even consider a shallow cab facing the pantry wall, with a lot of shelves to store glasses, cups etc. As your family grows your need for extra storage close by may increase.

    Bookmark   October 6, 2013 at 8:32PM
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Cookie- I just rearranged our home, to get the office further from the living and relaxation areas. Exactly what Larecoltante said...too difficult to get away from work, when you can see it from your other spaces. I can't imagine having the office in the bedroom, but it probably depends on how you'll use it.

I have a little reading corner in the bedroom (just a few shelves and a chair) but I really love it. Much more relaxing than staring at the desk and fax! From Home pictures

    Bookmark   October 7, 2013 at 3:06AM
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sena01 - DH was questioning me a couple days ago, where would he put his wine glasses and cups? It's such a wonderful idea to have some shallow (12"?) cab/shelves facing the pantry for glasses! I'd never have thought it myself. Thank you!

Regarding the fridge, I will try moving it into the U and resizing the windows. It's a little painful to lose windows, but I guess with a relatively small house, some sacrifices have to be made.

gwgin, good point about not disturbing the other partner. So yes to separate the study from the bedroom. I am going to try to combine the dressing room and the bedroom, and add a wall between the bedroom and the study, but make the study accessible from the bedroom using a pocket door or something.

LL - your reading corner is very pretty and calming! Now we want to have some greens and blues in our next bedroom. :) I am afraid our desk is on the other end of the spectrum, however (see the image below), so from the design point of view, the desk should be in its own room. The desk has lots of storage inside, luckily.

If I put a wall between the bedroom and the study, and have a door in that wall, would that be enough separation for noise, privacy, etc? Alternatively, I could switch the study with the living room, but the floor will feel less open and more fragmented, I think.

I will keep playing with the layout...

This post was edited by ILoveCookie on Mon, Oct 7, 13 at 15:54

    Bookmark   October 7, 2013 at 3:50PM
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Are you sure you want the entrance into your bedroom suite to be into your dressing room? If you have company and hubby walks in while you're dressing, your company will get an eyeful. Oops!

As others have noted, having the laundry in your MBTH is great now but will be a PITA when your kids start doing their own laundry.

Unless you add sound proofing insulation and drywall (look into QuiteRock) on your inner bedroom wall, you'll hear your kids stomp up and down the stairs - and they will, trust me. How a little kid can sound like an elephant is beyond me. This will mean that when they are teenagers, they'll have better odds of sneaking in if they've stayed out past curfew, though. ;-)

Be nice to your company and PLEASE find a way to add a powder room to your main floor. Trust me, when you have an elderly friend or relative visit, they will greatly appreciate not having to schlep down the stairs to go to the bathroom. Yes, they could use the MBTH but I usually feel that I'm invading private space when I use someone's MBTH. And as others have written, no first floor powder room would be a deal breaker for me.

You could create definition between home office and bedroom with double pocket doors, like this:

Rustic Dining Room by Park City General Contractors Phillips Development

You can make them solid like this or go with clear or frosted glass doors. But I would add doors. You have the same schedule now but that won't always be the case. Like when you're home on maternity leave. Baby's been up all night and you're finally asleep and boy, won't it be irritating when hubby turns on the office light to get some work done.

Are the posts required for structural reasons or to serve aesthetic and space defining purposes?

Your kitchen is getting closer but it still needs work.

A 6' aisle between perimeter and island is too wide for the island to be as useful as it could be for kitchen tasks.

Do you really need 60" of fridge/freezer space when you "don't cook/ bake/ entertain often"? I think you'd be better off with a standard depth 36" fridge or a 42" built-in, allowing you to add more pantry storage, which can be used for pantry goods and items normally stored in upper cabinets.

Here's an idea for you:

I swapped out the 60" of fridge/freezer for a 36" standard depth fridge and moved it to the sink wall. With the sink run cabs already pulled out to 30", the fridge will look built in. It will also save you some money that you can use elsewhere in your home. If you want a 42" built-in, you can do this but you'll need to reduce the counter depth to the standard 25 1/2". There's about 15" between fridge and door so you can allot 6" of those for the additional width of a 42" built-in fridge.

You could also put the fridge on the sink wall and leave the freezer on the pantry wall. Nothing says they have to be side by side and it might be nice to break up that huge expanse of stainless.

I had to reduce the windows' width slightly but I made up for that by adding windows on either side of the range.

Moving the fridge puts it in the work triangle, eliminating the need for fridge drawers, saving $$ and freeing up a cab for storage.

I reduced the aisle between perimeter and island to 4'. I also lengthened the island and made it a bit deeper as well. The two end cabinets will provide additional storage (table linens, serving trays, large platters, etc, things used in the DR more than the kitchen). I reduced the depth of the center cab to 15". That's usually deep enough to provide display space; too deep and things get lost behind other things. The blue block is a void. The green block shows that you can raise this whole section of the island fro 36" to 42", providing a bit of a barrier between kitchen and DR and perhaps deterring the tendency to pile things on the island.

I also lengthened the run of cabs on the range wall. You'll notice that I eliminated the pillars for the kitchen. The more I looked at your plan, the more I came to believe that they are purely for aesthetics. There are other ways to denote space and their placement interfered with this plan. Also, if you're not keen on cleaning (the comment about cleaning another toilet), you may not be keen on the posts IRL. You'll have to get out the vacuum's crevice tool to go around each post. I'd find that a PITA.

I'd love to see your upstairs and the breezeway plans. What about an exterior elevation?

    Bookmark   October 7, 2013 at 7:33PM
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Forgot to say that I also reduced the cabs on the range run to standard depth. Most ranges have some kind of lip at the back; having a 6" strip of counter behind this lip is useless and likely not easy to clean. If you the cabs pulled out to 2' 6" deep, you could use that extra 6" for a niche above the range (the best and possibly only way to do one on an exterior wall) but please know that storing oils and such in a niche ruins them quickly (they don't like heat or light). Plan on them being decorative only. You'll need to give them a regular wipe-down to remove the grease that will collect on them.

    Bookmark   October 7, 2013 at 7:54PM
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I like the island configuration, but would want sink/DW and stove swapped. Easier access from dining to put stuff away and not have people walking past somebody cooking at the stove to get to the sink.

    Bookmark   October 7, 2013 at 9:57PM
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Some ideas about the kitchen and MBR:

As lisa_a suggested it might be better to move only the fridge to the kitchen and leave freezer in the pantry. But if fridge is moved to the sink wall, when one is loading/unloading the DW, the other would not be able to use the fridge very easily. Also, the distance b/w the fridge and range, although improved,would still be quite long ( ~12' 3," if I'm not wrong). Another alternative would be to move the fridge to the range wall. This would bring the range quite close to the corner, but I think this could give you a better work triangle.

For the MBR, maybe you can do something like below ( I tried to keep your dimensions but forgot to decrease the interior dimension for the extra wall).

Dressing room has no windows, but maybe glass doors b/w dressing and office may bring in some light. No entry from dressing (thanks to lisa_a), but stairs would have to be moved.

This post was edited by sena01 on Tue, Oct 8, 13 at 21:55

    Bookmark   October 8, 2013 at 9:25PM
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Like Sena, I had a revision idea for about your master bedroom portion of your home. Here's what I came up with:

The bedroom MOL stayed where you have it but I swapped the locations of the MBTH and the study, putting the study at the front of the house. Should you or your husband ever decide to run a home business, you can have a client or supplier visit you in your home office without them having to go through your bedroom. I tucked a built-in bookcase/filing cabinet into a wall niche. It provides storage without taking up space in the study.

The other plus about this location is that you no longer have to walk all the way through the bedroom, around the stairs, down the hallway and into the kitchen - a giant U-turn - to get a refill on that cup of coffee. That's very important step saving first thing in the morning. ;-)

I put a hallway between study and master bedroom to provide a bit more separation and privacy between these two rooms. It also provides privacy to the bedroom. Even if the bedroom door is open, it's unlikely anyone will see directly into the bedroom. The pocket doors are 7-8' wide. Leave them open, partially close them or close them completely at will. But you have the option to do so because you don't know what life will bring once you start a family.

The shower is slightly smaller. Not sure why you designed such a large shower but a 5' shower is still a generous size. I gave you two sinks, something you didn't have before, and something the majority of people want in their MBTH. The toilet is tucked out of the way, out of line of sight (the toilet alcove space is not included in the MBTH room dimensions). The windows are transom windows - let in light but maintain privacy.

The closet/dressing room isn't as generous as you have before but it no longer doubles as a hallway/entry, which is a good thing. Plus, no more chances of "whoops" moments when the dressing room door opens unexpectedly.

I added a back hallway off the kitchen for the laundry room and powder room. You have to go through the laundry room to get to the bathroom but I'd rather do that than go through the powder room to get to the laundry. It's rare that anyone locks a laundry room door but a bathroom door is going to be locked at times. I added storage to the laundry room, something you'll be glad to have when kids come. Having the laundry in this location is a plus for 2 reasons: when the kids come in the back door, all dirty, you can strip them right there and throw their clothes in the wash. It's also MOL a straight shot up and down the stairs with laundry baskets.

The little I I I marks at the back of the little hallway denote coat hooks. You may have planned for this elsewhere but just in case you haven't planned for a place to hang coats as your family comes in the back door, I added them here.

I put the powder room and laundry room at the back of the house because I assumed that your kids will use the kitchen door more than the front door to go in and out of the house. This way they and their friends can come in and use the bathroom without traipsing all the way through your home.

All your first floor plumbing is grouped together, which will help with building costs.

So this is my grand idea. ;-)

Oops, almost forgot. I bumped out the entry by 3'. That's not a huge amount but it helped me keep the entry as large as you show it on your plan. You don't need to do this. A 9'-8" deep entry is still a nice sized entry but the small bump-out helps give the entry a bit more separation from the LR. It also might help add to your home's curb appeal (or maybe you've planned for it to look more than a big rectangle from the outside).

    Bookmark   October 9, 2013 at 4:15AM
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lyfia, I was hoping that table-cleaning would happen after cooking & eating. I was also hoping that whoever carries the dirty dishes could walk around the other end of the island, i.e., the hallway area, to get to the sink. :)

Lisa, Sena -- Thank you so much for your replies. Lots of good suggestions! I came up with a revision last night based on Lisa and everyone else' suggestions, before seeing your grand drawings. I attached my revision below, but will study your drawings tonight and update my amateur drawing accordingly. :)

RE: the dressing room. I have to agree it was a very bad idea to have the door face the hallway, LOL. So I re-arranged the entrance to the master suite and the study, but introduced a new problem -- no windows in the bedroom. Having double glass doors between the study and the bedroom would help somewhat. If I increase the ceiling height from 10' (9' under beams) to 12', I could fit a nice row of transom/clerestory windows above the 84" wardrobes. 12' ceiling might be too high and costly, though.

RE: master bath. We currently have double sinks (7' vanity), and think that two is not necessary and one might be just fine (yay to one fewer sink for me to clean), so I put down one. We feel the current 3' x 4' shower is a bit small, so I increased the size, but I probably overshoot by doubling it. I will change it to 4' x 5'.

I increased the exterior footprint by 2', from 49' x 39' to 51' x 41', so I could widen the staircase to 42", give a little more room to the kitchen range wall, and allow some space for the powder room and laundry room.

I put the bath and laundry in the northwest corner, as I kind of want to have the northeast corner to myself, i.e., for bed and study, because I notice that in our current house, the most pleasant places tend to be near the northeast and southeast corners. These places are bright but not too bright, and don't get overly hot. Is that selfish thinking?

I imagine to use the front door more often. With our current house, we always enter through the kitchen door which faces the attached garage. We only use the grand front entry when the garage door is stuck, or when there are guests who need help loading or unloading their vehicle(s). I feel like we should use what we have more often, especially nice things.

I think by locating the detached garage closer to the front entry, perhaps in the northwest corner, might help us achieve that. In that case, having the laundry/bath near the front entry would make sense.

As for unloading grocery, I imagine to use a small rolling cart to get things from the car to the kitchen. Also could have the car stop at the kitchen door for a moment, LOL, although this probably would require a longer driveway.

Now, I am not exactly sure about the purpose of the kitchen door.. Oh, right, DH wants a door off the kitchen so that when he grills food outside, he can come into the kitchen to quickly grab spices, put away trash, etc, without going through other areas.

I love the idea of separating the fridge and freezer. Our current fridge/freezer (all-in-one) is 36" and I find it quite full after each weekend visit to the farmers' market. So we thought we could use a bigger one. I am thinking of a 30" fridge and a 30" freezer.

I kept the freezer next to the pantry, so it's close to the microwave, which in turn is close to the sink/trash. Like Sena suggested, I moved the fridge to the range wall, as placing it at the end of the sink run (what Lisa suggested initially) will make the door space too tight because the posts are actually structural (which I will explain below).

Lisa, great point about gunk collecting on the counter strip behind the range. As you've already guessed (correctly), I'd take the low-maintenance route, i.e. 24" range counter. But since I just moved the fridge to the range wall, I probably should stick to 30" counter, right?

I also have to admit, I've never thought I would "have to get out the vacuum's crevice tool to go around each post". I might be able to delegate that task to my DH, LOL, as I often ask him to clean the floor under the bed. :)

Anyway, the posts are there for structural reasons (think of a timber frame house), but I do try to place them in such a way that they visually define the space. I also try to center windows/ table/ entry door/ etc on posts.

While it's cheaper to build a rectangle shaped house, I think bump-outs are entirely possible, even with timber frame houses...I just don't know if they are expensive to add.

Looking at the gable end (i.e., the kitchen/ study exterior wall), the post distance (center-to-center) in my drawing below is 14'-10'-14'. It can be changed to 14'-14'-14', 12'-10'-14', 12'-12'-12', etc, as long as two adjacent posts are no more than 14' apart. Along the eave/ ridge, two adjacent posts can be up to 20' apart.

I agree the posts make the kitchen design difficult. There is some freedom in the placement of the kitchen posts -- we could move the two freestanding posts (one next to the fridge, the other next to the island) towards either the dining room or the kitchen sink. Could also deepen the pantry/hallway area, by making the two posts in the middle (looking at the gable end, one at the end of the sink counter run, the other in the study) further apart, like 12'-14' (vs. 10'), but the overall house will be deeper too, and I don't know if that's desirable. The upside of deepening the pantry/hallway area is, I would be able to place the fridge at the end of the sink run without making the door space too tight, and as a result, the range counter run can be lengthened.

Lisa - Sorry, I don't have the floor plan for the upstairs and the breezeway yet. I only recently started learning to use the chief architect software, and the user guide says it's best to finalize the main floor before adding more floors, so I've been focusing on improving the main floor. I probably could add a gable roof quickly and generate an exterior view, though. I still need to add basement, second floor (half story), garage, and breezeway. It will take me a while to get all these done, but I will keep you posted!

This post was edited by ILoveCookie on Wed, Oct 9, 13 at 12:47

    Bookmark   October 9, 2013 at 12:25PM
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Cookie- Nice progress!

I think your fridge will be bigger than I would put it back in your original spot, by the freezer. Make the pantry just a bit smaller and everything should fit.

The bedroom is so much better! The study is wonderful, but I would flip the bedroom, so the closets are on the inside wall and the bed on the outside wall. Then you can have a window on each side of the bed and get some natural light into the room.

The front entry and living room look better, but the laundry looks a little cramped. What about moving the door just a little closer to the left (front door wall) and switching the washer/dryer to the inside wall (backing onto master bath)?

Also, if there's room, I'd swap the powder room and closet, so you have more privacy from the main living area. Something like this... From Kitchen plans

    Bookmark   October 9, 2013 at 2:04PM
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IloveCookie - I've had the arrangement with the stove in one of the areas where you walk past to get to the sink. I found it highly annoying and I had 52" behind me to the countertop. There was just like you have it another path, but because the fridge and the stove were similar to your last placement somebody would walk to the fridge and get something to drink and walk past to get to the glasses instead of walking around the island. Might at least consider the traffic paths in the kitchen to see that they work well.

    Bookmark   October 9, 2013 at 2:59PM
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Where are the kids' room/s or nursery going to be?

    Bookmark   October 9, 2013 at 3:30PM
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lyfia -- The scenario you described got me thinking. It's quite likely that someone grabs an apple from the fridge, and heads straight to the sink for a good rinse, rather than go all the way around the island. It's definitely not ideal. I am going to try swapping the sink/ dishwasher with the range, and see how it goes.

LL -- Your changes made the plan look so much better. :) The only thing I am not sure about is the bed placement. I read that it's better to sleep with the head towards south and legs towards north. When I told my DH this, he laughed at me, but I still feel like the theory has a valid point... Anyway, here it goes: our planet has a magnetic pole stretched from north to south with the positive pole at the north and the negative pole at the south. Because the human body is also a magnet (with the head being the north pole), it would be beneficial to lay our head in the southern direction, so the two poles will attract each other, and thus the polarity of the human body will be preserved.

Now, you can laugh at me if you also find the theory ridiculous, LOL.

nosoccermom -- There will be two decent-sized bedrooms upstairs (half-story) for the kids. I think the study could double as nursery for a while, and hope that with the double pocket doors closed, the noise won't disturb the sleeping partner. I also imagine that when the kids become teenagers and want distance from us, they could retreat to their own bedroom (for homework/ chat with friends/ etc), or to the basement entertainment area (for TV/ games/ parties).

    Bookmark   October 9, 2013 at 5:53PM
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I've not read all the details - but like many of the graphics so far. A comment about children. During their early childhoods - you need them close by! You will need to improvise a play area near the kitchen (perhaps a small rug & toys near the freezer) - toddlers and infants can't be left alone - nor should you want them to be!

Yes, adults need some time & space alone, but occasionally.
. You will like being with your children!
. My LR, DR and kitchen were all open - good for keeping an eye on kids - also on homework, etc. Most children will not do well isolated in their rooms doing homework ...until high school - then they will disappear into their rooms.

    Bookmark   October 9, 2013 at 6:34PM
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Cookie- Everyone has different ideas and beliefs. Look how popular feng shui is! If it's important to you, that's all that matters :)

Can you have a bedroom with no windows? I know the study is open to it, but what does code say, for your area? If you can lose a little wardrobe space, what about something like this?

A window seat between the wardrobes and a small walk in closet. Or you could put a dresser under the window...but either way, you'd have some light in the room.

I also rearranged the master bath just a bit...think clerestory windows above the sink. Brings in light, but more private.

The kitchen island...what if it was more square, to fit with the post? You could also roll your 'cart' underneath, when you're done hauling groceries. Maybe behind the microwave, so it fit between the kitchen and dining room sides of the island...opposite the door to the study. What do you think? From Kitchen plans

This post was edited by lavender_lass on Wed, Oct 9, 13 at 20:04

    Bookmark   October 9, 2013 at 7:36PM
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Kristen Hallock

I havent read everything. But I just want to say that you NEED a bathroom on the 1st floor for guests to use. There's no way you should build a house without that. Alot of people here have said that having to share their masterbath with guests would be a dealbreaker.

You should also think about your future kids, potty training, etc...I have 2 kids and we have a powder room on the 1st floor and a basement that is finished with a playroom. Its a huge area with a large TV and a sectional couch. The kids hang out there mostly to play and watch TV. We dont have a bathroom downstairs and we wish we did. So definitely put one in down there when you build. You'll be glad you did.

I like the plan with the island way better. Having the U-shape with that long peninsula seems like it would be a huge PITA to walk around every time you needed to go back into the kitchen to stir something or check the oven.

Personally I like my bedrooms on the 2nd floor. I assume you have a 2nd floor for kids bedrooms? And I like more living space on the 1st floor. I cant sleep if I hear people up and about, so having my bedroom on the 1st floor would not be a plus for me (at this point in life since I have young kids).

    Bookmark   October 10, 2013 at 9:00AM
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I will 2nd the need to have a 1st floor guest bathroom and please don't make it tiny. My cousin bought a house with only 1 bathroom on the 2nd floor. Little did she know that four close family member would end up have issues climbing the stairs to the bathroom. She liked having holiday dinners and this limited entertaining. You never know what life will bring, but an easily accessible 1st floor bathroom is never a bad idea.

    Bookmark   October 10, 2013 at 9:36AM
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LL -- I totally forgot about the building code! Yes, egress windows are required in bedrooms here. I actually really like your first layout (with the bed under the northern windows, and the wardrobes on the interior wall). I am going to try to forget the sleep position theory, as I've never followed it anyway. :)

I also like your new master bathroom layout. The sinks I have had always face a solid wall and mirror. I think it would be a nice change to have the sink (and maybe even the shower) right under some clerestory or transom windows.

The large square island (6' 6" x 6' 6"?) looks nice. Hiding the rolling cart under the island behind the microwave? That's a very clever way of utilizing space. :) My concern is, it might be too deep for me to clean (I am only 5' 2"). Our current island is 2' 6" deep (I think), and it's a small stretch for me, and I prefer to go around to clean the other side. Maybe I could get my DH to clean the large island for me? If so, what do I do with such a large surface top? Maybe put a large decorative vase (with fake flowers) in the center, and tell DH and kids to be careful with it, as I don't want to have to clean/ replace it often? Oh dear, my imagination is going wild, LOL.

nutmeg, debrak, khallock -- Thank you all for your advice!

I am convinced by everyone here that I need a powder room on the main floor. I've updated my drawing to include it (it's many posts below the original). I will probably add a bathroom to the basement too, just because it will have a large entertainment area down there, for TV, games, etc. Hope kids will enjoy being in that area.

nutmeg -- Yes, there will be two decent-sized bedrooms upstairs for the kids. I intend to place them above the kitchen/ dining/ living room, instead of directly above the master bedroom and study. I hope that with this arrangement, we won't hear much noise from upstairs when we are in the master bedroom and study.

Good idea about having a play area near the pantry. That area seems just big enough to have some tiny chairs and toys. We could also temporarily remove the living room furniture, and set up a play area there. DH says small kids will probably enjoy watching fish.

The dining table is planned to serve multiple purposes, including eating, fish watching, doing homework/ school projects, doing paper work, etc. That way, the kids can be close to us when they want to, and/or when we want to keep an eye on them.

This post was edited by ILoveCookie on Thu, Oct 10, 13 at 12:52

    Bookmark   October 10, 2013 at 12:45PM
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