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Before we finalize...

Posted by daisyblue (My Page) on
Fri, Jan 18, 13 at 15:02

About a year ago, I first posted some preliminary plans for feedback and I am grateful for the comments I received. Circumstances forced us to put things on hold, but thankfully, we are now ready to move forward! Prior to having final plans/blueprints completed, I would greatly appreciate some fresh eyes offering any thoughts you may have (after looking at this for so long, I worry that I may not be "seeing" something important).

A quick recap: We are a family of three (three year old daughter) living in western NC, hoping to foster/adopt a child in the near future. The goal for our home is for it to be simple and efficient, made with healthy materials, and that it has a great inside/outside connection. The top of the plan is oriented south to take advantage of passive solar heating and mountain views.

Thanks in advance for any feedback you are willing to offer!

 photo FloorPlan1-5-13_zpsf9cde2ab.jpg


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: Before we finalize...

5-0 sliding doors only provide about 28" of clear passage so you might want to consider upgrading to 6-0. The windows seem similarly narrow. Make sure they meet the emergency escape opening size in the bedrooms. 3 narrow windows ganged together cost more than two larger windows and the larger windows look better.

What is the strange opening at the M bath tub?

I'm not a fan of pocket doors for anything other than a closet or an opening that is normally left open; there is little or no privacy.

If that is an exposed beam in the ceiling between the kitchen and living room, it should end on a wall or post and that might align with the entry opening.


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RE: Before we finalize...

Thank you, Renovator8. We are wanting the long and lean look for the windows, but will be sure to double check for proper egress.

The opening by the bathtub is for something like this (with a matching sliding version on the other doorway):

The room accessed from the kitchen by the pocket door is going to be utilized as a playroom for now. If we need to use this as a bedroom in the future, we will need to close this off to increase the privacy.

Our builder has indicated that we do not need a beam between the kitchen and family room, but that we do need one between the kitchen and dining room.

Thanks again for your thoughts!


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RE: Before we finalize...

I like your plan a lot, but I think I'd eliminate the pocket door in the bedroom closest to the foyer, because having two doors in addition to the closet is going to really limit furniture placement in the room, and it will mean that noise from the main part of the house will be a bigger issue for the occupant of that room.

Is that a sink in the foyer? I'd check that the plumbing for the toilet won't interfere with the pocket door in front of the sink.


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RE: Before we finalize...

Thanks, Zone4newby! The opening between that bedroom and the kitchen is important to us because that room is going to serve as a playroom for the time being. If we need to use it as a bedroom, we will close this entry off.

That is indeed a utility sink in the foyer. We are doing a "hidden" mud room in this space (we plan to build in lockers with doors on the other side along with an incorporated bench). Instead of a pocket door in front of the sink, we plan to have a sliding barn door (Chief Architect doesn't seem to offer that option). Inside this little utility closet there will also be cabinetry to house things like light bulbs, household tools, etc.

Thanks again for your thoughts!


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RE: Before we finalize...

Something else to think about: I'm worried that your entry may be too tight-- it would be too tight for me. Is there going to be enough room for you to hold the door open for guests while they enter and give everyone a comfortable amount of space? When do you plan to use the pocket door? It seems like one way to make the space feel larger would be to eliminate the doorway and simply have the entry open to the living area.


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RE: Before we finalize...

If you want that wall in the foyer to serve as a wet wall and house a pocket door, thaht's going to need to be a darn thick wall. you need a 2x6 wall for a wet wall, add in 2" for the door, and add in another 2" for studs turned sideways and drywall. That'ts 10: that is going to have to come out of the bath and hallway. I think I would shift the bathroom wall on the right down and make the unspecified room smaller in order to be sure I had enough room for that bath.

For the room with the sliding door, it really doesn't need a regular door too. If you decide to remove the slider, putting in a regular door where it was is just as easy as framing a wall there. And it gives you more wall space now.

Your front porch is awfully small. It's really too small to fully shelter someone standing at it fumbling with keys when it's raining. Not to mention guests getting dripped on. Being on the north side, if it were larger, it could be a nice cool spot to hang out at in summer if you make it at least 10' deep. You could do a porch swing to the right of the door, and a built in L shaped bench to the left in front of the bedroom and the new bit of bumpout to the left.


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RE: Before we finalize...

I'd add a second vanity to the MBR and consider a door, or double door to the MBR w.c., especially as it faces the quasi-public laundry room and hall. (But considering your transparent tub wall, maybe that's no concern.)

Pocket doors are one of those architectural ideas great in theory but less so in practice. Be sure to specify the most expensive track/framing systems you can get.


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RE: Before we finalize...

Good comments above. IMO, your entry is extremely small, too small--it looks like entering a closet rather than coming into your house.

Upon entry, one looks directly into your kitchen and island. That's the initial view after the closet entry. If it were me, I'd put the partition to screen the kitchen and open the living to view from the entry. You must have some specific reason to put the kitchen on early view and screen the living area.

As others have cautioned, pocket doors often feel lightweight and cheap, slide and rattle when pulled and too often jump their track and hang up. I'd replace all (or as many as feasible) with hinged doors, or else framed openings that don't need a closure.

Is there a reason why the left wall of your dining space isn't aligned with the interior partition of the kitchen? It would make the dining space larger and simplify the framing layout. Whatever is on the end of your kitchen cabinet run could easily have a drywall partition to enclose the end of the run if that's needed.

Good luck on your project!


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RE: Before we finalize...

In general I like it, but I do agree with previous comments and of course have a few of my own.

The little closet sighing the master closet you have there I would make the doors open into the little hallway so you can actually use that two feet of space inside your master closet or it will just be wasted space to be able to get to the other side. You don't really loose anything by doing this since the closet looks to be almost square.

The dining room looks really tight on the depth. Consider how much space is available for getting in on the window side when chairs are pulled out. You may be able to solve this with getting a narrower dining table, but choices are fewer. I had this issue in my old house and I had 9 feet to work with.

The other thing that stands out to me is that there is very little storage. Closets are small, and there is not much cabinet space in the kitchen either. Do you have a basement? I would think through what you have and see about other ways to incorporate storage.

Where will you put pantry items? I know we try to buy and grow our own veggies so freeze and can stuff. You don't even seem to have space for normal storage of everyday items. I would take inventory of what you have as far as kitchen items, clothing, and other extra things. Decide what you need and then make sure you have enough storage for it.


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RE: Before we finalize...

I would also suggest adding a closet to the unspecified room. It could be used as a guest room if needed or the closet could be outfitted for a home office. Certainly it can be added later, but it's easier to do it now.

You might consider moving the door in the adjacent bath to the left thus reversing the location of the sink and toilet. The unspecified room door way can be moved a few feet to the left and then a closet to the right of the door into the room (along the bathroom wall.) I hope that makes sense.


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RE: Before we finalize...

I don't understand a sink in the foyer. And is that a closet opposite the sink or something else?

I don't understand the partition to the bathroom....I really wanted quiet between my bedroom and the bath so we added extra soundproofing material. Also in the m bath, the shower may be better on an inside wall as it will stay warmer....windows and water do not usually play well together.

Will you have a tv? where will it go?

I don't understand the mbr closet arrangement...you have to go through a closet to get to a closet? A walk in will provide you with more wallspace in the room and more closet space.

Do you have any linen storage?

I agree about a closet in "unspecified".

Do you have enough storage space in the kitchen? and it looks tight around the cooktop...I'd want one of those if not both (can't see which is fridge and assume other is ovens) in the corner. I would even consider shrinking up the island some and adding a wall along the hallway to shrink the entrance to the kitchen to gain more wall space and cabinetry....esp the all important lazy susan which, imo, no kitchen should be without.


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RE: Before we finalize...

Thank you for the wonderful feedback!! Please keep it coming if you think of anything else! Below is a revised plan and responses to your comments:

 photo FloorPlan1-20-13_zps39b7d023.jpg


Zone4newby ~ Thank you!!
"I'm worried that your entry may be too tight."

Our rental house has the exact same entry measurements and it works reasonably well. However, after rearranging things a bit, I revised the plan to widen the entry another foot. I think we will appreciate this extra space.

Hollysprings ~ Thank you!!
"If you want that wall in the foyer to serve as a wet wall and house a pocket door, thaht's going to need to be a darn thick wall."

The door for the utility sink area is actually a sliding barn door. Chief Architect does not seem to offer this option (if it does, I cannot find it!).

"For the room with the sliding door, it really doesn't need a regular door too."

I know this seems strange! I have changed the pocket door to double french doors after doing further research on the concerns with pocket doors (thanks Renovator8, Worthy, and Virgilcarter!). The thought is that while the room is utilized as a playroom the other door will be rendered unusable (e.g. I plan to create a kiddie craft corner here with a table and storage for supplies). If we need to use this space for a bedroom, the double french doors will be rendered unusable. For security reasons, I prefer the doorways to bedrooms to all be in what I call "the private corridor." This doorway also affords easier access to the bathroom and laundry room.

"Your front porch is awfully small."
You have hit upon one of our big concerns. We are trying to create a more modern feel and are finding it difficult to do if we extend the porch/roof. I would love any ideas! Long term, we are hoping to add a carport on the NW side (possibly with an attached covered walkway). Ideally, we'd like to create a front courtyard with an entry gate accessible from a circular drive. I'm struggling to find a way to put these ideas altogether!

Worthy ~ Thank you!!
"I'd add a second vanity to the MBR and consider a door, or double door to the MBR w.c."

We agonized about the second vanity for resale concerns. In the end, however, we decided that more counter and drawer space were more important to us. Lest you think we are exhibitionists :) ... we were planning to put modern style "saloon" doors on the water closet entry but Chief Architect does not seem to offer this possibility. Being a bit of a germaphobe, I don't like the idea of having to touch a door handle "after." However, in taking the advice here regarding the pocket doors, we are considering changing the first laundry door from the hall to a sliding barn door and the second into the master bathroom into a hinged door. Would it be weird to use this hinged door as the "door" to the water closet (provided the other laundry door is closed)? Perhaps I should just keep the "saloon" doors along with the hinged door.


Virgilcarter ~ Thank you!!
"your entry is extremely small"

Please see response to Zone4newby above.

"You must have some specific reason to put the kitchen on early view and screen the living area."

Actually, I am trying to have a line of sight to the backyard (almost every doorway in the house sees through a window to the outside). The wall between the family room and hallway is to screen the guest bathroom. However, I am looking for ideas for this not to be an actual wall, but something more interesting. One example:

What I'm picturing is to have a mixture of some: frosted glass backs for the shadow boxes, operable frosted door fronts to store books, and some pivoting/rotating picture frames. This would let light into the hallway.

"Is there a reason why the left wall of your dining space isn't aligned with the interior partition of the kitchen?"

A few reasons: I like the main kitchen run looking "built in," this provides a good location for a spigot and dryer vent on the exterior, and it allows a nice, clean line of sight from the dining room to the playroom.


Lyfia ~ Thank you!!
"The little closet sighing the master closet you have there I would make the doors open into the little hallway so you can actually use that two feet of space inside your master closet or it will just be wasted space."

That space is going to house a safe.

"The dining room looks really tight on the depth."

Our current dining room in our rental home is much smaller than this and it functions alright. We also want to keep the windows as close to the kitchen as we can!

"The other thing that stands out to me is that there is very little storage. Closets are small, and there is not much cabinet space in the kitchen either. Do you have a basement?"

We are minimalist in our possessions for simplicity's sake, but we do have concerns regarding storage space for resale purposes. We will not have a basement.

"Where will you put pantry items?"

As of now, food will be stored in the large cabinet nearest the dining room and non-food pantry items will be stored in the large cabinet closet to the hallway. I plan to take this plan to the Kitchen Forum soon.


Rrah ~ Thank you!!
"I would also suggest adding a closet to the unspecified room."

For septic reasons, we cannot have a fourth bedroom. We are planning to incorporate a moveable wardrobe in this room as it will be used as a combo fitness/guest room.


AnnieDeighnaugh ~ Thank you!!
"I don't understand a sink in the foyer. And is that a closet opposite the sink or something else?"

It is a utility sink hidden behind a sliding barn door. We like the idea of being able to wash muddy hands, garden veggies, wellies, and so on without having to track into the main living areas. We will also have cabinets in this utility closet to store light bulbs, household tools, etc.

"I don't understand the partition to the bathroom....I really wanted quiet between my bedroom and the bath so we added extra soundproofing material. Also in the m bath, the shower may be better on an inside wall as it will stay warmer....windows and water do not usually play well together."

We like the openness this creates and have a similar set up in our current rental home. The windows will be fiberglass, so we are hoping they will hold up alright.

"Will you have a tv? where will it go?"

We plan to have one tv over the low, modern electric fireplace in the family room (so it won't be uncomfortably high) and a second tv in the fitness/guest room.

"I don't understand the mbr closet arrangement...you have to go through a closet to get to a closet?"

That smaller closet will house a safe.

"Do you have any linen storage?"

We plan to store linens in cabinets above the washer and dryer.

"Do you have enough storage space in the kitchen? and it looks tight around the cooktop...I'd want one of those if not both (can't see which is fridge and assume other is ovens) in the corner. I would even consider shrinking up the island some and adding a wall along the hallway to shrink the entrance to the kitchen to gain more wall space and cabinetry....esp the all important lazy susan which, imo, no kitchen should be without."

Thanks for the opinion... I plan to take this layout to the Kitchen Forum soon. However, in measuring and measuring and measuring :), we feel pretty comfortable with things as is.


This post was edited by daisyblue on Mon, Jan 21, 13 at 23:04


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RE: Before we finalize...

I'd swap the great room with the kitchen and carry the dining area with it and link it to the porch on the side. That will give you a better view from the entry and potentially give you more wall space for cabinetry. Right now, you don't have enough storage. If you did that, you could probably also carve out a pantry/mudroom from between the unspecified room and the porch simply by shifting the porch down to make it meet the dining area. That would be VERY useful space indeed. Then you could use the bedroom/playroom as an actual bedroom and the unspecified space could be the dedicated playroom and perhaps later office space.

As it is, this is an odd plan with minimal resale appeal in the eyes of most as it lacks a lot of storage and the room placement is odd.


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RE: Before we finalize...

Cut and paste, but you get the idea. Things are much better organized here and there's a direct route in from the side for groceries and muddy children. You could do a small gable with tiny porch there, or just plan to build the garage/carport there in the future.


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RE: Before we finalize...

Definitely post your plan on the kitchens forum as well. It looks like you want symmetry in your kitchen (cooktop, sink lined up; wall ovens and ref on either side of cooktop), and that's great BUT not always functional. If you have 2 people working in the kitchen, cooktop and sink are butt to butt - not enough space. And the ref and ovens so close to the cooktop could make the cooktop feel a bit closed in.

Personlly I'd move the ref closer to the dining area with a small broom pullout between it and the wall (for door swing) and move the ovens down closer to the other end. Then I'd move the sink up or down on the island; probably down so the DW is not in your prep space. But the gurus on the kitchen forum can give you more informed layout advice to get the most functional kitchen for your new home.

Do you want seating at the island? Even though we have a good sized, dedicated 'homework room' with desks and a printer, my DD prefers to do her homework at the kitchen island (not my first choice, but she likes sitting there.) Also when we have people over (which I love to do) everyone wants to hang out by the island.

Have fun with your building project!


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RE: Before we finalize...

Live Wire Oak ~ Thanks for your ideas! I've printed out a copy of your suggestions to study. We are building on a knoll in which the west and south sides slope away from the home. We will not be able to have a carport/garage on these sides. There is not room on the east side in relation to property lines, so we are left with a front circular drive and perhaps a carport in the front off to one side. I'm trying to find a way to blend the circular drive, carport, and a front courtyard.

Chicagoans ~ I appreciate your comments!
"If you have 2 people working in the kitchen, cooktop and sink are butt to butt - not enough space."

As drawn there is a little over four feet in that aisle. What would you suggest as the minimum distance to ensure greater comfort?

"Personlly I'd move the ref closer to the dining area with a small broom pullout between it and the wall (for door swing) and move the ovens down closer to the other end."

If the refrigerator were moved to the end near the dining room (without the intermediary broom pullout), would the door swing be okay as is (meaning that the door would swing into the dining space)? We would like a bottom mounted freezer, but are unsure about a single door vs. a french door. If so, I could then move the wall oven down to the other end.

"Then I'd move the sink up or down on the island; probably down so the DW is not in your prep space."

We prepare and eat 99% of our meals at home and have a lot of prep work. My husband and I both enjoy cooking and love (at least in theory!) the idea of each having our own end of the island where we can easily access the sink and garbage/recycling/compost in the center.

"Do you want seating at the island?"

We do plan to have seating at the island. I too see this as being a social center! The built in to the north of the island (across the hallway), is a desk, so for homework, our little one should be covered either way!


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RE: Before we finalize...

Bumping for Mudflap... I look forward to your comments!

 photo FloorPlan1-20-132_zps6a65c594.jpg


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