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Would LOVE your help with floor plan

Posted by darleneac59 (My Page) on
Thu, Jan 23, 14 at 20:58

A little background. We are designing our forever home after retiring a year and a half ago. We have a 4 acre lot with a view of the lake from the left side of the house. We are also hoping to add a pool later in the back which also has a nice view. The house faces east which means we will have the evening sun in the back and we live in the south. Not the best but it is what it is. That is the reason for a large porch, plus we like being able to entertain outside. The plans are designed for aging in place. We want things wheel chair accessible just in case.

Our instructions to the architect was to flip the kitchen and great room which would also flip the dining room and study. My reason was I wanted the view out of the kitchen but the reality is since it is just the 2 of us I don't spend all day in the kitchen like I used to and now I'm thinking I would prefer it flipped back.

I also asked him to move to move bedroom 2 and bath so I could have windows on that wall for the view. I had him move it to the other side but now I'm thinking to just get rid of it all together. I don't really need the extra bedroom. I also wanted a jack and jill bath for the other 2 bedrooms. I don't like all the doors and the toilet doesn't need it's own space so we will be changing that.

I don't really care about the rotunda. I just like a nice entry.

I also liked the idea of the powder room being easily accessed from the outside patio because of the pool but I don't like that it passes by the master bedroom.

We wanted an over sized garage for storage. I'm tired of getting stuff out of the attic.

We wanted a bonus room upstairs with a walk out deck (again for the views). Now we are thinking about just putting a spiral staircase outside to the deck and getting rid of the stairs inside (we don't need a room upstairs).

The original plan was around 3200 sq. ft. I would prefer the house to be around 3000 but DH said he expected it to be around 3500. The plans the architect came up with are 3766. I'm sure we are getting rid of the guest room so that will save space.

The first picture is the inspiration floor plan that we gave to the architect. I don't know how to post more that one picture so I will post the architects drawing in the next post.

I know there are a lot of talented people here and I would love your help. Thank you in advance.


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: Would LOVE your help with floor plan

Here is the drawing from the architect. Let me know what you love and what you hate. I have a thick skin and can handle it. I really need help with this.


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RE: Would LOVE your help with floor plan

Do you have kids that will be staying with you a lot? I think I'd want my living area facing the water and the back...maybe with bedrooms on the other side. I'm sure you could use closets, baths, mudroom, etc. to give you privacy between the master and guest areas.

Sounds like a lovely location...best of luck with the plan! :)


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RE: Would LOVE your help with floor plan

My first question, as a retirement home, do you really want all that space to heat/cool/clean/insure/maintain/pay taxes on? How many bedrooms do you need? From my POV, there's aging and then there's aging. Aging when one is shedding kids and things except for family visits, one is typically looking for something flexible which will accommodate company when necessary, but be comfortable for 2 people to live in on a daily basis. Then there's aging when one gets very old or infirmed and getting from here to there is an issue. One is looking for shortest distances to the necessities (bed, bath, kitchen).

I obviously don't know you or your situation, but for us, we recently completed our retirement home and we ripped up countless house plans because they all grew too large....which they tend to do. I see lots of hallway spaces in your plans, lots of jigs and jags to get around things to get to places, lots of doorways and such. I'd suggest imagining yourself in a wheelchair and needing to roll yourself from the bedroom to the toilet to the sink to the kitchen and remember there's furniture in the space too. I'd also suggest imagining living in the house now. Walk through a day in your mind and I suspect you'll find you live in less than half of that house. If you think of the house as a "factory" providing you with "service", do you want to devote so much of the space and expense to rooms that will offer you little service?

Also, as you are building a custom home on a custom lot, I suggest you consider re-orienting the entire home. If you are going to spend the majority of your time in the kitchen/FR area, wouldn't you want those rooms to have a view of the lake? And if you are in the south, do you really want to have your master on the hottest side of the house? Even a little green building considerations will pay off in the long run as managing your energy costs can help in keeping the house affordable as you age and real income dwindles.

I'm thinking you may be locking in too soon on a design which you are then tweaking, when you may be better off starting with needs, functions, the site, and green considerations to come up with a fresh design that absolutely meets your needs now and into the future, maximizes the views and minimizes energy costs.


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RE: Would LOVE your help with floor plan

It really doesn't look very wheelchair friendly, if you really have that as a goal. There seem to be a lot of little hallways and it just doesn't feel very open. Something as simple as the toilet...that is definitely not wheelchair accessible. I would never use an enclosed toilet if you're looking for accessibility. Overall, I would suggest making it a more open floor plan.


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RE: Would LOVE your help with floor plan

I have to agree that the house is awfully large for 2 people, but you seem to have that considered already. But I, personally, hate overly open floor plans. I like spaces to have definition, something lacking in most plans that I see. I like the specific spaces in your plan.

I love that your laundry room is attached to your master closet. I'd love to have that in my next house, however I would suggest swapping the location of the laundry and closet. This way the dryer can vent directly outside. I also hate, hate, hate toilet "caves" (can you tell I'm not partial to them? :) ) So I would slide your linen closet up to the corner, scoot the tub up a bit, flip the toilet to the outside wall and give it a window. I kept the door on the side so the sight line isn't straight into the toilet from the MBR, however you could make that a half wall between the sink and toilet and do away with the door entirely.

If you still want the door to the closet to be within the bathroom, that could probably be finagled.

I also have issues with that funky hallway by your guest rooms, but that will have to wait till later.


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RE: Would LOVE your help with floor plan

How often will your "guest bed" be occupied?
I think I would try to eliminate the powder room in the back hall and instead access the "guest" bath from that hall--more like a J&J--one entrance for the guest bed, and one for guests from the main part of your house.


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RE: Would LOVE your help with floor plan

LL - I do have kids that will be staying at times not to mention other family members. We are moving an hour or more from where most of our family and friends live. We tend to be the ones to host holidays and other events. Not sure once we move if everyone will want to drive that far and if they do will they want to just stay the night.

Annie - I agree with the size and having to take care of it. We have 3000 sq ft now and we do use it, even the guest rooms for out of town guests. That's why we really want to decrease the size of the floor plan. As for aging, this has been the hardest thing to deal with. We are both turning 55 this year and in good health. I recently had a knee replacement and realized how important it is to be able to get around with a walker. We also had a family member that was in a wheel chair for 6 months and it was very difficult for him and his family. We swore that when we built we would take being handicapped into consideration. Now I'm thinking maybe it's over kill. There is only so much you can plan for.

I really like the idea of walking through it in my mind it really does help.

Chadoe3 - I like what you did so we have switched the laundry with the master closet. We have spent all day reworking that side of the house and so far I love it. Thanks for the idea. I agree with the hall to the bedrooms. I'm working on that now. Just had to take a break.

Thanks for all the comments. I will post when I have more worked out.


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RE: Would LOVE your help with floor plan

I've seen a number of empty nesters who build a 2-story home with the master on the first floor and the rest upstairs. The idea being the couple has a smaller, manageable home to live in on a day-to-day basis, but space in the upstairs to accommodate friends and family as needed....but that space can be less utilized and less heated/cooled/cleaned except when needed. In the future, should you need a live-in to take care of you in your dotage, they would have that space available to them.

We did something similar, but we built down instead of up, and we put a guest suite on the lower level so guests have their own space and in the future a "granny nanny" will have room should we need one.

It will also allow you to maximize the views from 2 floors instead of one and allow you to simplify the main floor flow.

If 2 stories bothers you with aging, then, as we did, you might design for one floor living, put the least necessary spaces on the other floor, and add space for a future elevator but don't install it until you need it.


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RE: Would LOVE your help with floor plan

First, I'd definitely want the kitchen moved back to the garage side. Bringing in groceries is a constant chore, and I'd want to make it as easy as possible. And garbage-out is another constant chore; you don't want to carry garbage across the great room -- you want to be right next to the garage so it's only a few steps.

I agree with the other posters that the angles are not walker or wheelchair friendly. I'm thinking about my grandmother. She was fine going straight -- but turns were difficult for her, and she didn't have a wheelchair until the last year of her life. I do think some handicapped concerns are "overboard" if you don't need them yet -- but making it easy to get from room to room is a necessity. Even if you don't have trouble with mobility today, you still need room to move furniture. And unlike handrails in the bathroom, this isn't something you can go back and add later

On the subject of angles, I'd simplify the exterior. A more simple exterior will cost less and will allow more resources to go towards the square footage you want -- and all those doors.

Next, you have an excess of doors in every bathroom. Excess doors take up more space than is necessary, and they're not handicapped friendly. The problem seems to be worst in the jack-and-jill, where you have only tiny vanities -- but five doors. If you reduce to a simple two doors opening into this bathroom, you could reduce the space AND make the vanity area considerably larger. Ditto for the other two bathrooms.

I'm not loving the master bath. I never like double sinks, but in this case, the one to the back of the house seems kind of crammed in. In that bathroom, I'd enlarge the shower (making it no-barrier and wheelchair friendly) across the back wall. The bathroom's wide enough that you could probably have a linen closet next to it. Keep the bathroom where it is, and you'll still have ample space for the toilet and sinks near the doors. But you'll have smaller "open space", a smaller walkway.

Still on the subject of bathrooms, the powder room is pretty minimal. Since its location is mid-house and convenient, I think you'll use it often rather than walking down the hall, through the bedroom to your master bath. I'd downsize the guest walk-in closet, which would allow more space for the powder room. I like a previous poster's suggestion to open up the guest room on the far side and make it double as powder room AND guest bathroom. It'll be a money-saver, and it's one less toilet for you to clean every week.

Do you realize that every toilet in the house is deprived of natural light? I personally don't like toilets shoved in closets. It's near impossible to clean behind them, even while you're young and healthy, and they're difficult for elderly people -- especially when they're the style that require you to kind of "back into" a deep, narrow closet (like your J&J bath and your guest bath).

I like the connection between the master closet and the laundry room, but I think Chadoe3 improved it. Given the option, I'd choose to have natural light in the laundry room . . . and having the laundry on an exterior wall will allow you to vent the dryer directly outside -- not a necessity, but one was of making life a tad easier. In contrast, it'd be bad to have a window in the closet, so this slight tweak is a big win.

Where will your bed be placed? I'm thinking the headboard will be against the bathroom wall. That gives me two concerns: 1) Will a person in bed hear the toilet flushing right behind his head? 2) The person who sleeps nearest the window will have to walk all the way around the bed and through two doors to reach the toilet. Since you're talking about aging in this house, that's a concern. I think I'd flatten off the bay so that the bed could sit against the back window . . . this would make for a shorter path to the bathroom during the night.

The room that looks most "skimpy" is the great room. Once you've placed furniture in it, you won't have a very large gathering space. You've put the majority of your resources into bedrooms, closets, bathrooms and hallways -- does this fit your priorities?

Why a side entrance? I think I'd rather have a door into the garage. This'd be less "evident" to thieves (whereas your side entrance is in a nice hidden corner behind the garage, likely invisible to neighbors).

On the subject of doors, I think I'd move the back door to the breakfast room or make one of the windows in the great room into a door. Do you grill often? If so as this plan is drawn, you'd have to carry plates of steaks and burgers across the great room, past the half bath, around the fireplace and to the back door. Back doors need to be near kitchens.

I'm not clear on whether the stairway is open to the great room. If not, I'd downsize to a simple, less expensive straight stair. A switchback stair requires almost double the square footage, which makes sense IF the stair is a focal point, visible as a lovely feature, ready to decorate at Christmas . . . but if it's just in a side hallway, why not get the less expensive option?

Are you harvesting the space under this large staircase as storage? I think it backs up to a closet -- I"d want that space as part of the closet!

I'm not sure whether I like the foyer or not . . . but I do like that the foyer and the "roundabout" between the two secondary bedrooms mimic one another . . . but if this diamond-shaped hallway is a "motif" in the house I'd like to see it repeated at the garage entrance /entrance to the master bedroom.

Finally, you say you're not sure whether people will want to drive an hour to attend family events at your house /whether they'll spend the night. I don't think an hour is a bad drive at all, but the question is, What does your family think? Before you build 3 bedrooms and 2 baths for guests, I'd ASK THEM what they're likely to do. Asking is cheaper than building first and assuming!

This post was edited by MrsPete on Sat, Jan 25, 14 at 19:27


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RE: Would LOVE your help with floor plan

Wow! That looks like a supersize house for 2 people. And very complicated, both to build and to live in. It reminds me of the Brady Bunch for some reason. Plenty of bedrooms, a study for Dad, and separate living space for Alice the live-in maid. If I lived there, I'd need an Alice, for sure. I wouldn't want to take care of it - are you sure you can? I'm 58, you aren't that far behind me.

Maybe that's what you want, though.


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