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First Floor Overview for Possible New Build

Posted by lazygardens (My Page) on
Sun, Mar 3, 13 at 13:12

We've been messing with retirement home plans for quite a while, based on various lots in the selected town.

This one's based on American Four-square designs with a big dose of vintage NM ranch house and Craftsman planned for the finishing details.

Upstairs will have MBR, sitting room, workout room (convertible to bedroom), guest bedroom and two baths. Laundry in garage on 2nd floor (yes, it's almost a 2-story garage!)

Ignore finishes, please. It was more so we could tell what was what. Planned Saltillo-look tile throughout bottom floor, reclaimed board and batten siding, corrugated steel roof with (unless it busts the budget) "rustic" finish.

* 36'x36' square, with basement (stairs under the upper flight shown)
* ICF construction, probably ICF or AAC panel floors
* Solar-heat and cooling via hot water/hydronic in-floor and a reverse solar collector that will dump heat at night when needed
* All interior doors are 36" pocket doors, which is why you don't see door swings.
* Office/bedroom is for our declining years, when we need 1-floor living.
* All baths are universal access except powder room, and that might be.
* Huge pantry with 2nd ref and full freezer because we buy in bulk.
* NM has a "window budget" of 20% of the wall area on a per-house basis ... we will try to get them to accept aerogel panels as wall panels for more light.

Individual room details following in bath and kitchen forums.


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: First Floor Overview for Possible New Build

Not too huge a fan to be honest. You have 14 risers in the stairway before the fold back and a total of 22. This would make this a...12 foot ceiling? Seems way overkill for a small space.

The pantry is the same size as the kitchen. Do you really need it that big?

The powder room is directly visible from the living area.

The living/dining space is more than twice as wide as it is long, which will give it the feel of a hallway


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RE: First Floor Overview for Possible New Build

Not gonna be accessible at all. You're not leaving enough room for that. You've got to think of the space in 3D with human beings inhabiting it. You're thinking in terms of a floorplan and paper doll people.

Pocket doors take walls that are twice as thick and take space from your rooms. They aren't really good ideas from most standpoints at all even though they are hot right now. They are a poor solution to a problem that should get solved another way.

I'm afraid that the only thing that I see working about the plan is to have all 4 sides have porches on them. That works in a cooling climate, although it will rob the interior of any natural light and you will need to pay extra attention to the lighting plan.


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RE: First Floor Overview for Possible New Build

TheBobo:
Thanks for the input. It's not as idiosyncratic as it appears, for small town New Mexico.

You have 14 risers in the stairway before the fold back and a total of 22. This would make this a...12 foot ceiling? Seems way overkill for a small space.
The staircase design was driven by two requirements: Tread depth sized for the owner's size 14 shoes and clearance for a 6'4" human where the top floor crosses the stairwell. That, combined with the desired landing size and the NM code for rise/run results in nearly 12 foot ceiling in the lower floor if the staircase doubles back.

The upside to that is that we can have ceiling fans and chandeliers without the owner risking scalp wounds. It's a real help in hot weather.

The pantry is the same size as the kitchen. Do you really need it that big? Yes. It's a small town 1.5 hours from the nearest Costco or Trader Joe's so we will be making infrequent shopping trips and buying in bulk. Wine, flour, paper goods, detergent, cat food, canned goods, etc. will be stored there.

By putting the bulk of the storage in a utility area, we minimize the amount of finish cabinetry needed. It can have painted pine open shelving instead of the custom mesquite stuff I want for the kitchen. It's a huge cost savings.

The powder room is directly visible from the living area.

Yes, it is. With the constraints of "must be accessible without nose-powderers getting in the way of the cook or going through a bedroom" that's the only place it can go.

If the door is wide open, you can see the sink and from one area, the front half of the toilet bowl peeking out of its niche. So it's going to have to be REALLY pretty just in case the door is open.

The living/dining space is more than twice as wide as it is long, which will give it the feel of a hallway.

We debated and dumped the idea of separate LR and DR areas and went with the "open" American Foursquare plan, where the combined LR/DR runs the full width of the house.

It's like a typical Mexican Colonial "sala" (living/dining room) that is meant to have furniture moved around for events, and has the traffic along one wall from entry to stairs and kitchen. The neighbors across from our current NM house - in an 1880 or so adobe - have an amazing 14x40 sala with 15-foot ceilings down one side of their house.

This is the concept:
http://media-cache-ec5.pinterest.com/550x/60/38/77/6038770800a92560cb1beb4261e83662.jpg
http://media-cache-ec5.pinterest.com/550x/60/38/77/6038770800a92560cb1beb4261e83662.jpg

It's serving triple duty - dining area near the kitchen, living room chat area in the middle, and a small reading/chat area near the front windows. With 12-foot ceilings, vigas going across the short dimension, big rugs and well-scaled furniture set mostly across the short dimension it's should avoid the bowling alley look.

As you enter and turn right, you can see down the long dimension through french doors to the veranda into the south garden ... or you can look across the short dimension into the east garden through the windows. We're still discussing windows VS french doors on that side.

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GreenDesigns:
Do you have specific design solutions to offer, or is your "not gonna work" reaction your final word?

Not gonna be accessible at all. You're not leaving enough room for that. What is "that" and where do you think "that" needs more room? If you have a specific area that falls short, please let me know.

Pocket doors take walls that are twice as thick and take space from your rooms. No, there is a hardware/frame combo for standard 2x4 walls. At worst it takes a 2x6 framing. Minimizing sound transmission is easy if you build it correctly. It's just applied acoustics.

They are a poor solution to a problem that should get solved another way. What are your suggestions for the problem of eventual handicapped access and the desire to eliminate wasted door swing area?

I'm afraid that the only thing that I see working about the plan is to have all 4 sides have porches on them. That works in a cooling climate, although it will rob the interior of any natural light and you will need to pay extra attention to the lighting plan.

It's in New Mexico - 320-340 sunny days a year, even when its cold, and dry temps in the 95-105 in the summer. "Portales" (wide arcades over walkways and patios) are the rule, not the exception. It's comfortable being outside almost all year if you can get into or out of the sun as needed, and walking into a cool, dark house is a blessed relief in the summer.

Skylight over the staircase, aerogel light panels (should count as walls, not against our precious window allotment) in some "windows", transoms, whatever they call the traditional small windows near the ceilings in Pueblo architecture, and 10-foot windows under the veranda should help.


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RE: First Floor Overview for Possible New Build

I just don't understand why you'd choose a Master in the upstairs for a retirement home. You have no room downstairs that could serve you in injury or permanent disability because you don't have a full bath down there....

Seems near-sighted, or optimistic.


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RE: First Floor Overview for Possible New Build

Hallways should all be 4' wide and all baths need a 60" diameter turning circle in them to be able to be accessible. There is no accessible shower or bath on this floor, or a bedroom either. Or an accessible closet. The kitchen will need to be modified as well.

The only way that pocket doors can fit in a 2x4 wall is if that wall isn't a bearing wall. You are sure to need many of your interior walls to support the second floor and/or ceiling of the first floor. Your room size calculations will be off by the time you account for that and for the wet walls. And even quality hardware deteriorates over time. Pocket doors are much harder to operate for those with grasping difficulties (arthritis) than are standard swing doors with levers. They aren't ADA friendly at all.

Overall, a single story with larger dimensions instead of a two story would work much better for your intentions. It would also help the room proportions, which are off and will be psychologically uncomfortable for the occupants. Long narrow and tall rooms create psychological unease, which is why they've been typically used for courtroom proportions.


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RE: First Floor Overview for Possible New Build

You need to read up on Universal Design. And go for a downstairs master. IF you want a "retirement home" where you can spend the rest of your days.


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RE: First Floor Overview for Possible New Build

The office/bedroom needs a closet if it is to be used as a bedroom. Are you sure there is enough space under the stairs for a full bathroom? Doesn't seem like it would be wide enough. And not for a universal access bathroom.

Where are your mechanicals going?

The image you linked has a room with very little furniture in it, and none in the middle of the room. Try placing furniture in the room you designed and then figure out your traffic paths. The room may be 13'7", but you have to remember that is also serves as a hallway to get to the stairs, power room and kitchen.


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RE: First Floor Overview for Possible New Build

Kirkhall ... There is a bath attached to that "office". It's sized to be roll-in and walker accessible. It's mostly under the shorter flight of stairs, which is why you missed it.

hollysprings - Hallways should all be 4' wide there is a short passage in the upstairs, and it's 4 feet wide. Downstairs has no hallways as such.

and all baths need a 60" diameter turning circle in them to be able to be accessible. or enough T-turn space.

There is no accessible shower or bath on this floor, or a bedroom either. Or an accessible closet. Bath is under the stairs, with roll-in shower stall and generous T-turn space.

If it's necessary to turn the office into a bedroom, we'll buy IKEA wardrobe units or have some built.

" The kitchen will need to be modified as well." It's a 5' wide aisle so one person can pass another. Where would it need to be modified?

The only way that pocket doors can fit in a 2x4 wall is if that wall isn't a bearing wall. You are sure to need many of your interior walls to support the second floor and/or ceiling of the first floor. The load bearing interior wall is down the center of the house, with a reinforced beam across the kitchen area. ICF floor systems can span 20+ feet easily, so the other walls are just walls.

Pocket doors are much harder to operate for those with grasping difficulties (arthritis) than are standard swing doors with levers.

That depends on the hardware you select. The cheap trailer park stuff is hard to use. The hardware designed to be ADA compliant (yes, it's out there) is easy to use, and it's easy to modify the installation to get an even more accessible door.

Mobility equipment is the larger issue. Have you ever used a wheelchair or walker? My SO has been through it three times already - broken leg (crutches and walker), ruptured tendon (knee walker, walker, crutches), and knee replacement (walker and crutches).

Having to maintain control of a door with one hand and move the equipment with the other as you push or pull on the door to open it enough to get through is somewhere between awkward and dangerous.

Long narrow and tall rooms create psychological unease, which is why they've been typically used for courtroom proportions.

They remind me of the rural adobe chapels in Mexico, San Francisco's skinny Victorians, and many of the rooms and zaguánes in historic houses in the Southwest and Mexico. Maybe it's a regional architectural difference, but it doesn't look abnormal to me. Also, the house I grew up in was a converted barn with a living room of about these dimensions.

It's not much of a decorating dilemma, as these pictures show.


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