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Top ten architectural design flaws

Posted by metamerman (My Page) on
Wed, May 9, 07 at 0:32

When I posted an draft of a house plan I was working on to this list awhile back, I received several recommendations that it turns out are hard to follow. The first was to look though the on-line plan-sales sites to find one I liked, and then customize that. The second was to hire an architect and let them do the heavy lifting. But after looking at literally hundreds of plans on-line and dozens of custom houses in our area (Boulder Colorado, a slow real estate market apparently making for a real glut of open houses!), I'm finding far more to dislike than to like. Indeed, if it were up to me I'd pull the licenses of the architects who designed some of these abominations. And I'm not talking about features where personal preference plays a major role (e.g, formal dining/living rooms, two-story entries, etc.): these are much more fundamental mistakes and I see them being made over and over. I'm wondering if it's just me being picky, or are these things really serious problems:

The top ten architectural design flaws

10) No closet near the entryway, or even a wall to put hooks on.

I've seen this one in houses approaching $3M in price. I'm supposed to put my guest's coats on my bed or something?

9) The shower-cave

I'm sure you've seen them, a 3x3 closet with no light or window in it. Besides being very claustrophobic, they also never dry out and so are mildew farms.

8) Kitchen island between the fridge and the sink

Is the work triangle really just a rule of thumb?

7) Garage as facade

All you see from the street is a massive 3 or 4-car garage door. Sometimes you can't even tell where the entry is...

6) "Peak diarhrea" (i.e., more gables than you can count on both hands) and "peak constipation" (none at all, i.e. a flat roof)

I don't even think either looks cool, but I do know that your risk of leaks from both is vastly greater, and that reroofing is going to cost you a fortune. It's also impossible to properly insulate any roof that's more structure than sheeting.

5) Clear glass shower surrounds.

This one I worry about: Some of these showers are huge and certainly don't need walls at all, why not just make a walk in shower? Bad enough having glass where you don't need it, but *clear* glass? I hope there's a special place in hell for architects who specify these where they spend eternity wiping down walls so they don't spot...

4) Jack and Jill bath to a public space.

Having lived in a bedroom with one of these, I'm not a big fan of Jack and Jill baths, but putting one in a hallway or off a family room is a recipe for disaster (maybe in the form of the therapy bill for the poor kid who has to live in that bedroom with his parent's friends cruising in and out of that bath).

3) Putting the kitchen on a different level, or at the opposite end of the house, from the garage.

Yeah, like I really want to turn what should be a 5-minute unloading job into a 15 minute workout...

2) Forced air heat with registers in the ceiling

IMHO *all* forced air heat systems are heinous, but I hope there's another a special place in hell (a place where your feet are forever numb) for architects or builders who hobble them even more by making sure that none of that heat ever reaches the floor. And yes, we've seen exactly this in plenty of $2M+ houses.

1) Shared wall (or floor) between the kitchen or family room and the master.

I see this one a lot, and maybe it's OK in a two person household, but otherwise in my experience people never seem to go to bed (or get up) at the same time, so whoever uses these rooms is going to wake up the master and mistress of the house. Maybe if they had concrete walls/floors, but alas, even in $2+ million dollar houses, they never do...

Anything I missed?


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: Top ten architectural design flaws

Thanks, metamerman, for your post - I always enjoy reading input from others in regards to home design/floorplans/layout. Since I designed our home myself (instead of going with an online floorplan) I always wonder if I have some "oopsies" that I have yet to discover. Mind you, we're about 1-2 months away from breaking ground, so I don't even have forms to look at and imagine the rooms! I still stand at the lot and ask my DH, "Is this where our kitchen window is?" :)

Anyway, I'm proud to say that my design scored a 90% according to your list! By choice, we are going to install the HVAC units in the attic since we don't want them to take up space in the house. We're in California and prefer our home to be on the cool side, so we very rarely even turn on the heater...only when my parents are visiting from Hawaii and they keep shivering because our temps are below 70 degrees! ;) So for heating, it's a non-issue, and for cooling, the ceiling registers will do just fine.

One thing I would add to your list:

11) When all bedrooms are upstairs, having the laundry room downstairs in the furthest point and the most inconvenient path possible (especially having to pass THROUGH the kitchen).

I've been in model homes where from the upstairs bedrooms, you have to go down the stairs...through a hallway...through the family room...through the kitchen...then you're in the laundry room...whew!

Aloha,
Leilani


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RE: Top ten architectural design flaws

metamerman, you didn't take my advice and design your own. Judging by your list of do not's it looks like you could design a very nice house. Get cracking!! Thanks for sharing that information. Some of it I thought about, others I didn't because they don't pertain to my DH and I. Great list for people who are just getting started and don't have a clue.


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RE: Top ten architectural design flaws

good list!


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RE: Top ten architectural design flaws

Darn, I got a 50% F on this one. Oh the shame, the shame.LOL To each his own I guess, I love my floorplan.


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RE: Top ten architectural design flaws

Great list. I'm in your camp - looked at numerous houseplans, found ONE and made numerous changes/additions to fit our lifestyle wants/needs. Even though we used a top architect (Jack Arnold; Tulsa, OK) there were problems with his plan. It seems architects want the house to look good but don't worry so much actually living in the house. His/ours didn't have but just a few, but imo, one is too many.

Add to your list - bedrooms not designed with a decent bed wall. I don't understand putting a bed in front of a window. All plans should have a wall that a queen or king bed and two night tables will fit on without the bed being in front of a window.

As far as the coat closet, we don't have on in our M+ foyer either...but we live in the south where coats are not used very much. We do have one in the back hallway off the garage with plenty of room for company.

LOL at #6


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RE: Top ten architectural design flaws

Good list. Of course, I don't agree with everything on it, but then to each their own. I love my house and this is the second house I've had with the island between the sink and the refrigerator--and it worked great in both houses--it all depends upon the size of island.


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RE: Top ten architectural design flaws

Some of the things you mention are perfectly valid, while others are somewhat dependant on regional or personal preference.

Like Allison, we live in the South. Coat closets in the foyer are uncommon. We have one, but no one has ever used it, because people here simply don't wear a lot of outerwear. It's also fairly common to have the laundry room near the back door, rather than the bedrooms. It's a regional and personal preference.

Also living in a warm climate means that we have less need for the heat. Having the registers in the ceiling is fine, because we want the cool air from them (9 months of the year) to fall to the floor. It's less vital in the the 3 month heating season that the warm air be at floor level because very cold temperatures are rare.

My kitchen work table is between the sink and the frig. I like it that way. I designed it that way. It works for me and I've never had any problems of functionality in my kithcen. Some folks hate this setup, and in that case they shouldn't have it in their kitchen.

Our master bedroom and guest bedroom share a wall with the two story living room. With proper insulation and a good layout, neither room is too exposed to the public space and we have no problems with noise. It's one of those things that has to be handled properly, but doesn't in and of itself constitute a deal-breaker.

I don't like all glass showers either, but a lot of other folks seem to. Fully walk in showers are either too enclosed or too drafty for a lot of people. I think the idea of windows in a shower is absolutely insane, but that's my deal. To each his or her own.

Our garage is below the house, so you have to schlep the groceries up the stairs to the kitchen. Honestly, it's never been a huge problem. Besides, once I get the groceries inside, I save steps by not having to carry the laundry detergent, spray starch and dryer sheets upstairs to the laundry room, because ours is right inside the back door. ;-)

Good list of things for people to consider when choosing a house plan or designing a home. But I wouldn't say that everything on the list is necessarily a terrible design flaw.


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RE: Top ten architectural design flaws

I also think it's a good list and I agree with much of it, but for fun I'm going to take the other side and pick it apart, OK?

The top ten architectural design flaws

10) No closet near the entryway, or even a wall to put hooks on.

Can't argue with this. Especially when a closet is so easy to squeeze in.

9) The shower-cave. I'm sure you've seen them, a 3x3 closet with no light or window in it. Besides being very claustrophobic, they also never dry out and so are mildew farms.

I've never seen this. A shower without a light and fan? In an expensive home? I agree that it's bad, but I don't think it's very common.

8) Kitchen island between the fridge and the sink. Is the work triangle really just a rule of thumb?

Yeah, people tend to value form over function in their kitchens too much. I can understand making compromises when it's a remodel and you have to work with existing space, but the kitchen in a new home should be well-planned.

7) Garage as facade. All you see from the street is a massive 3 or 4-car garage door. Sometimes you can't even tell where the entry is...

Well, this could be due to lot limitations and may provide the best functionality. I'd rather have a garage facade and a beautiful backyard than a facade that impresses the neighbors and no backyard.

6) "Peak diarhrea" (i.e., more gables than you can count on both hands) and "peak constipation" (none at all, i.e. a flat roof)

Agree, but the multiple gables is personal taste and it seems to be what sells.

5) Clear glass shower surrounds. This one I worry about: Some of these showers are huge and certainly don't need walls at all, why not just make a walk in shower? Bad enough having glass where you don't need it, but *clear* glass? I hope there's a special place in hell for architects who specify these where they spend eternity wiping down walls so they don't spot...

Walk in showers without walls can be cold. We have a glass shower and it doesn't need to be wiped down all the time. Our cleaning woman cleans it well every two weeks and it looks fine in between. The showers in only about 4.5x4.5, but I guess it's big enough that soap doesn't get on the glass walls.

4) Jack and Jill bath to a public space. Having lived in a bedroom with one of these, I'm not a big fan of Jack and Jill baths, but putting one in a hallway or off a family room is a recipe for disaster (maybe in the form of the therapy bill for the poor kid who has to live in that bedroom with his parent's friends cruising in and out of that bath).

Don't most homes have a powder room for guests? I think it's nice to have an extra toilet that can *occasionally* be accessed through a public hall by guests.

3) Putting the kitchen on a different level, or at the opposite end of the house, from the garage.

We have this set-up now and I agree wholeheartedly - it's stupid. I'm used to it and it's not all that bad, but I can't imagine why someone would choose to do this unless their lot dictates a drive-under garage. And even then I'd want a way to drive up to the kitchen and unload through a nearby door.

2) Forced air heat with registers in the ceiling

I give this a pass in warm climate. But not Boulder.

1) Shared wall (or floor) between the kitchen or family room and the master.

I think this depends on your household. We don't have people doing things at odd hours. Early to bed, early to rise...

I consider a shared wall between the master and another bedroom a bigger problem.

Anything I missed?

I would add multiple redundant spaces: Living room and family room and media room, dining room and breakfast room and island bar. What do people have against multi-use space? it doesn't bother me so much in a home where everythign it top-of-the line, but I prefer doing less well over trying to have everything and cutting corners.

And speaking of homes where everything is top of the line, Alison0704 your architect is featured in Veranda this month. Have you seen it?


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RE: Top ten architectural design flaws

My top peeve is that not enough houses have Back Halls. This is where the family enters the house. It needs to have closet space for outerwear and mops and Costco overflow. It needs to have a powder room for kids and gardeners so they don't trek through the house strewing dirt. It needs shelves for incoming everything (like mail) and recharging cell phones -- and outgoing stuff like library books and mail. It's where you put the dog's leash and dishes (and wash his feet). Our shredder is there. I store the central vac hose there. It needs windows and a door to the back yard. Our washer & dryer and laundry sink are there; also vases and wrapping paper.

The Back Hall is where I want closets. A foyer guest closet is a waste of space 99% of the time. It won't hold enough coats for a party -- and guests should have a BR to remove their outer gear and adjust their hair, etc. when arriving. So, yes, the coats-on-a-bed are fine or you could set up a freestanding coat rack.

Interesting to read about a Southern preference for laundry near the back door. Date back to when washers were on the back porch and laundry was hung out to dry?


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# 1 architectural design flaw

#1. Letting others tell you what you NEED to do to your house. It is your house, build it how you want it!

I do agree that most of the OP's list is good advice, but by all means do what you feel is right for you as you are the one who will have to live with it.

I love clear glass showers, I enjoy walking in on my wife showering.


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RE: Top ten architectural design flaws

10) No closet near the entryway, or even a wall to put hooks on.

I'm in Texas and we don't have coats here so no coat closet necessary in my entry. There is also a side entry into my laundry/mudroom with plenty of room for hooks and a huge closet.

9) The shower-cave

My "shower-cave" is 6 x 8 with a fixed celestial window but it does have a vent in the shower as well as in the main bathroom. I think mildew won't have a chance.

8) Kitchen island between the fridge and the sink

I recently read an article that said the work triangle is obsolete and was developed in the '50s for small one cook kitchens. Today's kitchens are much too large for a "work triangle." My kitchen is divided into three zones: prep, cooking & cleaning and they don't overlap and they aren't necessarily "triangles."

7) Garage as facade

Our garage with bonus room (so two-stories) sticks out in the front but it's a side entry. I think it looks great and that "leg" of the house takes all the West sun and keeps the house extremely cool. I don't see this as a design flaw as long as the front entry is noticeable and the garage is made to look like the rest of the house.

6) "Peak diarrhea" (i.e., more gables than you can count on both hands) and "peak constipation" (none at all, i.e. a flat roof)

Personal preference, not a "flaw."

5) Clear glass shower surrounds.

Again, personal preference, not a "flaw." My showers are walk-ins with no glass at all but some people like the look.

4) Jack and Jill bath to a public space.

This could make a bathroom versatile and could cut down on the cost of the house.

3) Putting the kitchen on a different level, or at the opposite end of the house, from the garage.

My kitchen is about 40 feet from the garage. I designed it that way on purpose because I didn't want my master near the garage and I wanted my master to share the wall with the kitchen and not the livingroom. Currently, I carry my groceries from the driveway thru the front door to the kitchen. A good walk but no big deal. I had to give something to get something I wanted more.

2) Forced air heat with registers in the ceiling

We barely even use the heat so the least expensive system is the way to go in Texas.

1) Shared wall (or floor) between the kitchen or family room and the master.

Use proper insulation and this is not a problem.

I can only think of a couple of things I don't like:

1.) No utility entrance into the house. I can't understand plans that only have a front door, garage door and back door that is accessed thru the living or breakfast rooms.

2.) Formal Rooms. Just don't get it, but this certainly is a personal preference.


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RE: Top ten architectural design flaws

We planned our home without a closet in the foyer even though our climate is cold part of the year. It was next to impossible to fit one in without messing up the rest of the design, and we have room for a nice hall tree which fits the style of our home. (Just FYI for those having trouble fitting a closet in their plans.)


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RE: Top ten architectural design flaws

- Dining rooms that are too small for dining.

- Not using attic space for closets - so what if the headroom drops to 7'?

- Houses that look nice from the front but no from the sides or back. (I realize that cost/arrangements often drive this, but there should at least be an attempt.)


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RE: Top ten architectural design flaws

Just wait till you try to start building said house! We purchased a plan from a local architect of a house that was on a home tour that we loved. Come to find out, the plan we got was apparently tweaked like crazy out in the field, because there were dozens of weird things going on with the elevations. Had it not been for a fantastic framer, there's no telling what we would have ended up with. Turned out better than the original, thank goodness.
I heard the poor framer say more than once, "every architect should have to physically build houses for a few years before they get their license." And I agree. I'd like to go back to ours and ask for a refund on what the extra framing labor will be because of his faulty plan!


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RE: Top ten architectural design flaws

Bathroom design quirks

~ Knee bangers - that's what we call dedicated toilet rooms that are so small that you practically have to dance around the door to get in to do your business. Just a couple extra inches can make all the difference when it comes to comfort and useability. Or swing the door outward away from the toilet.

~ Toilets visible right off the foyer.

~ The 50' hike to the master toilet from the bed. Especially if one has to cross in front of the entrance doors to the master suite.
We've seen this in some very large grand homes where the master bath is practically in a different zip code from the bedroom. I imagine it to be a very long walk in the middle of the night - more so if one is not feeling well and has to make multiple trips. And it doesn't get any easier as you get older.


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RE: Top ten architectural design flaws

chisue,
That is interesting about laundry near the back door. I think it's true, especially in old-fashioned houses, but I didn't know it was regional. When I went to design our house, I automatically put the utility room just inside the back door and right behind the kitchen. My grandparents had a "back porch" that was closed in and contained the washer/dryer, an extra fridge, two freezers, and shelves with canning jars, etc. The bathroom was back there, also. There was a clothesline outside, which I assume they used exclusively before they had a dryer. I remember sheets hanging out there when I was little.

Sorry to hijack.


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RE: Top ten architectural design flaws

Solie, yes. His new home is in Veranda this month. I'm a long time subscriber and was glad to hear about the feature article in his email. I've always admired his work and never dreamed that we'd one day use him on a home for ourselves.

Our laundry is just off the kitchen, near the garage...and after having one in a dark, dank basement for 20+ yrs I can't say enough good things about it. If it was in our MBR closet/bath area, I'd never hear the buzzer or would forget about things in the dryer.


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RE: Top ten architectural design flaws

Ah, the hike to the WC: that's probably #1 on DW's list. We've seen a lot of high-end houses with this problem. Many just have the closet between the bath and bedroom, but we have seen cases where you pass by the entry door. We even saw one $2.5M house where you had to go up a short flight of *stairs* to get to the bathroom. Just the thing to make sure you're wide awake (or maybe injured ;-) by the time you get back to bed...

As for some of these things being personal or regional preferences, I'll buy that for the coat closet and to a lesser extent for flat roofs (in places where it doesn't snow and seldom rains), but not for having a roof that looks like crumpled paper and is impossible to properly insulate (in any climate). It's the tail-fin of house design, IMHO, and sometimes it's *not* OK to give people what they think they want ;-)


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RE: Top ten architectural design flaws

Interesting comments.

I currently live in the NE, but had to ask my architect to stick in a hall closet in our design even though we will be building in the south. He did not have one on our original plan. I want it more for the extra storage AND, yes, guest coats bc I will no longer have a basement.

I also specifically asked for our kitchen to be near the garage for lugging groceries. I am also requesting benches along with either some coat lockers or a closet in the hall mudroom area for unloading stuff that comes into the house. If I want, I will be able to unload all the groceries from my car into the hall before taking them into the kitchen if I need to. Carrying and putting away groceries is one of my most hated chores.

Our laundry room will be at the back of the house sort of behind the garage accessed from the kitchen and will also be a mini-office and pet area and perhaps utility room. I could have had the laundry room near our Master bedroom. But I figured I would rather not spend the extra money for the having an extra room for it a would rather have a larger multi-purpose room. I will just get a laundry cart to wheel the laundry back and forth if needbe. (We are building with 2 bedrooms down and two up) The two upstairs will be for visiting relatives and friends.

As for sharing walls with bedrooms, my next MBR will share a room with our library and will be fully sound insulated. Keep in mind if you do use sound insulation. Sound insulation only works if the don't cut an air return in it! Believe me I am living with that NOW. My husband's exercise room is just on the other side of my bedroom and it is very loud when he decides to exercise when I am trying to sleep. What a waste of money it was this last time to insulate!


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RE: Top ten architectural design flaws

I just thought of a couple major design flaws that would certainly be a deal breaker for me.

1. The yard must have a flat space that allows for proper placement of cornhole. A party just ain't a party without a good game of cornhole.

2. Cable outlets for the backyard are a must. How can you have a proper Derby Party if you can't see the T.V. while outside playing cornhole?

3. A nice lined garbage can just for beer cans. Afterall how can you enjoy a Derby Party while playing cornhole if you don't have a proper place to dispose of your Bud Light cans?


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RE: Top ten architectural design flaws

If I recall my architecture class from college twenty years ago, the Romans insisted on three qualities: firmness, function, delight.

Anything that makes the house unsound would fail the firmness test. Modern home inspections catch a lot, if not all of these. Delight seems to me to be a matter of taste. I wouldn't live in the house some guy is building across the street, as it looks so heinous. He probably thinks the same about mine. The list of top 10 has a pretty good selection of functional elements. I agree with ChiSue on the back hall. We have a small area between our garage and kitchen and I wish I'd done better on that. The one functional flaw I would add, and it's more general than specific, is bad room sizes in general. It seems people build "living rooms" that are really too small for anything. I don't see a lot of dining rooms that could seat 12, and that seems to me what having a separate dining room is there for. There also seem to be a lot of funky kitchen sizes in houses being built today. Our neighbors have a kitchen that isn't big enough for its island (or its island is too big for the kitchens size) and our kitchen is a little too wide in one dimension (I have in mind putting a table there but am having trouble figuring out just what to do with the space).

Regards,
-a


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RE: Top ten architectural design flaws

Um, Charliedawg, I may regret asking this, but what is cornhole? Remember, this is a wholesome, family-friendly forum. ;)


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RE: Top ten architectural design flaws

A lot of things are regional. Here in Wisconsin I wouldn't want to be without a closet (or coat tree) by the front door so that people can take off their wet, snowy coats as soon as they enter (and where the floor is tile) and hang them up to drip dry (my closet is 3' x 6' and has plenty of room for guests plus storing the coats we don't wear everyday) and I also want room for a bench by the front door so that people can sit and take off snowy boots. Mildew growing in showers must be regional too--it's a not a big problem in Wisconsin, even with small showers. To me the biggest flaws would be rooms that are too small, lack of storage, lack of natural light and, being from a snowy place, not having an entry space at every regularly used door for shedding wet clothes, boots and shoes and not having an attached garage.


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I completely agree that the entry closet is regional. I'm in Hawaii, but I grew up in the midwest and moved here from the east coast, so my first inclination was to find a way to fit an entry closet into the floor plan. In the end, I would have had to sacrifice space in my office closet to get an entry closet, and it just didn't seem practical. My master closet is 16 by 6, and I've designated an area where I can store my winter coats (that only get used when I go the mainland anyway).

The kitchen island issue is personal preference, I think. I love looking at photos of kitchens with enormous islands, and really wanted one in my kitchen. In the end, I bought the cabinets for it, but have had to nix it from the plans, as it just left the kitchen too cramped. Now I'm left with a big open space that's really wasted space, as far as I'm concerned, but I'm figuring I'll look at what to do about it after I've moved in.

I put an open shower into the last house I remodeled, and loved not having glass walls to clean. But I have to agree with earlier posters, that it can get cold and drafty. The house was located high in the mountains here, and the temp could easily get down to 60 at night. (OK, I know it's all relative, but that's COLD to me!) Then the open shower wasn't nearly so pleasant.

My biggest gripe with architects are the ones who design kitchens without knowing how to cook. I think you can always tell when you walk into a kitchen and realize that whoever designed it didn't have a clue about how the food preparation process works in real life.

Summer


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RE: Top ten architectural design flaws

Lifestyle really is everything. I use my dining room every day, wouldn't spend the money for a 'twice a year' room. Similarly, my family and I don't run in the circles that justify a formal living room. I'd never know which guests to put there, which to take back to the family space. Not sure which is the greater honor, either, so better for me to skip the whole thing.

I really dislike the 'garage as facade' thing, but its usually the fault of developers, not architects: unless the lots are sized to accomodate side entrys there really isn't a lot the architect can do. Front garages minimize lot size, make for shorter [cheaper] driveways.

In new home construction, the 'work triangle' is on its way out in favor of a 'zoned' system. My new kitchen will have the dish sink and dishwasher at one end of the space, the cooking zone with pantry and prep sink is at the other. The refrigerator and dish storage are between the zones so they can be shared.

I've seen a lot of new homes that seem to have been designed with a shopping list of 'must have' features: two story entrys, formal living and dining spaces, breakfast nook off the kitchen, breakfast bar in kitchen, etc., all joined by long dark halls that are supposed to impress but actually depress. No sense of flow, no concept of the holistic whole. It's smarter to spend your dollars on the spaces you live in instead of just walk through.

Which leads to my final pet peeve [for today]: lack of natural light. All spaces used on a daily basis [including halls and baths] should be usable during daylight hours without reaching for a lightswitch. Never mind the economics or ecologicals, it just really inconvenient to be reaching for the light switch all_the_time.


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RE: Top ten architectural design flaws

I agree with a lot of the ones posted here and also disagree with some. It really is personal preference.

What bothers me about most plans is the stairs to the 2nd floor in the majority of the plans start at the front door and go up. Why would you want to have to walk through the whole house just to be able to get upstairs. I'd much rather have them a bit more centrally located to the living areas that in the majority of these plans are in the back of the house.

As for the master toilet being far, I wouldn't want it too far, but far enough to not wake up my very light sleeper DH. We are looking at putting the master closet and bath with a separate entrance to the master so we can get up and go to bed without disturbing the one sleeping. Our schedules vary some so this makes sense for us. I also like using my own bath during the day, but don't want to have to walk through the whole bedroom to get there either. Good point about the door and the bath though. I'll have to keep that one in mind. Might be hard with what we need.


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Lyfia - We have an entrance to the master bath/closets from the hallway as well as from inside the master bedroom. I've had a few comments about it being a weird feature but it makes perfect sense to me, especially with DH whose a late sleeper.


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RE: Top ten architectural design flaws

We had our current house remodelled about 15 years ago and made our old Master bath and bedroom into a large Master bath and changing room with built in dressers and separate walkin-closets. Our current MBR was an addition and was long and narrow due to the layout of the second floor. There is no direct entrance into my master bedroom. Which makes it quite cozy. Needless to say we only have room for a bed, end tables, a lounge chair with a small round table for reading and a tv stand across from the bed. We have NO dressers in our bedroom. (and I don't miss them!) It is only for sleeping, resting, reading and/or watching tv. You need to enter my Masterbath/dressing room to enter the bedroom. I REALLY LOVE THIS bc now either one of us will not disturb the other if we get up early. I can get out of bed and get showered and dressed in the next room and close the bedroom door behind me for my DH. Our new home is being designed to be similar. Only this time my master closets will be just be dressing rooms now with built in dressers.


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RE: Top ten architectural design flaws

"I'd pull the licenses of the architects who designed some of these abominations"

Less than 10 percent of single-family residences in the U.S. are designed by architects and most of those are for very high priced homes. 50 to 100 years ago it was a far smaller percentage.

Most of the design flaws you speak of were likely from amateur designers, home builders, or modified mass-marketed plans. And consider the possibility that the owners of architect designed houses may have insisted on features you don't like.

If you are particular about how your house is designed either design it yourself or hire a professional and tell him/her what you care about rather than criticizing the work of others.


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RE: Top ten architectural design flaws

My new kitchen has zones for working. I find it to be much more practical for the way I operate in a kitchen.

I like clear glass showers (cleaning is not a problem if you have a water softener).

Having a master bedroom share a wall with a great room is not a problem as long as you insulate the walls.

I don't have an entry closet, even though it does get cold in the winters here in Missouri. The truth of the matter is that they never get used for guest coats. It's nice in theory, but not essential in my reality.

I don't think there are any hard and fast rules in homebuilding. It just comes down to creating a home environment based on your own personal everyday living. Most issues can be overcome with ingenuity and design if the end result is worth it to you. There is no perfect home plan for everyone. As far as leaky rooves go, it's up to the builder to make judgement calls as to the soundness of structural details. So, as a homeowner, your best bet is to analyze your daily life, decide what you need in a home, and then hire people with good reputations to make your ideas come to life.


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RE: Top ten architectural design flaws

Beware - I was wondering who would be the first one to ask that :) It's a game like horseshoes only you use bean bags instead of a horseshoe and a slanted wood platform with a hole in it instead of a peg.

Below is a photo

Here is a link that might be useful: cornhole link


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RE: Top ten architectural design flaws

What is a Jack and Jill bath? Sorry!
Susan


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RE: Top ten architectural design flaws

A bathroom shared/between two bedrooms.


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RE: Top ten architectural design flaws

A bathroom with 2 or more entrance doors - typically (but not necessarily) set between two bedrooms so that each can use it.


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RE: Top ten architectural design flaws

"Jack and Jill" is a bathroom shared between two rooms where each room has its on vanity and sink while the tub and toilet is commonly shared and able to be closed off to each room. A general bath shared between two rooms where the vanities are included in the same space as the bath and toilet is known as a "club bath".


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RE: Top ten architectural design flaws

mightyanvil -- Would you please speak to what ARCHITECTS find most strange in what's being built out there? (You can include some strange designs BY architects if you like.LOL)

For starters, I'm guessing:

Overkill with gables.

"Potemkin village" houses with brick fronts and unadorned vinyl siding on all other elevations.

"Mixed message" styled houses with ornaments and windows from multiple syles, all on one facade. (That's pronounced Fake-Aid, according to my DH's former Air Force platoon sergeant -- who may have been ahead of his time in accuracy of meaning.)

Houses where the garage is larger and more prominent than the house.

Examples where form doesn't follow any imaginable function.

Remodels where there's no connection between the styles of the old and new.


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RE: Top ten architectural design flaws

Great list...

Here's mine:

1. Taking a house designed for a cold climate and building it on the Gulf Coast -- or the other way around. Just doesn't work without *major* changes.

2. Architects from up north that move to the South and start designing (or worse yet) building spec homes without actually living here for at least 5 years first.

3. Houses without outdoor living spaces that transition indoors to outdoors-- porches, patios, screenrooms--- something!

4. Living areas in the center of the home surrounded by other rooms and without windows.

5. Living areas with so many entries and exits to other rooms that it becomes nothing more than a huge walk-through. Which leads to:

6. Architects and designers that don't plan for negative space-- entries, halls, and walkways. People *are* going to walk through rooms whether designers like it or not.

7. Staircases that pass code but are actually too narrow/enclosed/twisted to actually get furniture moved to the upstairs.

8. Bathrooms that may or may not be beautiful but have nowhere to store toilet paper, shampoo, towels, etc. Without storage space, they will look like crap from clutter in no time.

9. Open floor plans with no private space.

10. Closed floor plans without open space.


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RE: Top ten architectural design flaws

Most of these posts are not really design flaws but rather personal preferences. IMHO there's a Big Difference.

I consider a design flaw something that is inherently wrong with the home whether it's in the finish product or the structural part.
We toured some $1.5m homes recently that had wonderfully finished shelves inside the closets in the foyers. But the doors were designed to open inwards, away from the entrance. Result, you could access only 1/2 of the closet.
Or, DW's and trash compactors that open into one another where you couldn't have both open at the same time.
RV garages that are to short for an RV's height.
High end homes that only fit one 36" refrigerator.
Guest bathrooms with bathtubs not to a standard 30" x 32" size (standard since 1950's) and the only thing that would fit was something that looked like it was out of an RV.

Of course to me the BIGGEST design flaw is on my own home. Out architect didn't include snowload trusses. That took almost 3 months to find a retrofit solution. The last thing we wanted was to remove the roof and all the plumbing, HVAC, central vac ETC. lines that were already in place. The repair and having to repay these companies to come back and redo their work cost us about $20k. Another architectural flaw is that this guy has never repaid us for this mistake....


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RE: Top ten architectural design flaws

The list shows some thought, for certain. And every issue raised deserves careful consideration. Technical considerations sometimes dictate how some things need to be. I would not choose style over function, for example. My house does have ceiling registers on the upper floor. The registers are in the floor for the lower level. So we have conditioned air at all parts of the house. The floors are not cold in the Winter and the ceilings are not hot in the Summer. In one older house where I did some work, the closet adjacent to the front entrance was lost in the remodel in order to run ductwork from the basement to the upper floors. Lose one thing, gain another. It is all a matter of perspective. To a worm, digging in the dirt is more relaxing than going fishing.


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