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Floor plan advice - around in circles we go!

Posted by Laura12 (My Page) on
Sat, Jun 2, 12 at 13:33

I feel like we are coming closer to a final floor plan however I'm still feeling very anxious. I'm not sure what is bothering me exactly, maybe it is just that this is a non-traditional floor plan and I'm afraid we are making a mistake.

Our main requirement was to have an open great room floor plan that still has some separation between the kitchen and living areas. In addition, we wanted lots of light and windows in my kitchen, and there are very few single story floor plans out there that even have windows in the kitchen! We did go to MANY open houses to get an idea of what we want, and we did find one with the same main room layout (link below) as the house and we are designing, and we loved the feeling of it.

A bit about us, at the moment it is just my husband and I, but I'm pregnant with our first child, and we may have one more. We are trying to build our forever house as land is VERY hard to come by in our area, and we'd rather not repeat this process a second time!

Here is our plan: Any suggestions, corrections or comments appreciated!

Photobucket

The stairs lead to an unfinished bonus room and spare bedroom over the garage, and down to an unfinished basement which will eventually be a media room, utility room, and wine cellar. Upstairs will mostly be for guests and a playroom for the kids when they older, and downstairs will be used by the whole family. Lavender Lass drew the current stair arrangement for us, and it is a great solution, however I�m still wondering if there are any other ways this could be done.

Concerns that have been raised previously

- Walking past the kid's room to get to the media room. - I think we are okay with this especially as with this setup the media room itself won't be beneath the kids rooms.

-Hallway bathroom for one bedroom. - We need a full bathroom in the hallway for young guests who may sleep in the media room or bonus room, and possibly to serve the upstairs bedroom (not sure if we will have a bathroom there or not at this point as it will be finished down the line). If you see a way to put another full bath in please let us know, we do have about 100 extra square feet to play with.

-Currently the arrangement of the kitchen appliances could use some reworking, but I'm not too concerned about that until we get everything else sorted out.

- While the rear view is my my favorite, the view out the front is quite nice, and we are okay with not being able to watch the kids playing from the kitchen windows. Besides, the front of the house is about 75 ft from the road, so there will be lots of space to play there as well!

- The covered area will be a BBQ area and small outdoor dining area, while the main outdoor eating/lounging area will be further from the house near the pool. The BBQ area needs to be kept closer to the house as we use it at least a couple times a week year round.

- Lavender Lass also did an excellent rework of the masterbath which has not been incorporated into this plan yet.

Here are some of our inspiration photos:

Main room:
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Kitchen:

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Elevation:

Photobucket

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Also, as the main floor area is a bit different, I've included a link to a virtual open house that had a similar main room.

Here is a link that might be useful: Similar Great Room/Dining/Kitchen layout


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: Floor plan advice - around in circles we go!

Can you put a window in the far right bedroom's wall? Not having that bedroom's bath on the wall means it will be a darker space (I understand why you did--you want a hall bath too). So, getting second window in the bedroom might be nice.

What is in the hall portion of the skinny interior to exterior bath next to your master? I wonder about the orientation of the bathroom there, and whether it might be a good idea to flip it.

Will you use the office as a baby room? I know you don't know what it is like yet, not having a baby yet...but you will not likely want to have to cross the full length of the house multiple times a night for several years to help babies who aren't developmentally capable of calming themselves down; to help toddlers who aren't developmentally capable of wiping themselves after toileting, etc...

Also, I think I'd figure out how to swap the fridge and stove walls. Then, you can recess your fridge into your pantry space. And, most kitchen prep is done between the sink and stove. Right now, I am thinking you are actually more likely to prep between your clean up sink and and stove, rather than your island area. That is a waste of prep sink.

If you don't like the idea of switching your stove top and fridge walls, then maybe you need to consider putting your cleanup sink on the foyer wall, and reorganizing your kitchen appliances after that...

Eventually, you will want to post your kitchen space to the kitchen forum (once you know what space you are planning to designate for your kitchen).

For a forever house, your laundry is a LONG way from your master. Consider plumbing in/planning a space for a stackable unit in your large-enough master bath/closet space for later in life, if not now.

Finally, how do your stairs work? I am having trouble figuring out where you enter to go up/down (the arrows aren't clear for me).


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RE: Floor plan advice - around in circles we go!

Kirkhall! Thanks for the feedback, your previous feedback is what pushed us back to the drawing board, so I really appreciatte it. And again, I apologise for how difficult it is to read the measurements on this plan!

I'm going to go through your comments point form below to make sure I don't miss anything.

- A window in the far right bedroom's wall is a great idea! It's a large room so it should fit in quite well. I was thinking about making the current window a window seat (popping the window out to accomadate it). Perhaps we should plan for space for queen bed (for long term needs) and put windows on either side? Also, I am going to put a suntube sunlight (whatever the proper terminology is) in that bath, and a few throughout the hallways and other spaces that may need them.

- I'm not sure what you mean about the bathroom hall and orientation, could you elaborate further?

- Yes the office will be the babies room until we are ready to move him down the hall to what will be his permanent bedroom, or until we have a second child, whichever comes first! :)

- Regarding the kitchen set up, I know it is all wrong on this plan. I am planning on puting the fridge next to the pantry, and then the stovetop centered on the other wall, and the ovens at the far end away from the windows, do you think that works? I'll post it to the kitchen forum once we have that worked out. At this point though, unless the perfect plan falls from the heaven's I'm fairly certain of the main room set up.

- Regarding the laundry, plumbing in for future needs at the other end of the house may be a good idea. Thanks!

- The stairs near the kitchen go up, the stairs near the garage go down. I'm not 100% convinced this is the best solution, though with our low pitched roof and the below elevation I don't know what else will work. Do you have any suggestions?


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RE: Floor plan advice - around in circles we go!

Here is a bathroom that Lavender_Lass drew up, does it make things more functional from your perspective?

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RE: Floor plan advice - around in circles we go!

I am not sure I would want a completely dedicated office at this point.

It would be nice if the office could serve as a nursery at first so you are not going from one end of the house to the other at night. I was not too happy at six to move to a bedroom that was "all the way" at the other end of the upstairs from my parents in our new house :)

I would make the office and the small bedroom somewhat interchangeable at this point. You can always make it a dedicated office later.


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RE: Floor plan advice - around in circles we go!

Thanks for the feedback palimpsest. At this point it says office on the plans as there isn't going to be a closet in that room, however, it is most definitely our plan to have it serve as the nursery for the time being. Eventually our little one will move to one of the other rooms, however I'm not certain when that will be at this point. We'll figure that out as we go.

Do you have any other thoughts to share? It may help to have a look at the link I included as it shows a similar dining/living/kitchen layout.


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RE: Floor plan advice - around in circles we go!

So, what is the skinny room across the hall from the office? That is the bathroom I am talking about. At the "top" of the drawing/back of the house, is a bathroom. What is the front section, nearest the hall?


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RE: Floor plan advice - around in circles we go!

Ah! That's the pool bath! :)

It needs to be rearranged to be sink, toilet then shower.


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RE: Floor plan advice - around in circles we go!

This plan looks almost exactly like Don Gardner's Chesnee! Was it an inspiration for you? If you didn't know it existed, you might check it out to see if it helps you solidify your ideas. Unfortunately I can't locate any real-life pictures of it built, since it's a new plan.

We really like the plan and may end up building it, with a few changes, if my Plan A doesn't work out.

Here is a link that might be useful: Chesnee


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RE: Floor plan advice - around in circles we go!

Kirkhall, I am still not sure what you are asking about at the front of the house though. Across the front is the master bath, master closet, office entry kitchen.

Kelhuck - I have never seen the plan you mentioned! Off to google it now!


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RE: Floor plan advice - around in circles we go!

Interesting kitchen set up on the Don Gardner plan.... And while I like some thing's about it, I think I like the hallway staying a straight acess across the plan.


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RE: Floor plan advice - around in circles we go!

Laura- Actually that's an excellent plan to compare to your home. If I have time later, I'll do some 'cut and tape' to show you what I mean. Right now, I'm taking a break from reclaiming my flower garden! All this rain has grass and dandelions taking over everywhere! :o

Where is the pool going to be, in your plan? Maybe you've already mentioned this...but I'm wondering if that pool bathroom is going to be by the pool or not. Do you want the pool outside your bedroom? Or would you rather have it behind the kids' rooms and have another outside area, off your bedroom?

If the covered patio will be used in the evenings, that might be an area better off your area of the house, so it's quieter, when the kids are trying to sleep. If the pool is used mostly during the day...that might be better of their side of the house. What do you see outside the living room/dining room area? Have you thought about an arbor? Maybe some shade in the afternoon but not completely covered?

Now, if it were me...and depending on how large your area is going to be...I would put the pool and terrace, off the living room/dining room. Then, I'd have an arbor outside your bedroom, for plants/flowers/ shade and maybe a covered area with a hot tub :)

Then, I'd have the BBQ outside the dining room door, but I would have some sliders in the living room, to access the terrace/pool area. This way, the pool bath would work 'as is' in your plan.

Outside the kids' rooms, I'd have a play area for them and include the swingset and maybe a paved area, for bikes, trikes, balls, etc. Ideally, you should be able to see their play area (especially when they're small) from the living room or kitchen...but you could have be outside with them on the terrace and watch them, too. Of course, if you get a nanny, that's would give you more options, too.

I can't remember what direction your backyard faces, but I'd like to have at least a little covered area off the living room/dining room to make it feel like part of the entertaining area and provide some shade. Maybe 8' to 10' deep. The large covered area off the kids' rooms will block too much light and bounce back more noise, IMHO. Hope that helps :)

Time to go back to gardening!


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RE: Floor plan advice - around in circles we go!

Nothing about the front of the house.

How else can I say it... What is under the pool shower in your design? (the x'd box is the pool shower. Is it a hall closet? Hamper???) It might be a good alternative location for a stacked laundry. Especially if you have a pool. Where will all your towels go?

And, I got to wondering about your stair setup... What is the long skinny set (of cabinets? countertop?) between the 2 legs of the L of stairs? Would it be possible to rotate that 90* and make your stairs a U set, with both up and down originating in the hallway outside the bedrooms? the counter/cabinets/whatever that long thing is could then be from the garage entry, and could be cubbies/drop zone/etc.


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RE: Floor plan advice - around in circles we go!

The covered porch is right off the bedrooms. That means that someone sitting on the covered porch can look into the bedrooms. Are you okay with that?

Did you mean that you plan on having a BBQ grill on the covered porch? Will it be a gas grill? It is not recommended to use a gas grill under a covered porch unless it is under a vent hood.


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RE: Floor plan advice - around in circles we go!

I would want more walk-in closet and less bathroom for the Master.


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RE: Floor plan advice - around in circles we go!

Laura- What's on the left side of your house? Could you put the walled garden on that side? I'm just thinking that it would be great to view your courtyard garden, from the tub, shower and maybe even a window off the sink area. But, it would be very nice to have access to the backyard, from the master bath...especially if you have a hot tub or want to access the pool from your own bathroom.

Maybe have the wall/fence countinue around, from the courtyard garden to the backyard, with a gate between the courtyard and the rest of the backyard. It might be fun to continue the same type of garden, as you leave the courtyard area and move towards the hot tub/pool area. Just a thought :)


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RE: Floor plan advice - around in circles we go!

Thanks for all the suggestions!

Lavender, the pool and hot tub will be centered in the backyard behind the main dining/living room, but set back somewhat, and we don't know where the main play area will be quite yet, but a bit further from the house than what is shown here. The covered patio area needs to MUCH smaller, buy we gaven't moved onto rear elevations quite yet. That area will be used mostly during the day, we have HOT days and cool nights and are seldom outside in the evenings. If we are there will be a lot of outdoor patio space further from the kids rooms, that is really just the most convienent place for the BBQ as we didn't want it directly behind the dining/great room.

As for the bathroom garden, if we can up with a floor plan that worked better having the bathtub and shower on the far left wall we would be open to that, but at the same time the elevation looks better when it is to the back. We have also thought through a bathroom door, and we are fine with accessing it though the bedroom.


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Pool bath and stairs....

Kiklrkhall, sorry I kept missing what you were asking! In the pool bath coming from the house the plan shows a closet, then the entry to the pool bath with the shower being the X portion, then toilet and sink. I want to reverse this do that it goes sink, toilet, shower.

I have thought about pushing the pool bath back so it is flush with the hallway. When you exit the pool bath outside the extra space would be under the rioof and have cubbies for people to store their purse and change of clothes etc, and maybe a laundry hamper and charging station.. Not sure I explained that well...

As for the laundry, for the time being it is okay where it is, but I see your point and we will likely plan for connections in our closet just in case for a later date.

Regarding the stairs, Our designer was having trouble making them fit in the typical U shape, but I would prefer that! The issue is with the low pitched roof and not having a full second story.


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RE: Floor plan advice - around in circles we go!

Palimpest - I see what you mean about the bath/closet situation (though the closet is 10x10). I'm not certain about the bathroom set up, and have been having a difficult time coming up with a better solution!

Dekeoboe - good point about the grill under the patio, I thought it could be at the edge of the patio space, but that may not make sense either.

Honestly, I was putting in a covered area because I felt like I had to, but we are going to have more than enough shade as the backyard faces west, and there will be a large covered patio near the pool with a dining/living area there, so maybe I'll just get ride of it altogether...


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RE: Floor plan advice - around in circles we go!

Laura- I know this is not your plan, at all...but when I saw it, I just had to show you! If you had an unlimited budget (wouldn't that be nice) and wanted the kids, nanny and all your extra entertaining spaces upstairs...this would be an amazing plan! :)

And in case you really don't like it...I want to remind you that I've been practically standing on my head, for the past several hours...weeding my gardens! (LOL)

Here is a link that might be useful: Link to eplan


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RE: Floor plan advice - around in circles we go!

Not to shabby Lavender! I've seen lots of HUGE floor plans that make me swoon, but I'm not sure I would actually want to live in one! :)

Hope your gardening went well! We took the day off and relaxed in the sun, back to errands tomorrow... ;)


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RE: Floor plan advice - around in circles we go!

Not to shabby Lavender! I've seen lots of HUGE floor plans that make me swoon, but I'm not sure I would actually want to live in one! :)

Hope your gardening went well! We took the day off and relaxed in the sun, back to errands tomorrow... ;)


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It is big...

I think the curved outside staircase to the private garden...and those upstairs balconies...are what won me over! Not my style, at all, but I love the indoor/outdoor living...and that sundeck, off the bonus room :)

Gardening went very well, but thank goodness for Advil and now, I'm off to have a very big Coke, with a little bit of rum! LOL


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RE: Floor plan advice - around in circles we go!

There will be a deck off our bonus room upstairs, and lots of outdoor living space, we just don't it all to be covered as we will have more than enough shade, and it doesn't rain here from May to Oct!

I'm feeling a bit jealous of your advil, coke and rum... I'm missing all three currently :)


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RE: Floor plan advice - around in circles we go!

kirkhall, what do you think of this layout for the pool bath:

Photobucket

The roof would cover the alcove created by setting back the exterior door, and the closets shown on this image would actually be cubbies for people to store their change of clothes, purse, and whatever else they happen to have with them.

Something like the ones in this photo, only outside and sized to fit within the given space:


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RE: Floor plan advice - around in circles we go!

For the pool bath, this is the type of thing we were thinking.

Also, I'm waiting to hear back regarding how it would work, but I'd be happy to claim some of the space from next to the fireplace into the bathroom as I like the look of a fireplace that is flush with the wall. That could give me some more space for storage and also for a bench in that bathroom along these lines:


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RE: Floor plan advice - around in circles we go!

That works. I imagine you'll have more people running in to get a towel than needing the toilet. So, walking through the bathroom to get to the towel closet (from outside) is more water on the floor, etc. Also, this makes your bathroom useable as a hall bath for guests.


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RE: Floor plan advice - around in circles we go!

I really like it! That first bathroom would look amazing in your home...and the bench is a good idea, too.

Last night, I had big plans (LOL) but the rum and coke turned into dinner...so I didn't fall asleep in the chair! Today, I plan to stop earlier :)


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RE: Floor plan advice - around in circles we go!

Thanks for the feedback Kirkhal! My mother actually keeps her towels next to the pool in a nice wicker storage bench. It doesn't rain here in the summer so it works well.

Do you think a standard U staircase would fit?


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RE: Floor plan advice - around in circles we go!

Well, that depends on your rooflines, and I am not qualified to answer that. But, if it does, I think that is what you should aim for. It will make that back bedroom area more sensible.


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RE: Floor plan advice - around in circles we go!

I agree there.

I think we are going to find someone new to work on this with us this week. The person we have hired thus far has been absolutely no help and we haven't gotten anywhere.


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RE: Floor plan advice - around in circles we go!

Laura- I'm so glad you're getting a new person to work with. You should be getting at least as many ideas from them, as you are from us :)

I want you to think about something...really think about it, before you dismiss it, and move on. When Summerfield first suggested putting our master bedroom in the front, I thought it would never work...but since it was Summerfield, I continued to think about it and the idea grew on me. Suddenly, everything else seemed to fit better, even the landscaping...and now I really love it!

You have a beautiful kitchen planned and your dining room/living room will also be lovely. But, this is going to be a house with children and you plan to entertain a lot, outside. I think you should seriously consider moving the kitchen to the back of the house...so you can access the BBQ directly from the kitchen...and you won't have constant (possibly messy) traffic through your dining room.

If you had living room/dining room/kitchen, across the back, then you could move the laundry room and possibly the stairs to the front of the house. This would let you put the kids' rooms on the other end and have their windows facing out the right side. This would keep their area more private and quiet...and allow you to easily entertain from all areas of your main living spaces.

Just do me a favor and think about it for a few days...really consider it...and sketch out the traffic patterns for parties and other events, from the kitchen (carrying food, drinks, platters of meat, etc.) to your outdoor spaces.


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RE: Floor plan advice - around in circles we go!

Lavender, thanks for the advice, and we really have taken everything into consideration. It has been two months since I posted my first version of our plan, and there was a month I was silent while trying to figure out a way to make it work with the kitchen in the back. There are two alternatives we considered and below is the thought process we went through while making a decision. For each I put together an inspiration board of photos and in the end we decided the kitchen in the front was the best plan for us.

1. Place the kitchen in the back to the right of the dining room (or flip the room) keeping the living/dining room as is. Summerfield did a plan for us with the kitchen in the back, and we seiously considered it as it is a wonderful plan, however that setup had different draw backs. In Summerfield's plan we didn't like the kitchen was more closed off. While if it is opened up then the room feels too long and narrow and we lost the feeling of width created by having windows on both sides.

2. Dining room near the entry, the kitchen in the back with the great room. This allows for a smaller dining room since it isn't balancing out the space with great room and kitchen and allows for more light moving across the house. I like this set up in larger homes with a seperation between formal public areas and private informal areas, however that isn't the way we actually live. For us, putting the kitchen next to the great room and moving the dining room to the front makes everything feel to informal and I hate the competition between the TV and the kitchen.

For the plan I posted, with the kitchen in the front, we measured it all out to make certain the space works and moved our own furniture around to see how it would feel. The icing on the cake, on Memorial day weekend we rented a huge home with friends in wine country that had a similar main room layout (only much larger), and it really solidified that we love this floor plan. We actually measured it all out in the rental to see how our plan fits and it really helped us visualize it. We love being able to enjoy both our front and back views/light/breezes, that the living/dining spaces are together, and that the kitchen is at once part of the space and at the same time seperate.

All that said, if the new designer (or Summerfield) comes up with a great idea that is different to what we have outlined we are open minded, I just don't see how it would work more effectively. Also, writing out everything here has helped relieve some of my own anxiety about this plan and gain some more confidence in our decisions. It is "different" and I've been worried about that, but it is what works for us, and it isn't so diferent that we need to worry about resale value.


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RE: Floor plan advice - around in circles we go!

Laura- That's an excellent point...you would lose the light and breeze on two sides. And, an L-shape is always nicer (IMHO) than a long line of rooms. I'm glad you got to try out your 'dream plan' and that it worked so well for you :)

My only concern is that you have a very contemporary style and with a small baby (maybe two) I'm wondering where you're going to have the toys and everyday clutter that will result with a little one, underfoot. Ideally, it would be great to have a little family/keeping room, in view of the kitchen, but not open to the main living areas...and if it had access to the back, that would be even better.

Let me play around with a few ideas. While I don't have kids of my own, I have a ton of nieces and nephews...and I've been in a lot of beautiful homes that are overwhelmed with 'baby stuff' and later 'toddler stuff' followed by 'small child stuff'! LOL Although kids can keep some toys in their bedrooms, they want to be with you...so the toys gravitate to a living area. And, until they're older, it's difficult to keep their things on a different floor.

Hope you don't think I'm trying to tell you how to design your plan...not at all. Just trying to think it all the way through, as to how you'll use it now, two years from now, five years from now, etc. You have a lovely plan and I'm sure it will work beautifully for entertaining. And of course, lots of built-ins/toy storage can help, too! :)


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RE: Floor plan advice - around in circles we go!

Thanks Lavender, I 'm all for suggestions, even the ones that don't work out help me to think through the potential concerns.

The office/nursery will also have french doors, and possibly be a bit larger than what is currently on the plan, so hopefully so of the clutter will get pushed back in that direction. Otherwise, there will be lots of storage. The area on either side of the fireplace will actually be two LARGE cupboards. Part of each will be covered in fabric, so the speakers will hide there, as will extra kid "stuff". Also, I will have a large storage ottoman, and drawers in all my end tables to keep things out of sight as much as possible.

I have two toddler neices who both live in open floor plan homes so I know what I'm in for! :)


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RE: Floor plan advice - around in circles we go!

Lavender, I should add, regarding your two concerns, outdoor entertaining, and watching our kids out the windows. There will be some walking back and forth to the BBQ, but DH is fine with that, and there will be a fridge, sink and filtered water available outside so pool goers will seldom need to come into the kitchen. I actually don't see the problem with this, as if the dining room was reversed when we BBQ and eat inside during the winter he would have to walk through the kitchen to the dining room to serve the food!

And regarding the kids, we both work full time so it is only evenings and weekends when we are home and then we are both home at the same time. Generally we take turns cooking so one of us is free to do other things. We also spend more time sitting at the dining room table having long meals, or on our laptops than we do in the kitchen, so it will be nice to be able to look out the backyard from there. Finally, we will likely have a small temporary fence up immediatly outside the living/dining areas where the little one will be able to play outside without getting into trouble.


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RE: Floor plan advice - around in circles we go!

I met with a new designer today, and it was a world of difference from who we had been working with thus far. We originally hired someone who was more of a drafter and we thought this would work because we nearly had the floor plan designed already. However, through this process we realized we did not know enough to finish it and the initial designer/drafter didn't offer a single design suggestion!

On the upside, we don't owe the initial designer much to get out of the contract, just $500 which is entirely palatable! On the downside, the cost of the new designer is triple what the initial one was .... Though, I suppose the initial cost of $1.25/sq ft in California was too good to be true! ha

We will get the official contract with the new designer tomorrow, and now it will be THREE MONTHS until our plans are ready! My biggest fear is getting the house up before interest prices rise, as that is the only thing that could severely impact our long term budget!


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RE: Floor plan advice - around in circles we go!

Laura- That's great news! You should get some great ideas, with this new designer...and three months isn't too bad. That will be September and I'm guessing the interest rates won't go up until after November, so you should be fine :)


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RE: Floor plan advice - around in circles we go!

In our initial conversation they solved the remaining issues we were facing (outdoor space, bath layout, staircase & ceiling heights). Also, after I described our room layout requirements (but not the locations) he pulled out a previous similar plan that was nearly the same!

Though, our concern is that interest rates go up before the home is completed. There doesn't seem to be any 30 year close construction loans in the SF Bay area, so we are financing the build on a ARM and then we will have to refinance again at the end of construction.

If the plans are complete in early Sept then they won't be approved until January, and our home won't be built until at LEAST January 2014....


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RE: Floor plan advice - around in circles we go!

Okay, that is a worry...ARMs can be scary! By January 2014, I'm sure the interest rates will go up. Is there now way to find a 30 year fixed loan for construction...even if you have to buy down your rate a bit?

Have you talked to several mortgage people? I have a BIL and a good friend, who both do mortgages for a living...but neither knew about the farm credit place, we eventually went to...because it wasn't someone they normally worked with. Maybe post specifically about the financing and see if anyone can give you some ideas. This would definitely be worth a little extra research!


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RE: Floor plan advice - around in circles we go!

I've talked to MANY loan people (including farm credit) and none of them offer 30 year construction loans in our area.


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