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Please critique my plan; thanks!!!

Posted by kshows (My Page) on
Mon, Jul 14, 14 at 15:33

Is this a good plan that will be economical to build?
While designing this plan I kept the outer dimensions evenly divided by 4' or 8' and the width at a 32' limit for the maximum standard roof truss size. The back of the house faces south where I placed the kitchen, dining, living, and MB. I wanted an open concept and the kitchen in the south-east corner. This will be my forever home so it is one story. House is for one person with occasional overnight guests. I'm in the Northeast so it will be a full unfinished basement. The basement stairs are located in the northeast corner of the plan. I kept the stairs straight and easily accessible from the outside so that any repair/service can be done without going through the house. What I am considering is having a rectangle basement and the main entrance will be unheated "vestibule" space (12 x 8) that is also connected to the one car garage. I thought I'd leave this as unheated space to save on construction cost. Will it be a savings? Also, I was thinking of doing 9' ceilings in the basement and first floor, but will that raise the cost significantly?
Overall what do you think of the plan? Here are a few details:
The guest BR will also function as the arts & crafts room. I have a LOT of art materials. There will be a "barn door" at the 4' opening into the guest B&Bath for privacy. Not sure I'll have a wood stove, it will not be used very often. The shower will be no threshold.
I'm thinking of having a fixed window at the center of the triple windows.
I'm not sure what kind of doors to use on the MB closet. Any suggestions to improve the plan? Do you see any wasted space? Your feedback will be greatly appreciated!!!


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: Please critique my plan; thanks!!!

I really like this idea, and there are nice proportions in your space.

LOVE the barn door idea into the guest suite space!

When we built, the difference between 8 and 9 foot ceilings cost wise was not that much, it jumps when you go to 10 foot. It does make a huge improvement in feeling to have the 9 foot in both main floor and basement so I endorse both fully! 9 foot is a very nice height for ceilings. You will end up with 8 if you finish your basement ever - your infrastructure will take up that extra space up above (heat ducts, etc.)

Could you label the spaces, please? What is that space inside the (presumably front entry) that is long and narrow? Stairs?

I'd design a drop/mud zone transition in the vestibule. Maybe a small bench, a place to take off your shoes. That sort of thing.

What I think is the guest bedroom/office type room is tough for furniture placement if a bedroom.

I'd make the island wide enough to accommodate a bar stool or two. When you do have a guest they will be sitting right there as you fix breakfast, etc.

Note that all your den furniture will be floating in the middle of the room as there is no wall space against which to put it. This is not a problem (although you do have to plan for floor outlets, lighting, etc.) but just an observation.

I like the sensibility of combining bathroom space with laundry in a single person household. Another idea is to put the laundry into the hall bath instead of the master bath, quieter if you run loads and want to go to bed as they finish.

Is there linen closet type storage in the master bath space?

You could put one door instead of two into the master closet and get more rack space by putting the door opposite the shower. This would allow for some shallow storage shelves across from the laundry then where the door is presently.

Think about sidelites and a transom surrounding the vestibule door and a sidelite next to the interior entrance door - that will translate more light into the interior rather than the vestibule causing a cave like effect that darkens the entryway.

You might want to extend the garage to 24 feet from 20. Think about what stuff you will need to keep in there aside from a car. A mower? Other lawn equipment? Household stuff? Mountain bike? Camping gear? You'd be surprised how useful that chunk of garage space will be, and it's not that expensive to build it.

Also, if this is your "forever" home, think about what if you were ever in a wheelchair or crutches. How hard is it to navigate, how far to make it to a bathroom, how wide are the doorways?

This post was edited by beautybutdebtfree on Mon, Jul 14, 14 at 21:02


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RE: Please critique my plan; thanks!!!

beautybutdebtfree: Thanks so much for the great advice!!!
I made some changes as you suggested; with the master closet, it is 8' wide opposite the laundry and 6'4" across from the shower so I'll close the 8' side and just leave it open to the bedroom. I should be able to hang clothes on both sides. I hope that will help with the laundry noise because I can't figure out how to put the laundry in the guest bath. I added a linen closet in the corner of the Master Bed closet with a door that opens toward the shower. I don't know why I didn't think of that before!
All the doors are 3' except for the entry and basement doors which are 3'6". Are these doors standard sizes?
I am going to add the windows that you suggested as well and lengthen the garage. Ditto with the island, and I probably should do a floor outlet in the living room.
Yes, those are stairs in the corner next to the garage. I have 10' of unobstructed overhead "run" so I hope that is enough. I agree about the furniture in the bed/office, I think a queen size Murphy Bed would be nice but I'd have to look into that. Thanks again for your response, you have helped immensely!!!


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RE: Please critique my plan; thanks!!!

I love this project because it's kind of like planning a huge tiny home for one.

Looking at it more, the bedroom is a bit larger than you need, it's HUGE for one person. You could shift the wall between master bedroom and master bathroom a foot or so into the bedroom side. Then, turn your closet so the long axis is the other direction. Put the door in the bathroom instead of bedroom, you will be surprised how logical this is once you get used to it! (We can fuss with window placement later depending on what views are important from what side of the house.) Now, see my picture, I've moved the shower where the laundry was. Toilet next to shower, then vanity. Move the laundry into hall bath with - blue mark - a folding counter next to laundry and storage/linen wall cabinet above.

Next, make two doors into bedroom 2 and hall bath at 45 degree angles, the joint entrance to them covered by your barn door.

This gives your bedroom 2 a much better profile for furniture placement.


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RE: Please critique my plan; thanks!!!

Beauty: I really like it. I posted a new picture with rooms identified. I do like the angles, it adds interest and definitely adds more floor space to the guest room/craft room. The Laundry in the 2nd bath is perfect and can have adjacent counter space like you suggested. I haven't drawn in a master bath linen closet but I think I could fit one in behind the door. Yours were very inspired and smart ideas!!! Thanks a million!!!


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RE: Please critique my plan; thanks!!!

I designed the house we live in from the ground up, so have gone through the process.

We have our closet inside our master bath and it makes so much sense. Because you take a shower and then get dressed, your clothes are in there! Make sure your HVAC install puts an air input or return INSIDE your closet, so you get air circulation in the closet. Also, with your shower in a niche like this you can mount a vent fan just outside the shower and it's much more efficient to suck out the shower humidity, it has the source "cornered" to suck it out.

The garage, you may be able to do 22 feet instead of 24 so drawing the "stuff" is important. If you have land, don't underestimate how much stuff you will have - mower, rakes, shovel, etc.

I'd suggest you put a foot or more "T" wall between the two angled doors. You will need this, for door trim and just not to look weird.

Make sure your window placement allows extra space for your window trim AND THEN for curtain rods if you will use them (they often stick out farther than the window trim) when a window butts up against a wall. You may need to shrink the size of the guest room window due to this, too. My rule of thumb is to place the window such that you have room for your window casing, and then at least the same amount of drywall as casing, then the wall. So if you have 4 inch casing on a window or door, you want at least 4 inches of wall next to that trim, before you hit a wall. You may want to order your bathroom windows with privacy glass.

Place all your furniture electronically so you can see how it fits each space, for example so your bed doesn't end up off-centered under a window, etc. The more "stuff" you can draw into your plan and see on the footprint, the better you can plan. Make sure in bedrooms to place beds AND nightstands, and dressers. From this, you can place your outlets later, for power (lamp on nightstand, etc.)

Then, look at how the window placement looks on your elevations. You have to juggle between internal space and furniture placement, and how the placement of windows looks on your exterior elevations. If you can design groups of like windows on your elevations it looks pleasant, and later it's a bonus because you have STANDARD size windows, so same size blinds, screens, etc.

Most residential spaces use 28-30-32-34 inch interior doors in middle class homes. We used all 36, to allow for wheelchair and laundry basket on hip. 36 should be plenty for your exterior doors. You may want to increase the size of your slider, remember you get LESS than half your slider width as opening, and this door is your only door to the back.

You may want to increase the WIDTH of your stairs to the basement, generous sizing here will be appreciated if you ever want to develop that space and, say, move a couch down there or other large item. Skinny stairs restrict a lot of possibilities.

This post was edited by beautybutdebtfree on Wed, Jul 16, 14 at 19:20


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RE: Please critique my plan; thanks!!!

Definitely room behind the bathroom door for a linen closet.

I would consider a pocket door to the master bath. Since it's just you, you probably won't close the door to the master bath too often (I know I wouldn't).

I think I'd also put the tub across from the W/D in the laundry/bathroom. As is, if the barn door is open, you have a line of sight from the dining room to the toilet (thank you, GW, for making me notice sight lines!) It would also give you a convenient place to hang clothes, if you put a rod above the tub (or a tension rod in the tub). Or use the shower curtain rod.

There is a little stub wall between kitchen and dining. That is a perfect drop zone/command center area. You could put in cabinets and counter, a china cabinet, floor to ceiling pantry - lots of possibilities. I have a hidden command center in my kitchen: a cabinet containing envelopes, folders for receipts, a calendar and magnetic white board inside the doors. When I had a desk in the kitchen, it got piled high with crap - now everything is at least out of sight. I added drawers for desk/office supplies - pens, stapler, tape, etc.


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RE: Please critique my plan; thanks!!!

Along with what Annkh suggested, if you really wanted to be space efficient in the master bathroom, you could use a pocket door or even two smaller pocket twin doors into the closet, that way you eliminate your door swing real estate needs. But then you have to plan for anchoring your closet rods on the pocket door wall properly - there are a lot of ways to accomplish this but just think about it ahead of time what is near those walls any time you put in a pocket door, because you lose the structure of the wall and the ability to penetrate it very deeply as it holds the door and casing in the pocket. Pockets are very useful if used well. Make sure if you do that you get sturdy ones (the pocket and track system).

Another place you could use a pocket if desired is the door to the guest room. It would save door swing space, but generally people like to have standard doors as bedroom doors. With your guest room with better space usage and a bathroom next door sorta en suite, you have hedged your bets well if for any reason you have to sell, you can market this as a unique double master bedroom house.

I just noticed your basement stairs are nominally 3-6. Depending on how you make the rail, I really like available tread at about 42 inches for a "transport" stairway (one that you may have to move big stuff up and down). So 42 inches of unimpeded space on the stairway, which usually means wider than that in order to mount the rail/banister. Depends on if you have wall or banister, etc. Wall you lose about 4-6 inches from a wall mounted rail sticking out. Banister you can mount on the outside surface or on the tread surface, so depending on which you may or may not lose unimpeded space from the banister. Even if you have a 36 inch door into the stairs and can fit something through that, when you carry it your elbows stick out! Most furniture will fit through a 36 inch door.

The master shower as it is in your latest drawing: make sure they run the plumbing up the closet wall to the shower head if you live in an extreme weather climate, rather than in any exterior house wall. Another great thing about this is you can have them build a plumbing access plate into your closet wall, so if you ever need to access your shower plumbing you can get to it easily without tearing out a wall, but the access is in a closet so isn't generally seen.

The bedroom door into the master bedroom: right now I assume you chose that door swing so your wall space for furniture placement isn't taken up on the internal wall. But your door covers the window. One solution is to use a small french door, like two 18 inch doors, then the one window side won't cover the window and the one wall side won't take up much wall space.

I notice your door to the stairs is very close to the garage wall. Same considerations about needing space for door trim (casing) apply as discussed earlier about windows. Looks like you don't have room for door casing on that door, didn't check all the others.

Whever possible, try to create spaces with cross-ventilation possibilities. You can already do this through the master suite if you leave the bathroom door open. In the guest room and guest bathroom, you can accomplish this by building a mechanical transom over their doors (assuming you would want cross ventilation WHILE the doors are closed for privacy, that is). Then if you have a window open on the backside of the house and the guest room or bathroom windows open, you get cross ventilation. This is if you live in a climate where this would be beneficial and you are interested in outside air flow through your spaces. A solid transom will transmit air when open but when closed will be better to NOT transmit noise, whereas a louvered transom will transmit more noise open or closed. Another consideration for this theme is to build in a whole house attic fan - they are FANTASTIC (ha ha, no pun intended) and well worth the investment if you like outdoor air, indoors. If you did put in a whole house fan, then the transoms in the guest areas would allow those rooms to draw air but keep the doors shut, for privacy. In this case, you could also consider a transom over the master bedroom door, so you can have the whole house fan circulate air while the bedroom door is closed.

This post was edited by beautybutdebtfree on Thu, Jul 17, 14 at 7:21


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RE: Please critique my plan; thanks!!!

Thank you for the detailed responses. I will follow up when I am back home. One quick question.... When you suggested to put a foot or more on the "T" wall do you mean make the opening wider where the barn door would be?


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RE: Please critique my plan; thanks!!!

That would be the net effect of it, yes. See picture. Not sure how much room you have to play with on that bathroom door, but you get the idea. Just enough "T" so that you are not heading into chasm trying to find a door knob in a "V" and so that you have enough space for your door trim, plus a strip of drywall, for looks. A totally tight "V" will be too extreme. You'd need a bit of a "T." Actually, the shape is a bit like longhorn cattle horns, to be more precise, so a "T" with the tips turned up 45 degrees. ; ) The turned up tips are for the door casing, then the flat part of the "T" is for a strip of drywall. You'd need a bit of angled wall on the barn door side of the door, too, for casing; my drawing fails to show that but your CAD drawing does.

You might only need 6-12 inches on the flat part of the "T" for it to work; you'd have to build some cardboard models and see how it works.


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RE: Please critique my plan; thanks!!!

bbdf.....are you an architect? You seem to have some 'very' good ideas.


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RE: Please critique my plan; thanks!!!

Robin - LOL, that's flattering, but no, I am a homeowner and avid DIYer. We planned and half built our own home from pen and paper up, no starting pre-packaged plans that were altered. Most of the pre-packaged plans are designed for look and feel and NOT for actual efficiency, and certainly not for cost efficiency. If you study most of them, you realize many of the room spaces are inadequate for the purpose of the house, for example a 4-5 bedroom house with a dining room sized for a 4 person table and no server furniture. That sort of thing. People want to have this look and that look and this room and that room, but rarely want to do the work of actually thinking through the efficiency and actual space usage of how THEY will use the space.

That is why this particular project is so interesting to me. Kshows is thinking the way I like to think and approaching the project differently from most folks. I think Kshows is going to end up with a fabulous space because of the approach being used, so I want to help where I can.

We know every board in our house, because we both designed our house and then quit our jobs and both worked full time building it several months. We had a general contractor, and about half the labor was from him and subs, the other half we did. We did anything we could learn the skills to do and physically accomplish. We both grew up in households with extensive construction experience so we were not novice when we did this, but not professionals either, just avid DIYers who are aggressive when we want to master something. (We did the entire electrical system - 400 amp - , all the flooring, the central vacuum system, all the infrastructure for cable routing and phone, plumbing finishes and fixtures installs such as shower/tub surrounds, etc.). We did not do framing, roofing, drywall, painting, plumbing system, or concrete/excavation/masonry/mechanicals. We had to go through inspections just like subs, and pass.) So we learned a WHOLE lot of how a house is built and what works and what doesn't and what is useful to think about in the design of a house, for it to work well later, or be more flexible space later, or be lower maintenance later. Most people are NOT thinking about these "later" aspects, they have fallen in love with a look and feel and dream.

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Anyway, a few more thoughts for you kshows:

1. Put grab bars anywhere you might later need them. They are cheap to buy and install, and the framing you want behind your walls is cheap to do if you know to do it and plan for it (they need to hit a stud when installed, with something like 3-4 inch screws for install so you have to have the framers put a stud or piece of stud where you want the anchors). Place then in shower walls (horizontal), toilet surrounds (sloped up away from toilet), etc. Also, half walls next to toilets make a person less exposed feeling and offer a place to mount grab bar and tissue holder and hide better a little trash can or plunger. We on the non-toilet side also put a towel bar.

2. Trade places between your front entry closet, and the closet to the guest room, then extend the guest room closet over the stairs, effectively doubling that closet size. You will have a slanted floor inside the closet over the stair portion (hatched in my picture), but still have use above that for clothes bar or shelving the rest of the way up. You can even have stepped shelves put onto the slope for storage, too.

3. Think about your mechanicals, in the basement. The builder will cluster them in one end or the other. You have plumbing on the two ends of the house, so think which end you want fast hot water and which end you can wait for it to run through the pipes, then place your mechanical end of the basement accordingly. This is a rather fine point, but if you care it's something to think about.

4. Under that piece of counter next to the laundry is a good place to have an open cubby for baskets or hamper. You need somewhere to accumulate laundry before you wash it for that round. You may want to use the washer dryer tops as your folding surface, and use the space next to them for a basket tower, some baskets holding dirty and other clean and processed laundry - depends on how much you generate and how you want to deal with it, but you actually have adequate folding space using the machines if need be.

5. Your house and its exposure are a great candidate for a solar system. If this would EVER be a possibility, plan now on the exact placement of the house axis on the lot and think about this as you plan your roof slope, too.

6. Also, because this is a one story with trussed attic, you could think about strategic solar tubes. They bring daylight down a tube into an otherwise darker space, from the roof. Typically interior or northern facing spaces could use them, so your guest room or bathroom or even your foyer. Not saying you need them, but just think about the concept and whether it would benefit your space somewhere.

This post was edited by beautybutdebtfree on Sun, Jul 20, 14 at 9:04


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RE: Please critique my plan; thanks!!!

So many great ideas in your responses, I'm very grateful you are sharing your knowledge and experience!!!
I posted another picture with the changes. I do like the french doors into the master (or maybe I'd put in another barn door :), and I will use a french door instead of a sliding door in the living area.
I'm wondering if I have too many windows; I want as much natural light as possible. I may have exceeded the 15% of the wall space though, and may need to cut back. Would the house have to be "super insulated" in order to keep all the windows?


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RE: Please critique my plan; thanks!!!

Good windows will always lose more heat than good walls. But the relative efficiency of windows vs. walls is affected by a lot of things: climate, orientation of the house, quality and construction elements of windows, type of window coverings used inside, soffit overhangs of the roof, etc.

One of the best investments you can make now is a good 3-d visualizing software, so you can SEE your windows and then plan only what you need, but enough for what you need. Visualizing software is NOT an area to get cheap on; it is worth its investment so you can plan properly and get what you need, but no more than what you need. Everything you plan that is MORE than you need figure over the life of a mortgage every dollar you spend on this will cost you $3, plus annual maintenance and taxes and the cost to climate control it. So it pays to give yourself what you NEED generously, but make sure you don't plan for MORE than you need, because that just becomes empty space that you pay for again and again. Visualizing software will also help you see where you are just planning empty space that is really excessive, too. For example, you could lose a one foot slice across this plan, taken from the foyer, the living/dining then the master bedroom, and not notice it. Most of the spaces here could lose 20-30% volume and still be generous and roomy. (The only spaces I wouldn't tweak would be the closet space allotments and the kitchen square footage.) If you have a walk-out basement with access below, you can have less generous stairs down to the basement. Those sorts of things.

There may be energy audit type folks who could help with actual numbers on the windows vs. wall ratio numbers.

I would definitely think about enlarging the patio door to possibly a 3 pane slider type. French doors eat huge amounts of real estate in swing needs. If you enlarged the patio entrance, you could lose the two side flanking windows and still get a lot of light, but then ALSO have some bits of wall space. I'm particularly thinking about dining furniture, you have NO place to put any sort of server/buffet/china cabinet/hutch. I think you will want those two pieces of wall space on that back wall, and that you can get plenty of daylight with the HUGE kitchen window and an oversize slider type opening.

One other thought: not to get personal, but since you mentioned you will live alone you should plan for security. If you have openings such as basement windows or a door to a daylight basement, make sure they are designed for your safety. Also, if you are the type who loves outdoor air indoors via open windows at night, the type and location of windows that open should be chosen with security in mind; for example you could plan openable thin transom windows up high on the back wall for air circulation to leave open at night, rather than large ground floor windows someone could gain entrance through. Or some type of windows where the opening portion is either high up, or small opening, or both. Just think about the mind of a nefarious person, and plan backwards toward securing your space, in case. (You can still have your large ground floor windows, but if you ADD some higher transoms for air flow, then at night you can SECURE the large ground floor windows and use the transoms open for air flow, is what i meant. You could also put high transoms over the wall space on that back wall, thus getting both the wall space, plus some daylight from the transoms, instead of large standard windows flanking the patio opening.)

This post was edited by beautybutdebtfree on Mon, Jul 28, 14 at 7:39


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RE: Please critique my plan; thanks!!!

I do have a basic/limited 3-D program that I'm using; actually since 2011 (those earlier plans look pretty bad to me now).
I agree with your thoughts on including only what is needed. My original starting point was to keep the outer dimensions divisible by 4' or 8' (advice for keeping material/labor costs down by using standard sizes for materials and therefore less labor to cut to size) and then I created the rooms within. If I stick with that advice then it is hard to cut sq ft. because I'd have to reduce by 4 feet.
I included another image- this time with furniture and 1' grid lines. (I hope you can see the grid lines). Most walkways between objects have about 4'. The flat object in the corner is the TV
It probably makes more sense to cut empty space; with the furniture placed, do you find anywhere specific that seems to be unusable space that can be tweaked?
I had the basement stairs at 4' so I can reduce to about 42". I increased the patio door, so if 3' is wide enough to bring in furniture then the siding door will work just fine.
Even though I am in the Northeast, I'd like to have some solar heat gain in the winter through those south facing windows. The kitchen window does look big- I was thinking a 4 foot fixed window (unobstructed view) flanked by two 2 foot operable windows.
I do appreciate the ideas on windows and safety, I will definitely follow your advice since I love having the windows open whenever the weather is nice!!!


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RE: Please critique my plan; thanks!!!

My original starting point was to keep the outer dimensions divisible by 4' or 8' (advice for keeping material/labor costs down by using standard sizes for materials and therefore less labor to cut to size) and then I created the rooms within. If I stick with that advice then it is hard to cut sq ft. because I'd have to reduce by 4 feet.

Why wouldn't the divide by 4' or 8' advice also apply to the interior walls? And then how would you get the two (exterior and interior) to both be divisible?


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RE: Please critique my plan; thanks!!!

I understand what you are trying to do with the 4 foot increments; however in real life they mostly don't work out that way because you have to account for the dimensions of the layers, such as drywall, finish trim, siding/brick/stone, etc. So it's important not to go OVER your increment, but it's very likely you will go slightly under most places, or else you will end up with slightly over on external surfaces. If you are planning for certain siding lengths on the exterior then this can put you into small pieces, etc.

On the interior: depending on how you cover your windows, there may be space lost due to window coverings out into the room. For example, if you use curtains (and curtains are an energy saving layer at night when drawn during cold weather), they typically use up at least six inches into the room off the wall. So a window over a dresser will use up your dresser top with curtain overhang, etc. Or if the curtains go to the floor then you would have to pull your dresser out 6-8 inches from the wall. Likewise for the desk in your second bedroom.

Don't forget this same concept with your barn door, too. You will have to pull furniture out 6-9 inches for the door to clear behind any furniture pieces. Right now you have furniture pieces in the track of your barn door, in the drawing.

It's also very awkward to have a piece of furniture partially covered by a window, as it looks your master night stands will be. Much better to have pure wall behind them, or all window, but not in between - it will not look right visually. Remember that your birdseye view shows only the window width. You then have to visually account for more width due to casing/trim and then a few more inches still if you hang curtains and have the rod wider than the casing.

Allow about six inches between the bed and a night stand, too. That six inch gap is the perfect place for an outlet bedside. But you also just need it for space.

If you have a seating corner in the master bedroom, you will likely sometimes read while sitting there. Therefore you need real estate to put a desk lamp or floor lamp, for lighting.

Next up to think about: lighting (and where the controls will be) for the dining and living rooms. This is more of a challenge than it first looks, because you need most your light coming from above in this over-sized single space. Normally you get a good chunk of light bounced off the walls in smaller rooms, but in the case of huge rooms then your light has to come from above and be adequate without being piercing to the eyes.

You'll want at least two carefully placed floor outlets in the living room.

You'll want to locate your dining table light fixture carefully so it ends up over the table correctly. We did a chandelier type fixture centered over the table, and then two down pointing cans, one on either side of the chandelier. In our case, the chandelier has frosted type glass and the bulbs in the glass pointing UP. It does a great job of washing the ceiling with light, but the table is muffled and rather dark. So we needed down light as well to increase the intensity of light on the table, which you want so you can see well when you are eating, and to highlight table decor.

One thing you can do in the living room is plan wall sconces along the available walls that will wash the walls with light both upwards and downwards. Another approach is to place some ceiling can lights near walls, such that their light cones then hit and wash down the wall (if you don't want to have sconces on the walls) Otherwise the room will tend to look dark during non daylight times. Don't underestimate how lit walls will make the atmosphere inviting and cheerful, whereas non-lit walls, even with good ceiling light, tend to make a space dreary. Another great option is to use carefully planned LED strips up against the wall or ceiling, to make a light wash, similar to above cabinet lighting. These concepts do not have to be expensive to do or energy hogs, either, if done carefully. In our bedrooms we used wall mounted two x 4 foot fluorescent t8 fixtures, mounted horizontally on the wall up high. We then put up a curtain rod and valence/cornice to cover the fixture. Light washes the wall and ceiling from the top bulb, and washes down the wall from the bottom bulb, but does NOT glare into your eyes, due to the valence/cornice. Very cheap to do, very inexpensive energy-wise for the amount of light you get, very cheap parts to replace. Lighting is one area where you can EAT IT in your budget if you don't plan carefully, both in buying fixtures and in energy consumption.

The three big challenges of "open concept" spaces are furniture placement in the absence of walls, lighting, and electrical outlet placement. (With a two story house you have another: infrastructure placement such as heating ducts and plumbing lines to reach the second floor, but this doesn't apply in your one-story house case.)

Don't forget there are in-between models, too, to open concept. Half walls maintain the visual feel of open concept, but also allow for furniture placement against a (half) wall and outlets placed in (half) walls. One thing we did was put cased openings (like glassless windows between rooms) in the wall between our den and dining room. This was intermediate between a wall and open concept. It gave us the wall space we needed for furniture placement and in-wall infrastructure (ducts, etc.) but still gave visual sense of openness between the two rooms. It was a great balance for us.

I'm not seeing glaring wasted space. There are a few pockets of space that are just... space. Like the chunk outside the entrance door to the master bathroom. There's a chunk in the guest bedroom. You'll want to trim the size of the shower in the master back into that niche and not bring it the whole size of the niche. This will cost much less to build, be MUCH more friendly to clean and maintain, and give you a chunk of "in-niche" space outside the shower where you can have your ceiling ventilation fan mounted (in our case we mounted two heat lamps on either side of the fan in that niche, but they are on separate control so we don't burn energy using them unless we are chilled). You have very generous spaces in general but not that much wasted space; part of it will be how you use the space and arrange stuff in it.

One more thought: if you are a pet person, then plan for real estate for feeding, food storage, bed/crate, toy storage, litter box, etc. And a cabinet or drawer for pet related stuff (grooming brushes, treats, etc.)

This post was edited by beautybutdebtfree on Wed, Jul 30, 14 at 22:59


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