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Please help with plan.

Posted by A.Davis (My Page) on
Wed, Aug 24, 11 at 17:44

We are going with our builder next week to our architect to have plans made. My builder told me that it was easier if I had somewhat of and idea in mind. I have been through around six versions of plans and have decided on the front elevation of Southern Living's Cottage of the Year (main house).

[IMG]http://i1113.photobucket.com/albums/k517/pdavisfarms/cottageoftheyear2.jpg[/IMG]

This is our first and only build. Our land is three acres on the wooded hill.

[IMG]http://i1113.photobucket.com/albums/k517/pdavisfarms/March055.jpg[/IMG]

I can not get the shared bath and bedroom closets to layout right. I am hoping you good help point out some things I have not thought of. Thank you in advance.

[IMG]http://i1113.photobucket.com/albums/k517/pdavisfarms/DavisCottagePlan.jpg[/IMG]


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: Please help with plan.

Sorry new to posting pictures.

Cottage of the Year
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Our Land
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The Plan
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RE: Please help with plan.

Cool lot! Where is it?


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RE: Please help with plan.

Thank you, we are in northern middle Tennessee.


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RE: Please help with plan.

It is usually best to make a schematic diagram or list of the spaces you need and how you will use them and to then ask the architect to put it together for you. Multiple photos of architectural styles and living spaces that you like are helpful too.

But instead of thinking of the architect's services as "making plans", it is best to involve the architect, yourself and the builder in a collaborative design process in order to use the available skills and expertise. In my experience, the best person to direct such an effort is the architect.


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RE: Please help with plan.

I'm sorry. I dislike both the elevation and the layout. The elevation looks like a Lego creation and the plan has tiny rooms.

Where to begin? The too-small LR, DR and Breakfast areas? The path through the master bath to the closet? The window IN that closet? The wrong-swing door from BR #3 to the bath? The tacked-on closet for BR #2? The pantry accessed via the laundry? (Who gave this an award?)

You have a beautiful site. I'd start fresh with the architect. Tell him/her how you'd like live inside the new house.


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RE: Please help with plan.

Thank you for your advice. This is not the original plan that goes with the house, it is one I came up with. We are wanting to build a smaller house, no more than 2400 sqft plus walk out basement. We only have a 15 month old son and are not having anymore. We have a meeting with our builder and architect next week. I have already made a binder with all of our pictures and ideas categorized by room to show them in our meeting. Thank you again.


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RE: Please help with plan.

A.Davis- I think your elevation is wonderful and your lot is lovely. What a beautiful area of the country :)

Your plan has some very good features and I like that you want to keep the house smaller, with a walk out basement. Much easier to heat and cool.

You do need some help with parts of the plan (and I'm sure you've noticed your plan doesn't exactly match the facade) but I think you have some good ideas and it will give the architect some direction. I've linked to the floor plan, just to see what matches the facade...and I'm wondering, do you like anything about the interior or porches? Would it work, if you could include a second bedroom with the master suite, for your son?

Have you ever thought of combining the mudroom and laundry areas, maybe bringing the pantry a little closer to the kitchen work area? In the breakfast nook, do you want another table (as in the dining room) or maybe a banquette, to make it a little different and cozy?

Also, with your lovely views, I would consider having more windows on the side...maybe having the bedrooms on one wing, so you can have natural light coming in on three sides, of the living area. I can understand wanting some privacy, but it is possible to do that in one wing...maybe have the guest room/study between your bedroom and your son's bedroom?

Don't worry so much about actual room dimensions and layout, right now. That's where the architect will help you. Think about how you want the light bouncing around the rooms...what views you want to capture...do you want a screened porch (I would)...and are you planning to have a garage. Make sure it doesn't block your best views.

Also, when you're on the lot...where is your morning light? Sunsets? Do you want the kitchen, bright and cheerful in the morning and maybe enjoy the sunset from the porch? Lots to consider, but have fun with the process. You'll be glad you took the extra time, when you end up with the home of your dreams. You already have a beautiful lot...so make sure the home fits the land, your family and your lifestyle.

Best of luck and have some fun! :)

Here is a link that might be useful: Floor plan to cottage


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RE: Please help with plan.

OP:

I like the elevation -- it is charming and I would love a house that looks like that. It looks completely appropriate for a few acres in the country.

With 2400 sq. ft, I would consider removing either the dining room or breakfast room. Of course, this depends on how you live and entertain. Do you eat at the dining table often? We got rid of our breakfast room in our plan.. and honestly, we should have gotten rid of the dining room too. We just sit at the island.

Also, the jack n' jill bathroom, optimally, would have two rooms. One that both doors open into with just sinks. The other (beyond that room) would have the toilet/shower area. This makes for a more functional room for people in the shared room. Your architect will help you with this, though.

Where is the garage? Is there one? (Is that what the small little house is supposed to be in the photo?) My pantry is easily accessible from the garage. More importantly, it's easily accessible from the kitchen.... If the pantry door could open towards the kitchen (in your current plan,) I think that would be many times more convenient for you.

With just one child to share your home with, does it make more sense to have the laundry room near the master bedroom? We did this and love the choice.

Lavendar made some good points above. One other thing to consider.... what direction does the wind come from, if you have a lot of wind? (We do.... so we have the house oriented to avoid noisy wind where we sleep.)

RE: the closet thru the master bathroom....... chisue doesn't like that, but many of us do. That is definitely up to you and how you live. DH and I have different schedules so we have a door from our closet (which is past our bathroom) that leads to the laundry room..... It's very convenient and ideal for us.

Good luck!


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RE: Please help with plan.

A. Davis- Your Southern Living cottage is so charming, I was looking at some of the other plans, on the site. This one may not be your style, but the facade is very similar to the one above...if you made the laundry/mudroom the vestibule area (and of course it's flipped) it does show the light coming in on three sides of the living area.

You could have a bedroom or two, in the daylight basement, which would give you more bedrooms, without building the upstairs. Just a thought, but I wanted to link it for you. Of course, I'd still want to include that wonderful screened porch, from the other plan :)

Here is a link that might be useful: Calabash Cottage


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RE: Please help with plan.

Lavender Lass- Thank you, the section of land has been in my husband�s family since the late 1800s and out of the entire farm, it was our favorite. I loved the entire fa�ade of the original home but my husband liked everything but the small little attached section. So we compromised and did away with the attached section.

I loved the porch with fireplace but I wasn�t crazy about going through it to get to my son�s room. So I would definitely love to have that feature but set up differently. We are going to use the third bedroom as my son�s playroom and later on as a quest room.

My husband is a Farmer, so a mudroom and large laundry are much needed. To be honest, I am not really sure if I want the mudroom separate or together with the laundry. I also planned on using the laundry room as a craft room as well. I am not that crazy about where the pantry is now and do want it closer to the kitchen.

I love the banquette idea and had saved a picture for our build. I am a stay-at-home-mom and I am constantly cooking. So the kitchen having the open window to the living room with bar for eating is really important. We plan on having friends over quite often to grill and for games, so having a somewhat open entertaining plan would work best.

Our house will face north, possibly North/West.

You have brought to mind some things I have not thought of and have been a great help! Thank you!


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RE: Please help with plan.

LoLauren- I always said that I would never have a dining room and in the first few plans I considered never had one. Then I started thinking about how large of an extended family we have and decided it would really be beneficial to the holidays. Once our house is finished I plan on hosting the holiday dinners and I do feel like we will use it more than just holidays.

The thing I had the most problems with was trying to figure out layout for the bath and closet area. We figured we would just wait for the architect to tell us what you work, so I just left it alone on the plan.

Yes, I want the garage to come off the mudroom and laundry with a side entrance. We want an oversized two car garage. In the original house the small little area was a separate master wing; my husband hated the outside look of it.

This will probably sound odd but my husband is actually having his own laundry room and bathroom down in the basement. He is a farmer, so we will have one set of washer and dryers for good clothes upstairs and another set downstairs solely for his farm clothes. And he can keep all his work clothes down there. You should see how dirty the washer gets during cutting season.

I agree� I just do not like going through the closet or hall of a closet to get to the bathroom. Thank you for some great ideas!


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RE: Please help with plan.

A Davis- We live on a farm, too! It was my husband's grandparent's farm and we just love it. We're in eastern Washington, close to the Idaho border. Lots of pine trees, aspens, poplars and a huge lilac hedge by the house :)

My husband doesn't actually do the farming (we rent the land to a farmer nearby) but I know how important a mudroom can be, especially during the early spring/muddy season! LOL

When you said you would like a craft room, maybe with the laundry area...I wonder, would it work to combine the craft room with the formal dining room? If you don't use the dining room every day, but want one for big family meals, it would give you room to spread out, when you're working on crafts. Maybe have french doors, to close off the space, when you're working?

Craft storage could be in the lower part of the hutch (drawers and cabinet) with dish storage and display above. To balance your front windows, you might want to make the dining room a little larger, which would give you more space.

I learned a lot about sightlines, light and flexible space, by reading 'The Not So Big House' by Sarah Susanka. If you have a library nearby, you should be able to find a copy. She's written several books, but I think her first one was the best.


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RE: Please help with plan.

Ah-hah! I couldn't see how the plan fit the elevation -- or won a prize. It's completely understandable now I know it was your own early attempt at a plan. (Quite good, actually, just not prize-winning!)

I'm glad you are have started thinking about where you want what and have collected illustrations for the architect.

When I look at your land I think of the classic southern story and a half home with full-width front porch. It's similar to what you posted, but with dormers instead of the (IMO) eye-disturbing cluster of frames. The beautiful sweep of the land would be echoed by an elongated facade -- not interrupted by an upright cottage. Glad you're not doing the extension.

Consider making your family eating area larger. 12 X 12 is about minimum. Could it be placed where you could extend the seating on holidays? The formal DR you've sketched is too small to seat many people. Seating all in a row at a counter isn't as good for conversation or enjoying a meal that you've spent time preparing.

Your MBR could be smaller. Most walk-in closets contain all your clothing storage. I don't like to see a closet take up exterior walls where you *could* have daylight coming in.

I'm campaigning to eliminate the ugly term 'MUD Room'. We have a 'back hall' with laundry at one end and storage and a powder room at the other. Doors to garage and kitchen are opposite one another in the middle. There's a 'drop zone' for coats, boots, all the 'stuff' that comes and goes (like mail). It keeps traffic out of the laundry area and junk out of the kitchen. Hurray for your DH's 'work laundry'! (Maybe he'll have a 'man cave' down there too.) I like my laundry where *I* am during the day, the kitchen. Some prefer it near the MBR.

Will BR #2 be the playroom? (Where you can easily supervise from the kitchen?)

Your library may have a book I've just found, "Patterns for Home" 2002 by Architects Jacobson, Silverstein and Winslow. (Forward by Susanka.) It has many illustrations of how ten principles of building can make a home more enjoyable.


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RE: Please help with plan.

A smaller scale of this is what I had in mind for the laundry/craft room.

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Originally our plan was to make the eating area like you suggested, Chisue. To have a area that will accomodate a table with leafs and then I decided we should have a formal dining room. And now I am thinking we should stay with our original plan. The more I think about it, the more I feel like having a formal dining room doesn't benefit us enough for the cost of budget and square footage. Plus I could then have a larger craft/laundry or living room.

Maybe something like this but less modern and obviously a larger table and area.

Modern Kitchen inserted into Antique Carriage House modern kitchen

Pottery Barn has a beautiful table that will extend to seat 12 people.
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Do you think a 14 x 16 Master Bedroom would be too small? For us I know that we would never use a sitting area. I had my husband measure out the house on the land and the master(14 x 16) seemed small.

I am not sure if we could get it to work but I would like to have the playroom beside the kitchen with maybe a window or something to be able to see him while cooking?


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RE: Please help with plan.

You can play around with graph paper and cutouts of your bed, side tables, a bench -- whatever you want IN your MBR. Most people prefer a headboard against an inside wall. It's desireable to have windows on two sides of any room. Architects like MBR's on the East, but I couldn't get both my MBR and my breakfast room East, so our MBR is West, and that's been OK.

While I'm 'on the sunny side', we've enjoyed our screened porch in a SE corner formed by our breakfast room and DR. There's a big shade tree just South of it. We once had a patio SW and couldn't use it after noon due to the heat. We like to eat on our screened porch, so having it near the kitchen is good. Our porch has two skylights in the East gable -- keeps interior rooms bright even in winter.

I like your banquette photo with the rectangular bay. Not sure how you'd extend the table area with that setup, but...guests don't HAVE to all eat at one table, as long as they are all together in the same area/room, and the tables feel 'equal' in prestige.

It's unlikely your son will play alone where he can't see YOU. Maybe your craft room could be playroom too while your son is so young. (Not sure what crafts you like.)

I did a lot of work with graph paper and cutouts before we built. Don't think you'll be 'ready to roll' after one visit with the architect, and don't let the builder pressure you. Paper's cheap. Building change orders are expensive.


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RE: Please help with plan.

You're in the inspiration gathering mode of home building rather than actual plan revising. It's a little premature to critique a plan that your professional hasn't come up with yet. :)

There's nothing wrong with looking at other plans for inspiration and jotting down the details that you love about them. It's what your pro will need in order to be able to create something useful to you. Be mindful that a smaller home needs to have many multi-use spaces rather than single use ones. Your craft room/laundry area is a great idea to combine uses to save space. Add in your mud area and pantry also. It would be like a second kitchen almost, with cabinetry and an island/table. If you can, you could plan an old coil top cooktop and vent in the space for when you do that. (stolen from macybabys summer kitchen)

A multi use dining area could have the banquette and table for family meals, while having the leaves be added for larger gatherings. If you combined the eating area and an office/library type space, you could line the walls with bookcases and use a library type table for a desk that could also be slid up to the family dining table for additional seating.

If you have a large eating area and craft/mud area adjacent to the kitchen, it need not be large to be able to be functional and social. The cooking space itself could be quite small if you could spread your helpers out to the table or craft area that was within view.


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RE: Please help with plan.

Lavender_Lass: We had our meeting on Friday night and the first thing Chris, our architect, pulled out of his bag was "The Not So Small House"!
I immediately thought of you and your suggestion.

I posted on the Small House forum because we had scrapped this plan and went with a much smaller home. But now after our meeting we are back up to 2100 sq.ft. and now I feel like I'm in-between the two forums? Too big for the small home(over 2000) and much smaller than most homes here.

Our architect, Chris Eller, is amazing and was able to take everything we were not able to fully express and sketch us the perfect house! We should have our plans next week and our really looking forward to starting.

Thank you everyone for your advice and help! I'm looking forward to being able to post in the monthly updates.


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RE: Please help with plan.

Thanks for the update. We'll be looking for your new plans!


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Chisue- Cutting out the graph paper was a huge help, thank you!

Here is our sketch of the front exterior. Black or dark brown tin roof, Old Virginia's "Old Georgetown" Brick with tannish mortar and maybe stained wood columns with stone bottoms.

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