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What's wrong with this plan?

Posted by laurabethmsw (My Page) on
Wed, Oct 28, 09 at 22:37

Before I commit to this plan, give me some feed back. What might I be missing? The only thing I don't like is the lack of large mudroom? Do you see anyway I could make one fit? Thank you SOOOO much for your time.

Here is a link that might be useful: Birchwood plan


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: What's wrong with this plan?

you couls simply bump that mudroom out and add porch and a family entry if you liked


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RE: What's wrong with this plan?

The kitchen is not going to be a bright and cheery place. It's buried deep inside the house. It does not have its own windows, and what windows it does get light from look out onto covered porches, which in itself makes for dark rooms.

The laundry could be configured better. The sink should be next to the washer. There is plenty of room for a different arrangement.

The garage is a nice size, but it doesn't have a people door. The mud room is way too small to be useful.

The basement version does not have a coat closet anywhere. The crawl space version does not have one near the front door. There is no linen closet for the MBR. Linens would have to stored in one of the walk in closets or brought from the closets by the bedrooms at the other end of the house.

The fireplace on the outside wall of the screened porch is just plain silly. It is going to obscure the best views. If the designer is going to include a fireplace in a screened porch to heat the great outdoors, it should be against an interior wall so it doesn't rob from the view and the open outdoors feeling.


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RE: What's wrong with this plan?

What I like the least:
The kitchen will be dark (mayor issue to me) due to screened porch and you have to walk around island to go from sink to stove.
The bad design of the study bathroom doors and the fact that this bath will be used as powder room and is just by the master.
The lack of a coat closet either by the entry or by the back hallway. You actually do not have a mudroom at all, unless you are going to replace the e-space to create a mudroom which is ok.

Creek side,
Good catch about the garage door. There is no way to place one in the current configuration. They'll need to make the garage about 3.5' longer/deeper


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RE: What's wrong with this plan?

Putting the major kitchen appliances on different counters broken by doorways seems inefficient in more ways than one...like a design from the 40's.

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RE: What's wrong with this plan?

Personally I like the plan. You could add a people door from the garage to the front porch quite easily. The e-space could become your mudroom. The kitchen is buried inside the plan, but you could spend some extra time designing the lighting layout and it should be fine (under- and over-cabinet lighting would be a must). You just have to make sure the plan will work for you and your family!


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RE: What's wrong with this plan?

I like the plan, too, but do agree about the lighting issue in the kitchen. An option might be skylites or solatubes? I'm assuming you have children?....no mud room would be an issue for me. One idea would be to bring down the stairway/laundry wall to be even with the pantry, and move the garage out a bit. The entrance to the basement stairs is a huge bottleneck, you'd have major difficulties getting anything down the stairs. But by bring that wall down and rotating the stairs you'd have a better entrance. It would also open up an area for cubbies on the right as you enter from the garage. Is the sitting room off the master a heated area? The toilet area in the master bath is a bit odd. Is that a cupboard?


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RE: What's wrong with this plan?

I like the plan generally too, but I agree about the lighting issue in the kitchen. Since it's a ranch though, you could add a couple of really nice skylights in the kitchen. I'd also add one in the e-space/mudroom (I agree that you should have a mudroom and may be could combine it with the e-space). I don't like dark windowless interior spaces in general. May be you could steal some space from the study to add a coat closet by the main entry. I also agree that you might want to rework your kitchen island. The sink, stove and fridge don't seem like they are arranged the most efficiently. The folks on the kitchen forum could provide lots of advice. Good luck!


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RE: What's wrong with this plan?

I can't say I care at all for this plan. It's a hodgepodge of rooms going off in everywhich direction with no organizational scheme that I can detect. There doesn't seem to be anything that ties one room to the next. Plus, with all those jogs in-and-out on the exterior walls, it is going to be a majorly expensive house to build.

But functionally, one of my concerns would be the exceedingly long walk from Master bedroom to the secondary bedrooms. I'm all for parental privacy but, in this case, the kids' rooms are like in the next county over! If a little one started crying in the night, the parents would never hear the child. And imagine a 6 y.o. waking up in the night from a nightmare and trying to make her way through darkened rooms clear to Mommy's room. Pitiful!
Further, the house seems tailormade to allow teenagers to sneak in and out at night without Mom or Dad's knowledge!

Alternatively, if you're looking for a house to entertain in, consider that the great room and kitchen are not really designed to allow partiers to flow freely from one area to the other. Yes there is a open serving counter between kitchen and great room but to actually get from one room to the other, one must pass through a dinky little opening. It might be a 36" doorway but looks like it is probably only 32" wide. No way guests can circulate freely.

Not only will the kitchen be dark but, with the porches and screened porch surrounding them, I don't think the great room, dining room, or breakfast room will get much natural light either. The problem will be exacerbated if the house is oriented so that the two story garage section blocks sunlight from the house.

Then there are the closet problems:

There is no closet for guest's coats anywhere near the front entry.

To reach the closets serving the garage entrance, you have to walk about 12 feet from the door, jogging first to the right and then to the left. Mostly, nobody is going to bother.

The bedroom closets probably aren't big enough to be used the way the dotted lines suggest. For example, while dimensions aren't shown, the width of the master bedroom closets is clearly right at half the width of the master bedroom sitting area. Since that is labled as 10'x 10', the master bedroom closets are 5 ft wide. But the larger closet shows dotted lines indicating that clothing can be hung against both walls. NO WAY! Hanging clothing takes up about 22" of space so if you hang clothing along both walls of a 5' wide closet, you'll have to squeeze down a 16" wide aisle! That's tighter than the aisles at a discount clothing stores where you have to squeeze between the racks of clothing.

I like some of Donald Gardner's plans but this one leaves me cold. It looks like it was designed to "impress" someone rather than as a home to live in. I don't usually totally nay-say plans but, at least in my opinion, there is so much "wrong" with this plan that I'd start over from scratch.


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RE: What's wrong with this plan?

The bedroom closets probably aren't big enough to be used the way the dotted lines suggest. For example, while dimensions aren't shown, the width of the master bedroom closets is clearly right at half the width of the master bedroom sitting area. Since that is labled as 10'x 10', the master bedroom closets are 5 ft wide. But the larger closet shows dotted lines indicating that clothing can be hung against both walls. NO WAY! Hanging clothing takes up about 22" of space so if you hang clothing along both walls of a 5' wide closet, you'll have to squeeze down a 16" wide aisle! That's tighter than the aisles at a discount clothing stores where you have to squeeze between the racks of clothing.

Good catch. I missed that. Now that you have brought it up, I measured the closet and the MBR with a screen ruler (measures in pixels). Based on the dimensions on the plan, I calculate almost exactly 6' for the closet width, a little more than you, but still not enough. A minimum of 7' is required.


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RE: What's wrong with this plan?

Love you guys and all of your suggestions. Never thought about the teenagers sneaking out haha! I think I'll keep looking and use this as a starting point!! Thanks!


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RE: What's wrong with this plan?

I like this plan with some tweaks. To address the kitchen lighting issue, I think it would be enough to ditch the screened in porch off the casual eating area so that you get direct sunlight through the triple windows on the back. Combined with indirect light from the FR and DR windows, and a good lighting plan for the kitchen, I think you're fine.

As for the kids crying out in the night, there are certainly several options. For one, you do have a BR near the Master BR for when the kiddos are really small and more likely to need nighttime comfort. Indeed, I think this is a clear benefit to this plan because as you look around at other 1-story plans you will often find that the Master BR is isolated from other BR's. I am a big fan of having that one BR close to the Master whether it be for a nursery or office.

I do agree that the jog from the Master to the other BR's is a problem. We have encountered the same problem in our own 1-story plan and we're stumped. So if anyone has suggestions I'd like to hear it as well. One option is to locate a doorway to the Master BR off the FR, however that will make your Master BR more visible to visitors unless you create a vestibule with a 90 degree turn which would be murder when trying to move furniture ... not sure about whether that is really feasible.


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RE: What's wrong with this plan?

I like this plan with some tweaks. To address the kitchen lighting issue, I think it would be enough to ditch the screened in porch off the casual eating area so that you get direct sunlight through the triple windows on the back. Combined with indirect light from the FR and DR windows, and a good lighting plan for the kitchen, I think you're fine.

As for the kids crying out in the night, there are certainly several options. For one, you do have a BR near the Master BR for when the kiddos are really small and more likely to need nighttime comfort. Indeed, I think this is a clear benefit to this plan because as you look around at other 1-story plans you will often find that the Master BR is isolated from other BR's. I am a big fan of having that one BR close to the Master whether it be for a nursery or office.

I do agree that the jog from the Master to the other BR's is a problem. We have encountered the same problem in our own 1-story plan and we're stumped. So if anyone has suggestions I'd like to hear it as well. One option is to locate a doorway to the Master BR off the FR, however that will make your Master BR more visible to visitors unless you create a vestibule with a 90 degree turn which would be murder when trying to move furniture ... not sure about whether that is really feasible.


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RE: What's wrong with this plan? Birchwood by Donald Gardner

Has anyone actually built this plan? Does anyone have any interior photos? This is one plan that has most of the features we've been looking for with some amendments- such as a mudroom, stair location, guest coat closet etc. Many good comments already, but I would like to hear from someone who has this home. Thanks!


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RE: What's wrong with this plan?

What about this plan? It's also by Donald Gardener and has many of the same features as your plan...but I think the layout is a bit better.

The kitchen layout makes more sense....and it has a lot more light, since the nook is not shaded by the screened porch. There's also a morning room and the porch...both could have fireplaces, if you like.

The kids bedrooms are still separate, but not right next to the access to the garage. I also like all the pictures of the inside of the home. It really gives you an idea of the space...especially the ceiling heights.

There are two 'guest' bathrooms, one shared by the study/library and a half bath close to the garage and kitchen...and bonus room.

There is a huge mudroom/laundry (called the family studio) with plenty of storage. If you want a basement, it would be easy to expand this space a bit more (on to the porch) with maybe an island with built in bench, facing the garage entry...great place to sit and take off boots/shoes. Then bump out the garage a few feet...and make the stairs to the bonus room, just like those in the other plan, with basement access.

As for the exterior, if there are features you prefer (siding, windows, etc.) on the other plan, they should not be too difficult to add to this plan. The flow of the spaces, the light into each room and the overall layout is what is most important, in any floor plan. Hope this gives you some good ideas :)

Here is a link that might be useful: The Clarkson Plan


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RE: What's wrong with this plan?

Hey! I just happened upon your original post and I am curious as to if you ended up building this house plan.
Thanks!


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RE: What's wrong with this plan?

Has anyone built this house? I would love to hear about it! Please contact me!!


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RE: The Birchwood Plan 1239-Donald Gardner

I am seriously considering this plan with modificationns. However, I really don't like the front exterior as it is HO- HUM" just like every other house on the block and it doesn't look "craftsman" to me. I contacted Gardner and was told that if I wanted to ask whether the front could be modified to the extent I am thinking about I would have to pay about $80. to talk to someone about it. Really? Other plan sellers seem all too happy to offer advice and help
without charging to answer a pretty simple question. I am not asking for the modification, only if it can be done. What is Gardner's corner of the market that allows the company to get away with this?


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RE: What's wrong with this plan?

We are getting ready to build a Donald Gardner house in the next month. It is going to cost about 30K more than I had anticipated. Our contractor said the last 4 houses he has built has been D. Gardners and that they are more expensive to build than other homes that are similar in design.


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RE: What's wrong with this plan?

teksladybug
What did your builder give as a reason for the added expense? Was the plan drawn poorly? What plan did you decide on? Where did you get your initial cost estimate? Sorry for all these questions, but I really need to know whether my budget will allow me to build. Thanks for any info. you can give.


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RE: What's wrong with this plan?

No we did not end up building this plan. I had actually forgotten all about it but as I look back over it I'm reminded of what I originally liked about this one story. I was drawn to it because I like the idea of the kids bedrooms and laundry being tucked away in the back of the house. A way to contain the mess children bring, but I'm now realizing that it can't be contained! We went with a much different plan ultimately (Sarah Susanka's Home By Design Origional). We should break ground soon.

Here is a link that might be useful: Susanka plan


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RE: What's wrong with this plan?

Great choice to go with the Susanka plan. I find her designs to be thoughtful and very liveable looking.


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