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Think this might be THE plan for me...Chesnee by Don Gardner

Posted by sanctuarygirl (My Page) on
Wed, Nov 2, 11 at 12:14

In the home stretch for selecting house plans. Been looking for a one-level plan between 2,500-2,800 sq ft for several years now and feel like the whole process has forced me to get to know myself better and how I really live versus some pie-in-the-sky idea about how I WANT to live. Key to this was having a single dining area. If anyone has any input, I sure would like to hear it.

The plan is the Chesnee from Donald Gardner, a smaller, updated version of his Birchwood plan. I would be eliminating the sitting area tacked onto the master bedroom, which would leave it at about 2,700 sq ft, which this whole process has taught me is just about the perfect size for how I want to live.

modified Chesnee plan:

Original Birchwood plan and images:

The Chesnee is one of a slew of plans that the folks at Gardner have been modifying using consumer responses on their House Plans on the Drawing Board page (, which I think is good move on their part (a bit of a gimmick, but it makes people feel that the designers are listening to their target audience).

Here is a link that might be useful: Chesnee plan by Donald Gardner

Follow-Up Postings:

RE: Think this might be THE plan for me...Chesnee by Don Gardner

I really like your plan! The screened porch is wonderful and the pantry and e-space are great. I can see why you're taking off the bump out seating area, in the master suite...but could you add back a small area, if you brought the closet wall up even with the back of the bedroom? It would give you a smaller seating area and would even out that corner. Just an idea...

Also, as much as I like the overall plan, I think the kitchen could be better. The placement is great, but the layout could really be improved. Maybe post that part of the plan on the kitchen forum?

Overall, I think you've done a great job of evaluating what you need and how you really live. That can be difficult, but it's the key to getting a plan that really works, for you and your family. Congratulations on finding such a nice plan! :)

RE: Think this might be THE plan for me...Chesnee by Don Gardner

Depending on your climate and whether or not you entertain (or use the front door yourselves), you might want to add a coat closet near the front entry. In the current plan, you'd have to walk through the great room and then either the DR or kitchen to hang up coats in the closet by the utility, or walk through the study and use that closet. Might not be a big deal for you if you're in a warm, dry climate.

I second the notion to post on the kitchens forum. Right now it looks like there's a major pathway between the sink and cooktop. It might work better to keep the sink (and the cooktop) in the lower half of the kitchen, so your workspaces aren't in a pathway. Then the upper island is more for socializing / storage. But the layout pros on the kitchen forum will know better than I.

It would help to know more about you: how many in your family, kids (ages), how many cooks, whether you entertain, etc.

BTW we have some Solatubes (called sun tunnels on your plan) and really like them. They add alot of light.

PS Utility Room

PS - I really like that there is a side door into the laundry room. My friend has a set up like that and it's great for kids coming in from playing outside, or for you coming in after doing yard work, etc. I think you'll also like it if you have a dog. Great to have an entrance where you can be a bit of a mess and not worry about your pretty front hall.

RE: Think this might be THE plan for me...Chesnee by Don Gardner

Lavender, thanks for the comments. Yes, the kitchen will definitely have to be tweaked. Now that you mention it, my plan is to move the kitchen sink to the front wall under the window (though I will keep small sink on the larger island) and move the stove/cooktop to the right side of the "U" counter. Speaking of the island, as it is drawn, it has an elevated bar, but I will do it all one level with a leg space for 3 or 4 on the side facing the dining. Lots of storage in this huge island, the idea makes me drool! LOL The small island inside the U would be the working island for prep and such, while the larger island

I am also considering eliminating the upstairs bonus room altogether, which would get rid of the stairway, and then I would reuse that space for dining storage on one side and to add a linen closet on the side facing the bath, and a small mudroom area facing the back entry. This plan needs more linen closets!


Hi, chicagoans. Yes, I was thinking that as drawn, I would have to use the closet in the study for a coat closet, which I don't like, but may have to settle for. And I live in the Northern MS, so while it does get plenty cold and freezing here, it rarely snows. I have been trying to see where I could add a coat closet near the front entrance, but it would involve messing with the walls of the den or the kitchen pretty much, right?

Unfortunately, I am a family of one. My husband recently passed away, but he would not want me to stop trying to get this house built, he would be delighted! I am 43, but I have no children (though I am thinking of adopting one), so it would just be a really great house for me and then for entertaining family and friends on special occasions. I have no pets to consider. And yes, the door into the laundry room is super-great!

RE: Think this might be THE plan for me...Chesnee by Don Gardner

Sanctuarygirl- I am so sorry to read about your loss. I think you should build this house and I hope you are able to adopt a child...this home looks like a great place for children. However, it's also a wonderful place for one and entertaining with friends.

You said you don't have any pets, but I hope you get one, when your house is finished. Whether it's a cat, dog or guinea pig, it is nice to have a happy face waiting for you, when you walk in the door. I have kitties and horses...and they all love seeing us, especially at meal time! :)

RE: Think this might be THE plan for me...Chesnee by Don Gardner

Sanctuary: I too am so sorry for your loss. Good for you for moving ahead with your plans for a lovely home!

RE: Think this might be THE plan for me...Chesnee by Don Gardner

Sanctuary girl--so sorry for your loss. Your house reminds me of my house built 6 yrs ago. Southern Living--Oak Hill Lane. I have the same set up with the laundry room and it is my only regret. I dislike taking guests through my laundry room to get into my home. Even though I have a lovely circle drive and the same nice front porch as your home, they still ring the side door and end up coming thru my laundry room. With a little tweeking, I think the company could rearrange things and create a small "friend's entrance" from that side porch without going through the laundry room.

Otherwise I really like your house.

BTW, I completed my family @ age 44.


RE: Think this might be THE plan for me...Chesnee by Don Gardner

You are so strong and I applaud you for going ahead after your loss.

There has been much talk of the laundry room...The plan for my home is very similar. One thing that I had to change was the laundry room. I didnt want to haul the laundry to the opposite end of the house. In my plan I would have to walk thru the kitchen. Yuck!

Just my opinion

RE: Think this might be THE plan for me...Chesnee by Don Gardner

Thank you all for your kind words. Red lover...folks like you give me hope, so thanks for sharing that info about your family! :) Trying to keep my perspective on all the things I truly do have to be thankful for this year, even though my husband is gone.

Well...this Chesnee plan is a modification of the Birchwood plan that had no entry door through the laundry room at all (see Birchwood link below). I don't like the entry through the laundry room that was added, and will probably eliminate it in favor of a separate door entry into the garage. I have heard this entry called various things from a "friend's entry" to "personnel door" to "man door". Whatever it's called, I will have one.

Here is a link that might be useful: Original plan

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