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Our new home plan. Comments anyone?

Zoe52
14 years ago

I have been posting and lurking here now for over a year and have enjoyed picking everyone's brains. Now we have our drawings complete from our architect. This is to be our last forever home.

Since we are getting ready to put it into final format, we want to make sure that it is perfect. I am still having problems visualizing the vertical spaces but I can already see myself living in this home. Please note: Our exterior dimensions are as far as they can go for our set backs. The rear of the property will have a lake and golf view.

Please review and comment. Thanks in advance.

First Floor (The closet and cabinet in the LR is to be deleted)

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Second Floor

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Comments (32)

  • evans
    14 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    Fantastic, huge, amazing. You are blessed. but I assume you are looking for a harsh critic to help out. I don't know if these are important to you, but...

    Laundry is in the boonies.

    Master bed, you have only one choice of wall to put your bed against. Some people like to move stuff a lot.

    too bad the master entry door blocks the closet.

    Extra insulation in ceiling of Master bedroom or someone in the bedroom above might hear!!!

    No house is perfect. MOVE IN! :)
    And those are pretty picky.

  • solie
    14 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    Usually I either like a plan right away (or can se how the potential owner would like it) or I really dislike it. This plan is kind of in-between for me.

    I like the kitchen and the master suite - and those are very important. But I don't understand a 10' wide living room. Won't that seem like a vestibule in a home this size? Did your architect add an extra hallway to make the guest room accessible and increase your closet space? I don't think the footprint of this house is deep enough for two hallways, a staircase, and front and back rooms. What is the living room for? It is a music room? Or did you just need to put something in that space?

    I would prefer to see a mudroom that is accessible directly from the outdoors, unless you have no kids under 12 and always drive everywhere. Is there a way to incorporate the mudroom into the office/laundry?

    I guess the reason for the spiral stair is because the second floor hall is sort of an extension of the library (you must have a lot of books)? I can understand it in that context, although most people dislike spiral stairs. Will noise be an issue in the library? You are going to have a great space for books - it will be really nice.

    The pocket doors in the second floor bath might turn out to be really annoying. I would just do two completely separate three piece baths. It won't cost much more.

    I'd check furniture placement for the great room carefully. That 13'10" dimension might be a little tight. Are you planning on having a television?

    Everything else I like.

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    I thought I posted something yesterday, but I guess I was still in preview when the boys took over the computer. My issues are different from yours, obviously. With that in mind, I was also suggesting that you look at turning the pantry to get rid of that awkward set back and get better use of the pantry space. You could even put a shallow tall on the end plus a doored pantry and/or shelves -- maybe even a spot for a TV facing the nook. In the process, if you pick up just a few inches for for the range wall -- as few as 2 inches would allow you to have a 21 and a 24 cabinet flanking the range. If you put a 24 on the end towards the nook, you could put the micro drawer there. That would keep it close enough to the range for use when melting or thawing for cooking and not too far from the fridge -- but it puts it closer to the table where you eat the things you heat up. I'd rather walk further with a cold dish and a shorter distance with a hot one. That would be pretty similar to what we have here, and even with my teens and others in the kitchen, it has worked out well. Doesn't look like you need to make major changes, but I was wondering if the enclosed back porch is deep enough to put a dining table in there? If so, you could look at swapping the door and window at the entry and making the existing dining room an entry/den -- keep the bedroom and have the option of guest room, study, sewing/craft room/library. Not sure if that help the front traffic flow. We enter through the side of our house,
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  • lindybarts
    14 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    Wow, that's a nice big home. You do have alot of stairs. The circular one in the library is cool but do you really need all these staircases?. Impressive, huge laundry room. I agree it's quite a trek to get there though.

    I don't think I like the Master Bath/Closet setup. It feels too much in the hall for me. If you leave that door open, the guests can look right down the hall to the Master Bathroom.

  • chapnc
    14 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    I don't like that master bath/closet setup either. You do not have direct access to either the bath or closet from the bedroom. You have to leave the room to get to either of them.

    I'm also not liking the laundry location, it's too out of the way. Ditto for the stair access to the bonus room. It's quite a trek. So much so that it makes it inconvienent to even bother with the bonus room. It is destined to be an under-used (or even unused) space.

    In my opionion, the library is just too small to have a 2-story ceiling and a spiral staircase. And it won't be a private, cozy, get-away space because it's open to the upstairs hallway. And have you ever lived with a sprial staircase? I have, and they are so awkward that you instinctively begin to duck your head when you approach them (well, the badly designed ones that are crammed into a too tight space, anyway).

    And that living room that is only 10ft wide (too small), is the result of giving up too much space to hallways, stairs, and vestibules. More than a few areas need to be simplified.

  • lsst
    14 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    Even though you have lots of rooms, most are narrow and furniture placement will be difficult.

    It looks much larger on the plans but you may be surprised once the walls are up how small the rooms appear.

  • rhome410
    14 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    I'm actually a fan of narrow rooms vs big and square. I think they're easier to arrange and make cozy. But have you drawn in your furniture to see how things fit and how you can move around it?

    I agree with others that the laundry is a long way back there. Since there is just the two of you, have you considered a 2nd set, maybe stacked in your closet area?

    I like the master bath and closet set up, I just wouldn't put the door between the bedroom and that area (a personal preference only). I also like your bath setup upstairs...It's just what we've done--We have one side, our boys have the other and, via pocket doors, we share a shower (instead of a tub) in the middle. For us, 2 whole bathrooms instead would have been too much square footage and definite extra expense.

  • Zoe52
    Original Author
    14 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    Guess I should have prefaced this by saying there will only be the two of us living in this house. The upstairs bedrooms and baths are for my DD (her someday family) and guests when they visit. So those rooms will be vacant most of the time. Also, we were trying to keep the overall size of the home smaller, if possible, and extend the space visually with a connection to the outdoors.

    I purposely wanted my bedroom separate from bathing and dressing areas. My DH is an VERY early riser and I am not. So we were trying to keep the bedroom as a sanctuary for sleeping and light reading only. If one person leaves early in the am or the other comes in late at night, then she/he will wake the other.

    I AM a bit concerned about the reduced depth of the den. I did already mention it to the architect. He had doors originally swinging into the room took those out and then didn't change the depth. My current den is a couple inches wider than that now and it is narrow, but the wall also has a fireplace that we won't have in this new home. I like keeping furniture in the den to a minimum. We have a coffee table, a leather sectional, with a sofa table behind it with lots of built-ins. Less dusting that way. I would have preferred the tv to the side in a cabinet, but DH wants it over the fireplace. Looks like that is the only place it will fit.

    The entry closet and adjacent cabinet in the LR is to be removed (so there will never be a door issue)
    We didn't want a large LR (I was looking more for a cozy parlor sized area). Mostly because I have inherited furniture that we need a place for. I also like to escape for some quiet when DH is playing his music loudly in the den

    The laundry area is not near bedroom, but I don't care as long as it is on the first floor. I will get a cart and roll everything back and forth if I have to. We have one near our bedroom now (on second floor) and I hate the noise of the machines running (and they are generally when we are upstairs getting ready for bed).

    We are both book people, but my DH is more so. I would have been content with a smaller library, but this is his dream room and I admit it is a bit big for the overall design. We currently have a spiral stairway and like it. Not too concerned about whether it is "in vogue" or not.

  • evans
    14 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    That greatroom looks different than 20 x 13 or I am seeing things.

  • napagirl
    14 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    I didn't look at the entire plan in detail, or read the previous posts, but one thing stood out that I did not like ...

    Master Bedroom:
    If all the doors to the Master are open, the hallway has a direct view of the Master tub/bathroom. I would move the Master door closer toward the hallway (middle of the bookcase area), which would allow the door to swing back against the wall and not block the closet. Maybe they could be small dbl doors flanked by a narrow bookcase on each. This would also allow the bedroom door to swing into the room. Also, have you allowed enough width for a corner fireplace (maybe move the patio door to the right)? Do you need to angle the tray ceiling over the fireplace area to allow for venting and a mantle? We will have a corner frplc in MBdrm and I'm thinking I need to angle the tray ceiling (haven't figured it out yet).

    Hallways:
    I think too much room has been devoted to the 2 hallways and not enough to the LR and DR. Is there some way to eliminate one of them?

    Living Room:
    If nothing else, having a bay window will give it more width. What's the cabinet in the LR? Our entry/LR is exactly like yours and we have two closets opening to the entry. We also put dbl doors between them and they swing back against the closet walls.

    Dining Room:
    There's really only one wall to have a buffet or china cabinet, and then it will make your table and chandelier off center, but I don't know how to remedy it. In my DR I purposely moved one wall to allow for a cabinet and still have everything line up.

    Sorry, I don't mean to critize. My mother once told me 30+ years ago when we built our home that "the good things you won't think about, but the bad things will bother you every day." Just trying to eliminate what I perceive as bad things. I'm sure you'll wind up with a great plan you'll be happy with.

  • napagirl
    14 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    Forgot to mention that you should insist on cast iron plumbing drops from the second floor. If not, you'll hear the water falling everytime someone flushes the toilet. Your plumber may already have that figured in, but if not, make sure he does.

  • chisue
    14 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    The first thing I look for in any plan is a toilet and sink near the family entry (garage or back door). There is none on that whole side of the house.

    The first thing I look for in a 'forever' (retirement) house is one-floor living. You have stairs *everywhere*. You even have a superfluous spiral taking valuable space away from your library.

    If your DH plays loud music in the library, I'd opt for a closed ceiling. But then, I'd prefer that anyway. (And this is YOUR house, not mine! LOL)

    Do you entertain often? There is a lot of space devoted to LR, DR, butler's pantry. That would be 'museum space' for many people today, and it is almost the whole front of your house. I see you using the back portion exclusively if you do not entertain.

    There is a LOT of space in just hallways.

    I'm not crazy about your MBR/closet/bath. I don't like the interior toilet that backs to the BR or the convoluted path through the bath as it skirts the closet. So many doors!

    I suggest you make the patio off the MBR as wide and deep as the sunroom. Shorter, it will look like an afterthought.

  • Katie S
    14 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    I love a lot of things about your plan. The mudroom seems completely extraneous, as does the extra entrance from garage that it creates, when the laundry/office/pet area offers essentially the same thing. I'd opt for a large walk-in closet there, myself! Then I'd use that stair-and-landing space for nice shelves and a counter in the garage.

    I would be tempted to remove the wall from the side of the living room and using columns there. I love the rest of the pan and would disagree what someone else said about the pocket doors, I have had them for years without a problem. be sure to use Johnson hardware, it is the best-- or something equiv--- since the cheapie hardware it what causes the issues. I personally would want the laundry closer to the bedroom-- heck, IN the master closet so I would not have to do anything but take it out of the dryer and hang it straight up--- but I understand the noise thing. Whata beautiful house you'll have!

  • skagit_goat_man_
    14 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    There's no bathroom near a house entry. Anyone coming in will have to trapse through the house to get to one.

    To me it's a large home but much of the space is "wasted". From the front door there's an entry with a hallway to the left, a hallway straight ahead leading to another hallway on the left. There are lots of rooms but some seem so small as to not be realistically usalble when completed.

    Lastly a forever home is something different to everyone. And perhaps your lifestyle includes staff to clean the home. But if not in your later years or is illness or injury strikes this house will be a handfull to keep clean. Four sets of stairways may not be a good choice for a forever home.

    Please remember my comments are based on my likes and dislikes, not yours. But it seems to be a design for a large home with lots of smaller rooms/spaces just for the sake of being large and having lots of rooms. And some of the features will not make life easier in those latter forever years. This is just my opinion. Tom

  • solie
    14 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    I think people are just a little confused about this plan because it's very individual - and since you aren't worried about resale that's not a bad thing.

    Now that I know you have an adult child I would like to mention the spiral staircase again. Unless your husband is a obsessive bibliophile I think the danger of an aging couple using a spiral staircase outweighs any benefit. How many books do you have and is their value to you based soley on their content or do you have an interest in the printing, binding, etc.? If you have a serious interest in books I'm surprised you are putting your TV in the library (unless one of you is a bedroom TV-watcher). If you don't have a serious interest in books....well that's a lot of expensive, visible space for paperbacks.

    I'm not criticizing the design (I think the library will look great), I'm just looking for clarity on what you are trying to get out of it.

  • londondi
    14 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    If this is your forever house, are the halls wheelchair accessible -- especially the one to your bedroom. You probably would never need it, but you might. I broke my ankle last year, and couldn't get to our first floor bedroom because the hall was too narrow for the wheelchair turning, etc. Our bathrooms weren't either, so I had to use a walker and hop on my good leg. It would have helped if our doorways were wider.

    Anyway, it is something to think about.

  • Zoe52
    Original Author
    14 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    Thanks for all the constructive comments. Keep them coming!

    It helps to get comments both negative and positive. This is a CUSTOM designed home. I know it will not be a home for everyone, but I do not want to overlook some minor issues such as doors being in the way or other things we may have overlooked. Still if one of us survives the other and wants to move to a smaller place I certainly would want it to be able to be sold to someone else. It has not gone to final blueprint yet and that is why I thought I needed to run it by the group on here.

    We will be spending most of our time on the first floor so I am not worried about the stairs as an older person. I think it needs to be pointed out that the upper portions of the library can be reached by the regular stairs as well as the spiral staircase. When we are REALLY feeble older people we will probably never use the upper area of the home. I will most likely have a cleaning person come occasionally to take care of those areas.

    The area over the garage is going to be purely storage. It will not be finished and will be conditioned air space only. I figure that we should at the very least add some plumbing for a future bathroom for resale and insulate the area between the garage and flooring.

    I certainly do want the home to be ADA compatible and we will be going over every detail before submitting this to bid to make sure that it is. I specifically want a walk in shower in our master bath with no rims so a wheelchair can be rolled right in there AND also want a built-in or pull down seat.

    I am thinking of either taking the door right off the toilet area and/or using a small wall half wall there instead. I wanted the toilet closer to the bedroom. What do you all think about just having a half wall there instead?

    I don't like that neither of our sinks is near the toilet in the master bath currently so I am thinking of moving one of them to where the cabinet is instead.

    My husband is a scientist and has a large collection of hard cover scientific books, computer software, novels, music CDs and videos. Believe me he will fill up most of that space on his own. He even insists on updating his encyclopedia every year even though you can get that info on the internet now. Our home is overflowing with media of all kinds and we have even more boxes in our basement.

    He insisted on a two-story library with the spiral staircase. That is his office and his dream room. I think it is a bit over the top, too. But as I said before it is something he has always wanted. One home in our neighborhood has a two story library with a catwalk and that is what he was looking for.

    DH also exercises twice daily and even though we will have a full recreation center within walking distance from our home, he is insisting on bringing all his equipment with us. I, however, insisted that the exercise room be able to convert to another bedroom someday when and if we needed for a live-in caretaker. (That may be why the room is where it is with the additional hall) Because the community is made up of mostly retirees, I figure it will not be as desirable for younger families.

    The bathroom not being near the back does kind of bother me, too. But I am not sure how to resolve that. I suppose we could take out the closet next to it and have access through the mud room. I just would hate to lose my butler's pantry. I would also lose the only hall coat closet we have in the main hall. (I don't like the closet in the front entry way at all where he has it - we will be removing that and the cabinet in the LR)

    Perhaps someone could come up with a suggestion for a change on where to put the half bath and the coat closet. Or maybe just have people use our mudroom for their coats, too.
    I also am thinking of moving the laundry room exit door to the side where my potting shed is so that I can use the laundry sink if I need to clean up after working in the garden outside. Then I am thinking of making the windows in the eating area into doors so that we could access the barbecue easier from the kitchen. Does that sound like a better idea?

    DH may have a tv in the library.. don't know. But there will definitely be one in the den (over the fireplace) and bedroom

  • chisue
    14 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    I appears to me there are stairs from the garage to the house. That would present a problem for me in a house for Seniors. I am recuperating from a hip replacement and grateful for our house's wide halls, doors, and single step up from garage and entry door.

    I see the normal stairs to the upper level; that's why I felt the spiral was superfluous. Would your DH go for an imported British rolling library ladder and upper shelves in a super-tall library? (He sounds a lot like a friend of ours who has accululated a host of rare books for his study of medieval religion. He, too, insists on keeping *everything*!)

    You didn't reply about the level of entertaining you plan, so I don't know if losing the butler's pantry would be a hardship. I know that I would trade it for a half bath near the garage entry.

    I'm wondering about the lanai -- seems too shallow to hold much. Might you want to eat out there sometimes? We use our screen porch a lot in the summer. Or do you need it at all when you have the sunroom?

    Might our MBR/closets/bath plan work for you? The three are in one large rectangle in our house with the BR at one end and the bath at the other. There is a short hall between MRB and bath. There are walk-in closets on either side of that hall. Would you like a door between the bath and the exercise room? A future owner could close it off. A very good idea to have a potential second BR on the main floor!

    Three or four of us have commented on the amount of space devoted to hallways, and that the house seems spread out, but the individual rooms seem small.

  • Zoe52
    Original Author
    14 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    Chisue: Thanks for your input.
    I would love to get rid of those extra stairs in the garage but our home has to be raised up from the ground due to the low water table. I specifically asked the architect to design the entryway from garage to be easy to make into a ramp in the future if it were needed. Just hoping that the other person will be strong enough to push the disabled one up the ramp!

    Entertaining will be more than we do now as it is a very active gated community. I would love to host dinner parties with small groups with up to 12. I really don't see myself having super large groups of people, but we have done so in the past with open houses for neighbors here at Christmas time. If I have that kind of group I would most likely have it catered and have buffet style.

    I will also be moving closer to some of my siblings so I most likely will be doing some holiday cooking for them. Then there will be occasional overnight guests. I sure hope my DD comes often. In addition, I know our community has traveling dinner groups, book and other clubs.

    The house faces east and the back will be directly west. The lanai is mostly for some shade. We are still deciding to condition the sun room area or waiting until later on. If we wait, we won't be able to use it in the summer in NC

    The bedroom is to be used only for sleeping, light reading, and some tv watching. I am a very light sleeper and wanted it quiet. We will not be having any dressers in there. All that will be in the dressing area. Don't want anyone to changing clothes in the Bedroom.

  • chisue
    14 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    Now that you say the rear of the house faces due West, I'm concerned about the heat and sun in all those West-facing rooms. We once had a patio on the SW side of a home and could only use it for breakfast. By noon it was too hot. I'm concerned about the 'sunroom' being far too sunny most of the year. You can have deep overhangs or awnings over the other rooms, but perhaps you won't want a West-facing sunroom at all. (We enjoy our SE screen porch, which has skylights on the east slant of its cathedral ceiling.)

    I'm not sure, but I'd be tempted to flip this plan to put your MBR and the upstairs BRs on the cool North side of the house. I may be getting overly concerned about this for NC, but we even selected our Maui condo to have a NW exposure instead of one facing due West. You can always enlarge the terraces and build that sunroom later if you like. I might see how the house 'lives' first.

    Can't the garage be raised, too, so you could eliminate those stairs between garage and house?

    Let's keep the butler's pantry, but perhaps push the mudroom a tad farther to the front and get a powder room in there. You won't have kiddies needing lockers in there.

  • carterinms
    14 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    You could put the access to the exercise room vestibule from the interior hallway, but you would lose some of your closet, and the T-staircase might not work if headroom was a problem. Then you could increase the size of the LR (although it sounds as though you are content with its size). Also, your DH would have better access to the Master Bath from the exercise room.

    For the master bath toilet area - if you decide that you want to keep the door, why not make it a pocket door? Otherwise it doesn't look easy to close the door from within that space.

    I was never brave enough to put my plan up for comment - probably because "little changes" end up snow-balling and changing everything! Hopefully DH doesn't read this post - he would die for your library. Think of all the mahogany details he could do!

  • chiefneil
    14 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    You might want to consider swapping the positions of the closet and sink/tub area of the master bath. That'll make it quieter for a sleeper when someone is washing up. You might optionally put a door (maybe a sliding glass door) directly from the closet to the bedroom.

    For the 1st floor exercise room, consider rotating the bath and moving it to the NW corner of the room. Now when going to the room, you don't have to take a left-right-left turn. You just take a left and you're in the room. The bedroom will bigger as well, since it'll incorporate the current dead hallway space as a part of the room (and it'll be easier to get big exercise equipment in there).

    I'm not a fan of walls and hallways (can you tell?) so I'd also eliminate the two walls on the North side of the living room. The room will suddenly change from 14x10 to 14x14 with this little change, and will feel much more open.

    Your stairs to the upstairs are in a terrible location. It gives you three useless hallways due to the location.

    Consider moving it to where the South wall of where the living room is, and move the living room to the space where the three hallways and the stair are. You can then open the space under the stairs to the exercise room, expanding it even more. Now your problem would actually too much space instead of too little, since the living room area in the center of the house would be gigantic. But that's a good problem - you can make the great room and den larger.

    Finally, I'd put a skylight right above the reading nook. That's could easily turn into a favorite spot for reading. Oh, personally I'd also want to move the washer/dryer closer, like into the master closet or mudroom.

  • Zoe52
    Original Author
    14 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    Caternms: LOL My DH is already singing the blues bc I posted this for reviews. Now all he will be seeing is yet another bill from the architect for all my changes. And we may not even be able to sell this house to afford to build the new one. We have no idea how much it is even worth at this point. I plan to list it the end of March early April

    The Living Room really is a PARLOR. I wanted cozy rather than large and do not want my animals in there all the time so the walls have to stay to keep them out.

    I do want to change the master bathroom area thanks to NAPAGIRL and all of you who noticed it was directly visible down the hall. I will also ask if we need to move the patio doors in the bedroom over for the corner fireplace and check on the venting

    I think I am going to change some doors, too. Add patio doors to the outside directly from the kitchen to access our barbecue easier. Eliminate the door from the laundry room to the patio and move it over to the opposite side so I have an entry from outside to the shed area. I may even have the cat/dog door exit through here and adjust the cat/dog enclosure containment area.

    I think I will add a skylight above the reading area on the second floor. That is a great idea, too!

    I think the easiest solution to adding a bath near the mudroom is to eliminate that closet outside the 1/2 bath and some of my Butler's pantry and make it a new hall.
    OH NO! I am adding even more hallways now

  • meldy_nva
    14 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    I'd strongly suggest you make or have made a to-scale 3-d model, along with a mini-you and mini-DH. If you are bringing furniture from your present home, you also should have those items [cut from posterboard or sponges] to-scale to fit the model. Sometimes it's hard to see that making the kingsize bed requires not-bending on one wall, or that your present dining table and chairs will fit fine as long as no one needs to use them on one side, etc. Tell your DH that it's much cheaper to change doorways and windows on the posterboard model than it is to pay for another drawing which you may not like.

    Is your architect actually following the guidelines for handicapped accessibility? I'd sure hate to manage those baths if I were on crutches, not to mention trying to manuever a wheelchair.

    I don't think any one else has said, but I wouldn't want those steps between garage and house. Carrying groceries in and trash out is a PIA if you have to manage steps (I know because I have them now and hate them).

    I keep looking at the library, and honestly, I don't see much shelf space! Two walls have nothing but a door, and the other two walls are split-spaces with a desk centered in one and a fireplace centered in the other. Maybe you better have DH actually measure the actual board feet needed for media storage. And forget about trying to get to any shelves around that spiral! It's taking up a huge chunk of floor space (put the mini-DH in that corner -- if you can).

    And, like others, I don't recommend west-facing living/cooking space. Even in northern Virginia, having kitchen or LR windows on west or south walls requires a shocking amount more energy to keep cool in the summer; and let's not talk about the sun glaring in your eyes while cooking. It's all very well to talk about a view, but it's no good if you can't see it! If the house will be in the South, plan for extended eaves and overhangs to help cut the incoming sum, and invest in light-blocking shades for those west windows -- you'll need them.

    And about those books... be a sweetie and plan for at least 20% more shelf than you have at home right now. Once a collector, always a collector.

  • Zoe52
    Original Author
    14 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    Evans: Apparently you were not seeing things, after all. It was as I had suspected, though, but didn't confirm until we got out a tape measure and figured it out. The dimensions of the back wall for the Great Room, Library, and Master Bedroom are no longer 13' 10' but now are 16 feet. So the plan was changed the last time, but architect failed to change the written room dimensions. You have good eyes!

    Meldy: I am going to take up your suggestion to get one of those made to scale models made up of our home. Oh I certainly do know about the collection stuff.. he collects media and I collect Beatrix Potter.

    We already have discussed the western sun with our architect and he has planned for some additional shading with longer eaves. They are more apparent on the second floor plans, I think. He was more concerned about our laundry area than the kitchen area though. The landscaping should help some, too. I am definitely going to look into some light blocking Hunter Douglass shades. My DH particularly wanted them in the Great Room to block the light when he watches tv. I see no reason to add them to all the rooms on the south and west sides of the home.

    One of the major drawbacks of having an active solar home (which this will be eventually) is that you need a lot of sun. So we have a trade off. We are on a corner lot (to keep someone from building or planting anything to block out our sun with a lake behind us.

    The solar panels will be mostly on the south side of the home, but we may eventually add some to the western side as well. Getting off the grid will be nice (he says the battery backups are still too costly and should be coming down in price eventually) My DH is having all the "stuff" he needs installed ahead of time so he is ready to add it to our home. He is the knowledgeable person in this area so I let him do his thing. In the meantime, our AC bills will probably be fairly high until we get off the grid or at the very least help keep it lower.

    I am making progress in getting my DH to change his mind about the spiral stair case. And the whole point for his two story library would be to have mostly vertical shelving. Not sure if that will make a difference, but we will certainly look it over to make sure the space for cabinetry is going to be good.

  • chisue
    14 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    Is it impossible to flip the plan so that all your bedrooms will be on the cooler north side instead of south?

  • Katie S
    14 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    What about raising the entire garage floor and grading the driveway itself up to that level? You could eliminate the stairs and ramp inside the garage.

  • dassykee
    14 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    Hi Zoe...where are you in NC? We are building just outside Chapel Hill.

    You have gotten some very wise guidance here. I would love to have comments on our plan but since it is custom, our architect has not made the plans available to us in an electronic version. This is our "until the old folks' home" house as well so I know how much thinking & planning go into it. Though we baby-boomers may just refuse to age!!!

  • Zoe52
    Original Author
    14 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    Hi dassykee. Our home will be built near Wilmington in the coastal plains.

  • Zoe52
    Original Author
    14 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    Thank you to all of you who have made comments. I appreciate your input both good and bad.

    The house can not be flipped due to the fact the garage then would be in the most prominent position when looking at the house.

    We will be building with the best materials out there to help with the insulation.

    I will check and see if they can raise up our garage to eliminate some of those steps.

  • oruboris
    14 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    I'd incorporate the hall by the living room into the living room. The room will lose a little formality, but pick up roughly 40% more footage.

    Four separate living spaces [library, living, great, and sun] for a three bedroom seems a little much-- the sort of house where the occupants will never have to actually see each other.

    Love the idea of a 2 story library, but not sure I could justify the second stairway. Cool look, though.

    I'd use the library for the office space, rather than the laundry.

    Once in the master bath w.c., you won't be able to shut the door. Either needs to swing the other way, or become a pocket door.

    Instead of eliminating the entry closet, I'd eliminate the one off the powder room, make that a door so the kitchen could access the powder more handily.

  • bpi-dude
    14 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    Im new to the forums, so I have not followed your
    plans but a little advice. Hire a home energy rater (HERS)
    and make the home energy star compliant. The energy savings can be substantial, paying for the changes in less then 5 years. Besides having a home thats efficient, you will have a safer healthier home. Im not sure of your location, but a great place to start would be www.energystar.gov

    Im not trying to advertise, I dont think I could offer you anything but advise but just so you know Im a certified HERS rater, BPI certified and accredited, with 20+ years of building behind me

    If there is anything I can do, let me know !!!

  • threedoghouse
    14 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    Cripes, another house where 50% of the space is taken up with halls/entryways/passages/vestibules....

    And the roofline looks like a crazy quilt because of all the jogs and weird bumpouts on the outside walls...

    You don't live in the halls! You live in the rooms! All of your rooms could be 25% bigger, and easier to use and put furniture in with a more efficient (plain vanilla) layout. And your construction costs and heating/cooling expenses might be 25% cheaper.

    I think most of the hallways etc. are there because the architect wasn't willing to spend an extra hour thinking about how to logically fit the spaces together.

    When will folks learn? I guess as long as architects have no interest in designing efficient houses...

    /rant off...