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Can you please critique my lower floor plan

12 years ago

We are planning on building a new home. This is pretty close to the final design. Our family has been giving us lots of opinions that we don't necessarily agree with. I'm hoping I can get some un-biased opinions. Thanks.

Here is a link that might be useful:

Comments (44)

  • 12 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

  • 12 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    Now that it is big enough to see, and in thread, I can comment.

    First, is there a basement? What will be "under the stairs" near the powder room?

    I ask because, you don't have any first floor sleeping area, but the study *could* function as one in a pinch except you have no bathing/showering spot on this floor. I would consider adding a tub/shower in the 1/2 bath near the study. (The reason would be for unknown "emergency" times when all the sudden you aren't able to navigate stairs for a bit...)

    What are the purple swatches? Currently, your breakfast room cannot function as such because you have double doors that will open and take up the entire breakfasting area (almost). Either it needs to be bigger, or the doors need to move, or you need to consider only windows there with access via the great room or laundry to outside. Or, give up on it being a breakfast room.

    Your dining room as a similar limitation, although it is plenty long... I think you will run into a lot of wasted space by the french doors most of the time. I think I would *not* do french patio doors to the front of the house from the dining room. You have access to the front door easily enough. If you want to bring outside in, consider a nice sliding setup (floor to ceiling type sliding french doors or similar).

    I like the "away room" living room setup. Is that how you will use it? Or, will it be a TV room? It appears there isn't really a good spot for a TV in the great central area of your layout (GR/Dining room/Foyer).

    Where are you located, how many will be using this space? Is this your forever?

    What is upstairs?

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    You have plenty of cabinets in there, so that's not an issue. It's possible to put the cooktop in your island, but you're right that it might make the work triangle too congested if you and hubby are both cooking. For a one cook kitchen, the cooktop would work very well. If you're going to keep the current configuration, I think you should add either a pot filler or a prep sink near the range. Otherwise, you'll be carrying full pots of water quite a distance, which may be dangerous. Is your drawing to scale? If so, you may have a little room to move the island toward the entrance to the LR, at least a few inches. If that's so, you might be able to move the cooktop to the island without making it impossible for two people to work in the kitchen. If you do that, then I'd put the wall oven where the range is in the current plan. I'm not sure what a "country cupboard" is, but it looks lonely over there by itself. If you have a picture of the area, it might help, but the drawing almost looks like you've used part of the space available and left the rest empty. What I want to do is make your fireplace a focus of the room and put something down there, even if it's just a coffee bar under that huge window behind the seating area.
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    Best advice is to take your time! You need to go through the 'education process' on every phase of building a home. Best advice on this thread! Taking your time, learning, developing a better floor plan, and being SURE of what you're doing will 1) get you a better house, 2) save money, and 3) make everything easier along the way. I can't emphasize enough that you need to do the research and work yourself. Sometimes you get good advice and sometimes you don't. And sometimes what's good advice for "everyone else" just doesn't work for your unique situation and/or needs. Posting here on Houzz gives you a crowd-sourcing 'education' of experiences others have gone through (do's and don'ts), not a final design. Yes, consider the advice you get here to be a "starting place" so you can do your own homework. Personally, I liked the self-paced education of doing it myself. No pressure. And the crowd-sourcing is valuable because they tell you what you don't know or didn't think of. Agree! The only small homes I saw were "L". I agree that Ls are likely to work best for a house with small square footage. During the hunt, the Husband commented that he really prefers the "classic" rectangle shape because our aesthetic is "classical modern" (interior arches, lime wash walls, smooth stucco, linen textures, etc Eh, I don't see any connection between house shape and interior finishes. In Florida, that would REALLY heat up the house. Okay, that's a realistic concern. Talk to your architect, builder, whoever about the possibility of extra-deep overhangs, which would shade your windows -- especially on the western side. You're already talking about a covered porch. Position it carefully so it can help with solar overload. My main goal last night was making the home smaller. Something around 1,200-1,500 sf. I had 2 challenges: 1) Making the living space not so long and dark, without disrupting the house flow, and 2) Making the primary bathroom smaller, without creating an oddly-shaped exterior. Consider placing the bedroom and the office on the same side. Why? So you can get more natural light into the main living spaces. I feel like you're not getting the importance of that. Both of us grew up without carports and don't have one currently. If you change your mind, you can always add one later. I don't know for sure, living inland, but I do wonder if a carport is easy for a hurricane to pick up. I don’t think Sally and spouse are going to strip down in the laundry room and scamper across the living room in their skivvies. Although, I could be wrong. My husband and I do. Why not? We have 'his and her' pocket offices to save square footage with built-in cabinets which are really handy. Very nice, though not a budget choice.
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  • 12 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    Thanks kirkhall.
    there is a basement where the stairs are by the powder room. All the sleeping area is upstairs..which is not close to being finalized. It will be either a 3 or 4 bedroom with a main bathroom and an en-suite. Do you think I need the tub/shower?

    The purple swatches was me just trying to figure out layouts...you can ignore those. So I am not planning to have a breakfast table area...i want our family to eat at the kitchen island for our un-formal meals and eat in the dinning room when we have guests.

    For the dinning room, my husband really likes the 'effect' (like you said of bringing the outside in) of a french door...we would not normally keep it open...but i really am interested in this type of sliding door you mentioned.

    Yes, we will use that room as a place to relax...there will be no tv...kind of like a sunroom. I hate to say it but the TV will be on the fireplace (I know I know). Our backyard is a ravine..so we want the windows and a fireplace. Do you think we could put the fireplace on the wall by porch?

    We have two small children, which is why i want a fairly spacious mud/laundry area..and i wanted a kitchen which is more private from the family room. I sure hope this is our forever house, or at least a very very very long time house.

  • 12 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    There seems to be quite a bit of wasted space, particularly the entry and foyer area and the extra long dining room. I would include the breakfast area with no area for a breakfast table.

    I understand not wanting a table there but what about no french doors, a big window and a window seat? Or a window seat with bookshelves on either side.

    Having just been through this, that is a huge island in not a huge space. You need to allow for at least 4' behind an island where people will be sitting. We have a huge island in our new kitchen and I am freaking out a bit because even though we have a few inches more than 4' and the island is mostly across from the opening to the den, I still worry it is tight. 5' would have been better, and sufficient. You need a wider kitchen to accomplish what you are trying to do.

    Also, any reason the stairs don't go into the entry hall? The usual reason for that is to save space but you have a huge foyer and extended dining room area that seems to be superfluous. It seems like a fairly grand staircase (wide with a flair), so I would personally want that opening into the front hall.

    Eliminating the large foyer and extra area by the dining room would allow you to add to the kitchen (where the room is much needed).

    I also personally don't like a kitchen closed off like yours is - but some do. This may be your preference. I like to be able to see what is going on in the family room while I am cooking or cleaning in the kitchen. Makes me feel more a part of the family ;)

  • 12 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    thanks athensmomof3. Your right about the space in the foyer/hall...however the reason why we do like this is for when we host parties. We can extend the table out to the hall and even into the foyer area. But i do agree it sort of is wasted space for most of our living arrangements. I plan to put a medium size round table in the hall with a lantern above in front of the foyer to "break" up the space.

    I am worried about the island in the kitchen too. It's 15' wide and my island would be 3' 2" from counter edge to edge. I wouldn't get 4' maybe 3'4" on the side we eat..so this makes me nervous! I don't want to feel like i am squeezing by. I only ever had an open kitchen to family room and i guess i'm tired of it. I personally don't like my guests in my kitchen when i am cooking or cleaning. And i find it can be noisy for the people in the family room. I hope to put a small tv in there somewhere so the kids stick around with me. Thanks so much for the feedback.

  • 12 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    I hate to say it but the clearance is not nearly enough. We have 42" on the sink side of the island and that doesn't feel super roomy. It is fine and necessary because we have a fully integrated SZ fridge with a 36" wide upper door and 42" is the minimum clearance for that. It doesn't seem excessive at all.

    38" is not nearly enough for clearance behind seated spaces. I read the minimum is 44" and my 48" with a huge 8' cased opening behind it feels tight. I think 44" wouldn't be nearly enough. I will have to do stools with no back, which is fine but less comfortable. Also our cased opening is actually a paneled jamb so it is quite wide and roomy feeling. I still wish I had 5' instead of 4.

    I took some pictures recently and will post if I can. They are iphone pics so not great.

  • 12 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    Kitchen without island

    Kitchen with island

    Paneled jamb

    Still freaking out a bit about how big the island is and the width behind the island - and the paneled jamb is like 28" deep plus I have 4' behind the island. . .

  • 12 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    Not sure if that is the island in the final resting place or not . . . I think it ended up closer to the sink (42" from the fridge opening to the edge of the island countertop, which is more like 38" in front of the sink which is bumped out a bit) than is shown here . . .

  • 12 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    Oh i'm loving your kitchen athensmomof3! and that paneled jamb is so cool! Your doors and windows with transoms are so lovely! What kind of window coverings will you do if any?
    What is the width of your kitchen? are your ceilings 9 or 10'?

  • 12 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    I agree with what's been said so far.

    I don't see the reasoning behind squeezing yourself in to a room you'll use several times a day- the kitchen- while giving too much space to an area that you might use a few times a year- the formal dining room/hall. You should give some serious thought to reconfiguring that whole set up.

    Definitely add a tub or roll-in shower to the main bath.

    Garage is way too narrow to fit more than one car.

    What's the orientation of the house? N/S

    I would consider using tall casement windows in the dining room instead of actual doors.

    Keep tweaking it! You'll get there soon!

  • 12 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    thanks kelhuck...this is great. I need to show my husband this feedback.
    the front of the house is facing south.

  • 12 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    Thanks - no window treatments on the french doors or transoms. We have a walk out basement so that is the second floor (onto a brick terrace) and we back up to woods so no need for privacy.

    The kitchen is 16' wide - that includes the cabinets on either side of the paneled jamb opening (not sure if you can see them). The reason for the paneled jamb vs a cased opening is twofold - first to keep people from rounding the corner and hitting a cabinet edge, and second because the paneled jamb is visible from the entrance hall and with no paneled jamb you would see the side of cabinets - not as attractive or "finished" looking.

  • 12 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    I like it very much. It's a gracious home, well suited for guests, your current family and your future family. Well done.

    Perhaps the width of the kitchen bay needs to be increased 6" or more - an easy fix with the stretch tool.

    The garage seems odd. Are the cars shown pulled too far in? Could the garage doors be on the side?

    Can we see the second floor?

  • 12 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    I think you entry and foyer are wonderful! So big and gracious. I wanted to comment on your TV location above the fireplace....I imagine you probably don't want the first thing your guests see when they walk in is a big ol' tv over your pretty fireplace! And speaking of that...since you have great backyard views, maybe you should do all windows along that back wall. Right now, the view fo the family room is asymmetrical from the foyer. You could put the fireplace on that other wall, and perhaps do what we did...our fireplace is back to back with our outdoor fireplace on the terrace. It is 2 fireboxes and chimneys/flues, but just one exterior chimney, if that makes sense. We love having a fireplace on the porch! Anyway, those were the thoughts I had! It is going to be great! Do you have a furniture plan for the long dining room? Will there be 2 areas or a really, really, long table?

  • 12 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    Thanks Renovater8 and nini804.
    the garage is that size because my husband is putting the lawnmower, snowblower, compressor, tools and all that other stuff in the back. That is why there are those double doors there. I don't know why the architect put the cars so far up. We are still working on the second floor.
    The great room is open-to-above (not my most favorite, but my other half wants the fireplace to be a grand stone facade and go all the way up to the ceiling. I will have two windows up at the top also (lined up with the french doors).

    Nini804, I really did consider having more views of the yard...but i would still have the issue of where to put the tv...i don't have much wall space right now. (oh yah..my husband wants to put a window on that bare wall there! HA!) I think this is the only way...unless i put the tv in the living room...but that won't fly with him.

    The dining room is really the 12' 6" x 12' space...the table will not be stretched into the front hall (that space will be useful for parties and gatherings) I do have a hutch that will go on the wall by the kitchen.

    I know the hall space seems too large, but i will break up the space with a table in the foyer and i'm not sure about the area by the dining...maybe a piano.

    I really appreciate everyone's opinions...we are really considering widening the kitchen.

  • 12 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    Your kitchen clearances are far too tight. You need 60" behind a seated diner for people to comfortably pass and carrying something. You could just lose the cabinetry behind the island and it would be fine. However, the in line seating will not be pleasant to use for everyday meals. You cannot see one another and converse. You want face to face type seating, and preferably at a standard height if you have small kids. Even counter stools are tricky for young ones. You could do a booth or table attached to the island, but only if you lose the cabinetry behind the island. Personally, I would just bump the breakfast area out and lose the covered porch or move it over to the laundry area where you don't care if you are getting good light into the room. It would be much more pleasant to enjoy your family meals face to face in a sunny nook with built in seating than perched like birds on a wire at the island.

    I'd move the stairs to where you indicate the foyer is so that they are an attractive focal point from the entry and you have more separation from the entry and family room area. Use the space you gain to add a shower to the bath there and add a closet to the study so that it can serve as a downstairs guest bedroom/broke my leg and can't deal with stairs sickroom/second master type flexible area.

    Do you want the porch to be unusable and decorative only or do you picture at least some seating there? It's too shallow for real use and would need to be at least 10' to be usable.

    The garage is awkwardly configured for a front load. Are you sure it wasn't a side load that someone forgot to turn to create a front load? (If the lot width permits, a side load is more attractive.) It isn't wide enough to be able to access the lawn mower etc. at the rear and bring it out to use with the cars parked in it and it's not really wide enough for two cars to comfortably park unless they are both pretty small. You would have to move a car to mow the grass, or leave it parked in the drive. If you envision using the 5' double door (awkward!) as the machinery door, it will need to be done as a ramped paved entry with paved patio to avoid creating a worn path in the turf. Depending on your lot's elevation, that could be even more awkward and expensive.

    I would not want the washer and dryer configured on the short end of the laundry room as you show it. It would work better if they occupied the outside wall there for work flow and venting purposes. You would still have room for a laundry sink beside them and counter space and folding space across from them. The door would line up well with the hall leading to the mud room area, directly in line with the garage door.

  • 12 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    You really should give your location and orientation of the house. French doors are leaky.

    I agree that a 20 foot high stone hearth viewed from the entry way is pretty impressive... right up until there is a TV smacked in the middle of it. I think you might cringe every time you see that.

    I can't imagine someone doing the 2 story great room by choice with kids. Empty nesters - fine. I can't hear the TV now and we don't have a 2 story great room and our 2 year old is an amazing sleeper and we have a noise maker in his room. Oh yeah - solid core doors also. And his room is the furthest from the stairs.

    Are you going to have 2nd floor laundry?

    Can you just have a tall great room with no opening above? Maybe 16 feet? Easier to decorate and no great noise problem.

    That garage is quite thin for a larger house. And shouldn't it be 3 car?

    I'm in total agreement about that island in the kitchen and the relative size of the foyer and kitchen. We have an oversized foyer(IMO) but it is about 9x12 - or half your size. Our kitchen is twice your size. Just to give you an idea. So from my frame of reference, your kitchen should be 4 times its current size. Pantry? That reach in? Every house above 3500 sqft probably justifys a walk-in pantry. I could show you pics of mine and how filled it is.

  • 12 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    I did not read all posts so disregard if mentioned. I think it might be better in the garage to put the steps/door in center of garage wall. That way the bathroom will be immediately to right of door. The garage door will always be closed, obviously except to come in. This opens the corner (where you have the garage door now)for cook hooks, benches whatever you plan. I will say that the shoes will be in the middle of the floor next to the breakfast nook as you have it. also, the breezes from the garage, having the door closer to the bathroom will eliminate dust, dirt from tracking into laundry or even breakfast area. It really is amazing how much dirt gets tracked in, even with rugs present.

  • 12 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    Thanks everyone...you've definitely have given me a few things to think about.

    We are in the Toronto, Canada area...so our weather is pretty extreme.
    Hollysprings, you brought up some great points.

    The laundry will be on this floor. Because it is open to above...there is not much room for a laundry upstairs. But I have had one in the basement and now right by my bedroom and there are pro's and con's. I think i'd benefit from the main floor laundry.

    The pantry is on the side with the fridge. We are putting a cantina in the basement, which is also like our pantry.

    I hear you david about the tall great room. this is something i need to discuss with my husband...its not my favourite look...but we would be doing some substantial trim work to break up the huge wall.

    Peytonroad, great point about the dirt. will have to look into this.

    thanks so much!!

  • 12 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    How often do you entertain and for how large of groups?

    Are you building your house primarily for those parties or primarily to live in day to day?

    The kitchen would be too small for me even without island seating--and would be too small to host the kinds of parties that would require that much entertaining space.

    I'm not a big fan of "eating sitting in a row"--as others have pointed out, it makes conversation difficult.

    I happen to like front load garages, but in a large house, people generally expect a 3 car garage. Having it extra deep allows for some (or all) of the "stuff" though)

    If you entertain a lot, will you need a second powder room closer to the entertainment areas? Should the 'front' powder room be a bit more spacious?

    I'm afraid I'm not loving this plan--too much open/unusable space or space that will be used infrequently and not enough kitchen space.

  • 12 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    A agree about eating in a row. Meals are the most important part of the day for family interaction so easting should be done at a table so family members automatically make a commitment to the family group when they sit down. Being able to jumping up and down from a counter is not good for family relationships IMHO. No one should eat before everyone is served and children should ask to be excused before leaving, ie, there should be a beginning and an end. That may seem old-fashioned but there are so few opportunities for this kind of interaction that it should be part of the house design.

    I would keep the breakfast table and put stools at counter overhangs on each end of the island for casual snacking (another pitfall for the unsuspecting young).

  • 12 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    The kitchen/breakfast area is way too small and you will NOT enjoy having your meals at that island. You need a dedicated table and a lot more aisle clearance. Bump it all the way out to be even with the family room area.

  • 12 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    Great advice...keep it coming. We are taking it all in and reworking it a little bit. We keep coming back to the spacious front hall and we really do love that about the house. The kitchen is now our biggest challenge.

    Can someone please tell me how to put an image right in the thread.

  • 12 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    Type in what is red. The black is the direct link you paste in from where you uploaded the picture.

  • 12 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    I've never used quotes. I've always typed the (with the photo link where the dots are) and it posts fine.

    If you have a healthy budget, then all the extra space in the entry/foyer is really nice.

    Also, being a parent of two kids who are getting bigger every minute, has me thinking of the laundry room. It's REALLY far from the bedroom access points. Is there an additional one upstairs? If not, I'd relocate that upstairs completely. The ONLY reason ours is downstairs is because our master is down. If all of our bedrooms were up, the laundry would go up too.

    I definitely agree with the others, that there's not enough clearance for that island to have seating.

    If I had more time, I'd try to work something up with that whole empty dining space next to the foyer and reconfigure that and the kitchen (moving around that wall) and incorporate some kind of cool butlers pantry into the space and completely redo that kitchen to make it functional and so you could have a true breakfast space. Maybe another creative soul can do that? Right now I see a bunch of unused space with that dining area. That kind of thing drives me nuts. That, combined with the lack of day-to-day family function in the kitchen/breakfast is calling out to me. But my being out of town this week and needing to pack for Disney and working on our own current build, prevent me from putting in the actual execution. I can see it in my head though!

  • 12 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    thanks aa62579!
    babs711...I've been working on some tweaks (who knows if its for the better!?) It's so hard to visualize for me. Anyhow...I am putting the laundry upstairs with this tweaking and tried to put a small walk-in pantry. I lost my living room (i can't keep going bigger). But i think there are some good changes happening. I will post soon.
    You are too kind to help out like that! don't worry about it. Thanks!

  • 12 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    Okay, what about this? that kitchen would be fabulous where the living room is. Can you swap the garage to that side as well as the mudroom? You also would have to rework the fireplace ub tit could go where the existing cooktop is?? Just a thought!

  • 12 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    Use the "HTML for Websites" code from your photo site in the message box instead of putting the URL code in the URL box.

  • 12 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    You lost that living room? I loved the living room off the great room - with the sets of doors. It'll be beautiful and will feel expansive, yet private. Take the space from that double foyer and extra long dining room. You'll probably never miss it.

    Agree that if you need all that open, unused space for entertaining a lot, you're going to need a bigger kitchen. Regarding the piano there, are your kids going to take lessons/already play? Having had four kids go through it for years, you'll want that piano in a room where you can close doors (that lovely living room, for example). Otherwise you're just buying a baby grand or grand just for the looks and to fill space you could better use elsewhere.

    Also, regarding the tv above the fireplace, we're happily and enthusiastically doing the exact same thing. It's the logical place to enjoy both the fire and a movie. We had it in our last house and we loved it. We did make the hearth floor level, but I like that more open feel, anyway. And let's face it, tv's aren't that ugly anymore. They're black and sleek and everyone knows what it is. To offset the tv means you have to add space to the side of the fireplace for it, so you're going to see the tv anyway. The only other option I see is putting the tv on a different wall from the fireplace. So where do you face the furniture so you can enjoy both? I've talked to a couple of people who have ways to hide their tv above their fireplaces, one with drop down artwork and the other with sliding doors. Both say they never, ever hide the tv and it was a waste. Just sayin'...if you often use your tv, go for it. And while no one loves a wall of windows more than me, you're going to need the fp to break it up a little and

    And I whole heartedly agree with everyone else - I think you will hate how crowded your kitchen's gonna feel with those bar stools in that area - it's just way too cramped. What "they" say you need, minimally, is not what you need, if you know what I mean. How about moving the island down towards the sink a little, maybe shortening it a tad and adding a bar across the back in what's called 'breakfast' that could accommodate your bar stool area? It would also help define that breakfast area.

    Or expand the breakfast area out to the porch and put a kitchen table/chairs there. Bar seating is great, and we're going to have it, too, but only for conversation with the cook or quick meals before running out. Even when your schedules get crazy with the kids at night with practices, etc., if you get only one or two meals a week, it's important to face each other and actually converse.

  • 12 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    I've been playing around with this layout. It is very ROUGH with no correct measurements. I brought the laundry upstairs. the garage is now tandem instead of having a hoist (for DH other love - 64 corvette). We don't have the space to do a 3 entry garage. There is the eat-in kitchen with more room for storage and furniture. I put in a small walk-in pantry. Instead of chairs at the island, I can put stools that tuck in. The front hall dining area has turned into a sort of living/dining area. I still want the spacious rooms with large entry ways. What do you think?

  • 12 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    why can't i figure this out?!

    Here is a link that might be useful:

  • 12 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    Just look at the box to the right of your photobucket pic. Click on the box that says HTML code- it will then say "copied". Come here and paste the code in the comment box. Preview the msg, and you should see the pic. In the meantime, here it is:

  • 12 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    Okay, better, but a couple ideas that may or may not fly for you.

    The two club chairs in the foyer - can you add one or two more, or a loveseat, and put glass and glass doors separating that area from the foyer (that you could leave open most of the time)? You could move a couple of them out when you need to expand the dining room table, and you'd in effect be giving yourself back that away room area and define that area better while still having lots of glass to make it feel open to the foyer.

    You still have a fairly large undefined space between the great room and the breakfast room, basically it's just a very large hallway. How about bringing it in a little and putting that screened in porch back on there?

    I gotta be honest with you, I think there's something better for you than this, although I'm not an architect and I'm not seeing it. I just think you could better use your optimal square footage in several areas. Is your architect on board here?

  • 12 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    thanks mjtx2. I like the idea of the glass doors. That is definitely an option.
    My husband and I are basically designing the house. We have taken an exterior that we love and matched it with an interior that we liked and tweaked it here and there. Do you mean if my architect is on this forum?

  • 12 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    Mjtx2 is asking if you're using an architect through this process.

    I feel like things can be better. You STILL have the barstool problem and the cramped kitchen. And let's face it, we spend a ton of our time in the kitchen. If that island is staying and that kitchen is staying the same size, you've got to nix the barstool idea.

    Can I ask how often you have parties? We have parties quite often. Not formal, but we have people over. For that reason, we wanted our home to be an open space where people wouldn't have to walk around things and walls to enjoy themselves. We didn't want people to feel blocked in. And at the same time, on a daily basis, we wanted our home to feel comfortable. I'm very very over unused space. Since we LIVE in our home much more than entertain, USING the square footage was important to me. So having a balance between the two was something we wanted to achieve.

    What I'm seeing is a lot of square footage here that's going to be completely unused on a day to day basis. You'll literally be walking around/through those spaces to get to the spaces you'll use the most. It's the equivalent of three rooms of unused space (NOT counting the entry area). I get wanting a formal dining room. But the extra foyer and living area seem like they could be combined in some way.

    What I was hoping to see was you remove that wall that the hutch/pantry was on to create some sort of pass-through butler's pantry type thing (perhaps create a dining room wall and make it there??) Then you can nix that kitchen wall since you can incorporate your pantry in with your butler's pantry that's now more to the left. The fridge can stay or be moved, depending on what goes on next. But this elongated island with the seating that doesn't need to be there can then maybe turn into two horizontal islands with seating along the breakfast side (the perimeter of the kitchen). Or make the countertop extend somehow, having moved the pantry and make a peninsula there and a smaller island centrally in the kitchen.

    I haven't thought everything through but your seating needs to be on the breakfast side, not along the refrigerator wall. It just doesn't work.

  • 12 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    Some might think I'm crazy, but I think investing a few hours for a good architect will solve your issues. I cannot say strongly enough that it will likely be the best use of your money on the house. It's fun to design it ourselves, but they just *see* it in ways we can't. They're also trained to think of things we don't, to ask the right questions, and to listen to what we want and get it in the plan in a way that is efficient and aesthetic.

    Get referrals, call them and tell them you're just looking for a few hours' work, and see what you think of them from those conversations. Then just pick one and give it a try. I think you'll be surprised and pleased.

  • 12 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    Okay..thanks for the feedback. I switched things up a bit. I did have to add some square footage.
    The entry is the same. I really do like the spacious foyer. The dining room is spacious...so i could set up another table for large family/friend gatherings.
    The new kitchen is now open to the great room...but i do like how it's further from the tv area.
    I like the hall way from the foyer to the dining room. I think that wall would be a nice spot for family and friend pictures. I think this uses a bit of everybody's input.

  • 12 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    Now you're getting there! One possible suggestion, depending on your lifestyle. Is the study a formal study as an extra entertaining space or just escaping to read a book, or is it a working study for household accounting, work, computer, etc.? If it is a working study, think about moving the study to where the dining room is now, combine the hallway space at the end of what is now you living room with the pantry space and work in a powder room and closet on the left part of that space and a butlers pantry on the right. Then what is now the living room becomes the dining room with access from the kitchen through the butlers pantry and by moving the powder room and closet you enlarge what is now the study by eliminating the powder room and creating a nice sized living roomin that space.

    The advantage of this is that you get the formal mirrored living and dining rooms and keep the really big entrance hall you want. It would also make a working study more workable and private, if that is what you want. The disadvantage is if you want your study as a formal place and you do loose your current powder room placement which is nice.

    Good luck!

  • 12 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    Your entry way now has a nice focal point with the pretty stairs, and the passage through to the family room frames the view to the view to the outside. You also now have a powder room at the family entrance/workshop or rear exterior entrance. That can come in handy when kids are playing in the back yard and need an emergency trip. The study can serve as a downstairs guest room with access to a full bath, or even a downstairs master if you age in place. The awkward back hall is eliminated in favor of a larger walk in pantry that could house a small "mom desk" if you wanted or at least a full sized freezer and lots of shelves for all the stuff you need for entertaining.

  • 12 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    Thanks for taking the time to do that for me GreenDesigns! I do like it.

  • 12 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    I like both your new design and GreenDesign's one better than previous...the only thing i think you might regret is not having the formal dining room visible and accessed off the foyer. It sounds like you are a little bit formal and, well, dining rooms are just so lovely! I love that guests can see mine when they come through the front door. Just something to think about.

  • 12 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    I would start over and find another plan you like.

  • 12 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    Rennovator8...say it ain't so! I really like this one. I liked the open foyer the best on the original so i can put my hall table in center. This plan has that and now a better use of the kitchen. I think the hallway is interesting...sort of adds some character, not just an open space.
    That is a good point nini804. I have to work out the upper floor...so changes may happen. I am nixing the open to above now. I really appreciate everyone's help and comments.

  • 12 years ago
    last modified: 9 years ago

    Apologies for the length.

    The thing I don't like about the GIANT OPEN FOYER is that there it offers no real separation of public and private spaces and there is no adequate focal point at the end of it. And that's why I like the shifting of the stair that GD did. It provides a focal point to the home's entry, and would give you almost the same effect as your wide open space, but with better partition between the public and family areas. (Put in some french doors at the end?) In your design, the lack of separation between the formal and informal feels rather exposed to have the family room completely visible from the front door and street. I might tweak the family room to have the fireplace be the "come hither destination view" glimpsed from the foyer through french doors. Or just place french doors in line in the family room, and use windows elsewhere instead of more french doors. That would be cheaper as well. Separating the two spaces well, but leaving a glimpse of them is like a lace garter that you catch sight of briefly as an attractive lady seats herself. You know you're dealing with the professional aspect of her (the formal entry and living room) but you've now got some curiosity about the private (the glimpse of the fireplace or garden).

    I also have to say that I think that adding a powder room by the family entrance is a MUST, especially if you will be using part of the garage as a workshop. Who wants greasy hands to walk all the way through the home to the single powder room where you have it located? For your bay with the lift, have you investigated how tall the ceilings will need to be to be able to have the lift be operable? We have an Eagle, and vaulted the ceiling of the bay where it was located, and it's still not really tall enough to extend the lift to full height with anything but one of the the Corvettes on it. And we started with 10' garage ceilings to begin with. The lift bay is probably 15' foot. You want minimum of 6' ceiling height over the full extension height of the lift. Otherwise, you may be doing some bodywork if you forget! What we would do differently if we built today (beyond making it even bigger!) is make the majority of the shop 8' instead of 10 foot and raise the roof pitch and reinforce the bottom chord of the truss to gain that extra 2' back as attic storage. We did put in insulated access doors (the shop is heated and cooled) to the attic from the vault over the lift, and strategically reinforced those areas adjacent to it to be able to store heavy items like engine blocks or transmissions. We just load them on the lift and raise it up to access the hatch doors and slide them across into the attic. We can't store too many things this way---thankfully!

    I'd also really like to see a full bath downstairs. I don't think GD's plan does it right, but it's in the right direction. You never know when someone will have issues with climbing the stairs to the bedroom floor. It's just better to have at least a shower on the main floor. And adding a closet to the study would make it work as a guest room for elderly parents in the future. The closet as shown is too big, as is the living room and pantry. Perhaps that portion of the home could shrink and keep the added space you put in the kitchen. The kitchen is much better off at that size for sure! Make the front of the home line up with the dining room and then do a gable over the entryway? Add in bay or box bay windows for both the study and living room?