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okpokesfan

Revised floorplan--please comment

okpokesfan
10 years ago

I think we have finally figured out our first floor. Please let me know if you see any glaring issues. The kitchen layout isn't totally finalized so any comments there would be appreciated. Thanks!

Notes: The room below the lockers is the laundry and is 9x11. I am changing the two closets "behind" the piano room. The one on the right will be smaller and will open toward the great room. The one on the left will be larger and will open toward the piano room.

The front faces due south, back faces north. Our lot is 115 (side to side) x 151 (front to back). We would still like to shave about 50 more feet off if we could. I would love suggestions about that!

If you didn't see earlier posts, we are a family of four, kids ages 8 and 10. I teach piano part time (hence the piano room). His closet is also our safe room.

Comments (29)

  • mommyto4boys
    10 years ago

    It looks very nice. I can't remember if this was addressed in your previous post. What about swapping the study and piano room. The little closet adjacent to your master bath could open up as an archway and the study and master would be next to each other. Perhaps this doesn't matter to you, but we like having them next to each other. And then you have the bath right there for your students to wash their hands before lessons (that is a must for our instructor)!

  • renovator8
    10 years ago

    It's cold and wet with a bit of snow so I am in the mood to tell you what I really think .. well, you did ask.

    I find the desire to have a "safe room" with the Master Bedroom on the first floor to be oddly contradictory. Would you put bars on the windows for night time security? Do the kids sleep upstairs? Do they have a safe room?

    Opening the kitchen to both the Great Room (what's wrong with "living room"... not sufficiently great?) and the Dining Room makes the space seem like a giant vacation house. I expect to see mismatched lamps and an unfinihed Monopoly game. The engaged columns and beams that separate and give form to the Great Room and Foyer should be repeated in the rest of the living spaces since they need definition too.

    Consider using a half wall (with shelving, cabinets or paneling and a furniture grade wood top) with square columns supporting a beam to separate the kitchen from the Great Room and turn the counter 90 degrees instead of an oddly dysfunctional 45 degrees. Making the kitchen more efficient would allow a much needed pantry.

    I assume the stairs go to a second floor. The drawing convention is to cut the stairs with a diagonal line at the height that the floor plan is taken (42" +/- above the floor) so the plan can show how the large space below the stair will be used. With so man risers the ceiling height must be 12 ft.

    What is the space in the lower right corner? It helps to show the door swings even in a preliminary plan.

    The strong point of this popular plan is the diagonal view across the Great Room, kitchen and dining room but in this design that view is severely weakened because there is nothing in that space but furniture and a set of kitchen cabinets and a free floating counter with the ubiquitous 45 degree bend. This space needs some form giving lines, some starch, some (dare I say it) architecture. There ... I said it. Why spend so much money and have so little to show for it?

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  • gbsim1
    10 years ago

    We all are looking for different things but I'd still venture that 175-200 sq ft of hall and 200 soft of mbr closet is out of line in a house this size... Especially since you're still searching for a way to cut 50 ft?

    I went back and looked at your very first plan and in this plan every room has gotten significantly smaller, you've lost your mud room, and yet your sq footage has grown and you are still sayingvthechouse isvtoo big. So I'm confused.....if architect cuts every room in size and grows the house footprint when you are on a budget then something is wrong.

  • okpokesfan
    Original Author
    10 years ago

    @mommyto4boys--my husband works from home and likes (must have!) quiet when he works so the I wouldn't want the study to open to the great room. It's also going to hold our fold out chair (chair and a half that makes into a twin) that my mother uses when she comes. That way she will have her own bath. Thanks for the ideas though!

    @Ren8--We live in Oklahoma so the safe room is for tornado protection--not for burglury protection. It is very common for them to be in the master closets because you can't have windows.

    As for your second point--does it really matter if it is called the great room or the living room? Seems like an odd comment. DH is adamant that he wants no separation in the ceiling area. He loves the wide open look. I kind of do too and he's working like a dog to pay for this house so...... :^)

    I do have a 4x7 pantry under the staircase. You can't see it but the study will also have a smaller closet under the stairs as well.

    I said in my original post that the room in the bottom right is a 9x11 laundry room.

    Ceiling height in the downstairs is 10 foot.

    gbsim--the mudroom is still there. It's directly to the right as you come in from the garage where the lockers are. Convenient to a bath and the washer and dryer if you need.

    That piano room will only be used once a week for about 2 hours and about an hour a day or so every day so I felt I could sacrifice space without any problem there. Our current study is 12x12 so DH felt he could give up space there as well.

    Almost everyone I have talked to that has built recently told me they wish their master bedrooms were smaller and their closets bigger. I didn't want to build and the first thing to hit me when I moved in was....why didn't I make my closet bigger?

    Also, the areas we didn't want to give up space in were the great room/kitchen. The cuts that were done were suggested by us. I look at my original as well. The study went from 13x13 to 12x12, the piano from 10x13 to 11x11. The closets above the piano went from 4' deep to 2'deep. In the original plan, one of the closets was way too small. It was basically a reach in closet and we both want walkins.

    I appreciate all the comments. They are definitely food for thought and help me make sure the changes made are the right ones for us! For every house there are deciions to be made and these are the ones (so far--ha!) we have made that will work for us.

    Any comments about the functionality of individual rooms?

  • okpokesfan
    Original Author
    10 years ago

    gbsim--I realized that you were talking about other one I posted. Yes you are right, most rooms went down in square footage. However, DH hated that plan for several reasons (he has VERY specific tastes and things he likes/doesn't like). (He doesn't want a window in his closet, doesn't want to share a closet with me, etc.) So now we're working with this plan.

    The mudroom is still there, it's just not a square room as it was on the first plan. The "lockers" will actually be a long bench 2" deep with hooks behind and storage above the hooks and below the bench. IMO this "room" functions better.

  • peytonroad
    10 years ago

    I would move the door to the garage, closer to the area where the LOCKERS word is written. Can make that area a large mudroom.

  • lavender_lass
    10 years ago

    It's a very nice plan and I think it will work well for you and your family. I already commented on the kitchen layout (on that forum) but I can see why you need the big island, for entertaining.

    I, too, wondered why we were seeing all the 'safe rooms' recently. That makes a lot more sense. I remember spending a night in our walk-in linen closet when I was six...due to a tornado in Arkansas. My dad was in the Air Force and in Blytheville, the water table is so close to the surface...there are no basements, so every military house had a walk-in linen closet.

    That being said, make sure you leave a little space in DH's closet...for bottled water, flashlights, batteries, maybe crank up radio and flashlight, a few snacks and even a game or two. If kids are in there for a while, it would be nice for them to have something to do...in case you spend all night in the closet. Just my two cents :)

  • lyfia
    10 years ago

    You are going to find that locker area to be really tight unless you are a family when only one person would ever use the space at one time.

    It also awkward with respect to the door there. You have the potential of hitting people with the door there. Also when you walk in you have to walk past the area and let everybody in and then you can close the door and have people walking back to take off and hang their stuff.

    Either recess that area more to create a space off to the side or open up the laundry room. It is just very cramped now.

    For his closet if you move the door into the hallway you'll get more useful storage space in there. You have both long walls then and less wasted space. It would also allow you to add a shallow depth cabinet next to the vanity for towels and other bathroom items to store there.

  • lyfia
    10 years ago

    Ooops forgot to mention and it may or may not matter to you but if you leave the door open to the master and master bath anybody in the hallway can see into the master bath. All the way from the other end of the house. They'll see the tub and one vanity.

    Are you putting a door to the toilet? If so you'll have some collision issues there. If swinging in you have to get behind the toilet to close it. If swinging out it collides with the other door.

  • okpokesfan
    Original Author
    10 years ago

    Good ideas lavendar lass! Right now when we have a tornado warning, the kids and I and the dog pile into the bathtub--that's fun! This will be quite a bit bigger.

    Thanks peyton--not a bad idea. thanks for all the comments!

  • okpokesfan
    Original Author
    10 years ago

    lyfia, yes I had thought about moving his closet door to the hallway for more room. Hadn't thought about then having room for a small linen area vanity though!

    We plan on having a doorway to the whole master area right past the arch--it just isn't shown here. Good point though!

    We're still working on the door for the toilet area. Architect suggested small double doors--DH doesn't know.

    The area above the lockers is 4 foot wide. My current kitchen aisles are 42" and we have no problem moving around each other. I honestly don't think it will be an issue but I will look at that and the doorway as well.

  • lyfia
    10 years ago

    Okpokesfan the area is wide enough to walk past each other but consider having a door in the area that needs to be able to swing there with people they have to step back along with putting jackets and back packs on etc. You'll find it to be tight. We have a similar issue in our house although ours is across from the door and we have 5.5 ft from the door to the bench. Our door is 3 ft wide. We have 4 ft width by the door and then 2 ft in we have a lot more on the side (laundry on one side and into the house on the other side) and then 3.5 ft to the start of the bench. It is enough space when there is just two of us, but adding in our daughter it gets to feeling tighter. One more kid and it would be cramped.

    You might want to mock this up in real life and see how it works for your family. We didn't have more space to use, but seems like you could have more space.

  • _sophiewheeler
    10 years ago

    This isn't DIY? An architect did this? Run away and find one more skilled. This one shouldn't have graduated. There is a godawful amount of wasted space, the mud area is awkward and will hardly ever be used as drawn. The kitchen is beyond badly laid out and the ridiculous angled island adds nothing to either the architecture or the usefullness of the space. The front porch isn't deep enough to actually use for anything, and the L shape adds nothing to either the usability or character of the home. The master is bloated and awkwardly configured. So much space to have such little realization of potential.

    For an architect produced plan, it's impossibly amateur and badly designed. You need to find someone new, preferably someone that has an understanding of space in 3D and also understands traffic patterns, door swings, and furniture arrangement, i.e, how a space will live, not just look on paper.

  • renovator8
    10 years ago

    You would need to search the archives and read the 8 or 10 recent posts regarding the design of this project to understand the OP's long distance relationship with her architect but it's impossible for us to know if the amateurish nature of the design is due to the architect's lack of professional sophistication or the owner's desire to control the design process but it should be obvious that the OP needs to change the approach. If I though there was any possibility of convincing her of that I would try.

  • _sophiewheeler
    10 years ago

    OK, I read back over the past posts. This is a disaster in the making and I can't believe the OP is so emotionally attached to this travesty and won't hold the architect accountable. Or, if as you say, the OP is the source of the horrendously bad design, then I still fault the architect for not being more assertive in taking those bad ideas and doing their job which is creating something better from them. Using an architect as a mere draftsman is beyond stupid, but it's a stupid architect that allows themself to be used in that manner and doesn't have the integrity to quit the job. I've fired clients before and would do it again if what they wanted so violated the principals of good design that I wouldn't want my name associated with it.

  • okpokesfan
    Original Author
    10 years ago

    Gee, what a warm and wonderful welcome on the boards from you guys! I have come to this board for suggestions. I received a few (and appreciate the good, constructive comments that I received) but have also been insulted and my plan trashed YOu guys are very harsh. I am not emotionally attached to this "travesty" as you so lovingly call it. I do like certain parts of it however.

    I also think, Renovator8, that sometimes you are blind to your own biases (hating open spaces) and critique plans according to that. Most of the things you didn't like showed that you weren't familiar with regional building (my safe room) or didn't like the things I prefer (my openness--thought we needed architectual "oomph"). That doesn't make them bad IMO, just different than what you would choose.

    So where are the helpful comments? I do like the openness and don't really want any walls. I don't think that makes me "emotionally attached to a travesty"

    If you hate the plan so much, exactly (SPECIFICALLY) what do you hate about it? you've mentioned wasted space. I know there is wasted space. Where can I get rid of it?

    I will admit I am not happy with my architect at this point. I don't feel like he is contributing very much to this process at all.

    I feel a little stuck and am sorry that I posted the plan on here. Thought I could get some help and instead I've just been insulted me without offering specific hints. This doesn't apply to all of you, just certain people
    (Ren8 and hollysprings)

  • _sophiewheeler
    10 years ago

    You're willing to voice your irritation at free professional criticism of the plan and the architect but you aren't willing to stand up and demand something better from someone you are paying to do the job for you?

    You can't simply "get rid of" the wasted space here. That's not how home design works. It would be like trying to build a bicycle and then deciding it was too heavy and leaving off the gears because they add too much weight. Your bike won't go anywhere. You have to start with a better layout from the beginning. You CAN have an open plan that works for your family but that also has architectural interest and little superfluous space. But maybe this architect isn't the one to give you that plan.

    You'd be better off at this point in investing in Chief Architect and twiddling out floor plans yourself. At least you could manage the 3D walkthrough and get a sense of what those flat lines on the paper really mean in real life. Or possibly not. Some people simply can't think in 3 dimensions. That's not a criticism of you. You're not the professional. I would hope that the architect could manage to rise to the challenge, but so far, he is very very far from giving you anything that is worthy of even a first draft.

  • lavender_lass
    10 years ago

    Hollysprings- It sounds like you're an architect, but you always seem to see the negative in people's plans. Usually (at least in the posts I've read) you seem to like to insult the OP for not having an architect...or if they have one...the architect is not up to your standards.

    While I can appreciate that you may have a different perspective...I do not appreciate your manner, with people coming here for help and advice. Yes, it's free advice, but there's no reason to be rude.

    Here's a little free advice...if you can't say something nice, don't say anything at all.

    Renovator- I hope you get some sunshine and warmer weather, soon. Hopefully, spring will bring a more cheerful member, back to the forum :)

  • renovator8
    10 years ago

    For many decades a "safe room" has meant a room safe from attack or forced entry (see link) so you should not be surprised that someone would interpret it that way. It's the term the State department uses to describe the secure room in their Foreign Office Buildings. A room constructed to withstand a tornado has traditionally been called a "storm shelter" or "tornado shelter" but FEMA has recently decided to call a residential storm shelter a "safe room" to distinguish it from a Community Storm Shelter which makes it necessary to know the context in which the term is used in order to know what kind of room is intended.

    What is most disturbing to me about this thread is that after accepting advice from me and others regarding the most effective design process in various other threads, you hired an architect only to arrive at the most common living space layout offered by most of the internet plan marketers. You may not appreciate my opinion but I felt the need to offer it because I had hoped our advice would lead to better results. Hearing the opinion of others is the inevitable price paid for otherwise free advice. I'm used to design criticism because I spent 6 years having my work unmercifully flogged by world-class pros; it's how an architect learns to weigh ideas and discard even good ones for the benefit of the whole. It was 15 years ('62 to '77) before I felt I was qualified to design something as difficult as a house all by myself. It was fortunate that it was for a relative because the ridge height exceeded the town fire ordinance and I had to beg for mercy at a public hearing. Becoming a competent designer is a very long and painful process and frankly not one I would want to repeat.

    Here is a link that might be useful: safe rooms

  • okpokesfan
    Original Author
    10 years ago

    Thanks for the backup lavendar!

    Holly--thanks for the constructive criticism. I don't have a problem with you saying negative things about my plan if they are something I can work with. Your last post certainly was more helpful.

    At this point I'm really not sure what to do with my architect. He is really acting as my draftsman. We've basically come up with most of the floorplan. I would like to talk to someone else but DH likes the floorplan and wants to finish it with this guy.

    To be honest, I like the overall floorplan, just have a few issues with it.

    So I guess we just need to decide what WE like and what WE want because we will be the ones living with it. And what we can agree on--that may be the toughie!

    Sorry I got upset earlier---it's been that kind of day. And I did feel better after getting all that off my chest!! lol...

    I will check into Chief Architect because I would like to do a 3D walkthrough of the plan.

    Thanks everyone!

  • bevangel_i_h8_h0uzz
    10 years ago

    Actually, on Hollyspring's member page she says, "Im on the Board of Directors for my local Humane Society and work as a vet tech to assist in the low cost spay/neuters that a local vet provides. I also volunteer as a tutor in literacy programs and aid in fundraising to assist with finding a cure for Multiple Sclerosis.

    Being a vet tech, volunteering as a literacy tutor, and helping to raise funds for MS are all wonderful contributions to society and I'm sure HollySprings is a fine person... BUT unless she is also a trained architect on the side, she is no more qualified than any of the rest of us amateurs to trash someone's dream by calling it a "travesty".

    Renovator8 is a trained architect and I'm sure his tastes are very refined. When he offers advice and makes an attempt to explain WHY one design choice is better than another, it can be very helpful.

    That said, I can't help but think that perhaps the reason why there are so many internet floor plans with a similar "great room with kitchen to one side with an angled bar dividing the two spaces and a breakfast nook toward the back" is that so many people LIKE this layout and find that it WORKS so danged well in everyday homes where everyday people live and raise families and entertain friends.

    Is that particular layout a little bit hackneyed in the sense that it is lacking in freshness and originality? Maybe. Will a house with that particular layout ever win any architectural awards for creative design? Probably not. ---But then again, after taking look at the home designs selected by the American Institute of Architects for their prestigious 2011 AIA Housing Awards (linked below), I for one happen to think being a tad less creative is a GOOD THING!

    The bottom line is, a house with that particular layout be beautiful and functional and a very warm and welcoming home.

    Okpokesfan, I am not an architect - but I did successfully design my own home (without having to beg for mercy from any approval boards because my design failed to meet some of their requirements) and I get scads of compliments on my home from every person who visits. I like your design. There are a few things I might try doing a little differently but overall, I think it works.

    Here is a link that might be useful: 2011 AIA Housing Award winning designs

  • okpokesfan
    Original Author
    10 years ago

    Thank you bevangel--I so agree with your thoughts about the "popular" floorplans. There is a reason why they are popular! DH and I discussed last night and decided we do like this floorplan. I still would like to make some modifications--specifically in the bathroom, mudroom and kitchen---but think this floorplan works for us and our family.

    And I don't mind constructive criticism, but don't see any need for people to come across as rude and/or arrogant!

    Thanks guys!!

  • renovator8
    10 years ago

    Critiquing the critics is the favorite refuge of dilettantes and it completely disrupts a design discussion; it's one of Bevangel's specialties although she tried to frame this one in professional terms instead of personal ones but failed. I am not surprised that she managed to design one house in her career that met all applicable regulations because these days this information is easily found on the internet along with thousands of mediocre house plans - a dilettante's playground. 35 years ago I had only been registered for 6 years and had just opened my office. The Fire Dept got a longer ladder, the owners got divorced, the house sold for twice what it cost to build, and the new owners asked me to design an addition. It was a beginning.

    In another thread Okspokesfan said,âÂÂI am trying to get my husband to go ahead and meet with an architect but he thinks we need 'the plan' before we do. I say we take our ideas, wants/needs and let the architect help us design the home, using plans as inspiration.â However, she also said her husband was afraid that "the architect will only do it the way they want and not listen to what we want."

    It appears to me that Okspokesfan wanted to follow the advice of the forum members and take full advantage of an architect's skills but her husband had already found an internet plan and suspected an architect would not want to just "draw it up". This has created a dilemma for Okspokesfan. I find that male spouses are less willing to discuss much less accept the ideas of others, not that that's a bad thing. Fortunately, they usually drop out of the design process except to worry about cost. Maybe a female architect would loosen him up.

    IMO the current design is a "guy space" with little demarcation between activities, sort of like a basement "rec room" or sports bar with a hooked-counter kitchen in the knuckle of a large L-shaped space strikingly similar to a bar counter. He is probably already shopping for the TV that he can see from any point in the living space. Plasma or LED ... tough decisions.

    I know how difficult and painful it is to design when you can't control the process and I'd like to help but I'm not going to try to shout over all this distracting background noise.

  • _sophiewheeler
    10 years ago

    Since you want to make this about me rather than the inability of a paid professional to do their job correctly....

    I've been an original member here since 1996, well before Spike even required an email address to sign up and post, and through the period when he tried to make it a pay only site, and then the sale. I came here to the GardenWeb side to talk with others who share my hobby, which is horticulture, specifically roses. (I'm a Master Gardener volunteer and have a degree in horticulture as well, and have been gardening for over 50 years beginning with lessons from my grandmother if you want to know what my qualifications are for that.)

    In my first life in the real world, I retired as a designer after 35 years in the business, with the last 10 providing major design services for a home renovation contractor and builder. When the real estate market crashed, I retired. I still keep a hand in that world by taking on the occasional client, usually a real estate staging or a small reno.

    In my "second life", I mostly drink tea and grow roses and work as a volunteer vet tech with my local animal shelter and spay neuter clinic. It keeps me busy and off the streets. It's a heck of a lot more rewarding dealing with homeless and needy animals than most people!

    For the longest time, I didn't even realize that GW had a Home Site annex. When I did, I only came over here occasionally, and answered a technical renovation or construction question from people who found it difficult to Google correctly. I was still working as a designer at that point, and felt little need to give away for free what I got paid to do every day. When my work began to wind down, I began to give the occasional bit of feedback on design issues. Most people who have vision can take a pointer or two and run with it. Some can't. Some just don't ever have the design acuity or the visual discrimination to see. And the bad designs laid over with the syrupy sweet ickiness of overwhelming non critical thinking hurts my teeth and makes me cranky. A bad design isn't made better by exclaiming about how wonderful it is.

    I shall continue my periodic bouts of popping into the forums, but I now have a refreshed memory as to why I mostly quit coming here.

  • lavender_lass
    10 years ago

    Holly- I had no idea you grow roses and drink tea (two of my favorite things to do, too) but I came over here to add something to the post. I just saw you give another specific, helpful piece of advice on the kitchen forum and I wanted to say, I've seen you be so helpful and supportive on that forum, so maybe I'm just not reading enough posts, on this forum.

    My previous life was dealing with a room full of college freshmen and trying to get them to be nice and work together long enough, to get through basic economics. I'm not retired, but I don't teach anymore...and I guess I miss it, since my 'teacher side' still comes out, when I ask that we all play nice, together.

    I would like to add that for many of us, when we bring our house plan (really our hopes and dreams for the future) over to the forums, we don't know what to expect. When I first came to this forum, I was completely unprepared for some of the comments I received. I know there are many people who stop by once and probably never come back. I guess that's there choice, but it would be nice if we could be a little more aware of how 'our critiques' might come across and try to find one or two nice things to say about a plan...and then explain why we don't like it.

  • okpokesfan
    Original Author
    10 years ago

    Ren8, we didn't find this on some random site...we did design this (dh and I together). Sorry it didn't appeal to you but we're not trying to win any architectural awards, just design a plan that works for us.

    Just because you have an opinion (even a professional one) doesn't
    Mean I am obligated to take your advice or that my house will be a travesty if I don't. If you feel that I am trying to take advantage of free advice then you don't have to offer it.

    Phew!! Didn't mean for this thread to go so off topic.

  • renovator8
    10 years ago

    You appreciated my advice until it didn't agree with your design. You are using the forum the same way you are using your architect so you still don't have much to show for the effort.

  • okpokesfan
    Original Author
    10 years ago

    Just because I don't use your advice doesn't mean it isn't taken into consideration. To me, "give me your advice" (meaning I can take it or leave it) is different than "design this for me" or "tell me what to do".

  • okpokesfan
    Original Author
    10 years ago

    OK, "his" closet door has been moved to the hallway. I'm working on my kitchen layout right now, and am thinking of adding a little bit of room to the cubby/locker area. I didn't really want to open up the laundry room since that area doesn't always stay the cleanest for me. :^)

    All great suggestions! Anything else?