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bruuunooo

Review our second story plan

bruuunooo
13 years ago

Hi everyone--

Attached is a sketch of our second floor home plan. Can you give us some constructive feedback?

We will soon be attempting new home construction in Wisconsin. We are drafting a plan with a local home designer in order to get bids from several builders. The designer drafts whatever we request, but does not provide much feedback.

We have three kids ages 2, 4, and 6. Our goal is an energy efficient home with plenty of storage at a reasonable price. We would rather invest in some interior built-ins than an ornate exterior. We have long winters and plenty of time indoors.

Our plan is a two story home above a walkout basement at a grand total of 3000 square feet. Attached is a sketch of the second floor plan. The top of the sketch faces east, which is our view of a wetlands. The bottom of the sketch faces west, where we have a first floor entrance. The left of the sketch faces north and looks over the first floor garage. The closet and bathroom windows are high awnings (over sinks) or glass block (around showers/baths). We would like to have a window seat in the stairwell but couldn't draw it with our program.

Our two daughters would have bunk beds in the bedroom at the top left (NE). Our son would have the room at the lower left (NW). This is a rough sketch, but you will see two built-in desks/chairs and built-in bookcases in the girls' room. Our son would have built-in desk and bookcases along the bottom (west) wall.

We welcome your feedback about the layout and any other ideas/observations. Is there a problem with transoms in a closet? I was once told this would fade clothes. Do bathrooms need a large exit window or can we use only transoms and glass block? Is this second floor plan efficient or cramped?

Many thanks for your time and ideas. We have been learning a lot in the Home Forum!

Comments (15)

  • rhome410
    13 years ago
    last modified: 6 years ago

    The way you're planning reminds me of the house I designed for us. "Big" just couldn't be a top priority, but 'living big through efficiency' was. A lot of people will think it's too tight, but we don't all have the money to do more.

    I'm a little worried that the girls share a room smaller than your son's. They are growing, you know. ;-) Personally, I'd give up some of the master bath to give them more room.

    You don't need egress windows in bathrooms...or any windows at all, so glass block would be fine.

    You have problems with some of your pocket doors, as you can't intersect walls (have an adjacent wall come in at a 90 degree angle) where there's a pocket frame...So your son's closet and the kids' bathroom might have to change the pockets to bifold like you show for your toilet area.

    Do you need the window in your closet? If you got rid of it and centered the door, you could run clothing down each side, getting 2 walls at 7 ft each. Do you have enough room for drawers? I think the kids do, but I'm not sure about your room. We have a small bedroom, too, but squeaked in an 18" deep built-in drawer unit facing the bed that has been very valuable.

    Is that a linen cupboard in the kids' bath? They'll need it. That's where my plan ran short, unfortunately.

    Great start! Best wishes!

  • western_pa_luann
    13 years ago
    last modified: 6 years ago

    I am one who also likes smaller and thought out, but...

    as your girls get older, they will need more than ~123 square feet of shared space.

    Seriously.

    And the teens I know who share a room do not like bunk beds, unless they are not bunked. Ease of making the bed, having a place for friends to sit, etc... are areas of contention.

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  • rockmanor
    13 years ago
    last modified: 6 years ago

    I agree with stealing space from the master bathroom to enlarge your daughters' room, unless you're certain that you will move before they are teens. How about also putting the door to the little closet in the hall instead of in the master suite, and using that as a linen closet for all three bedrooms? Will the built-in desks be adjustable so that they will fit the children now and when they're older?

    My own preference is for operable windows in bathrooms, just for added ventilation. As for the closets, have you considered using Solar Tubes instead of windows to provide diffused light?

  • solie
    13 years ago
    last modified: 6 years ago

    Too much space for bathrooms and I think too much space for the girls' closet. Your post and your plan suggest that you are people who believe in moderation. Are your girls really going to have that many clothes? And even if they do, they can store out of season and special occasion clothes in the basement. They have more closet space than you.

    I'd switch it up - I'd do the hall bath at the top of the stairs and two identical bedrooms on the side of the house where your suite is now. I'd put shallow reach in closets in between the bedrooms. Then I'd to a more generously sized master suite (with a only three piece bath) in the wider side of the house.

    I think this would give you a 10x8 hall bath (big enough for a separate toilet and tub room and two 12'6" bedrooms, each with six linear feet of closet space (or you could do 4' and 10'). Maybe you could shift the bath over a little to carve out another cloest for the girls' room. And you would have a much bigger master suite, which would make a big difference if you even sell.

    I agree that it's not practical to expect the girls to have bunk beds forever.

  • frog_hopper
    13 years ago
    last modified: 6 years ago

    Hi, so which version of BH&G Home Designer did you use? It looks like it might be Pro 6. :-)

    Walk in closets should be a minimum of seven feet across in order to hang clothes on both sides and get a human in there. The lower left hand closet doesn't meet this, and so wastes some space. The MBR door location precludes leaving it standing open, which is something almost everyone needs to do from time to time.

    The WC bifold will partially block the shower when it is standing open.

    There is not enough wall space available in the MBR for placement of a dresser and a chest of drawers without crowding the edge of the bed

    The windows over the vanities would seem to preclude medicine cabinets or even mirrors

    Windows in closets cause clothes to fade. The window placement and number probably won't look right from the street. The high number of windows will certainly drive the cost up quite a bit, and will add to your heating and cooling bill.

    You have a huge landing at the top of the stairs which isn't needed at all. The adjacent area, which I assume is open to below, would be better off as floor space. Between these two, you have 50 sf of wasted space.

    I think that if you spent some more time with the plan, you could come up with a better layout and a more efficient use of space.

  • bevangel_i_h8_h0uzz
    13 years ago
    last modified: 6 years ago

    My first thought was that having two girls share a room that is smaller than their ONE brother's room is going to lead to jealousy issues six to ten years down the road. Plus, I agree that once the girls hit puberty, they are not going to like having bunk beds both because they don't provide any room for friends to sit down and because I rather doubt that any young lady at that "time of the month" is going to want to have to climb up into a bunk bed!

    It also looks to me like quite a bit of your overall upstairs space is taken up with hallways so I got to wondering if there wasn't some way to take back some of the hallway so as to enlarge the girls' bedroom enough to hold two single beds when the time comes to unbunk them.

    I played around a little bit with my paint program using the same footprint you started with and NOT moving the stair-case because that would affect everything on the lower level as well.

    The only way I could think to do it was to get rid of the single bathroom for the three kids and replace it with two 5' x 7' full baths... one opening off of each of the two bedrooms. I know 5x7 is pretty small but it WILL work. I currently have two back-to-back bathrooms exactly this size! Of course, you have to use standard 5 foot tubs rather than the 6 foot long tubs that it appears you have shown but 5 ft alcove tubs are cheaper anyway and the kids are unlikely to complain! BTW, in place of a linen closet in the bathroom, we have a 9 inch deep cabinet over each commode which, along with the cabinet under the sink provides plenty of room for extra towels, soap, shampoo, toilet paper, etc.

    Having the bathrooms open off the kids' bedrooms rather than the hallway might not work too well if you don't have a powder-room downstairs for guests to use but if that isn't an issue, having two bathrooms will prevent a whole lot of complaining and arguments down the road! Eg., your daughters won't be constantly complaining that your son is a slob in the bathroom and your son won't be complaining that he can't get into the bathroom because the girls are taking so long primping! Although, truth to tell, I've known teenage boys that could spend hours in the bathroom and teenage girls who were the world's biggest slobs. LOL!

    To get the girls' room large enough to hold two beds plus two desks, I had to borrow a little bit of room from the shower area so was forced to re-sketch the master bathroom area as well. But, believe it or not, with a bit of rearranging, I think I was able to fit everything you had back in while also making your master bedroom significantly larger!

    Anyway, here is the sketch. I couldn't put in the exact dimensions because I'm not using a CAD program - just "Paint" to sketch over the top of what you had before. But overall footprint is exactly the same as your original so it ought to be easy enough for you to figure out. If I don't have the two bathrooms quite 5X7 then just steal a little more room from the closets.

  • bruuunooo
    Original Author
    13 years ago
    last modified: 6 years ago

    Wow--thank you for the direct and helpful feedback.

    rhome410, here's to 'living big through efficiency'. It sounds like you have done it well. You are right about the master closet and bedroom. We are reworking the design with a goal to increase the size of the girls' room too.

    western_pa_luann and everyone else who talked sense to us about small rooms, bunk beds, and teenagers--thank you. We are pretty naive about the needs of teens. Our kids will thank you someday.

    rockmanor, do you know whether solar tubes are compatible with snow on the roof for many months? Would we need to take the snow off? Do they leak? The information I found about solar tubes yesterday made them seem practical and attractive. We haven't seen them in our area and will try to find out more.

    solie, you are right about believing in moderation. The big girls' closet was an attempt to keep all clutter out of the bedroom. Perhaps that would just encourage buying and keeping lots of stuff--at the expense of room to live. We don't want to give our children that message.

    We initially started out with the master suite on the north side of the house, but switched it as our two year old started escaping the house. I want to catch him--and someday our teenagers--before they make it down the stairs.

    frog hopper, we are working with your suggestions as we redesign the second floor. The huge landing is from a design we found on the internet. It is supposed to give the first floor foyer an open feel plus some extra light from the stairwell windows. That's the theory, anyhow.

    bevangel, thank you many times over for your time and ideas. We took your sketch and played with it tonight. We think it has great potential. We love the way you turned hallway into useful space and included all of our original items. Amazing. We never even thought of separate bathrooms for our son and our daughters. The design seems very teen-friendly. And parent-friendly with a larger master bedroom. Thank you.

  • vancleaveterry
    13 years ago
    last modified: 6 years ago

    I hope you find this constructive, but I must ask with 3000 sqr feet, why only three bedrooms?

    A walkout basement seems to me to be an ideal place to put one or even two teenager bedrooms. Dedicate the second floor to just two nice sized bedrooms and give yourself and the kids some privacy.

    Teenagers these days really like their own rooms. With 3000 sqr feet you can provide that.

    My two cents, and worth nothing more!

  • solie
    13 years ago
    last modified: 6 years ago

    I like bevangels' plan (a lot), but I think it has one fatal flaw - if one of the girls is using the toilet, the other can't even get into her closet.

    To be completely blunt - while girls may not spend as much time on the can as boys, they are still likely to want to use the toilet in the morning. WHile the other sister is trying to get dressed. Whether you are the sister on the toilet or the sister trying to get dressed, that is going to be ANNOYING!

  • bevangel_i_h8_h0uzz
    13 years ago
    last modified: 6 years ago

    good point solie!

    I too prefer that one not have to got thru the bathroom to get to the closet but couldn't find quite enough wallspace for the two desks if I put a door opening from the closet to the bedroom. Played around with it again this morning and, assuming that the girls keep their desk chairs tucked under the desk when they're not actually using them (a good lesson to learn anyway!) here is a possible option...

    If one girl is studying at the top desk, the other might have to squeeze around her to get to the closet but hopefully that wouldn't lead to too many fights. My experience with teenagers is that they tend to do their studying flopped across their beds anyway. (I taught at a boarding school for five years.) Desktop computers probably changed that for awhile but with the widespread use of laptops, I'm betting the kids are back to stretching out on their beds with laptops propped across their knees. 999 out of a 1000 will tell you its more comfortable!

  • hendricus
    13 years ago
    last modified: 6 years ago

    Another 2 cents worth.

    Place the bedrooms on the outside corner walls to allow two walls with windows. I like natural light. Back the bathroom up to the master bath and design so that the tub/shower, stool and sink can all be used at the same time by three people.

    Our last house had the sink seperate from the tub and stool and it was very handy for six people.

  • chisue
    13 years ago
    last modified: 6 years ago

    I came back to say the same thing 'hendricus' has already stated. Why put closets on the corners when you could have BRs with windows on two exposures? Every living area benefits from having natural light from two directions. You don't need windows in closets! (A 'daylight' fluorescent is fine.)

  • bevangel_i_h8_h0uzz
    13 years ago
    last modified: 6 years ago

    While its nice to have the extra light afforded by windows on two walls, there are two very good reasons not to move the secondary bedrooms in this house into the NE and NW corners:

    1) The hallway would have to be longer which means the bedrooms would necessarily be smaller... and they're already pretty small.

    2) The house is being built in Wisconsin which has long, cold winters. In a cold climate, windows are best situated on the south, west and east walls because windows on the north side of a house lose a LOT of heat. Also, putting closets along the north wall allows the closets to partially insulate the bedrooms. You don't have to heat as much because who cares if the closets are a little bit chilly.

    I hesitated to even put bathrooms along the north wall - and certainly would not have bathroom with plumbing in the exterior north wall as would have been required by the OP's original plan. However, the two windows shown in the bathrooms on the north wall in my design would be quite small awning windows - just large enough to let in a little natural light - and, if triple glazed glass were used, probably would not lose too much heat. You'll notice too that the wet-wall (where the plumbing will run) is an INTERIOR wall which reduces the chances of frozen pipes.

    I would recommend more windows on the south wall of the master bedroom tho.

    BTW - in the south where I am building we have the opposite problem of being in a very hot climate and needing to keep things as cool as possible. Thus, my house will have very few windows along the south and west sides and I placed bedrooms and the most used living areas to the north side as much as possible. The few windows that face south or west will have reflective coatings to reduce heat gain as much as possible.

  • vancleaveterry
    13 years ago
    last modified: 6 years ago

    Would you consider posting the plan for your walkout basement? I'm certain the very talented Bevangle could find a spot for a bedroom (or two) down there.

    All the small bedroom woes would then vanish. But perhaps I crave privacy more than most.

    (When I post my plans I hope Bevangel is around!)

    Terry

  • marthaelena
    13 years ago
    last modified: 6 years ago

    Question:
    Could the stairs be flipped? like, could it go down on the left?
    if so, maybe Bevangel could rearrange a bit the master entry, walking closet access and the vanities/sinks.

    Basicly, I would like the vanities to be longer or it could be a double bowl vanity and the walking closet door off the master bedroom instead off the bathroom.
    One of the things I like about Bevangel plan is that the hallway is small and the masterbedroom is big.

    Soli, that was a good point.