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Floor plan help for Gold Country Farmhouse

8 years ago

Could you please give me your opinion on these two options? I have lurked for years and now finally have a project to bring to you all!

The main consideration is the traffic flow through the living room, and whether the cross hallway terminates at a window or on the fireplace. On the one hand, a walkway cutting a room in half is nearly always a bad idea. On the other hand, maybe it would enable me to have a couple of chairs and a side table or a small sitting area near the foyer in addition to the main furniture arrangement?

North is on the lower left (den/bedroom2), south is the back covered porch on the upper right, etc. Beautiful views in pretty much every direction, but the northeast side of the house (with the sitting room) has some highway noise. The house is a simple rectangle with 8' deep porches. Many old houses in this area have porches that have been converted into utility rooms or sitting areas, so we are planning to "convert" the east corner porch into a sitting room and pantry/laundry area when we build the house. (Architect inexplicably flipped washer dryer and fridge. Should be the other way around.)

That weird rectangle in the bathroom/mudroom is a 6' long antique wash sink with three faucets. We are debating whether or not to have a shower in this bathroom or just a dog shower/boots wash area. Probably we need a door on that bathroom too if there is to be a shower.

Also, I know there are too many doors in the pantry area. At least one will be eliminated, and I am thinking about replacing the door to the back porch with a window. Family traffic is to go through the pantry. When we are working outside on the farm, kid traffic will come in through the mudroom/bathroom with the large sink.

Stairs are drawn in case we decided to expand upstairs. House is a 1.5 story with 11' ceilings. Windows are 3'x6' except for a couple of places where they are 4'X6'. We do need to think about resale because we don't know if we will be in this house forever, or if we will buy the 120 acre ranch that borders our land and build back there.

Family/Lifestyle Info

My husband and I have 3 contiguous parcels totaling 9 acres in the California Gold Country, about 2.5 hours east of S.F. We are in our early 30s with four children, ages 1,4,6, and 7. We hope to have more. We have livestock and big summer and winter gardens. I have large flower gardens and need room for starting seeds, propagating, etc, and my husband makes sourdough bread, and fermented everything and always has stuff rising or curing or smoking. So the back pantry will house his kitchen experiments and my starts. We both read a lot and will plan to line the living room with books.

We have already completely remodeled the old 1850s farmhouse on our property. It is sort of a "folk victorian" with some greek revival elements, and is 2bd 1ba. My husband's father is a general contractor, and my husband has done all the remodeling work himself. It was a complete and total unlivable mess when we bought the place in 2009.

These plans are for a new construction on a different parcel. We thought about adding on to the old farmhouse but it is too close to hwy 49 and we would prefer to be farther away from the highway noise. But we would like to build something that is in line with the style and feel of the old house. Husband will work on it here and there, but we will contract out a lot of it, simply because he is just too busy with work.

Husband is a business man and travels 50% of the time, but otherwise works from a home office. I am a writer and copyeditor, and do most of my contract work from home. Both of us have detached offices in outbuildings on the farm, which we will still be able to use once we are in the new house. On weekends we work outside or go camping in the Sierras or entertain (25-50 people, mostly families with small children). The old farmhouse that we are in now is 1200 square feet. We have learned to live small, and we try not to have a lot of stuff. Most of our entertaining is outside, as our climate is only uncomfortable for maybe a month or two out of the year. Our new build will be somewhere around 2250 square feet (not counting upstairs should we decide to finish it). We look forward to having more room to entertain inside in the new house, but the land is so beautiful here that the goal of the new build is to unite outside spaces with inside, and create a house that draws people to the outside areas.

We both love old houses, simplicity, proportion, and symmetry. I love Russell Versaci and Gil Schafer's designs. Our farm has a lot of dry stacked fieldstone walls, ivy, antique junky farm equipment lying around, and very large oak trees. I am a craigslist junkie and have a pristine 1930s wedgewood stove, and a large wall-mount farm sink that I have been storing forever for the kitchen. Thanks for taking the time to help me!

The old farmhouse and gardens:

And my wedgewood stove:

And some of our sheep in the back pasture near the new building site

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