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lunarocket34

Need Advice on New Home Floor Plan

DH and I are building a "kit" ranch house on the part of our farm land nearest the trees. It is an L shape with the very small bump out in the front (short leg of the L) for the likely, hardly used by guests, 2nd and 3rd bedrooms. (one of those I will use for my sewing room.) It's post frame construction so the interior walls can go anywhere. There is a 3 car attached garage. The house will have a crawl space.

The black walls in the floor plan are fixed, this is the footprint including the walls between the small bedrooms and the main house. WIndows and doors cannot cross the red squares inside those walls as they are the posts. And this is also the size and number of windows and doors allowed.

We are building the shell ourselves this year with help from a friend or two. So I've got time to get the floor plan finalized as not much more can be done till the house we're living in sells, if it sells.

Below is the current plan, I have the previous one in an ideabook but the 2 baths and master closet were definite disasters. Also in that plan tit had a separate "canning room" that DH wanted mainly because we need a 2nd stove for finishing the maple syrup in the spring. (Otherwise the inevitable boil overs have made a mess of my kitchen stove. DH does not clean up.) But it takes up a lot of space with redundant counters, etc. (In another prior plan it was in the back and also functioned as a mud room and entrance for my 2 usually muddy labrador retrievers.)


Ranch Floor Plan · More Info

It's just the 2 of us and the dogs, hardly any over night visitors except at Christmas. Most of the furniture displayed is to scale and we already own it, except for those side tables in the LR. The custom dining set exists as well though barely used. (DH has said the LR furniture could be changed out).

The view is out the back.

Incidentally, we live in the sticks, amongst other farms, in the still fairly empty northeast part of Michigan's lower peninsula. We're aiming for comfortable and simple but with a few really nice features (like a soaking tub!)

A couple nice folks over on the kitchen design forum suggested I come over here to see what you had to say.

Thanks for your consideration.




Comments (62)

  • Buzz Solo in northeast MI
    Original Author
    5 years ago

    Mark, Here is a version with a vestibule. DH doesn't think we need one at the front door as it will seldom be used (and he's probably right) but he liked the idea of one within the garage between the workshop and utility room.


    Ranch Floor Plan · More Info

    I also altered the Master bath, closet, laundry, canning room and, of course, the kitchen. I'm definitely liking this version better (today anyway). I also threw the sofa I inherited into the Living Room to see what happens. (it's nothing special and does not need to stay.)

    Would still like to get a gas fireplace in there somewhere, preferably NOT under the TV. Toying with the idea of a see-thru one smack in the center of the room about where that rectangular coffee table is. Then again, it's not that big a room as it is...

  • cpartist
    5 years ago

    What about getting rid of the peninsula in the kitchen and turning the island around so it faces the living room. Much better than looking at a wall when you prep. Plus if you do it right, you can make the perimeter an L shape and have more room for the living room/dining room area.

    Are you ok with the canning room having no light? Does it need to be vented?

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  • PRO
    Mark Bischak, Architect
    5 years ago

    It is small in size. Consider locating it under the porch roof.

  • Buzz Solo in northeast MI
    Original Author
    5 years ago

    Mark,I was thinking the same thing, it would need to be outside on the porch. I had it bigger inside before this one, but it just took up too much space. I'll run it by DH, he probably won't like it but then it is something we can add to the front of the house later if it proves necessary.

    cpartist, when we're canning maple syrup things move fairly fast once it reaches temperature so if I just pepper the room with 5000K LED can lights and under cabinet lights we'll have plenty of light. Yes, there will be a very strong fan over the stove. Though the majority of the evaporation takes place outside, the finishing boil still imparts lots of sticky liquid into the air. (In case you're interested, this year's sap took boiling down ~50 gallons of liquid to get one gallon of syrup. We boiled/evaporated about 800 gallons of sap outside. We ended up with ~13 gallons of finished syrup.)

    But I may remove the end walls rather than have a cased openings. I'll look at elevations when I get closer.

    Working on a couple variations of the kitchen without the peninsula now. An L shape, hmmm..

  • cpartist
    5 years ago

    More importantly, how can I buy some of your maple syrup?

    I still think the canning room would be better with the stove on an outside wall.

  • just_janni
    5 years ago

    In addition to your exhaust fan- don't forget enough makeup air / HVAC vents in the canning room.

    Buzz Solo in northeast MI thanked just_janni
  • Buzz Solo in northeast MI
    Original Author
    5 years ago

    I've now removed the end wall with cased opening from the canning room, no need to really close it off that much. That will help with some of the air flow.

    cpartist, sorry, can't sell any because it's not made in an FDA approved kitchen. But if you come up to MI sometime I can give you some. ;-)

    When you say the canning stove on an outside wall, did you mean simply for more light or some other reason?


  • cpartist
    5 years ago

    I think if you're using a gas appliance, I know I'd feel more comfortable with it not on interior walls.

  • imstillchloecat
    5 years ago

    Why is that, cpartist?

  • Buzz Solo in northeast MI
    Original Author
    5 years ago

    Here's another slightly changed version. I opened the canning room up a little and moved things around inside. I also tried the dining table in the center of the space. Not sure if there's enough walking space around it, though it sure opens up the living room andlet me include a fireplace.

    Ranch Floor Plan · More Info

    I'm not crazy about the 2 kitchens as the maple canning is only about 3 months, but DH, whom I will now refer to as Hal, wants his own space. The intent is also to have his coffee maker and microwave in there. I hardly ever use the microwave. Perhaps I should move the wine fridge into it as well.

    And now I'm wondering if I should do a stove top and single wall oven because my back has been known to throw hissy fits about once a year...

    I think I need to take a break for a while and do other things to clear my head.

    I am fairly pleased the bed/bath portion though. At least this week.

  • cpartist
    5 years ago

    Why is that, cpartist?

    Because I'm nuts and always worry about the worst possible. LOL

  • Buzz Solo in northeast MI
    Original Author
    5 years ago

    cpartist, you'll be happy to know that after a discussion with Hal this morning, the stove/oven in the mini kitchen is GONE. I'm turning it into a beverage center with small sink, wine fridge, coffee maker and microwave (the regular fridge is staying but may need to have a freezer now for ice.) And pantry storage.

    The range in the big kitchen is now a 36" wide 5 burner stove top (still propane) and that yellow pantry next to the fridge will have a single oven, perhaps an electric convection type?

    It turns out he just doesn't want to keep bumping into me in the morning at the sink and refrigerator or any other time he decides it's time to raid the fridge and I'm in there cooking or cleaning. I just have to be sure my stove top is easy to clean if he manages to boil over the syrup! I think I'll get him taller pots.

  • PRO
    Mark Bischak, Architect
    5 years ago

    cp - You know, some things should not be put in writing. : )

  • cpartist
    5 years ago

    Nah, I'm proud of it Mark.

  • PRO
    Mark Bischak, Architect
    5 years ago

    You're in good company.

  • Buzz Solo in northeast MI
    Original Author
    5 years ago

    A small update.

    Here's a shocker, to me anyway. I don't know if DH has mellowed simply because we signed the papers with the realtor to list our current house yesterday, or the wine to celebrate, but suddenly I can flip the house end to end and put the garage on the left (if I want, this is for you, cpartist! lol) or flip it so the short L is in the back. As long as it's roughly on the same eastish/westish axis for the long bit, he's cool with it.

    Also, after staging this house for sale, I actually measured the 4 living room chair locations to figure out what works with the TV and it's made things a bit easier. I guess I need to move some walls around some more.

  • cpartist
    5 years ago

    If you do decide to flip it then you still want to keep your main living spaces on the right for that southern sun. Open up the right side with lots of windows. Then minimize the windows on the west side or at least put on large eaves.

  • imstillchloecat
    5 years ago

    Worry about the worst possible what? I've seen gas stoves on interior walls (and gas cooktops on islands). I've seen gas fireplaces in the middle of homes. What's the issue?

  • Buzz Solo in northeast MI
    Original Author
    5 years ago

    imstillchloecat, perhaps gas leaks? because if it's going to explode it isn't going to matter what part of the house it's in. ;-)

    cpartist, looks like I could flip it right to left, but I'm not sure how sincere DH was because flipping it front to back puts the porch on the back which defeats the purpose of the porch in the first place. Which is a shame because it made dealing with the front door so much easier having that longer wall to work with. I'm still plugging along though. An epiphany may happen yet.

  • cpartist
    5 years ago
    last modified: 5 years ago

    I would find a way to just move the garage to the left leaving the rest of the space as is of course with modifications.

  • Buzz Solo in northeast MI
    Original Author
    5 years ago

    Here is the latest. Now I have not actually flipped the house in the photo because the software I am using doesn't have that option. So I turned the compass. And whether this happens depends on whether the county health inspector ever gets back to the septic contractor on where the tank and field will actually be located.


    Ranch Floor Plan · More Info

    I put the dining table in the kitchen with a bench on the back of the island. And really, I don't need island seating because for the most part no one ever sits at my island. Not in this house, not in my last house. The table is a farm table design so it would work with the right cabinets.

    The bathrooms are re-worked slightly, the beverage center is smaller, I'm not really happy with it yet but there's still plenty of time.

    I know the front door is just sort of hanging there but really, most people are going to be coming in through the garage. It's weird, but that's DH's family for you, pretty much the only people who may ever visit other than my sister. (okay, I admit it, I have no friends) And there is that option Mark suggested about enclosing the porch which may happen in the future.

  • cpartist
    5 years ago

    now try flipping the interior of the house so the living room and kitchen is on the south wall and not the bedroom. Put the bedroom next to the garage

  • Buzz Solo in northeast MI
    Original Author
    5 years ago
    last modified: 5 years ago

    So, the 2 small bedrooms are directly underneath the kitchen? Or did you mean slide the living room to the left, put the kitchen in it's place, then move the master to the the old kitchen location? So the front door would be next to the master BR?

  • Buzz Solo in northeast MI
    Original Author
    5 years ago

    cpartist, I can't make your idea work, whichever one it was but then I came up with this. And DH actually seems to like it as do I. I loose counter space, but that was a lot more than I probably need. I could see the overhang extending around the end to cover the dog dishes.

    Normally I don't like galley kitchens but in this case that back door isn't a main entrance and I could turn it into the Dutch door which I've always loved instead of some sort of single French door.

    Don't have a separate prep sink unless I stuck one between the fridge and the stove top though it seems tight.

    I had the front door a little further to the right but DH made me move it to the left, he thought the exterior looked weird, I disagree. I'm going to try to move it a foot back to the right again.


    Ranch Floor Plan · More Info

  • cpartist
    5 years ago

    What I was trying to get you to do is to move the bedrooms off the exterior corners of the house and instead put your living room kitchen/dining room on those exterior walls since they'd be facing south.

    Ideally you want your public rooms facing south so if you switch your garage to the opposite side like in the version before the one above, it would give you lots of natural light and lots of passive solar heating and cooling. Passive solar heating and cooling is a terrific way to save money on heating and cooling costs.

  • cpartist
    5 years ago

    I tried to download your drawing but I can't. Can you upload it as a photo and not a Houzz Photo? The one where you switched the direction.

  • Buzz Solo in northeast MI
    Original Author
    5 years ago
    last modified: 5 years ago

    I assume it's this one. The free software is Sweet Home 3D if you have a pc. Don't know if they have an Apple version.

  • cpartist
    5 years ago

    Yep that's the one. Going to do a rough idea later but it will still need you to refine hallways etc. Just want to get you thinking outside the box. Plus I'll flip it for you. :)

  • Buzz Solo in northeast MI
    Original Author
    5 years ago

    Cool, thanks for your interest and efforts. Of course, can't guarantee I'll like it and even less that DH will like it, but until tonight I didn't think he'd even agree to the kitchen in the back. Here's the latest version of that one that he really, really likes and I think isn't too shabby.

  • greenacresmama
    5 years ago

    It is looking great! My only thoughts is it feels like some of the furniture and corners are a bit blocky. I would not invite my old furniture unless it was of course amazing and old.... can you render in 3D? I am excited for you but wonder if you would have more instincts with other software? Interested in having a 30 day trail of CA Home designer? The version I have is $200.. I would just go for the one that had light rendering for you (read options carefully, I bet you could buy lower version.)


    last, I want to send you to Pinterest for lots of butler pantrys, canning rooms, mud rooms, utility rooms.. larder.. try lots of different words. something about the floor plan that jumps out at me is that your rooms near garage may need some attention like the details you have given the bath area.. maybe.. up to you! I also think your night stands might be best as stools. I have a modern feel though. I just think for cleaning in those tight spaces it might feel better and give some of the room some air feelings.

    Buzz Solo in northeast MI thanked greenacresmama
  • cpartist
    5 years ago

    Buzz, I haven't forgotten you. Just have been so tired as the dog's been having some stomach issues last two days. Bad enough that she had to go out at 3:30 AM both mornings. Will try and play this weekend for you.

  • Buzz Solo in northeast MI
    Original Author
    5 years ago

    greenacresmama, I can see in 3D, I can take my little man on virtual walks through the house, I'm cheating right now and not using the actual kitchen cabinets provided because they are a pain to line up but at some point I will have to do that and take some screen shots.

    Do you mean the nite stands in the MBR? As stools? Or did you mean the end tables in the LR? I am confused. The MBR set is all mahogany and it isn't going anywhere at the moment. The LR furniture though is just what I have so I had measurements. DH actually said last night I could head downstate to the Detroit area and go to fancy furniture stores to find stuff. I think he has no idea what I could end up spending..... lol

    Now I assume you mean those rooms within the footprint of the garage? I've looked at hundreds of butler's pantries here on Houzz and adding ones I like to an ideabook. It's hard to do much with it when it shares space with the furnace, water heater and 2 chest freezers though. I am not entirely pleased with the sort of mini kitchen by the table yet, either.

    cpartist, I saw one of your suggestions for a master bath on another thread and loved what you did. I am looking forward to seeing what you come up with. And no rush, your dog is important!! I have lost count of the emergency vet visits I've had in the past. Heck there was the one a couple days after the bear encounter on our back deck when my little guy Ziggy decided to jump off the 6 foot high deck after it. The fun never ends here in the swamp.

  • Buzz Solo in northeast MI
    Original Author
    5 years ago

    Here is the latest with tweaks to the baths, the kitchen and now I have to figure out where to put the dog beds! Kind of important. DH gets torqued when he trips over them and they like to be near me. Yes, those beds are to scale, I have 2 labradors.

  • cpartist
    5 years ago

    can the L at the bottom left move? is it fixed in that position?

  • Buzz Solo in northeast MI
    Original Author
    5 years ago

    It is fixed otherwise it has to be re-engineered. Only thing I do not know for sure is whether those black walls between those small bedrooms and the main house will be there or not. I'm hoping we'll be finding out sometime next week.

  • cpartist
    5 years ago
    last modified: 5 years ago

    So the exterior shape is as is and can only be flipped right or left? If I flip the garage to the left does that mean the L would then flip to the right?

  • cpartist
    5 years ago

    I didn't put in everything as I found it too hard to read all those small measurements and what everything is. However what I did was very quickly show you what I was thinking by switching the garage to the opposite side of the house. Now your main room will be bathed in light and will take advantage of passive solar heating and cooling.

    Obviously though, it means going back to square one in rearranging the layout of the overall house. However in the long run, I think you'd be much happier with a brighter, lighter house.

    Buzz Solo in northeast MI thanked cpartist
  • Buzz Solo in northeast MI
    Original Author
    5 years ago

    Well, it sure is interesting and I appreciate your time and effort. And if we were building a stick built house we could do all kinds of things like this. But DH send the basic floor plan to the pole barn design company a couple weeks ago and what I had is what I'm getting. No walls of windows either I am afraid. Something to do with wind shear. I am curious about where you would put the front door in your plan though?

    In the meantime, here is my latest. I've got a floating dining table at the moment but I like the kitchen better. Still not sure where to put the glasses when I unload the dishwasher... Or where to put the poor dogs' beds. lol

    And I actually added a wall between the fireplace room and kitchen (with a pass through) how "un-open concept of me!" I'm thinking I had too much open space though.

  • cpartist
    5 years ago

    No walls of windows either I am afraid. Something to do with wind shear.

    Really? Considering I'm in FL and most of the houses down here have walls of windows, I find that a bit hard to believe.

  • greenacresmama
    5 years ago
    That looks way different! Not sure better but way better for me! I would slide down the dining window a bit? And the door? I am having window arch design issues so maybe not a great eye- but this is just me.. I would angle the chairs. Softer feeling and the user gets to feel the fire charm and also tilt head out the window too..

    I am not a huge fan of open open room. I also love the study structure of walls and slowing air flow. I feel like you not only get bored but with company it can get loud or you can't take a breather. I am sure this all depends on the location and the view and the type of company you host
    Buzz Solo in northeast MI thanked greenacresmama
  • greenacresmama
    5 years ago
    Ps I have three labs (1 stray red lab puppy dropped off one year at 6am; the other 2 Aussie/labs pups off the same next year!) my only feelings about mine are how much they love the pond, working beside me, their hikes. When they are inside we have towels across blankets for them. I am going to find some crib futons I think one day and sheet them. That it my only offer on them.. sorry no place to put them.. ours seem to get up and move so often for temp change and just lay at anyone's feet. If you want them near the door then you have a great setup there!
  • greenacresmama
    5 years ago
    Oh! I almost forgot.. is there any chance of 2 freezers beginning the HVac room and anyway to have a feeling of charm like shelves above they open door height.. maybe some wall like paneling in your decor or whatever, and then a second doorway with possible accordion doors or pocket leading to the hvac? Not sure if that make sense or is even an option but possibly.
  • greenacresmama
    5 years ago
    Pss.. if the both doors also had a window it could transmit some light too. Or just adding a door with window in hall and keeping freezer room same.
  • Buzz Solo in northeast MI
    Original Author
    5 years ago

    cpartist, it has something to do with the way the walls are built I suppose, but I only get info second hand from DH and most of the time he isn't very forthcoming with explanations.

    But even if a wall of windows was doable I wouldn't consider it very desireable as we have been known to have temperatures in winter dropping to -35F at night, 2 winters ago we had several of those nights. Lots of windows in northern MI makes for chilly nights and larger heating bills.

    greenacresmama, I moved the window, the freezer/utility room is what it is, it's utilitarian so I'm not bothering to pretty it up. It'll sure be nicer than having to go down to the basement several times a day for various food items. We may be moving the furnace though, perhaps to the workshop.

    I have no idea where the dog beds will eventually end up. Those are only the 2 nicest ones, they have several which are now in the basement.

    The doors that come with the barn/house are metal doors without windows, I'll have to change them out at some point. This year we just need to get the building buttoned up before winter.

  • Buzz Solo in northeast MI
    Original Author
    4 years ago

    Resurrecting this thread with the 2 current floor plan possibilities. Until these I was absolutely POSITIVE the kitchen was returning the front of the house and thus much larger. I'm getting older and really don't think I will need a huge kitchen, besides we'll be much closer to decent restaurants.

    The MBR had become 23 feet wide because DH wanted a place to disappear. (It's a better size now.) It finally occurred to me to think hard about how we live and I decided what we really needed was a separate living room that could be closed off from the rest of the space. It is now the TV room with surround sound. The other living room will have the stereo and a small TV. It's still an open plan just not as open as it could be. Just because wide open is possible doesn't mean it's a good idea.

    My custom 7 foot cherry dining table (built so DH can get his knees under the skirt board rather than butted up into it) has been a bit of a problem to work around. I don't really need a formal dining room as we only use the table for major holidays. But then it's nice to have when I do need it.

    First plan

    The dining table just sort of sits there, floating sort of. I don't like the way the kitchen/TV room wall does not line up with the MBR/2nd living room wall, hence plan version number 2.

    Second Plan

    I like "neatness" of the walls though the MBR closet is smaller (I also widened the MBA aisle a little though technically 3'8" would be better for wheelchair access) This version has a vestibule-like area at the front door (hey, Mark!), which I kind of like. The dining room looks a little cramped but when I look at the 3D views I think it looks great. I dislike my exercise bike having to go into the garage and losing a linen closet, but, oh well.

    I am debating losing the soaker tub. which would free up some space to play with.

    Now a few reminders :

    The post frame and trusses are up so this is the final shape of the house. All interior walls are still moveable but those red posts within walls must remain where they are ( 12 feet apart) They cannot be cut and have headers installed, etc in order to move windows. The number of windows and is what I have to deal with without spending more money to have the engineer at the pole barn company re-engineer everything. The windows are mostly 4 feet wide by 5.5 feet tall though. They also have to remain within their respective 12 spaces unless we pay that engineer again.

    CP, I did manage to get DH to shift the house a few degrees so the back of the house is a little bit more toward the south but for the most part it's still has the front of the house facing northwest into the winter wind (thank goodness we planted a windbreak 20 years ago) and the back facing southeast. It is not the worst configuration up here.

    The furniture placement on the plan for the 2 living rooms is done with lots of chairs, most of which we do not own, and the sofa which we do own may be tossed. Just making sure stuff fits.

    Okay, rip it apart while I go try a plan with a master bath without a tub....

  • Buzz Solo in northeast MI
    Original Author
    4 years ago

    I know no one is watching this thread anymore but I figure I may as well keep documenting the evolution of my floor plan. Here it is as of a couple days ago, since then the island has been tweaked again, putting the seating overhang only on the left side.

    The master bedroom is about 2.5 feet narrower, the space gained in the living room, See thru fireplace is gone, it's morphed into a gas stove in the corner. The walk in closet is gone, it's now 2 reach in closets. There is now a space for our giant mahogany wardrobe as you enter the MBR. It will be used as a linen cabinet.

    Master bath is a better layout allowing a bigger space for the tub. The laundry was flipped, and the change in the MBa allowed the guest bath to become a nice rectangle with a linen closet in the hall.

    The 2 small bedrooms had the door wall push outward removing the jog n the hallway, It was a direct result of changing the guest bath. The left small bedroom lost a few inches when the closet had to be moved into it to accommodate the guest bath changes.

    The main refrigerator is now on the back wall rather than the utility room wall. Had to shrink the sink back to the standard 36" base cabinet size to get counter on the left, as well as move the fridge and back door 6 inches to the left. The island is bigger and more square now,

    The dining room lost 2.5 inches in width to allow for the changes in the laundry and master bath.

    I think I'm down to just tweaking things here and there now. I'm pretty happy with how it feels.



  • wysmama
    4 years ago
    You are doing a great job thinking about how you live. Enjoy your new home
    Buzz Solo in northeast MI thanked wysmama
  • Buzz Solo in northeast MI
    Original Author
    4 years ago

    Thanks, I actually talked to a local kitchen designer yesterday and gave her my drawing. I saw some countertops in the showroom that were to die for! Now to get what I want and stay on budget. Good thing I have months to work it all out still. This is where we're at in the build. Got a long way to go before I need those cabinets, lol.

  • wysmama
    4 years ago
    You are farther along than we are. Still waiting on permits :(
  • Buzz Solo in northeast MI
    Original Author
    4 years ago

    The permit was the easiest part so far but then we live in a poor, low populated county in northern Michigan with not much building going on. The building inspector was probably thrilled to see my husband walk in. lol