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dalcolli

Maple Forest-inspired floorplan help needed

5 years ago

Need some help from you fine folks. Long story short, we built our first house with immense help from Gardenweb forum members in 2009. Due to terrible market, etc, we were not able to build the beloved floorplan developed at that time, had to build another and now that we have FINALLY found a lot to build on we are going to try again. However, things have changed and new plans are needed. Hubs and I (both 39yo) now have two children, 4 and 8. This time we are building in a subdivision so we have some restrictions, probably the most relevant being no front-facing garage. Lot is sloped, wooded view to back, we plan to stay here at least until the kids are out of school.


We worked on these plans with our builder for months for a lot that we lost but they should still work with the new lot. I still like most things about the plans but a few things never sat right and I would love to reduce the overall square footage. With the finished walkout basement and bonus room, we are about 6000sq ft! And I’m a Susanka fan so that doesn’t feel right to me. Also, and this is a big one: cost.


And while the 2nd floor has the rooms I want, there has got to be a layout that makes better use of the space under the roof and is more compact. I specified loft reading area, 2 bedrooms, 1 hall bath and bonus room.


The other main irksome feature is the generic front elevation. I love the large gable and window with trim of the Maple Forest house and I want it with a deep front porch, but no matter how many photos I provided, this gable and front elevation remains ho hum. (I can provide a link to my Pinterest board if desired...or allowed?)


Things I like about current plans: Kitchen clean-up & coffee zone on one wall near Master; walk-in pantry; mudroom with cubbies and drop zone; flow of Master bed to Master bath to Master closet to Laundry to garage entry; do not have to walk through entire bath to get to closet; master bath soaking tub with window looking out back and space for makeup vanity to left; lots of Master closet hanging space; great room bound on 3 sides by stairs, fireplace outer wall and back outer wall; built-in booth in kitchen (not meant to be 3-sided as drawn); switchback stairs; screened porch and deck


TL:DR Here are my plans, what do you think?





Thanks in advance!

Comments (61)

  • 5 years ago

    Rider, always good to see a different perspective. Can you share what you like about the plan and elevation?

    Patricia, I think the closets would end up with stuff on the floor and no access to what's left on the hangers! And if stuff isn't left on the floor, then what is that open space for? (Not to mention, when they go to college they are in for a ruuuuuuude awakening with a closet smaller than a refrigerator and no door lol)

  • PRO
    5 years ago
    last modified: 5 years ago

    It is a wonderful plan and elevation . . . there is just more room for improvement than there should be.

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  • 5 years ago

    I notice that the view from the front door is of the breakfast nook. Could be fine, but not sure it's what I'd want.

  • PRO
    5 years ago

    I'm sorry to say it...but...this looks like a builder's generic plan with a few customizations.


    It's bulky, inefficient and not well planned or designed, despite having all the HGTV spaces and features.


    You can do much better than this, if that's important to you.

  • 5 years ago

    pbath, my sister as a teenager had a 5'x5' walk-in closet with hanging on one wall and shelves on a perpendicular wall. It very well could have or should have been an 8' wide reach in though as the floor space just gave her a place to pile everything up when cleaning her room. Your comment about stuff on the floor definitely has some relevance for some kids.


    But looking at it another way, between that closet and a large dresser was plenty for all of her things. There's something to be said in the spirit of Susan Sasanka for not designing in too much storage space, as it just becomes an excuse to accumulate and hoard more things than one actually needs or uses. Think of it as both an opportunity to save space and teach lessons on organization and prioritizing possessions. Both upstairs closets have nearly as much hanging space as the Master closet designed for two people.

  • 5 years ago

    >>following>>

  • 5 years ago

    For me, the plan disapoints because there are no closets or coats storage by the front door, also, the bathroom for guests comes off the kitchen (no), AND the master suite (again no). I currently live in a house without appropriate storage by the front or back door, and our primary bathroom that guests do end up using is at the end of our upstairs hall, I’ve had at least one occasion where my hubby for some reason sent a guest up there while I was sleeping, she turned on the hall light to see where she was going, I woke up, and opened the door buck naked (I had no idea people were in the house) as she was going past my door. Oh Hi! Oh yes Hi! Also, my inlaws had a house where the bathroom (the only one) was in the kitchen, and the window was where the back deck was. Really really unpleasant memories about that.

  • 5 years ago

    Looks like the bathroom comes off the mudroom behind the kitchen, but not off the master at all. In an open concept, I don't see how a powder room could be anywhere else, unless space were carved out near the study for a powder room and guest closet.

  • 5 years ago
    last modified: 5 years ago

    Ok, so the guest bath is inaccessible to guests? or is it off the kitchen? Are all guests going through the garage? Why even have a front door then? I would much rather have it where the dining room is. What happens if you are working from home, or you need to offer a washroom to tradespeople, are they going through the kitchen? Another thought that crossed my mind was how dark is that covered porch going to make the kitchen? Is there are a lot of heat/ light where this home is, making shading the back wall necessary? As much as I like my porch at front, it takes away a lot of light and I fantasize sometimes about ripping it off our house. Another thought, that bonus room is huge and a weird shape, couldn’t you take one end and turn it into a spare bedroom? and still have a “bonus room”? Do you really need built in bookshelves in the hall? Has any space been allocated to linen storage?

  • 5 years ago

    Whelp, I asked for it and I appreciate all the comments.

    bpath Oh Sophie Yes, I do want to pop out of the Master to start the coffee and go back in to get ready as I currently do.

    “What is the closet between kitchen and master for?” Do you mean the little one just outside the bedroom door? Because there was room, I guess, I didn’t ask for it. I was thinking coffee supplies, vitamins, cleaning supplies.

    I do need a front closet and had asked for it to be taken from the study but it didn’t make it into this draft. We will have one. We also have a hall tree.

    I agree 2nd floor layout is a wreck all around as is, closet size, hike to bedrooms, etc. However, I do want kid’s rooms a bonus/playroom upstairs. My 8yo has been begging for an upstairs room for years (she loves my parents’ house) and I want to contain the majority of their toys up there. I just want the bedrooms much nearer the stairs.

    Also not a fan of the booth front door view.


    tatts Good points, especially on the sf to bath (and bed) ratio.

    We don’t want to have to go back into the bedroom to go between the bath and closet in case the other is sleeping.

    I imagine the bathroom, closet and laundry doors will be left wide open 95% of the time, as we do now. We have a pocket door to our closet now and have never found it to be an issue.

    The garage thing bugs me, too.


    PPF. Thank you! I especially like the 2nd. Wish I had your skills.


    I had found an architect I loved and we talked with but husband and builder balked at cost. Husband (an engineer) thought he could throw it in CAD and figure it out ourselves. I talked him into working with the builder and drafter at least. Now I’ve just emailed the architect I wanted to use in the first place. Your feedback helped me get my thoughts in order. Anything else? Or blindspots you’re seeing in my answers?

  • 5 years ago

    I agree with you, 6,000 square feet is a lot of space for a family of four and will be expensive to build. It could probably be condensed to at least half that size or more and still live extremely well. My suggestion is to really think about the rooms you'll actually need and live in. Eliminating the unnecessary and having spaces serve double duty will work better for you in the long run. Nothing worse than rooms not designated with a purpose or sitting empty. More to clean, more to furnish and maintain and more cost.

    Looking at your plan, do you need a walkout basement and a second floor? Will the basement be for storage or do you envision it being finished too?

    Pertaining to the second floor, you have a loft, a bonus room, large bedrooms with large closets and lots of hallway? To me, this seems excessive. You could nix a large amount of square footage just on that level alone. I noticed as well, you have a two story great room which also isn't the best use of space. The noise and heating factor will be a negative and it will never feel like a cozy place to gather.

    Considering your first floor, I do really like the connection between the master bedroom, closet and laundry! This would be extremely convenient for many reasons. If the two of you are on different schedules, one would be able to get ready and leave the house without disturbing the other. The location for doing laundry is also great since it's near the kitchen and you can do loads while cooking or cleaning up.

    The thing I don't like about your bedroom is the entrance right into the kitchen. It seems awkward and the turns will be difficult for getting furniture in. My first inclination is to have a small hallway directly from mudroom to master. You would need to re-work half bath or move it, but this provides a straight shot and closes up the wall in kitchen corner. Traffic would then be routed out of the kitchen and make for a better layout. I would also think about a sliding door from your bedroom to the deck.

    In your bathroom, I might consider one sink, allowing for more counter space and drawer storage. Putting the linen tower at the end of a counter would help too. I would also straighten out the shower angles.

    Furniture placement in the great room may prove to be difficult with the slider. That whole side will become a walkway, so the living square footage actually decreases there. I'd much rather have exterior access between the kitchen and great room, but that's basically where your built in table/bench is located. :/

    On the topic of eating spaces, the built in area is a charming concept, but do you also intend for island seating? Outdoor dining? Along with the dining room, this would create several redundant areas.

    Having your whole deck covered in the back will certainly lesson the amount of light entering into your main living spaces. Could you opt for just a portion, instead of the whole length? I especially would want my kitchen window to not be shaded since it's the only one. The great room gets the benefit of side windows which will be nice.


  • PRO
    5 years ago

    What do you expect the cost to be for a 6,000Sf custom home?


    And then there's land costs, site improvement and development costs, utility costs (or septic and well, if that's applicable), design and building permit fees, expenses for architect, engineer, designer, and expenses for new furnishings.


    Don't forget contingency amount and change order costs.


    Unless you're paying cash, there will be closing and mortgage costs, pre-payment of taxes, insurance, etc.


    Do you have all this sorted out?



  • PRO
    5 years ago
    last modified: 5 years ago

    A "HALL TREE" in a 6000 square foot home? No. Get an architect.

  • 5 years ago
    last modified: 5 years ago

    Your children are still young, and by the time you move in will still be young enough to want to be within earshot.

    Disagree. I see no problem with them being upstairs ...but the bedrooms should all be convenient to the stairs ... kids shouldn't need to go upstairs, then traverse the whole house to reach their bedrooms.

    That house is all roof!

    Agree. This roof will cost a fortune, and with all those "outbursts", it'll be prone to leaks.

    A 6,000sf house with only 2 1/2 baths???

    Agree. The square footage is out of proportion ... of course, we don't see the basement, and it's probably that the OP has planned a basement for that level.

    Regardless, I'd lean towards keeping the 2 1/2 baths and vastly reducing the 6000 sf. The average American house is 2400 sf. My house happens to be exactly average, and even when my kids were all still at home, we never used all this space.

    I also have a problem with the garage. The door to the house is in the wrong place (assuming you live in North America). The drivers of all 3 cars will have to walk around to the other side of all the cars to get to that door

    Consider where guests will park too. Side-car garages come with the problem of guests parking on the side ... which leads to them exiting their cars without having a view of the front door.

    I think you can still get your wants without having such a huge amount of wasted space.

    Absolutely.

    It also doesn’t make sense to me to have these huge rooms up there and then one relatively tiny bathroom to share?

    And dark. Don't forget dark. Seriously, though, even bathrooms are more pleasant with natural light ... and in a house this size, I wouldn't expect a windowless bathroom.

    There's something to be said in the spirit of Susan Sasanka for not designing in too much storage space, as it just becomes an excuse to accumulate and hoard more things than one actually needs or uses. Think of it as both an opportunity to save space and teach lessons on organization and prioritizing possessions.

    That's nicely said. Our consumer culture encourages more, more, more ... but do we really want to spend our lives in the pursuit of "stuff"? These closets do encourage that goal.

    Consider, too, that the kids will grow up and move into college dorms, first apartments, starter houses. You want them to feel that they've "moved up" in the world ... you want them to feel proud of their accomplishments as they begin to support themselves. How would it feel that "your first place" was a downsize from your childhood bedroom?

    Do you really need built in bookshelves in the hall?

    Even though I've become a dedicated Kindle reader, I have never had enough bookshelves. I think the hallway is a great place for them -- a single extra foot can provide a great library.

    linen storage

    Good point.

    My 8yo has been begging for an upstairs room for years (she loves my parents’ house) and I want to contain the majority of their toys up there. I just want the bedrooms much nearer the stairs.

    Kids tend to say they want something ... without thought about exactly why /what features they like. Ask her exactly what she likes about her grandparents' upstairs /what she envisions doing in that space /how it would feel to be in that space /what function that space would enable. Then you can be sure you're not just building an upstairs room ... you're building what she actually wants, not just what she says at age 8.

    It could probably be condensed to at least half that size or more and still live extremely well. My suggestion is to really think about the rooms you'll actually need and live in.

    First, more space doesn't equate to living well. You don't want "big" ... you want "right sized".

    And a warning from someone who's farther down this parenting journey: You're currently in the cheapest kid years ... but braces, car insurance and college are all coming. (When our oldest started driving, our insurance literally doubled -- by that, I mean that her insurance cost as much as my insurance, my husband's insurance, AND our home owner's insurance.) My husband and I are a couple steps beyond "comfortable", and we still found those teen years expensive.

    Having a paid-for house allowed us to cover those things and still travel extensively while all the kids were still at home -- and we were able to do that without sacrificing our retirement savings. Our youngest is almost finished with college, and it's been wonderful to provide our kids with a debt-free bachelor's degree. They didn't start out "in the hole".

    Be SURE your house-choices today don't box you in once you reach those teen years. People always matter more than the house.

    Considering your first floor, I do really like the connection between the master bedroom, closet and laundry!

    Agree. This layout is great! I'd downsize the closet and add a door between the bedroom and the covered porch (light and fire safety).

    Other thoughts:

    The master bath could use some tweaking too. You say you're a Susan S fan ... but she's all about perfectly placed items ... look at the sight line upon entering this bathroom: the edge of a door into a toilet-closet with a door that can't be closed. Placement and proportion.

    The kitchen is huge but not functional. For example, the most-used item in any kitchen is the sink ... and this one's way over on the edge /in the pathway to the master bedroom.

    Great room, study, dining ... eh, okay.

    Upstairs: space, space, space ... but too spread out, and the bonus room lacks proportion.

  • 5 years ago

    I brought up the bookshelves because there’s a loft room plus a massive anything room, while meanwhile, you could probably get another bedroom up there, increasing the value of the home, allowing for the unexpected (3rd kid? it happens), providing a space for guests and so on.

  • 5 years ago
    last modified: 5 years ago

    A "HALL TREE" in a 6000 square foot home? No. Get an architect.

    As the proud owner of an R.J. Horner & Co. hall tree, I don't get why I can't have a hall tree in a 6,000 square foot home. If you would elaborate please that would be great.

  • PRO
    5 years ago
    last modified: 5 years ago

    The NEED for a hall tree in a 6000 sq ft home should not exist. A 6000 sq foot home with no foyer entry closet of any sort is absurd. Want some blank wall for that tree in the foyer? Fine. But not as a replacement for a closet. I'd say that about 2500 sq feet. or 1500 sq feet. Unless you're in Key West,

  • PRO
    5 years ago
    last modified: 5 years ago

    There are also other problems with the exterior. There are too many different siding materials, making it look choppy and disjointed. The window above the front door and the double window on the first floor don't relate to any of the other windows. They give the whole front a kind of mish-mash look.

    You say you "wish you had PPF's skills." He's a professional, and I'm sure has had years of training and experience. You don't get that by "wishing." And your husband is an engineer? Engineers are not architects. Investment bankers are not tax accountants, even though they both work with numbers. If you want your taxes done, hire a tax accountant; if you want to design a home, hire an architect.

    Please take everyone's advice and hire a professional to help you get the home you want.

  • 5 years ago

    My hubs is an engineer (bless their hearts) and this house is so totally not engineer-ish.... Too complicated (that roof - oh my!) and the subsequent weird spaces upstairs because of all the space downstairs and the commitment to the story and a half look.

    Would you consider a real cape cod? perhaps one with a large shed dormer in the rear and a garage off to the side?

    Simplify, simplify, simplify. Engineers should get that. Hopefully he can appreciate that a house designed FOR an engineer is better than one designed BY one....

  • PRO
    5 years ago

    Hire a licensed architect. Those giant dormers and main roof are working against you.

  • 5 years ago

    What is the current budget cap and does it include site prep? Are you counting the garage in your 6000 square feet? It wasn't clear from the notation on the first floor plans what the square footage in the finished basement would be.

  • PRO
    5 years ago
    last modified: 5 years ago

    "We worked on these plans with our builder for months for a lot that we lost but they should still work with the new lot. I still like most things about the plans but a few things never sat right and I would love to reduce the overall square footage. With the finished walkout basement and bonus room, we are about 6000sq ft! And I’m a Susanka fan so that doesn’t feel right to me. Also, and this is a big one: cost."

    I am going to contact the leadership at Houzz and propose they create a new feature on the website that is a game, it would be called "Name That Red Flag".

    Certain verbiage from a lucky Houzzer's post would be posted each game and players will be able to point out the red flags that indicate the Houzzer is going down the wrong path or has some misconceptions of reality or common sense. It is still in the conceptual/development stages, but I think it can be fun and terrifying at the same time.

  • PRO
    5 years ago

    I never received a reply from the OP about my posting listing the many expenses associated with a typical custom home design.


    Apparently budget is not an issue.

  • PRO
    5 years ago

    "Foolish purse string eschew truth" - Shakespeare

    (don't look it up)

  • PRO
    5 years ago
    last modified: 5 years ago

    EIGHT EQUALS ONE : ) ? To go with Marks post above.......

  • 5 years ago

    For clarity, since I did not post the basement plans which are included in the ~6000sf:

    Main floor is 2,276sf

    Second floor is 1,114 PLUS bonus 568sf (yes, this is ridiculous, I AGREE)

    Basement is 1,790 finished. It includes a family room, guest bedroom, full bath, craft room, theater room plus unfinished storage. All these spaces and rooms we have and frequently use now.


    kmg11 I agree half that size would be fine, or at least much much closer to our desires. I’ve spent hundreds of hours thinking about spaces, what we would use/what we do use/what we don’t have now that I wish we did. We built the house we have now and have lived here nearly 10 years. I’ve relied heavily on the blueprints of our current home to help me better understand the 3D translation of room sizes, ceiling heights, etc and that has helped immensely this go around. For the Main floor, at least, which is where most of our focus has been. The 2nd floor, roof, total sf all came about at the last minute with the proposal and that is when I came here for help.

    Yes, 2nd floor is about 700sf excessive with the bonus room. I have a hard time envisioning how to fit rooms under roof and so had the drafter give it a go. Obviously, this was a mistake.

    The great room is not 2 story, it is 11ft. However, it looks as though the roof is treating it as 2 story.

    The connection and reasons for it that you mention on the first floor are exactly what I was going for. Our bedroom door is currently right off the kitchen. This is OK other than the lack of privacy so I suggested the door be turned. However, you make an excellent point about furniture getting in there and I like your suggestion for rework.

    Also agree on the great room door, I also want it where the booth is…but also want my booth…so I’m doing some rethinking there.

    No island seating, yes to outdoor. We need a dining space but not a dining room.

    The deck area beyond the kitchen is intended to be uncovered for exactly your reason.


    Virgil Carter Fine Art The detailed proposal for the home came in at $714,000, not including the lot which is currently in negotiations, likely to be $140k-$145k. The house price is a no go, at least $150k more than our budget. As are the sf total and 2nd floor layout - NO GO. Again, this is why I am here. We did not have 2nd floor plans or final sf until we received the proposal. We would not build that big of a house, even if we could afford it.

    Septic and other costs you mentioned are included in the proposal. We will not need new furnishings.

    Yes, we have chosen a bank, know fees and are approved for the $$.

    Yes, we have this sorted out.


    Mrs Pete Really just agree all around and appreciate your thoughts and insights.

    I missed the previous comment about the bookshelves. Yes, we need these. While I do most of my new reading on my Kindle, we are voracious readers, I love being surrounded by books. And I believe it is important for children to grow up with books – physical books, not on a screen. I keep my favorites, donate the rest. Yes I do reread my older fave fiction. Frankly, I find it odd how often room for books is questioned.

    That said, the bookcase near the bonus room is already on the chopping block.


    J Williams I think at least part of that bonus room could be used for that back bedroom instead. We could do a third bedroom and agree it would be expected in a 6000sf home. But I don’t want to build a 6000sf home.


    bry911 YES! And also jealous. We have a beautiful Amish hall tree and while we do have a coat closet next to it, guests always use the hall tree with room to spare.

    In any case, I think I have already addressed that we do intend to add a hall closet.


    just_janni LOL. If he had built it, it would have been a box. And he would have done a better job with the 2nd floor. I do like a Cape Cod, especially the shed dormer and simpler design. In my part of the Midwest, it is a style that would seem out of place.

  • 5 years ago

    Not sure why some people are being so rude. Those items bolded for the red flag are why I came here for help. Obviously I am aware I need it, not some clueless fool with a bunch of extra money lying around.


    Thank you to those who posted thoughtful, constructive comments.

  • 5 years ago

    I think it was pretty clear from your first post that you didn’t want 6000sf. Maybe you mentioned it already and I missed it, but what is the square footage of your current home? Are you hoping to go bigger or smaller?


    Have you considered putting the kids bedrooms downstairs, and cutting out the second story altogether? Maybe you could use the study on the main as a craft room?

  • PRO
    5 years ago

    Not everyone.

  • 5 years ago

    CLC Thank you.

    Good question, background info would be helpful. Our current home is 2057sf, one story, 3 bed, 2 bath. We finished the basement soon after 8yo was born, thank goodness. It basically doubles the size of the house, so roughly 4000sf. We do need a bit more space than that.


    The kid's bedrooms are 11x12 and feel tight. The basement family room is really a playroom and 8yo is a creative messy soul. I would like the path between bedrooms and playroom to be shorter and contained to one out of the way floor. I grew up with second floor bedrooms and miss it. The view is better, it is quieter and it feels more secure, at least it does to me. I also want the loft area to be an away but not isolated space for reading, puzzles (currently using a card table awkwardly sitting in our great room) and other quiet pursuits. Our bedroom will remain on the main floor for aging concerns but over the walkout portion.


    Our room is 12x16, almost fine, but 1-2ft tight on the 12 side. Closet is 8.5x9, desire a tad more hanging space and room for sock and underwear drawers. We are in the Midwest and need all season clothes in one closet. Laundry, mudroom and pantry are combined with not enough room in any. We have a 12x11 office which we use daily, the kids and I are in the office right now and I occasionally work from home on my desktop with dual monitors. We do not have a tub in our bath and I sorely miss it. Literally. I have joint and muscle issues and need to soak in a tub where I fit (I'm 5'9). I also have no makeup vanity room in the bath and am doing this in the bedroom, not ideal. I look forward to having a guest bath other than the kids'.


    We host family and friend gatherings more and more. This includes Craft Day scheduled around certain basketball and football games. Games are watched in the theater room, a variety of crafts are done in the craft room (jewelry, knitting, sewing, mosaics, whatever people bring or are into at the moment). Both rooms in the basement. This involves around 10-15 people in each room. When not hosting, this is MY room with works in progress (think tiny beads, glass, etc. to be kept from small hands and cats) and is often messy. So, yeah, to address someone else's comment above, we have use cases for these spaces, they are not because HGTV told me I wanted them. We use the theater room almost every weeknight after the kids are in bed.

  • 5 years ago

    Mark Bischak, Architect Not sure which part is going to make people hate you. I do wonder at your comment. Is this not an open forum on the internet? What is this the right place for? If a person has an architect, why would they come here? Why does this site exist? Are you yourself not listed as an Architect and Pro?


    As to the non-Pros and their amateur advice, we all live somewhere and have all our lives. Seems like good experience to draw from to me.


    I have now hired an architect as mentioned above. I came here for and greatly value those who have posed thoughtful questions, offered suggestions, shared knowledge, who did not do their best to make me feel like an idiot.


    Could you not leave my post alone and answer those you deem worthy?

  • 5 years ago

    I am with you on finding appropriate storage, it is annoying to have to find spaces for all the different seasons you might have to dress for and then add in activities that require a certain dress style, for me biking (year round), gardening, camping/hiking/snowshoeing, working/“good” clothes and work uniforms, art making, it’s a giant heap of mess. I personally wouldn’t want to allocate too much space for toys as before you know it, they’ve outgrown them, and the more room they’ve got the more mess you are coralling.

  • 5 years ago

    J Williams So much yes on the storage! Last week we had single digit temps and 60s two days later. And clothes are heavy, I used to hate switching.

  • 5 years ago

    Given your climate, I would want (1) a larger mudroom (off season storage!) that flows (ie one where you don’t have to close the garage door to get to the coat storage) and (2) a laundry room that is not accessed via the mudroom (where the wet and dirty shoes are)

  • 5 years ago

    damiarain Good points, thanks!

  • 5 years ago

    As a guideline, when the bid including site prep comes in at 20 or 30% over budget, a complete new start with a much smaller and simpler design is often what is needed. Perhaps you could explore expanding your current house plan for the new location?

  • 5 years ago

    apple_pie_order I agree this is turning into a start from scratch situation, though I do still appreciate comments, especially on the main floor. Not sure I understand what you mean about in your last sentence? Oh, do you mean the house we live in now? Then yes, that is essentially what we are doing. The main floor is basically current house with things I would change if I could. Probably why I am having so much trouble with the second floor, we don't have one now.

  • 5 years ago

    I am wondering how much you would save if you left the bonus room unfinished? Because, to me, that is the square footage you don’t seem to need (unless you leave the basement totally unfinished-but those spaces seem to have specific uses.) Sadly, though, I doubt you’d save $150,000 by leaving it unfinished. I think that is why you are getting all of those architect suggestions, you have a well-done, thorough plan for spaces and needs but this house is just too large & can’t easily be reduced.

    My children are teens (boy and girl) and you will be so glad you have those big closets! I think your mudroom/laundry-that whole side-look good! And while I typically would prefer a “dressier” view from the front door than the casual dining area...it’s so far from the foyer I think it would be fine. Plus, your foyer looks spacious enough to have a gorgeous round table in the middle with a large vase or sculpture to provide a bit of separation from the entrance to the family areas of the house. Good luck to you...it’s going to end up great. Don’t be discouraged by some comments.

  • 5 years ago

    Yes, I meant expanding the plan for the house you built and currently live in.

  • 5 years ago
    last modified: 5 years ago

    Your plan for the lower level sounds amazing....I can see why you want all of those rooms. I totally agree with damiarain,...I think the mud room could be larger and/or better designed, especially living in a 4 season climate. I also would think about access to the laundry room. I have had laundry Rooms on the other side of the mud room (you need to walk through the mudroom — usually boots and piles of sand and snow — to get to the laundry, and I really hated it. Especially as my kids started helping with laundry, because they would inevitably drop clean clothes in the floor and I always felt they needed to be washed again because the floors in that area were never clean because of tracking in dirt from the mud room. I’m not sure how you could reconfigure it, but it is something to consider. I love the access to the laundry from the master closet, but I imagine you will switch loads during the day from the kitchen, and when your kids start doing their own laundry they will access by going through the mud room, too.

    everything you said about the kids bedrooms and the desire to have the bedrooms upstairs makes sense, and I agree that the “feel” of upstairs bedrooms is different from basement bedrooms. Your creative 8 year old sounds like mine! I would love to have a “kids wing” where I can keep all their things contained. The concept of your second story (kids bedrooms and a loft) sounds great, i am just not sure how to do that without adding a lot more square footage than you need.

    Will your kids play independently up there? Mine tend to gravitate (and drag whatever activity they are doing) to the main floor or the basement family room, because they like to be where the action is. They do go to their rooms when they need some alone time/quiet time, but an upstairs loft is basically storage for us....not used like I thought it might be.

  • 5 years ago

    One thing that people forget when building houses with these huge, multi-level, 30-foot-high roofs with lots of intersections is that down the road, that roof will have to be replaced, and the cost will be enormous. You don't notice the cost now because it just bumps the mortgage up a little each month. But down the road, you're going to have to fork over one huge lump sum to pay for the replacement roof. That's a huge problem, and a big down side to selling the house if the roof is near the end of its life.

  • 5 years ago

    At a few dollars sq./ft, the roof is one of the the cheapest phases of building a house. The new roofing products are said to last 50+ years with no maintenance.

  • 5 years ago

    The new roofing products are said to last 50+ years with no maintenance.

    Some can, but this isn't typical. Especially when building the house is pushing the budget already, most people choose less expensive asphalt shingles that have a life span of about 15-25 years (sometimes toward the lower end on a more complex roof). Yes, a steel roof would last twice that long (maybe more), but it's also a considerably larger expense up front that most folks would rather put toward more square footage or an upgrade elsewhere. So, you're looking at a good chance of roof replacement before the mortgage is paid. And, as an example, my parents just re-roofed their fairly modest 1600 sq. ft. ranch that has a pretty simple roof. To the tune of $14K. It's something to have an awareness of.

    OP, try not to assume every comment is directed at you, personally, in a negative way. This thread will still be here long after your house is built and you're comfortably having a cup of tea in front of the window. It will come up in the search function and be read by others with similar issues. For those folks, it is important to understand that "I'd really like a hall closet" is an aspect of a plan that can be tweaked. "We'd like to substantially reduce the square footage" or "the upstairs doesn't make sense," are signs that you need to start over, not tweak. These comments are as much for those reading along at home and those who come after.

    Personally, I've never minded having my kids upstairs. Both of mine are special needs, and they've done just fine upstairs while our bedroom is down since infancy. I think a bit of independence is good for them. Just keep the computer downstairs where you can see it. :-)

    In terms of the layout itself, if you're headed back for a redraw, one thing I notice is that the little hallway to the Master suite is rather narrow. With the counter immediately outside it, you might find it rather exciting to try to fit a large dresser or queen sized box spring into the bedroom... Just a random thought.

  • 5 years ago

    Obviously roofing isn't your specialty. Even the cheapest asphalt/fiberglass roofing will last over 25 years. The complexity of the roof has nothing to do with longevity.

  • PRO
    5 years ago

    "Even the cheapest asphalt/fiberglass roofing will last over 25 years."

    If they are stored in a cool dry place and the package is not opened.

  • 5 years ago

    Funny you said that. I just replaced a wind damaged section of roofing on one of my rentals. The roof was new in 1991 but the color is now discontinued. I had a few bundles left over stored in the shed. I used them. The rest of the roof is still in OK condition. They were Bird Windseal 80's, rated for 20 years. whether stored in the shed or fastened to the roof. Sometimes you don't know what you don't know...

  • 5 years ago

    nini804 The bonus room proportions are a mess. The bonus room is meant to be the playroom and I can see just finishing the closer portion but, like you say, I don’t think that will save us much $$. I agree, this is going back to the drawing board with the architect I wanted in the first place. I appreciate the validation I’ve gotten for that here, it is not fun swimming against the current. Using an architect is way out of the norm in my area and I don’t know a single person who has used one. I guess I will be the first.

    I love the insights for those with teenagers. I try to think through that but hearing from experience is so much better.

    I’m not a dressy person but am so taken with your idea for that round table!


    J Williams Thank you9* for those links. Those are some of her plans I’ve not come across in some time and it is great to review them again with current issues in mind.


    CLC Everything you say about the mudroom and laundry is exactly why I made them separate rooms and I am so annoyed with myself that I still didn’t remember to keep the entrances separate. Thank you!

    They have gotten to the point in the last year or so where they will play in the basement playroom together without me and dad so I think they will enough. After the toy stage, I expect this room to become video game (vr?), daughter’s craft space, son’s project space (engineer in the making).

    The roof comments make great points. I hadn’t intended to keep this massive roof as is just because I hate those and the cost and maintenance are aspects I had yet to consider. Between the hail storms, tornadoes and ice storms roofs do get a workout around here.


    Holly Stockley Thank you for the well-stated thoughts on the other comments. As one of those readers, I wholeheartedly agree. I did try to ignore them at first but when they started to take over without being remotely helpful, I had to push back.

    I too believe the independence is good for them, especially now that the frequency of nighttime awakenings is so low. At infancy though, phew, mine were not good enough sleepers to not be on the same floor.

    Absolutely on the computer! 4yo son is a forthcoming little guy but 8yo daughter has been a boundary tester from day 1. All computers and TVs in public areas only!

    Just tickled by your use of “exciting”.


    Mark Bischak, Architect “If they are stored in a cool dry place and the package is not opened.” Thank you for the laugh. (and to clarify since this is just text without tone, I do mean this sincerely)

  • PRO
    5 years ago

    My comments fall on both sides of the line, regardless of the intent. Thank you.