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Custom Home Floorplan Take 2

3 years ago

Hi all, I'm back!

To recap:

My husband and I live in NW Montana with our three boys (1, 4, and 6yo) and one cat (17yo). We're building a home on a 0.3 acre lot on a nice little neighborhood street. The lot is very wooded, with a drop off/ravine down to a creek on one side and a neighbor on the other.

Our needs:

A main floor guest suite for aging parents who visit a lot.

3 bedrooms all on one floor for the nightly sleeping tango that happens with little kids (if these are on the main floor, one can double duty as the guest room)

Dedicated, private office

A large flexible space on the main floor near the living area, but with a door that will serve as a play room, a guest room, a study/library/music room, an extra dining room, basically a whatever we need it for when we need it room.

A highly functional mud room accessible from backyard.

An open concept living/kitchen/dining

Covered outdoor space for play and dining

Protected backyard area for playing

North and/or East facing bedrooms for us and the kids

Eventually will need space for kids to spread out - plan for space for 2 additional bedrooms on top of the minimum 3 we need now.

We also very much eventually (or now) want to have plenty of space for guests. Most of our guests come with children.

Lots of sunny spots to sit (mostly for me, though the cat will also appreciate them)

Similarly - lots of nooks for retreat, sunny or otherwise.

Walk-out basement as the foundation and room for family growth/guests

Assuming a ton of storage space down in the basement, then we only need a trim 2-car garage.

We know building up to a second floor (third counting the basement) is less expensive than the same square footage on one level, but we have a *strong* preference for one main level with all our "for now" needs and it eliminates a bedroom need (3+flex on one or 4+flex if on two).

We met with a couple architects over the course of this project and then found a builder we loved who connected us with a draftsman they recommend for more moderate budgets. Between the builder's suggestions for shape, orientation and size, we got a beautiful house designed. Took it back to the builder now in full post-covid craziness who kept up the relationship with us for a few months before saying that the house as drawn would be way out of our budget and that they were too busy to take our house on this year. Super disappointed, but that's okay.

We found a new builder and we tweaked the house with the draftsman so it was rectangular instead of an open angled-L. According to the builder, it was a better shape for foundation and roof but when I posted it here, folks, um, didn't so much care for it :).

We are also meeting with another architect on Tuesday and the builder at the end of the week so we'll have lots of opinions, but we're really digging our newest version of the floorplan and felt like I might be up for some anonymous internet help/criticism and suggestions to make sure we aren't missing anything when we talk to them this week.

It's so hard to get input on a whole house but I'll take whatever bits of advice you all have, I made a running list out of the last thread though it was 95% focused on the boys' room and their closet, which actually got smaller in this one, so I'm ready for that again :).

This is where we started:

pros - great use of topography, super trim square footage, lots of good things, actually, but -

cons - builder said it wasn't buildable in our budget plus the mudroom was not accessible to backyard or bathroom, less of a protected entry, no way to expand dining area to accommodate larger groups.

This was the next best option:

pros - No funky angle, vastly reduced foundation walls, protected entryway/foyer, beautiful stairwell with window seat, more private living room, much better boys' bedroom orientation (N/NE), bedroom wing bathrooms all consolidated for plumbing ease, added mudroom bath (don't worry about the lack of windows/weird placement, this was a rough version)

cons - Has to sit far back in the lot so we lose backyard, long hallway, people didn't like the boys' bedroom or the kitchen or...well, lots of things. If you'd like to read along, you can see that thread here:

And this is where we most recently ended!

With notes and stuff labeled, I know this is absurd but here it is:

This is a close up of a possible kitchen configuration:

Thanks to @mama goose_gw zn6OH for the helpful kitchen discussion.

My husband loves it, I'm wary of how big it seems and it kills me that we added a corner. We tried to put the mudroom door there to make it three straight lines and it just didn't quite work. Happy to hear opinions and suggestions. I also want to make the island 37.5-39" tall if anyone wants to weigh in on that. We're tall people and my kids are likely going to end up really tall, too, seems like it would be nice.

This is the mud room:

That bathroom at the end is more like a giant shower with a toilet in it. It'll have the toilet, a wall mounted sink and a handheld showerhead on a bar and a drying rack. I don't intend for guests to use it, but if I'm having a lot of people over, I'll certainly tidy up the mudroom and make sure it's accessible at least. Question - what do I do about the back door? Slider? Regular door with glass and a sidelight? Happy to hear general mudroom input and consider anything we might benefit from as a family with young kids in a very 4-season (heavy on the winter) locale. My personal preference is to keep the laundry by the bedrooms but there's plenty of space for a future owner (or us) to add/move laundry to the mudroom.

This is the boys' bedroom:

All three kids share a room now and I expect them to continue to do so until it's no longer working for one of them. If we add another child to the mix I put the 3-4 kid life span at 5-7 years, the 1-2 kid life span at 5-20 years from July 2022 which would be the expected move in date. Their bedroom is for sleeping, dressing, and reading at bedtime. My oldest also used it off and on this year for remote schooling when he had to hide from the overly "helpful" toddler.

It's smaller (9'x13.5') than the previous one and they lost the desk/reading nook, but it's more rectangular and the window is in the main area of the room. Main negatives - the drawers are in the doorway but also the stairs are across the hall so it's one hazard (for a few minutes at a time) or the other (all the time), happy to hear opinions or ideas for mitigating that. We could forgo a built in closet system and just shove a dresser further back in that spot, would probably gain 6" at least.

This is the hall bath:

I ran it off the page, but the shower is at the bottom, has a window and the wall jogs in to allow the stairs to turn underneath, it's probably clear enough on the floorplan I posted above.

I love the connection to the guest room, eliminates the need for the direct door and the double bathroom door issues without giving up any privacy. I love the window in the hallway and that there's so much natural light in the bathroom itself.

Negatives - far/hidden from living space - is "End of the hall, left and left" too much of a mouthful?

This is the general shape of the basement, but we won't even know where the walls have to be until after we talk to the builder and we won't know where the windows can go until after the draftsman gets it situated on the lot so this is super rough. It's smaller than the main floor - the dining area window nook and the end of our bedroom/closet would be cantilevered and the mudroom would probably be on a slab:

This was a sticky subject the first time I posted, but my original plan was to not finish the basement when we initially built. We still would have insulated, conditioned, and maybe drywalled. We would definitely stub in plumbing for laundry and a bathroom at a minimum. My concern is that we truly have no use for it now (except for storage and hosting lots of guests) and having the space fully finished means it's less flexible for when we actually need it. Nobody who commented liked that idea and my husband wants to just have the space to host friends and family from the get-go so we'll likely just go ahead and plan it out and finish it now. The new plan would be to make it partition-able so we can have long term guests or even tenants down there. I can't wrap my head around having so much space for no reason, so I'll probably end up with exchange students or seasonal tenants or something. It will be lovely to have it for visitors, but we'll probably only have such large numbers of visitors in the summer.

Our bedroom is pretty self-explanatory -

Main change is we nixed the walk in/walk through closet. We left the "cloffice" with the beautiful views as a walk in closet and office which could also double as a nursery should we/someone else need that. Someone else could just use the whole thing as a closet. I'll use the little built in closet in the doorway that backs up to the boys room and a dresser and/or part of the closet in the office if I need more space. If my husband ever goes back to the office full time I could use it as a work station or as a gym to pretend I exercise.

Our bathroom is more accessible here so the boys can use it when we have guests if the hall bath is overworked.

If we ever find ourselves in a situation where we desperately need an additional main floor en suite and we don't want to give up our own room, then we can remodel the play room and chop off the hallway/living room end to make a smaller (10x11.5) bedroom with a bathroom and closet.

I would consider swapping my parents room/bathroom section with the playroom/stairs section but then the playroom gets really far away from the living area and it definitely can't double as a dining area...

And that's where we stand now, I have a better appreciation for this community and really am open to thoughts and suggestions. I will be taking a list of considerations to our meetings with week. I'm hoping the architect we talk to on Tuesday can give us some definitive opinions as to whether we need an architect or if with some guidance and re-direction, the draftsman will be fine to design the house for us.

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