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kate_kraft

Reviewing Final Floor Plan

Kate Kraft
4 months ago

Hi all,


We are in what I am hoping is the final review stage for our floor plan for our forever home. I would love any input you may have. We have three children, and are also planning a downstairs guest room for grandparents. The media room is a little non-traditional being on the front of the house with a window, but it is intended to be a second guest bed so that we're technically a 6 bed (we often have grandparents and BIL/SIL come to stay all together). The study is my dream library and will eventually have floor to ceiling bookshelves which is why it has limited windows. The best view on our property is out the back towards our pond, the house will sit sort of catty corner so that the master, great room, and library windows all face the pond.


Please be kind! Thank you in advance!








Comments (95)

  • PRO
    Mark Bischak, Architect
    4 months ago
    last modified: 4 months ago

    The biggest flaw I see is the house design was determined and then painted it 'stone'.

  • PRO
    RES2
    4 months ago

    Your architect should provde a 3D computer model for such a complex design.

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  • lyfia
    4 months ago
    last modified: 4 months ago

    I'm sorry you feel so frustrated at this point, but the good thing is you now have a better idea going forward on evaluating your plan. Your wants/needs sound very similar to what we had and we went through a very frustrating experience with a local architect in TX and then ended up hiring ARG who posted above. It meets the majority of our needs/wants. We love the look and the flow (I'll post it below). That said we are currently in the process of making some changes with ARG and Nick (both are on this site although rarely posts) as we have re-evaluated our needs because our project has dragged out so long waiting on a power line to be moved.

    That said the reason we went there is our relationship with the local architect had soured and wasn't salvageable as we got further and further away with each iteration which in the end looked nothing like our inspirations.

    I do think one way to start your conversation with your architect is that you appreciate that they put all your wants and needs into the plan, but right now it doesn't seem to flow well and also doesn't fit the inspiration exterior that you'd like to see. What can we and they do to make it fit. I would say I really want the house to look like it has been there for a while and evolved over time (meaning the main part was built first and the rest was added on at a later time.) Also tell them if your expectations are causing issue to please correct you and offer other solutions/options for you to consider instead. You might want to say that you feel that you've pushed too much of your pre-conceived ideas into this and that you'd like them to take the reigns and instead to make it something you love based on statements like "I'd love to have a mudroom where I can easily strip the kids of dirty clothes and get it into the laundry while the laundry remains out of the dirty mudroom areas" vs. giving them a layout of here's how I'd like my laundry/mud room to look.

    Hopefully the above this will work out to your advantage because it really comes down to that you want a specific function and if that function is met wouldn't that be the best outcome vs. I have to have it look like this for each room and ending up with a maze and mish mash? So to help work with your architect you also need to adjust your expectations some in that you can't take a bunch of room looks and put that together without ending up with a maze and mish mash, but focusing on the rooms/house function can hopefully free up your architect to help you out.

    Oh as to the exteriors even if it is wooded all around you, you will still see those sides unless you never walk on the side of the house so it is nice to pay attention to that things look good from all sides, but sometimes you do have to make a choice to sacrifice something, however I do think you can do better than what you do have.

    I wish you the best of luck! BTW which general area of TX are you in. We are in South East Central TX.

    Here's a snapshot of our plans, there were still some minor changes to be made to these, but overall they are close to what we intended to build, until recently we have decided to make some changes due to the time it is taking our project and by the time we are done, our kid will be ready to leave soon.









  • bpath
    4 months ago

    lyfia, I like the new closet arrangement!

    Can I make a suggestion? I think you are going to be there for awhile. Just having seen what happened with my folks. I’d make the doorway to your bedrooma bit easier. First, I’d move it back into the hallway a bit, so that you don’t walk through the narrow doorway as soon as you make the turn. If you have things in your arms, or have a cane or small walker, it’s easier to adjust your position if you have a little space after the turn.

    And, my Dad probably could have come home for at least a year or more after his stroke if he could have made the turn into their bedroom hall in a wheelchair. We could push Mom in her smaller transport chair, but Dad was in a full wheelchair, and some turning radius would have been nice.

    That last part is probably 20-30 years down the road for you/ But the first paragraph I think would be nice now.

    I also think it’s just a nicer approach as you come from the living room, to see a turn in the hall, instead of a door. You can hang art on the wall after the turn, to kind of welcome you in and help transition.


  • cpartist
    4 months ago
    last modified: 4 months ago

    Lyfia, very nice plan.

    OP, I'm going to highlight in italics all that Lyfia's plan follows regarding the best practices.

    The best houses orient the public rooms towards the south for the best passive solar heating and cooling

    The best houses are L, U, T, H, or I shaped.

    The best houses are only one to two rooms deep. And covered lanai, porches, garages, etc count as rooms in this case.

    The best houses make sure kitchens have natural light, meaning windows so one doesn't have to have lighting 24/7 to use the kitchen. (And no, dining areas with windows 10' or more from the kitchen will not allow for natural light.)

    The best houses make sure all public rooms and bedrooms have windows on at least two walls.

    The best houses do not if possible put mechanical rooms, pantries or closets on outside walls

    The best houses keep public and private spaces separate.

    The best houses do not have you walk through the work zone of the kitchen to bring laundry to the laundry room.

    The best houses do not have the mudroom go through any of the work zones of the kitchen.

    The best houses do not use the kitchen as a hallway to any other rooms.

    The best houses do not put toilets or toilet rooms up against bedroom walls or dining areas.

    The best houses do not have walk in closets too small to stand inside.

    The best houses have an organizing “spine” so it’s easy to determine how to get from room to room in the house and what makes sense.

  • lyfia
    4 months ago
    last modified: 4 months ago

    @bpath - as I mentioned there were a few minor changes that still needed to be made to the plan and that was one of them, but since we are going to re-work things as we have more major changes it is moot anyways.

    Thanks @cpartist - I thought it was a good one to illustrate as our wants/needs sounded somewhat similar, but different in many ways as well.

    @Kate Kraft - let me know if you want me to post our last version from the architect we had at first that was IMO horrible and the exterior even worse for contrast.

  • ILoveRed
    4 months ago

    Lyfia..love your plan…another doug delight.

  • ILoveRed
    4 months ago

    Lyfia…our house was a four year project basically. one year or more to do planning and a three year build..sigh. its def easier (and cheaper) just to buy a house.

  • quitclaim
    4 months ago

    We're in the process of building our house and I wish I'd spent a little more time up front on the plans. I'm still happy with pretty much everything, but I remember feeling like I shouldn't be too pushy or ask for a ton of revisions. But now I realize that every single decision that comes after ties directly back to that design.


    For example, you mention your closet -- our master closet was supposed to have a t shape down the middle so that it wasn't just a box shaped room with a lot of wasted space in the middle. I never bothered to really sit down and measure out how that would work, and once it was built the builder pointed out that there would be no way to put that T in and have it be functional. So we've just ended up with wasted space in the middle of our closet after all.


    Likewise, I never thought about window size. Turns out I'm happy with them, but we never discussed exactly how wide and tall they'd be.


    There will be so many tiny decisions you have to make (knobs or drawer pulls in the kitchen? exactly how deep and high do you want your pantry shelves? how tall will your baseboards be? what size bench in the shower?) and it's amazing how much time you'll spend on those details. It's worth spending that same amount of time on your architectural plans.


    So my advice is to make sure you're happy with the plans before starting to build. It may feel like you're too far down the road to start over or turn back, but it's worth it. You don't want to spend the next year regretting decisions you made because you felt rushed or that you might annoy the architect.


    Good luck!

  • PRO
    Mark Bischak, Architect
    4 months ago

    Sometimes part of the architect's job is to protect the client from themselves.

  • qam999
    4 months ago

    The kitchen is the number one most-used workspace in the house, and it requires direct daylight to be a pleasant place to work. Light does not flow horizontally the way this plan seems to expect. The fact that one can SEE windows from the kitchen doesn't mean that the kitchen is getting beneficial light levels from them.


    Please see https://www.ourhouseplants.com/guides/light for an explanation of how dark this kitchen will be. (Check your compass heading too.)

  • loobab
    3 months ago

    ^^ Tell that to all the apartment dwellers in the world who don't get any sunlight in their kitchen.

    Sheesh!

  • cpartist
    3 months ago

    ^^ Tell that to all the apartment dwellers in the world who don't get any sunlight in their kitchen.

    Sheesh!

    Yes I lived in several apartments where the kitchen had no natural light. It was not a pleasant experience.

  • cpartist
    3 months ago

    And to comment further, just because apartments have kitchens with no natural light, doesn't mean that if you're spending 6 figures of your hard earned money, you should make do with a dark kitchen just because others do.

  • Mrs Pete
    3 months ago
    last modified: 3 months ago

    I don’t love all of the vestibules

    I definitely dislike the vestibules -- they just complicate the plan for no reason. Consider, too, bringing a bed, dresser or sofa through those vestibules. You probably couldn't do it.

    We are planning an island in the master closet which is why it is 10 feet wide (our architect even mentioned this might be narrow to have an island?).

    As presented here, this closet is too narrow to host an island, but too wide to be practical.

    I also don't love all of the hallways but I'm not sure how to eliminate them and maintain the layout.

    How about this? The hallways are still in the plan -- with such a large house, you have to have connectors -- but they're simplified.

    I also added a duplicate closet in the media center, which seems more balanced to me. And I added a second door.

    You say the media room is untraditional -- not a problem, but consider that you (or a future owner) may want to change the room's purpose one day, so limiting windows might not be the best idea; consider you can always use blackout curtains -- that gives you more flexibility in the room.



    The roof line is odd, on that rear elevation, too many zigs and zags.

    Definitely.

    The house being three rooms wide isn't good anyway, it cuts down on the light.

    Yes, this is a big deal.

    I don't love how many different rooflines there are but don't know what to ask for to fix it.

    Simplify the perimeter shape, and the roof will drop into a more reasonable shape. The cost will drop, and the roof will be less likely to leak.

    I've never really considered having a separate mud room and laundry.

    No problem with combining these two functions.

    the table shown is an 8-seater, plus there will be four seats at the island. The concern with the dining area from the architect was that there wouldn't be enough room for circulation around the table and for the french doors on the back of the house without it being bumped out the way it is.

    Consider having 12 people over -- you'll probably put the food out on the island so people can serve themselves. That means you'll lose the island seating. Think through where you'd likely place drinks and where you'd place desserts.

    My concern about the French doors: The two French doors in the dining room are the only way to access the backyard (without going into the master bedroom), and that means people will have to scootch around the table to reach the doors. And the concerns about the size of the dining room plays into this.

    I don't see a built-in tub as a monstrosity

    Agree, and in a house this size, I'd expect a tub in the master. It's true that stepping in/out of a clawfoot tub isn't as easy as other tubs; the thing is, you're stepping over and down at the same time.

    It's very disjointed and will not live comfortably.

    Agree.

    However there must be a way to have some separation so all the mud coming into the mudroom doesn't impinge on the clean clothes coming out of the laundry.

    This doesn't seem like a real concern.

    Like you, we have no need for a dining room and eliminated it when we built our house.

    Having a formal dining room is optional, but everyone needs a comfortable space where a group can eat. I kinda think you're hung up on the name "dining room". Pay attention to the space /size table you can place in that space.

    My parents used to get ready for work at the same time and my mom always stomped into my bathroom with the hairdryer mad that my dad was taking his sweet time reading the newpaper in theirs. A toilet room would have made their lives much easier.

    Was the problem lack of a toilet-closet or inconsiderate behavior?

    Once upstairs, why do they have to walk down a long, dark corridor as if it was a dorm hall?

    Yes, the upstairs has some problems: That long, dark hallway will not be welcoming -- especially the walk to the lower-left side bedroom. The bedrooms themselves are a good size, and the closets look good, but the bathrooms are all dark and lacking in storage.

    Why is the Playroom nearly the furthest point from where you will be most of the time and doesn't lend well to non-upstairs bedrooms using it?

    I question the need for a playroom at all. Downstairs you have a library and a media room and a family room -- that's where kids are most likely going to be during daytime hours, and that's where toys are likely to accumulate.

    Too many hallways, dark and maze-like with seemingly dead ends

    Agree -- unless you want to name the house "Ode to Pacman", cut out these hallways -- it's possible, but not with a deep house. Change the overall shape, and it'll fall into place.

    I've read through and tried to absorb it all, and now my husband is freaking out that I want to change our entire plan :)

    Would he rather build in the things you're seeing as concerns now?

    I could use some help with how to approach our architect without irritating him (or irritating him as little as possible) regarding changing our design.

    He works for you. You're allowed to ask him for whatever you want.

    I know it's weird to have your master on the front of the house

    A master at the front of the house is neither a pro nor a con -- as long as it suits the building area; and, since you're building on acreage, privacy is not a concern.

    Tell that to all the apartment dwellers in the world who don't get any sunlight in their kitchen.Sheesh!

    Expectations for an apartment kitchen and a custom house kitchen are worlds apart.

    if you're spending 6 figures of your hard earned money

    Off-topic, but no one's getting a house this size (clad in stone) with all these complex details for six figures.

    Here's a snapshot of our plans

    Lyfia, that's a nice plan!

    My other thoughts:

    - Does this grand staircase (especially with that flared base) say "classic farmhouse"? Farmhouse design is simple.

    - The closet door in the guest bedroom is too small. It'll be difficult to reach items on the far ends.

    - Is that a pass-through between the garage and the pantry? If so, I like it.

    - I'd lose the double doors leading into the pantry /replace them with a single door on a swing hinge (so you can push in hands-free). I'd also want a motion-sensored light that'd come on as you enter the pantry.

    - People have been discussing the small dining room. Remove the hallway to the bedroom, and look how much bigger your dining room becomes. Even if you just need all the space when you put the leaf in the table, it's practical. Yes, it confounds the other master doors, but that problem can be worked out.



    - Don't fall head-over-heels in love with that see-through fireplace until you check into the prices.

    - One of the most beautiful fireplaces I've ever seen in person: My grandparents had a fireplace flanked by single French doors, which led to a sunroom. You could have a set-up like this in this living room.

    - Do you anticipate a TV in the living room? If so, where will it be placed?

    - Consider the need for electrical outlets in the floor in the living room; otherwise, you won't be able to have lamps in your seating area.

    - I understand you want the one huge window and lots of shelves in the library, but the room will be greatly improved with a couple small windows on the right-side wall. For a Beauty and the Beast look, I'd go with a couple small-ish stationary (not opening) leaded glass windows.

    - I'd like to see a cleaning closet /broom closet somewhere -- a place to store the vacuum, mops, extra light bulbs, etc.

    - Move your washer/dryer to an exterior wall. This will allow the dryer to vent directly to the outside, which is easier and cheaper to build -- and more fire-safe.

    - You can incorporate that small laundry-room hallway into the laundry room, making the laundry larger -- well, okay, in my drawing it's entirely too large for practicality. This messes up the length of the cabinet run in the kitchen, but you get the idea.



    - I like the proximity of the laundry to the master bedroom -- but consider the lengthy pathway you'll thread to walk up/down to carry the kids' clothes to their rooms.

    - The master bedroom could be really lovely with windows on three sides -- but do you want to waste that spot in the house on a room where you'll be asleep?

    - The duplicate sinks in the bathroom have a location problem: Two spouses using them at the same time would have to stand in the same spot "bumping butts", and the sinks are right by the door. The sink /vanity area could be so much better.

    - Where do you see shower towels hanging?

    - With the kitchen buried in the middle of the house, consider the pathway you'll take to carry out the garbage -- think of all the opportunity for broken bags to dribble on your floors.

  • Architectrunnerguy
    3 months ago

    The usual excellent critique by Mrs. Pete. But to the OP, don't overlook the fact that the best houses have strong overall concepts..... "Parti" in architect speak or "The Big Idea" for everyone else.


    It hasn't been long so you probably haven't met with your architect yet as I recommend above but when/if you do I think most here would appreciate an update after the time everyone spent here.


    But in any event, the best of luck with your build. Exciting times ahead!

  • cpartist
    3 months ago

    We are planning an island in the master closet which is why it is 10 feet wide (our architect even mentioned this might be narrow to have an island?).

    I missed this. MrsPete is correct. You need 2' for hanging space. So if you have 10' total, you lose 4' for hanging which brings you down to 6'. Walking aisles need to be 3'. So now you can see where the problem is an why you have no room for an island.

  • Kate Kraft
    Original Author
    3 months ago

    @Mark Bischak, Architect can you be more specific about the "painted it stone" comment? We specifically want a colonial-style or Pennsylvania stone farmhouse so I'm not sure I'm understanding your point.

  • Kate Kraft
    Original Author
    3 months ago

    @lyfia thank you so much for sharing your plans, they're super helpful and honestly not that far off from what we are looking for. We are building in the Mansfield/Burleson area... not sure if you would want to share who you initially worked with?

  • PRO
    Mark Bischak, Architect
    3 months ago

    Many times stone houses built many years ago were of simple form and all stone. Over the years those houses were added onto, for whatever reason, but the addition(s) were clad with other materials other than stone. The relatively simple front elevation of your project makes the complex rear elevation look almost as if they were additions added. The singular exterior material seems dishonest.


  • Kate Kraft
    Original Author
    3 months ago

    @Mrs Pete thank you for your thorough feedback. Since we are going back to the drawing board I think (hope) it will fix a lot of the issues you've commented on.


    Regarding the staircase in the front (which we will keep some version of) a lot of the houses I've looked at have some sort of similar staircase... it looks like they just commonly had lower ceilings at the time those houses were built and we really want the inside to feel a little more updated. I'm open to suggestions on style here though.




    Yes, my husband did ask for a pass through from the garage straight into the pantry to shove groceries through. He thinks he's clever ;)


    The double sided fireplace was cheaper than backing two up against each other... which is actually what I would prefer. I don't love being able to see through them.


    TV will likely be on the fireplace. Not my favorite place for them, but my husband is pretty stuck on this idea.


    Regarding the placement of the mud room - I'm hoping in the redraw we can add a second set of stairs from the mud room to the second story for ease of bringing down kid laundry. I've also seen houses where the master closet opens into the laundry room which would also be nice, alternatively we were discussing having a hamper in the wall between the two that can open on both sides.


    I don't have any affinity for the master bath layout.

  • Kate Kraft
    Original Author
    3 months ago

    @Architectrunnerguy we're meeting with them on Tuesday, I will definitely post an update after that.

  • Kate Kraft
    Original Author
    3 months ago

    @cpartist noted on the closet. Thanks!

  • Kate Kraft
    Original Author
    3 months ago

    @Mark Bischak, Architect yes we like the well thought out "added on over time" look. I realize that usually these "additions" use materials like hardie-board siding... we're concerned about upkeep with siding vs. stone. Any thoughts on that?

  • cpartist
    3 months ago

    @cpartist noted on the closet. Thanks!

    You need to note everything else I mentioned as well as everyone else.

    What happened to the bubble diagrams you were going to do to show your architect before you started?

  • PRO
    Mark Bischak, Architect
    3 months ago

    I like stone (masonry) for its low maintenance, but the 'additions' portions of your project are not convincing and poorly executed with it being all the same stone, hip roofs, and massing that does not lend itself to a structure that was added onto over time. Kind of reminds me of a man wearing a tweed sports jacket with tweed pants and a tweed vest and a tweed tie and a tweed hat; its a lot of tweed. And large expanses of stone on a wall does not help the design.

  • Mrs Pete
    3 months ago

    Regarding the staircase in the front

    Those pictures aren't really farmhouse. Farmhouse is simple design.

    Yes, my husband did ask for a pass through from the garage straight into the pantry to shove groceries through. He thinks he's clever ;)

    I think he's clever too! So much effort saved.

    The double sided fireplace was cheaper than backing two up against each other... which is actually what I would prefer. I don't love being able to see through them.

    Thoughts: Will you actually use fireplaces in both rooms? You know that an open fireplace is a net loss for heat, right? How would a wood stove (which is more efficient in terms of fuel /heat output) do in one of the locations? Consider that a wood stove (or a propane stove or a pellet stove) can be placed inside a masonry fireplace for a similar look. If you want it just for the look, consider a mantle that could be filled with flowers in the summer /candles in the winter.

    TV will likely be on the fireplace. Not my favorite place for them, but my husband is pretty stuck on this idea.

    Has he seen this in person /experienced sitting on the sofa looking up at it? If not, do a mock-up with a cardboard box. Have him actually sit /see how it'll feel.

    I'm hoping in the redraw we can add a second set of stairs from the mud room to the second story for ease of bringing down kid laundry.

    Consider, too, a second laundry room on the second floor. It'd cost about the same as -- probably less than -- a second staircase, but it would lighten the work load, especially when the kids are old enough to do their own laundry.

    I've also seen houses where the master closet opens into the laundry room which would also be nice, alternatively we were discussing having a hamper in the wall between the two that can open on both sides.

    Nice ideas.

    we're concerned about upkeep with siding vs. stone. Any thoughts on that?

    If you're looking for low-maintenance, I think you could make other changes inside that would have bigger impacts on your calendar and wallet.

    Kind of reminds me of a man wearing a tweed sports jacket with tweed pants and a tweed vest and a tweed tie and a tweed hat; its a lot of tweed.

    That's a good analogy.

  • lyfia
    3 months ago

    @Kate Kraft - our initial architect has since passed away so I won't mention him. We saw some of the work he had done before hiring him and it looked great, but I'm thinking maybe his illness impacted his work, which we were not aware of. @Architectrunnerguy is who did the plans I posted.

  • chisue
    3 months ago

    I'll just add this, given that you started the thread saying this is a 'forever home'. Forget any features you're putting into this house to try to make it that. This is a *family* home. Make it useful to your family for the next 15-20 years. Sometime, far in the future, you'll want a small, one floor home without acreage, close to good medical facilities -- with zero stairs, and certainly not tall 'killer' stairs without landings.


    It's a treat to read through this thread to see, not only the freely given and excellent advice, but your openness to hearing it!



  • Kate Kraft
    Original Author
    3 months ago

    We met with our architect today and I think we’re essentially going to scrap this plan. It sounds like what we’re asking for is difficult to accomplish (modern floorplan inside an old style structure). I’ll share the updates from the architect when we receive them.

  • PRO
    PPF.
    3 months ago

    Thanks for the update. What's the plan going forward?


    It sounds like what we’re asking for is difficult to accomplish (modern floorplan inside an old style structure)


    Not really. I'll repeat what I said above.


    Try designing this as if it were a remodel of an existing smaller older house, or look to well designed older homes in a style you like that are larger for inspiration.


    When I say a remodel, draw the old house as it would have been built, then imagine how it would have been transformed over time into what you want today. Have you ever watched This Old House on PBS. Many episodes on transitioning an old house into one for today.



  • Architectrunnerguy
    3 months ago
    last modified: 3 months ago

    Thanks for the update Kate!

    A coupla thoughts.....

    First, If "It sounds like what we’re asking for is difficult to accomplish (modern floorplan inside an old style structure)" is what the architects are saying now is a difficult task, why wasn't that brought up by the architects when you initially met and gave them your program?

    And second, I agree with PPF, I don't think it's an insurmountable design criteria. Lyfia's house she posted upthread is an example. Design constraints are actually a good thing because it provides something to work off of.

    Anyway, while unfortunately it's been a rocky start, hopefully you're back on track. Thanks for the update and please keep us posted!

  • Kate Kraft
    Original Author
    3 months ago
    last modified: 3 months ago

    Hi everyone,

    The architect got back to us with an updated floorplan after our meeting last week. I have some of my own thoughts, but would love to hear from you guys first (if any of you are still willing to give input!). I very much appreciate all the time you have taken here.

    To clarify how this iteration started, we basically asked if they would remove any previous design constraints that we may have knowingly or unknowingly placed on them. We really wanted them to focus on the overall shape of the house, and incorporating the spaces we were looking for, wherever seems to make the most sense (for example, if the great room needs to lose the vault to place rooms over it, we are open to that suggestion). The architect presented this option, and wanted to know if they are on the right track for us before whittling it down further (ie adding doors/windows/etc.) so please be aware this is in no way a final or completed design.

    Thanks so much!





  • PRO
    PPF.
    3 months ago

    Rough attempt to open the house up. Kitchen gets front facing windows. Family gets opened up to the back. Master gets moved further away from the core.



  • kaitie09
    3 months ago
    last modified: 3 months ago

    Not sure if you have ever been to PA and seen the houses in person, but as someone living in PA Dutch county, the old stone farm houses around here typically have the same general layout. You've got the "fancy" rectangle houses, and the basic square-shaped farm house. I'm assuming you want to go fancy, so based off of these photos:





    Interiors typically have this general layout, a center hallway with a staircase of death, and 2-4 rooms downstairs with a fireplace on either side, and sometimes a secondary staircase near the kitchen. Upstairs were basically the same. Closets are thrown in here and there where there's room.


    This should be your starting layout. From here, you can go off the sides, or out back. Maybe start our by drawing this layout and then think about how it would have developed over history. Estimate the houses being built in the mid-late 1700's (ie, no indoor plumbing or "real" kitchen). Big additions usually make the house look L-shaped around here, and then little additions added on here and there.

    Here's a photo of my Aunt's farmhouse, original portion built in late 1700's (square shaped), added log addition in 1800's (back of house in areal photo) and master bedroom addition in late 1900's.





  • PRO
    Mark Bischak, Architect
    3 months ago

    My visual list of "NO" :

    Is there any view from the house that should be taken advantage of?

    Is this to be built in an area where coats are never worn?

    I assume not all windows are shown.

  • RNmomof2 zone 5
    3 months ago

    I think the lay out is an improvement over the previous version. I like that the various places to spread out as a family are spread out. Kids could be in one place with the tv blaring and you are not right next door in the study trying to work.

    Mark has a thing about corners in closets but really, we all have things that are rarely or never worn to fill up those corners don't we? I know I do. I do agree that a coat closet in the entry would be nice but an easy fix is to take the end of the closet in the guest room and make a closet in the entry. That will make the closet smaller in the guest room but it will eliminate the dreaded blind area in it.

    The jack and jill bath seems rather convoluted and like an inefficient use of space. Is that area going to be open to below? If it is, I would try to move the closets over in both bedroom 2 and 3 to get there doors farther away from the overlook. We have a bedroom like that and a good amount of noise transfers into that room from the door.

  • emilyam819
    3 months ago

    It’s definitely better, but I guess your architect loves vestibules. I’d make the guest room entrance off the foyer (would eliminate the L shaped hallway and have a better bathroom) and straighten the back wall of the master closet (for a more functional closet, bigger study, and less complicated entrance). And then do something upstairs; that jack n jill makes me claustrophobic.

  • WestCoast Hopeful
    3 months ago

    Better but my thoughts are below:

    • master and study should swap
    • dining needs to be longer so more space around table
    • concerned media so close to dining
    • Jack and Jill bathroom poor. Should be a hallway bath
  • cpartist
    3 months ago

    The architect presented this option, and wanted to know if they are on the right track for us before

    No they're not. Honestly I'm surprised this guy has his architect's license. The things I see wrong were the same type of things our draftsman did. To me this person is playing tetris and is not creating a house that works with your land and works as a home.

    Long and strange angled hallways are one example.

    Angled walls.

    Lots of wasted space.

    Walking into the master suite and what is the first thing you see? A closet?

    Almost 8' or more between the fridge and the island?

    A master closet with so much wasted space and hardly enough hanging or shelving space.

    One person having to walk completely around the master bed to go to the bathroom? And the bathroom doors by the head of one person?

    Once again, here's the list with items not working in bold:

    The best houses orient the public rooms towards the south for the best passive solar heating and cooling

    The best houses are L, U, T, H, or I shaped.

    The best houses are only one to two rooms deep. And covered lanai, porches, garages, etc count as rooms in this case.

    The best houses make sure kitchens have natural light, meaning windows so one doesn't have to have lighting 24/7 to use the kitchen. (And no, dining areas with windows 10' or more from the kitchen will not allow for natural light.)

    The best houses make sure all public rooms and bedrooms have windows on at least two walls.

    The best houses do not if possible put mechanical rooms, pantries or closets on outside walls

    The best houses keep public and private spaces separate.

    The best houses do not have you walk through the work zone of the kitchen to bring laundry to the laundry room.

    The best houses do not have the mudroom go through any of the work zones of the kitchen.

    The best houses do not use the kitchen as a hallway to any other rooms.

    The best houses do not put toilets or toilet rooms up against bedroom walls or dining areas.

    The best houses do not have walk in closets too small to stand inside.

    The best houses have an organizing “spine” so it’s easy to determine how to get from room to room in the house and what makes sense.



  • cpartist
    3 months ago

    Why does bedroom 4 have to go in through the playroom?

    I find these odd spaces in red



  • Kate Kraft
    Original Author
    3 months ago

    Hi all,
    Thank you again for all of the feedback. We have submitted for another large revision, and I will report back when I have it. I may start a new thread since it’s been a few weeks, or I can post here if that’s preferable.

    Thanks!!

  • PRO
    PPF.
    3 months ago

    Suggest you start a new thread and add a link to this one for reference.

  • Architectrunnerguy
    3 months ago

    The debated definition of insanity aside, let me suggest a little bit different approach for this third go-around.


    Instead of them going back to their shop after meeting with you and then coming back some time later for some sort of big “presentation” of their interpretation of the best solution for what you all earlier discussed, I’d suggest a working design session where all ideas can be explored in real time. A fancy word for these is “Charrette”. For local projects I do these all the time and they typically last three or four hours and are highly interactive with back and forth discussion over tracing paper involving overlay upon overlay. They're very successful because everyone can float ideas and test them right there in real time. And often the owner commands the pen more than I do!


    To try to take a little bit of the mystery away for you I wrote about them here in a colleagues blog Design in a Day | Life of an Architect and here I helped another colleague working for a Houzzer who had never done these We fit an architect into our budget and it was SO worth it! (gardenweb.com) . And like there, I’ll be more than happy to answer any questions your architect may have regarding this approach.


    Here's some photos of what they look like.


    Quiz: Now, what do these all have in common besides my ugly face gracing the photos?











    Ok, it should be obvious but if it's not....... the commonality is there's ABUNDANT bumwad (tracing paper) drawings and overlays of a design IN PROGRESS. There's bumwad everywhere!

    When you're done with the session there should be bumwad drawings galore...on the table, in the trash can, on the floor, maybe tacked/taped to the wall and the bones of a design concept everyone is happy to go forward with. When I do them I put a little star on the ones with good ideas so I can find those later in the resulting debris pile.


    After the session they’re going to have to spend some time later cleaning it up but at least there will be no surprises when you see it.


    Maybe I got a little long here (ok, I'm SURE I did) but my heart goes out to you for having this very frustrating start to what should be a fun process.


    And I agree with PPF, better to start another thread with any update and reference this thread in there.


    I really hope this helps and the best of luck!

  • PRO
    Mark Bischak, Architect
    3 months ago

    I whole heartedly agree a charrette would be very productive for any project.


    ARG - Do you normally work out the initial design in a charrette in the first meeting, or use the charrette to refine the first design that was prepared in your office?


    I am showing this image to my wife to show her it is acceptable to show up for meetings with shorts and a polo shirt.


  • Kate Kraft
    Original Author
    3 months ago

    This is essentially what we did before the first revision I showed you guys, although we didn’t go through quite as much tracing paper… and they acted like we really stumped them. My gut feeling is that while they showcase their custom designs, their bread and butter is the typical modern residential home, so they’re having trouble breaking out of that mold, which is frustrating to find out when we’re heavily invested at this point. We’re trying to make the best of it and get to where we want to be with lots of specific examples, but we may end up switching architects at the end of all of this if we can’t get to a satisfactory product, which really sucks.

  • Architectrunnerguy
    3 months ago
    last modified: 2 months ago

    ARG - Do you normally work out the initial design in a charrette in the first meeting, or use the charrette to refine the first design that was prepared in your office?

    Great question.....For a whole new residence I typically walk the site with the owners while asking them questions about their visions for the house, etc.. After that they send me bubble diagrams, site plans and photos of exteriors they like, etc.

    I don't do any work at all beforehand other then get the site plan to some sort of workable scale to use as a template during the charrette. Then we schedule a time for the charrette.

    We get the whole house conceptualized with maybe not everything exactly worked out but a strong concept that we're all comfortable with. One of the links above has an example of this together with a photo of the finished house but a typical finished concept drawing for the floor plan may look like this with all the "straight" lines just made using the edge of my scale and eyeballing right angles:


    And the fine tuned drawing cleaned up done later may look like this:



    You can see there are only minor differences between the two. [ETA: I just noticed that the photo of the charrete for these drawings is the 4th one down and that drawing is the one actually on the table. Also, it wasn't the latest as we moved a bedroom etc. but it was what I had quickly in my files but I think you can get my drift here]

    So you noted my shorts...good eye.....I think I forgot my cape and frumpy hat that day....lol.....

    And I think I've told this story before here......In a house we used to live in I had a detached garage in my front yard. It was the middle of August on a very hot and humid day and I had just finished a run and was cooling off in my little courtyard between the house and garage (for some bizarre reason Mrs. ARG prefers this over cooling off in the house on the LR carpet).

    Had my shirt off, dripping with sweat, a three day beard growth, looked horrible and probably smelled worse.

    Anyway, a lady appears from the street and starts asking me all these questions about the distance the garage is from the house, height of the garage, etc. Come to find out she had a lot that likely needed the garage detached (like my problem, impervious area issues). She asked who the architect was and I was forced to admit she was looking at him. She asked for a card and I had my wife get one so it wouldn't be sweat soaked.

    Two days later I get a call "Let's go!!". But I did get cleaned up before the charrette...lol....

  • PRO
    Mark Bischak, Architect
    3 months ago
    last modified: 3 months ago

    If everyone designing a home used the method Architectrunnerguy described above, there would be a lot less Houzz discussions on designing a home. Too many times construction drawings are posted to ask if the design is good. Keep the design drawings loose and fluid until the design is acceptable.

    Story:

    I once designed a cottage for an architect and his architect wife. They both worked for the firm he was principle of, a firm that did not do residential design, and lived over 2,000 miles away from the project site. During the charrette we were all sketching and tracing paper was all over the table (and floor), but unfortunately there was only one pencil. You guessed it, there was a tug-of-war between husband and wife over the pencil and I had to run out to my car to get my black and white referee shirt. No foul was committed, and both husband and wife are very happy with the new cottage.

  • PRO
    Diana Bier Interiors, LLC
    2 months ago

    Some of our best memories are sitting with our architect bouncing ideas around. And him sketching not only floor plans but quickie perspective drawings. It was eye-opening--such talent all of you architects have!

  • Kate Kraft
    Original Author
    2 months ago