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Review my Floor Plan!

HU-323084092
2 months ago

We are in the VERY beginning phase of designing our home from scratch. I am a draftsman and my husband is a carpenter, so we are doing the entire design/build ourselves, keeping the footprint small and the budget modest. There will be 3 more bedrooms (2 kids, 1 guest) and another bath on the lower level (all above grade on at least one wall). We love our downstairs plan, but the main level is where i would love some input, critique, ideas, suggestions, etc.


What do you like? What would you change?

I also (obviously) need some kitchen design help.


Comments (34)

  • PRO
    PPF.
    2 months ago

    Where are you building and do you already own the land?


    Do you understand how the sun will shine on the house throughout the year?


    I would rethink the entire plan, for example, moving the garage to the west side, but will hold my thoughts, hoping you will say why things are the way they are.

  • HU-323084092
    Original Author
    2 months ago

    PPF.

    It is a piece of family land. The road is on the South side with a hill sloping away from the road. I previously had the garage by the Kitchen and Dining, but i like the idea of these rooms having more outside walls for light and breeze. We can cut a driveway entering the property on either side. I had also considered flipping the entire plan, garage and all, to have sun rises in the Kitchen and Dining as opposed to sunsets. Thoughts on that? This is one acre in the middle of 600 acres of family land, rolling hills and some trees. Not really a bad view from any direction honestly. Midwest.

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    I'm a firm believer in a flex/getaway room, but you have plenty of those. I agree that what this house needs is one large living area for the family to gather. If you are hoping for your children to grow up and for you to retire in this house, this plan is not the plan for a large family gathering! A couple of friends, kids, their spouses, a couple of grandkids, and that room is going to seem like a closet. (With three sons-in-law and 3 grandkids, I know of which I speak! :) ) Anyway, the back six feet of the room are dedicated to hall area, so you won't have any furniture there, and the opening to the other two walls have doors on them. This makes the family room about 13' X 15', which seems EXTREMELY small for a house this size. You will have to squeeze behind the chairs to walk into the "getting away" room and you will have to squeeze behind chairs to get out to the porch. Where else you would you put additional seating? It's a nice plan, and I like the upstairs, especially, but it doesn't seem suited to your purposes. If I were building a house to grow old in, I would want something more spacious than the study/bathroom on the first floor and certainly more closet space. Perhaps you could put more money into more square footage there, and finish out some of the rest of the house at a later time. Good luck! There's certainly a lot to be excited about in this plan. :)
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    The mud room is part of the laundry room. We have this currently and it works for us and saves on space in the house. I've been working on rearranging things from all the suggestions. We plan to live in the house a long time so I want to make it to be what works for us, but when the time comes to sale I would like it to appeal to others as well. As long as what others like works for us that is lol. There is a window in the other bedroom, it just didn't make it on this draft I guess. There will be another bedroom, bath, and large rec room upstairs with plenty of storage too. We have plenty of cabinets so the pantry being close to the kitchen wasn't huge to us. We just want an area to store large things and bulk items out of the way. Also, a place to keep all the other stuff like vacuums and such. We have a back and side view. Thats why we have the living and dining on the one wall. This gives us the best options for windows out that side of the house. The other reason we have it this way is so we can see from the living room out the front of the house. I had looked at putting the other bedrooms on the front of the house, but this then boxes in he living room and we are unable to see the front yard and driveway. Any other suggestions or anyone else want to chime in with ideas? Thank you!
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  • PRO
    PPF.
    2 months ago

    This is just to show rough room positions, obviously needs lots of work. Trying to open up the kitchen/dining/living to the outside and get more southern exposure.


    I know you like the lower floor, but keep in mind that both floors need to be designed together.




  • bpath
    2 months ago
    last modified: 2 months ago

    Have you laid out furniture to scale in the living room? As shown, it is a giant central hall with all traffic going into it, around it, and through it. Not the restful nest a living room should be.

    Meanwhile, the foyer is doing no work at all. At least it could have the stairs, and perhaps the bedroom suite and the garage entrance could swap, so that when you come home, you go through the family entry and foyer to thoroughly shed the day before heading into your home. That would also give the living room a corner, which makes for easier furniture placement and some coziness.

  • HU-323084092
    Original Author
    2 months ago

    PPF. -


    Thanks for that sketch up. I will play around with it and see what fits. I like that it opens more living space to the south side of the house.

  • HU-323084092
    Original Author
    2 months ago

    bpath -


    I have done a furniture layout with furniture pulled toward the center of the room and "hallways" if you will, behind furniture to walk from room to room. This has always been my preferred layout since it gives a cozy feel to a large room.


    I don't necessarily agree that a living room is a "restful nest", at least not in my home with small children. It is the central hub of the home full of life, with people coming and going all day. My restful nest is my quiet master bedroom. That is one flaw of my current plan in my opinion - I would like a hallway of some sort separating the master from the living area. My husband finds hallways to be "wasted space"


    As for the foyer, I'm not sure what you mean that its doing "no work at all." One of my first requirements for a design plan was as separate foyer that is not a central part of the living area. TI hate the idea of someone ringing my door and stepping right into my main living area. We discussed having an open staircase instead of a wall, which would make the stairs part of the foyer.

  • kapiticoast
    2 months ago

    How nice for you to be planning for your new home in such a beautiful location.
    Please consider having your kitchen dining area getting the morning light. We were advised to do that when building our last home. It made for a very pleasant, cheerful space at breakfast time and we didn’t have to contend with strong afternoon/evening sun at the dinner table.

  • bpath
    2 months ago
    last modified: 2 months ago

    It seems to me that a living room is where you play, watch tv, etc. Without people walking through with laundry, groceries, food, heading here and there about the house.

    As to the foyer, in the design it is only for visitors (social guests as well as the repairman), to enter. That’s all it does. It has one tiny closet. Your family will rarely go in it, except to answer the door. But by moving the garage entry to feed into it, it does double-duty.

    Speaking of that closet, it had me look for where you will keeo your broom, swiffer, maybe a little vacuum, for the main floor. It appears you are in a climate where it doesn’t snow, or have other extreme weather? Just assuming, as here in the Great Lakes region a garage entry has room for boots, different types of jackets, gloves, shoes, hats, umbrellas, etc.

    People are of two minds about hallways: transition, or waste of space. And I’m not sure the twain ever meet. I’m one who thinks that moving from one space to another should be as interesting as the spaces themselves. Sometimes a hall, long or short, contributes to that.

  • decoenthusiaste
    2 months ago

    My first thought was that both toilets are likely to be heard flushing in the living room. Flip the shower and toilet in the master bath and the bench and toilet in the other bath.

  • bpath
    2 months ago

    Would you like a pantry for the kitchen?

  • Rachel Lee
    2 months ago

    You don’t want to enter from the garage through the living room. You don’t want bathrooms backing up to the living spaces. Get rid of the foyer, nobody needs that.

  • PRO
    JAN MOYER
    2 months ago
    last modified: 2 months ago

    At this point, you are on your way to a very dark house. North/south side vaulted porches. West side half gone to kitchen storage. One exposure in master bedroom.....and a bunch of other things as well.

    Fine to be a draftsman! The best money? An architect to the site. Why? Because a great home ( any size ) is a marriage of site, exterior elevations, inside, outside, upstairs, downstairs, budget, wants, needs, et all.

    A PA in the doctors office is often very skilled. Her surgeon boss? More so.

  • LH CO/FL
    2 months ago

    Think about the entry to the master bedroom -- everyone from the kitchen and living room can look right in.

  • PRO
    RappArchitecture
    2 months ago

    Jan is right. Being a competent draftsman does not mean you are a designer. Architects are paid to design a dwelling which fits on the site and maximizes natural light and views. Your plan doesn't do that. I personally prefer kitchens and master bedrooms to get morning light and main living and dining spaces to get afternoon light. But regardless of orientatation, you want to maximize windows on the south side and minimize windows on the north. Hiring a licensed local architect will help you realize a well designed home and will be money well spent.

  • HU-323084092
    Original Author
    2 months ago

    Wow thanks for all the input everyone!

    Kapiticoast – Great point about morning light in the kitchen. At our current home we get evening light in the kitchen and I actually HATE it because I am blinded while I cook dinner every night. One reason I'm ok with the West wall of my kitchen having no windows.

    Bpath -Yes there will be a few storage rooms, and possibly a second laundry, in the garage. (not designed yet.) Most cleaning product will be downstairs, but duplicates could be kept in garage. We live on a dairy farm so there will be LOTS of things that need a home that aren't welcome IN the home. Great reminder about adding a cleaning closet! Thanks! Also, yes, I want a pantry. I go back and forth between a large walk-in vs a reach-in with cabinets around fridge.

    Decoenthusiaste – never thought about hearing a toilet flush! Also, not sure it would be an enormous problem, but those switches seem easy enough.

    Jan – Yes, the lack of sunlight is one thing I've been concerned about. I would love to have main living areas with southern exposure, but I;m not sure how to fit ALL of those things in the front of the house. Orientation is one thing I cannot change unfortunately.

    LH CO/FL – yes, a concern. See my previous comment about a hallway.

    Rachel Lee – Do you like people walking directly into your living room or kitchen? We have friends who just built a house with no foyer and its weird and awkward walking right in by the dining table. Perhaps my foyer is too big, but “nobody needs that” seems to be a bold statement. Granted, I done need it to survive, but certainly wouldn't want a new custom designed house without it.

    Jan / RAPP – Wile I, in no way, mean to devalue the help of an architect, it is simply not in our budget to hire an architect, or to build the McMansion and architects seem to think everyone “NEEDS.” The only benefit I see to being a draftsman is that I can draw neatly on a computer what any other homeowner can draw on graph paper. I certainly didn't mean to overstate my qualifications.

    RAPP – One question: Maximize windows on the south side – YES but Minimize windows on the north side – WHY?? Especially if the view is beautiful?

    Than you all again for the help and ideas!

  • PRO
    JAN MOYER
    2 months ago

    Who said ANYTHING!!! about a Mc Mansion?

    Which is more expensive ? The arch who gets you something you could love? Or the mistake you didn't notice on the computer ? Just asking......

  • PRO
    Mark Bischak, Architect
    2 months ago

    " . . . it is simply not in our budget to hire an architect, or to build the McMansion and architects seem to think everyone “NEEDS.”


    What are you basing those claims on??

  • cpartist
    2 months ago

    As a draftsman, what is also your design background? Did you take design classes in college? Interior design classes?

  • cpartist
    2 months ago

    Why do you think an architect is not in your budget? Haveyou even looked?

  • Jennifer K
    2 months ago
    last modified: 2 months ago

    Since the front of your house faces south, that's where you want to maximize the windows. I'd design an L-shaped house, with a side-loading garage on the west side. The entrance/foyer would be in front of the garage, and the rest of the house would be the long arm of the L. Something like this:



    I've maintained the size of your garage and main home areas.

    Because the garage is pushed back a bit, it shelters the patio area on the back of the house. This may allow you to minimize or eliminate the covering for the patio and let more light into the north side of your house. Pushing back the garage also allows you to offset your foyer from the main house-- so any covered entryway that you design won't keep light out of the rest of your home.

    I'd probably put any stairs along the wall between the garage and the rest of the house. And I'd put the primary bedroom in the back right corner with direct access to the backyard.

  • K L
    2 months ago

    Here is a classic you may find helpful and inspiring:

    https://www.amazon.com/gp/aw/d/B00085J1PM?psc=1&ref=ppx_pop_mob_b_asin_title

    Given you are on a dairy farm, and working on a farm myself, I strongly recommend a separate farmer's entry with laundry and bathroom with a shower with at least a low curb. Oh, and make a  space for a boot dryer…nothing worse than wet feet. https://www.amazon.com/COSTWAY-Electric-Mighty-Prevent-Bacteria/dp/B07FT8KRBM/ref=mp_s_a_1_8?crid=76AO9UGTVHFI&keywords=boot+dryer+for+work+boots&qid=1664787815&qu=eyJxc2MiOiI0Ljg3IiwicXNhIjoiNC4zNyIsInFzcCI6IjQuMjEifQ==&sprefix=boot+dryer,aps,105&sr=8-8

  • Mrs Pete
    last month

    There will be 3 more bedrooms (2 kids, 1 guest) and another bath on the lower level (all above grade on at least one wall).

    How often do you have overnight guests? What I'm asking is, Do you really need a guest room? We always had the kids bunk together and guests stayed in one of the kids' rooms. In a house with limited space -- and practical is a good thing -- you may not have the square footage to allot for "occasional usage".

    I would rethink the entire plan, for example, moving the garage to the west side

    The sun can make western-facing rooms uninhabitable, and -- especially in a small house -- that just doesn't work. Placing the garage or a porch on the western side is a great choice.
    I previously had the garage by the Kitchen and Dining, but i like the idea of these rooms having more outside walls for light and breeze.

    Your garage doesn't have to be attached. Consider a garage that's placed slightly to the back of the house ... or a house attached with a porch.

    This is one acre in the middle of 600 acres of family land

    Something to keep in mind: Bringing utilities to an acre in the middle of a big plot is more expensive than houses in a suburb.

    I don't necessarily agree that a living room is a "restful nest", at least not in my home with small children. It is the central hub of the home full of life, with people coming and going all day.

    Living rooms are hard because they need to be able to perform multiple functions: they need to be able to handle small children's games and family movie nights ... but they also need to work as restful nests after the kids are gone to bed or when mom and grandma want a quiet afternoon. And the living room is probably the one room that absolutely must be done right!

    One problem I see with this living room is that it houses hallways and doors to other areas ... lots of other areas. This leaves you only a sliver of space for the living room itself. I'd make it a priority to get the living room into a corner /keep away the through traffic.

    Speaking of that closet, it had me look for where you will keeo your broom, swiffer, maybe a little vacuum, for the main floor.

    Yes, definitely plan a broom closet somewhere on the first floor. In addition to the things mentioned above, it would hold light bulbs, extension cords, batteries, paper. If you have a stick broom or hand-vac, include an outlet IN the closet.

    You don’t want to enter from the garage through the living room.

    Yes. Put some thought into your in-and-out routines:

    Think about your coming-home routine: You come in with a bag of groceries and a pile of mail -- where do they go? Do you have a spot for your shoes, coats, tote bag? A place for a dog leash to hang?

    Think about your going-out routine: Do you have a mirror to check your hair? A place where your keys are ready and waiting and your cell phone is sitting fully charged?

    Think about your guests' arrival: Can they see your house numbers so it's easy to find? It their parking area evident? I think you're considering the garage doors on the side ... this means your guests will follow the driveway to the side of the house and be forced to walk a long distance with no view of their goal (the front door).
    Also, yes, I want a pantry. I go back and forth between a large walk-in vs a reach-in with cabinets around fridge.

    Definitely add a pantry ... you have drawn in a great number of cabinets: I think it's 28' of linear cabinetry + an island. You said this is to be done on a budget ... you're going to be shocked at what cabinets cost. I'd absolutely lose some of this cabinet space and add in a large walk-in pantry; it'll give you better storage, hidden storage, and it'll cost less.

    Orientation is one thing I cannot change unfortunately.

    You can't change where North is, but you have 100% control over where you place the rooms. Personally, I'd push the master bedroom to the back of the house and keep the living room, kitchen and dining areas to the South and East as much as possible.

    Perhaps my foyer is too big, but “nobody needs that” seems to be a bold statement. Granted, I done need it to survive, but certainly wouldn't want a new custom designed house without it.

    So a welcoming foyer is one of your must-haves. Okay, but you don't have to give it as much space as you've allotted now, and you can make it do double-duty; for example, line it with bookshelves and make it work as a library as well as an entry area.

    it is simply not in our budget to hire an architect, or to build the McMansion and architects seem to think everyone “NEEDS.”

    You'll never hear the end of this topic on this board.

    Maximize windows on the south side – YES but Minimize windows on the north side – WHY??

    You want a balance of windows and walls. Without adequate walls, you'll not have enough space for doors and artwork. Also, windows are pretty expensive (and windows aren't a place to skimp).

    The main problem with your layout is the oversize garage blocking all morning light into the house.

    I won't say it's the main problem, but it is definitely a problem.

    I'd design an L-shaped house, with a side-loading garage on the west side.

    A good idea.

    Given you are on a dairy farm, and working on a farm myself, I strongly recommend a separate farmer's entry with laundry and bathroom with a shower with at least a low curb. Oh, and make a space for a boot dryer…nothing worse than wet feet

    Having grown up on a farm, I'd suggest a good foot-washing area outside. Leave boots and foot-grime outside, then walk to your own bedroom, where you have a shower at the ready -- as well as towels, and your own clothes.

    Other thoughts about this plan:

    - Could you open a second opening to the dining room from the foyer? The dining room you've drawn gives one large opening, but it means people on the back side would have to scootch by other diners to go back for seconds, etc.

    - The fireplace dead-ahead of the doorway makes a nice sight line upon entering the house.

    - Do you often grill out? If so, consider the walk from the kitchen to the only backyard access door.

    - What's your taking-out-the-trash route?

    - Master bath: Toilets in closets are uncomfortable and the tiny closet is difficult to keep clean; if you feel you must have it, consider flip-flopping the whole bathroom so you can have a window into the toilet closet. This will also take the toilet further from the living spaces.

    - Your vanity is probably going to be 5 1/2' , which means you'll have one skimpy little set of drawers between the duplicate sinks ... consider a single sink "done right" and a set of drawers for each spouse. With no linen closet in the bathroom, you'll appreciate the storage more than the repetitive sink.

    - Reverse the master bathroom door.

    - Where's your laundry? In a better plan, it'd be fairly near the master bedroom so you wouldn't have to carry things so far.

    - This is a modest-sized house, but it's not an efficient use of space ... so much wasted space, yet skimpy on living space.


  • Marc L
    last month

    Just some quick observations:

    •Remove return walls at Kitchen & Dining to open up cabinets to Dining and Living

    •Master Bed Entry is not ideal for privacy, but if you add a small vestibule that runs flush with the built ins, it would help

    •Master Bed width is a little tight, another 12” would be beneficial

    •Master Bath access door will interfere with furnishing. I would either shift it down towards the shower or recreate a layout with the door at the far corner

    •Pull the Front Porch 18”-24” out to give the entry a sense of hierarchy over the garage

    •Maybe a pocket door at Master Closet, or in swing. 5’-8” should be deep enough to in swing with a 28” or 30” door and hanging clothes

  • rainyseason
    last month

    I really agree with your sentiment to keep things small and simple, but small and simple can be the most challenging design-wise. I notice that the front entry closet and the rear entry drop zone are very small. Not much room for a family’s worth of Midwest level coats, gloves, etc. the foyer does provide the separation you need, but maybe it could do that job in a smaller footprint. A reach in master closet might give you the same usable hanging space in fewer square feet. Main thing is to keep thinking, keep drawing, and be open to ideas. Never know what left field idea may be the key to pulling it all together.

  • HU-323084092
    Original Author
    last month

    Verbo- Thanks for that comment! It is constructive, helpful, AND not at all demeaning! So glad to see those 5 years of schooling taught you to express your opinions in a tactful way! Money well spent, for sure.


    rainyseason, Marc L, Mrs Pete, and Jennifer K- thank you so much for the ideas, tips, and constructive criticism. We decided we CAN, in fact, put the garage on the West side of the property, so its back to the drawing board (quite literally) for me. I am looking forward to incorperating some of these suggestions into my new plan and posting it again! I appreciate everyone taking the time to offer ideas!


    As always, Houzz, it has been quite an experience! Thanks again.


    x Unfortunately still not an architect.

  • PRO
    Mark Bischak, Architect
    last month
    last modified: last month

    Check your state's requirements for architectural licensure. When I became an architect in Michigan, I had to have a four year degree from an accredited architecture school. pay for an equivalency exam, work in the field under the supervision of an architect for four years, and pass a 33.5 hour exam (nine parts) over four days. That was a long time ago.

    In high school I learned how to draw, in college I learned to to how think, in work I learned how to design, in clients I learned priorities, and in maturity I learned to enjoy the ride.

  • PRO
    JAN MOYER
    last month

    Love that, Mark.

  • K L
    last month

    I agree you need an architect, but I will give you brownie points for attempting to put down in a plan what your thoughts are. It should help with communication and also give you an appreciation for the work an architect does.

    I have long enjoyed perusing house plans on line like here:  https://www.houseplans.com/search. I've thought of them as less expensive than an architect, but I would really like to hear what architects and builders think of that route.

  • cpartist
    last month

    You pro could hire a talented architect who is on this forum and works remotely to give you a rough sketch which you could then with your CAD skills put into workable documents. And from what Ive heard he is reasonable but you wouldneed tobe open

  • cpartist
    last month

    Sorry I’m on an iPad with a poorconnection

  • HU-323084092
    Original Author
    last month

    cpartist

    That is a wonderful suggestion! I may consider trying that avenue. Thanks for the idea! Any recommendations of someone specific you've worked with?

  • PRO
    RappArchitecture
    last month

    There are many talented architects on this forum, but the problem is they all work remotely and won't be able to walk the site. If you're willing to hire an architect on a consultant basis (which I recommended 3 days ago), you'd be better off working with someone local who can visit the site and make sure the house works well with its surroundings.