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cdm4199

Our house plan -what would you change?

cdm4199
11 months ago

Would you be so kind as to look at our house plan and share your ideas? We want this to be our forever home so we have been designing with that mind.

We have a 2 year-old son and an 11 year-old son (joint custody so he is with us every other weekend). The two year-old will be in the room with the tub/shower combo. The oldest will be in the bedroom with the shower.

A few tweaks that are planned:

  1. Increasing the size of the two bedroom closets.
  2. Looking at recessed cabinet/closet in boys’ bathrooms.
  3. Adding knee space in master bath.
  4. Possibly flipping toilet room and shower location in master bathroom.
  5. Kitchen island seating will not be in a row. We are building an island with seating on the sides too so you can actually see and chat with people.
  6. Adding a door to the study accessible from living room. This room is going to be multipurpose (lounge/study area for kiddos, toy storage area, etc.; not setting up as an office is my point)
  7. A side note, there will be a bonus room over our garage.

So please tell me what you would do differently, things I should consider, things not to do, etc. Thank you!!!

Comments (27)

  • PRO
    PPF.
    11 months ago

    Where are you located?

    What's the site like -- size, lots of trees, flat etc.?

    What direction will the house face?

    What do the elevations look like?

  • WestCoast Hopeful
    11 months ago

    Things I like are lots of windows and a simple layout on the exterior.

    Things I would look at:

    • a door to hot tub from master
    • no closets in the bathrooms of kids rooms
    • no angled fireplace outside
    • having powder accessed not through mudroom
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  • bpath
    11 months ago

    Perhaps it’s just because I don’t have experience with a kids’ closet attached to the bathroom, but it seems to me that kids keep more than just their clothes in the closet. Perhaps toys or games, costumes, etc. I think it might be better for them to have the closet door to the bedroom, not the bathroom. and, personal preference, for kids, a walk-in closet gives all kinds of opportunity to clutter up the floor. A reach-in closet lets them store, without floor space that should only be used to stand in anyway.

    When you have company over, will the mudroom always be presentable for them to walk through to use the powder room?

    Again, personal preference, but there is no circulation in the house. There is only one way to move through the house, and it all involves the living room. But, you say there will be a second door from the study to the living room, which makes me feel better!

    When you come out of your bedroom, you walk past (or through) the laundry room,:mudroom, garage door, kitchen. Don’t you deserve better than to walk through the working parts of the house?

  • YouTube's Mountain Home Rookies
    11 months ago

    Yes! A mudroom . I think its important to have a space for dirty shoes, coats, backpacks out the door. Close to the garage

  • WestCoast Hopeful
    11 months ago

    Actually looking at it again I would reduce to one bathroom, make bedrooms a bit bigger and make them aligned so there are a few less angles.

  • bpath
    11 months ago

    The only room in the house without a window is the kitchen, the room where light is most important.

    In the kids bedroom hall, mudroom, laundry. add solar tubes. You won’t regret it. If the kitchen must be in an interior space. give it a couple of solar tubes as well.

  • LH CO/FL
    11 months ago

    I would also either add a prep sink or rearrange the kitchen so the path from the fridge to the sink doesn't cross the range. I would do what I could to get the sink someplace other than staring at a blank wall. Agree that it will be quite dark in the kitchen, especially with a covered porch.

    It looks like a slight rearranging of the primary bath would give you an option to add a door directly to the closet so you're not always walking through the bathroom.


  • cpartist
    11 months ago

    I post this all the time. Anything in bold really needs to be relooked at and worked on.

    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 do not have diagonal interior walls making for odd spaces.

    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 public areas.

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

    The best houses have separation, such as closets, between bedrooms and between bedrooms and public rooms.

    The best houses do not have roofs that are overly large, and dominate the exterior of the house.

    The best houses do not have stick on exterior materials only on the front façade.

    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. Meaning they don’t have meandering circulation paths.

    Additionally the kitchen layout needs lots of help.

    How wide is the master closet?

  • lharpie
    10 months ago

    It looks like you are designing lovely outdoor spaces, but at the expense of your indoor spaces. That's a very deep covered patio off of your living room, so living room and dining room really won't get much light at all. Kitchen will be even more sad and dark, meanwhile the pantry gets a window where it doesn't need on. In fact the only rooms that have windows in two wall are the master bedroom and bathroom - places I don't spend a ton of time in myself... I guess DR too but again, huge patio covering them.


    I just don't understand the closet off of the bathroom thing at all tbh, but especially off of kids baths seems weird. My kid mostly stores craft supplies and games in her closet. unless there is a full bath associated with the bonus room I'd rather have a shared hall bath for the kids - saves money and gives a guest access to a full bath if needed. I'd also worry about sound transmission with both kids rooms bordering on the livingroom. Maybe I'm just scarred by a baby who would wake up at a pin drop, but I'd prefer a bit of separation.

  • lhmarmot
    10 months ago

    The garage stairs seem to block part of the double garage bay. Worth investigating to ensure it doesn't prevent you from using it how you want to.

  • David Cary
    10 months ago
    last modified: 10 months ago

    I found the plan pretty hard to read so couldn't look at it for too long. Agree with a lot of the points already made - saying that so you don't write any of them off as - "only one person said that".

    My biggest issue is the noise to the kids rooms. We have 10X the separation and it is still a concern.

    I personally dislike double doors to the outside. 10X the leakage (sound and air and smells - think fire), 10X the security concern and 10X the cost. Not to mention 10X the exaggeration.....

    I've had an outdoor fireplace - and they are a waste in my opinion.

    And yeah - powder off the mudroom, lack of light in public area, closets off kid's bathrooms - all issues too.

  • PRO
    Mark Bischak, Architect
    10 months ago

    I avoid having clothes closets directly accessible from a bathroom, a toilet in its own tiny room, hanging clothes turning a corner, a walk-in closet that can not be walked into or a reach-in can not be fully reached into, a living room surrounded living spaces on all sides, an outdoor kitchen far from the main kitchen, a master bedroom remote from children's rooms, garage doors wider than ten feet, and developing a floor plan without considering the site or exterior elevations or the site ('site' repeated on purpose). There is more but my break is over.

  • jkm6712
    10 months ago

    Suggestion: put a pocket door at the entrance to the secondary bedroom 'wing'. You'll be able to block the noise from the living areas to the boys' rooms.

  • cdm4199
    Original Author
    10 months ago

    I appreciate all of the feedback! We’re in Northwest Arkansas on 20 acres. The front of the house will face east and the back of the house will be to the west. We have a beautiful wooded view that we will be overlooking.

    Anyone have suggestions on how to “fix” the kitchen? I want the dining area on the back side of the house accessible to the back porch. How else do I work in a large pantry? I don’t care if there is a window above the kitchen sink. I am not opposed to it, but it isn’t a must have on my list. I don’t want a sink in the kitchen island. I understand that I am one of the few people with that preference.

    Attached is the exterior, but we will be changing the materials. White board and batten, silver metal roof and cedar columns. It is Plan 51838HZ Split Bedroom Hill Country House Plan with Large Walk-in Pantry.

    I will be adding more windows in the boys’ bedrooms.

    The outdoor space is going to be tweaked. No idea where we will end up placing the hot tub, but not worried about it. The outdoor kitchen and fireplace were put in by the draftsman. We likely won’t be doing any of that until later on. Husband isn’t sure he wants all the built in stuff. Not sure what kind of fireplace that we want permanently so we are holding off.

  • cpartist
    10 months ago

    The front of the house will face east and the back of the house will be to the west.

    So your garage, master closet and master bath are the only rooms that will get the best light and the best sun for heating/cooling. The main rooms of the house will get the absolute worst orientation which is west.

    Have you considered working with a person of design talent to create a plan that would work with your land and give you some actual light during the day?

  • WestCoast Hopeful
    10 months ago

    If you have so much space I would never orient that way. That’s the orientation of a city lot without choice!

  • David Cary
    10 months ago

    It seems very common on here and perhaps in real life to put a standard "small lot" house on acreage. I know someone in real life who did the same - he is kind of a jerk so I haven't invited myself over to take a look but I heard what he was doing.

    Obviously, it is cheaper to put everything in a tight place from a land clearing standpoint so there may be some advantage to doing what this plan does.

    But the house would be a lot more sun filled if you spread it out a bit. Things like semi-detaching the garage will allow more sun in (or completely detaching but I understand that isn't everyone's desire).

    Your goal is really to have the most windows, particularly into public places where you spend waking hours in, to be on the south side. The south has the most sun in the winter which is when you need the light the most. That also helps heat the house - for free. Then as the sun gets higher in the sky, you get less sun during the summer. Sun that is easy to build overhangs to block out.

    I have a number of these and is great to have sun cascading into our kitchen in the winter and then perfectly blocked but visible all day in the summer.

    But, but the view. Yes - that is a consideration and with the right layout, you can have both.

    It sounds like you might be too far into things to change course. You appear to be working with someone who doesn't work the site/orientation into the plans which is really unfortunate.

    Cost isn't always a problem. Some draftsmen are very good. It isn't always about spending a lot of money on the plans but certainly any money you have already spent may be lost if you change courses.

  • cpartist
    10 months ago

    David would it be ok for me to copy what you wrote and share it on the threads with you of course getting the credit for what was said? This explains it so well and so nicely.

  • bpath
    10 months ago
    last modified: 10 months ago

    One thing you could do to create a “lateral spine” is to move the entry to the kids’ bedroom hall to the other side of the fireplace. It means pishing the toddler bedroom out even with the bathrooms (and still, those and the closets should be rearranged). You could add a pocket door where the original opening to the hall is, by the foyer. Leave it closed most of the time, and when the middle-schooler is there he can choose to have it open or closed. Like this, where the yellow line shows a more direct path between all of you and anywhere you would want to go in the house, instead of skirting around the living room furniture. (note that this is the most used traffic route, how often do people come through the front door? and once they are in, they go between the living room, kitchen, dining, powder. come to think of it, that is a big empty foyer without much to do.)

    I’m not sure how you plan to use that large pantry, it has a lot of floor space. What if the door moves over to the right, with a tall window opposite, or even a windowed door? It might allow a bit more light and open feel in, and be more pleasant to walk into that walking in between the food.



  • cpartist
    10 months ago

    Actually bpath, they're on 20 acres so could push the garage to the back and have a pathway towards the front of the hous eso as not to impinge on the living room. Of course having a talented designer, instead of pulling a plan off the internet would help.

  • bpath
    10 months ago
    last modified: 10 months ago

    I missed that they are on 20 acres. An L would work great! Definitely an opportunity to make that list of wants and needs.

    Even if you don’t want the kids’ bedrooms near yours, I’d still want easy access for checking on middle-of-the-night sickness and who’s-up-after-midnight-gaming-or-finishing-up-that-homework-assignment.

  • Mrs Pete
    10 months ago

    Random thoughts:

    - The perimeter is complicated /lots of corners. This makes building more expensive and pushes the roofline into a complicated shape. Simplify.

    - You're looking at two fairly large bathrooms for two kids ... one of whom doesn't live with you full time. I'd consider a Jack-and-Jack bath ... give each boy a toilet and vanity and have them share a tub /shower and linen storage.

    - The tub/shower bath you're showing now has too small a vanity.

    - I think the boys' closets are a comfortable size.

    - I'd add a pocket door to the boys' hallway ... this will allow you someday to "close off" and avoid heating this area when they're no longer home.

    - I agree with what people above said about orientation to the sun.

    - To add to that thought, consider that your living room /kitchen will be dark ... the porch will prevent light from reaching these rooms.

    - You seem to have an outdoor kitchen planned? But it's quite far from the indoor kitchen ... it'd be better placed closer.

    - Note that your only door to the backyard is blocked by the table. Getting in /out will be problematic all the time, especially when people are seated at the table.

    - I always appreciate a big pantry! But look at the long pathway to reach yours ... I'd look into opening a small door between the garage and the pantry so you can "set things through". Also, windows in a pantry are not good ... light is the enemy of food storage.

    - The whole mudroom - laundry - master suite could be better.

    - The mudroom area will be dark. You could go with motion-sensored lights, but that won't make the area any more appealing.

    - Do you really need a closet that big? Even if so, don't waste that much exterior wall on a closet.

    - In contrast, the laundry room should be on an exterior wall ... dryers are best on exterior walls so they can vent directly to the outside. This is cheaper to build and more fire-safe, as it's easier to keep the vent clean.

    - I do like the proximity of the laundry to the master closet.

    - The master bath is overly large, which means more to tile and more to keep clean, and something this large can end up feeling empty and cold. Knee space? Do you mean in the toilet closet? I'd do away with the toilet closet altogether. I'd place the tub directly across from the bathroom entrance, as it'll be a nicer focal point /will allow you to walk towards a window.

    - I agree with the above poster who suggests a door directly out to the hot tub; I'd rather be able to go from the bathroom to the hot tub.

    - You say you're planning a bonus room above the garage? Why? For four people (one who doesn't live in the house full time), you already have a living room + a study that's going to be more of a den. Why go to the expense of the staircase and upstairs area?

    - Your bathrooms and kitchen are spread quite far apart ... you might consider separate hot water heaters. Otherwise, whoever's on the far side will be waiting a long time for the hot water to "make it" to that space.




  • lmckuin
    10 months ago

    If you’ve got 20 acres, no way would I bunch the whole house together with no natural light for the kitchen while ignoring the best side of the house for light (south). You can do much better.

  • cdm4199
    Original Author
    10 months ago

    @cpartist and @David Cary, you both make some great points. How would I find someone who can assist with designing the home to fit in with our property? There are things that I don’t love about this design. For instance, why can’t the pantry be somewhere other than an exterior wall? The foyer is a waste of space. I want a small entryway. Can we create a plan that gives us more windows in the front of the house instead of rooms blocking the view? I really thought we had a good floor plan, but a lot of these comments have reinforced some of my hesitations. I would rather spend a little more money now to get this right than be unhappy later with our home. We worked too hard and long for this forever home! Thanks for the time you’ve given to provide your thoughts.

  • marmiegard_z7b
    10 months ago

    David, that explains a lot. It’s been a mystery to me to see some of these house plans on large lots & acreage. Unless it’s very hilly of course.

    I live in a hilly city so it’s hard to get flat lots of any size, or one/ level houses except small. Nor windows near ground level to be able to see plants & shrubs easily from inside. Trees, yes.

    If I had my dream lot it would be flat enough for the L or U or something shape , lot of south windows , including views to my gardens.

  • WestCoast Hopeful
    10 months ago

    Hire an architect. Use Houzz to get names of people near you.

  • cpartist
    10 months ago

    cdm4199, absolutely look at houzz for some names near you.

    I'd also get in touch with Architectrunnerguy who is on this site, works remotely with Nick and has created plans for quite a few members.