Renovating our home in Italy.

erskingardnerOctober 9, 2013
We've just bought our first home (here in the alps in Italy) and, while the ground floor is a separate apartment that was recently refinished and we're now living in, the top two floors are in need of renovation. The design that our geometra (sort of an Italian contractor who draws plans as well) originally gave us was fairly minimal in it's changes and there were always a few nagging issues with the design for me and my wife. We recently had another friend, who happens to be an architect (what luck!), come by and he made some much radical suggestions about what to change.

Forgive the amateurish drawings, they were done with floorplanner.com so they are only an apporoximation in order to give us a better idea of what's going to go where. More than anything, I'd just like some opinions on which of the two make more sense to you and why? For orientation, the bottom of the drawings is nearly due south.
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shelleyhmln
The kitchen in the first one. Does the back bedroom have a door? Will there be closets in the bedrooms?
    Bookmark   October 9, 2013 at 12:54AM
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erskingardner
@shelleyhmln the galley kitchen over the L shaped kitchen? The back bedroom has a door that goes onto a small balcony, the bedrooms will have wardrobes but I left the back of the house sort of empty since it's the front part that is getting changed the most.
    Bookmark   October 9, 2013 at 1:04AM
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meljane
I prefer the layout of the first, with the kitchen of the second.
Erskingardner, there is no doorway to enter the back bedroom from the hallway. ;-)
1 Like    Bookmark   October 9, 2013 at 1:10AM
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Lampert Dias Architects, Inc.
I prefer the 2nd layout. The first layout has too much wasted space and the kitchen is too tight.
The second one is open and will be great for entertaining and gathering with family.
The island in the kitchen will become a place to hang out for family and guests. The access to the terrace is easy and not tucked away like the door in plan one.........
1 Like    Bookmark   October 9, 2013 at 1:48AM
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OnePlan
If you moved the doors to this configuration it gives a larger feel in the living area - and allows wardrobe storage which also acts a sound muffler between different areas ... I assume the blue area is either one large bathroom or a small en suite and a small bathroom ?!
2 Likes    Bookmark   October 9, 2013 at 2:16AM
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erskingardner
Everyone, please ignore the back rooms in the house, I'm more interested in the front open area.

In the first design there is a 2.8-3meter (nearly 10 feet) sliding patio door in front of the dining table to exit onto the terrazza. In the second design the front door and the side doors are the only access to the terrazza with a normal sized window behind the dining table.

@Lampert Dias, the kitchen in the second has 1.5meters between the counters (around 60 inches). This to me, feels more comfortable than the very large distances between fridge and range in the L shaped kitchen... thoughts?
1 Like    Bookmark   October 9, 2013 at 2:53AM
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erskingardner
BTW, thanks everyone for the responses, it's very helpful.
1 Like    Bookmark   October 9, 2013 at 3:03AM
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meljane
Erskingardner, definitely the layout with the sliding doors! You will have so much more living quality in beautiful Italy, especially in summer! The living floorspace inside is the same in both layouts, only you have bigger windows. As I said before, take the kitchen with the island.
We live quite close to Italy, more up north and changed all the windows to sliding doors onto the terrace a couple of years ago. Summer can get really hot here also. So much more fun being able to open up, really improves the living standard. Go for it! ;-)
    Bookmark   October 9, 2013 at 5:22AM
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Dytecture
OnePlan's idea is great ! Definitely have the island in the kitchen for a more spacious feel.
1 Like    Bookmark   October 9, 2013 at 5:30AM
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ASVInteriors
How about incorporating the island in the kitchen in the second plan to a much longer one that becomes your dining area - this will free up more living room space and also create a wonderful area for people to stand around with drinks if you have lots of people. Basically remove your dining room in plan B and rotate your island lengthwise and elongate it (you could have bar stools under an open table and the part near the kitchen would be storage)PS I'm just over the other side of the Alps to you in Switzerland :-)
    Bookmark   October 9, 2013 at 8:53AM
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erskingardner
ASVInteriors, where would you put the front door in that case? Are you suggesting that the large sliding door would go?
    Bookmark   October 9, 2013 at 9:06AM
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ASVInteriors
If I follow the plan on your original plan (plan a), the sliding doors are to the left of the kitchen aren't they? You would come into the living room with your kitchen to your right. The island/dining area would extend to the middle window.
    Bookmark   October 9, 2013 at 9:15AM
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ASVInteriors
Sorry I am travelling so not using the best software. The blue indicates approximate size of island and table and the brown is now clear space and entrance to home via sliding door. Does that work?
    Bookmark   October 9, 2013 at 9:20AM
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kbunsow
Definitely the second kitchen with the sink under the window. You lose kitchen space between the sink and back door in the first design. Also, I don't see any bathrooms.
    Bookmark   October 9, 2013 at 9:23AM
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erskingardner
@kbunsow, that's the front door unfortunately. One of the major challenges with this house is creating an entry space. The first design attempts to do this by making a sort of entryway with a half height wall between the kitchen (where the sink is) and the front door. The second design has the front door in the middle of the large front room, with no entryway at all.
    Bookmark   October 9, 2013 at 10:28AM
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judy1155
I don't suppose you can flip the design to put the living/entry space on the right and the kitchen/dining space on the left?
    Bookmark   October 9, 2013 at 10:47AM
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Anne
I understand the objections to the first kitchen as wasting space, but I actually prefer it for three reasons. First it delineates a small "entry" area. You could hang coats on that half wall out of sight for the most part. The other and perhaps bigger problem with the second kitchen is that no matter whether the cook is at the stove or the sink prep area his or her back is towards the rest of the space. So if the cook is not a faceless servant, I'm betting they'll appreciate not having to completely turn away from guests/family to get anything done. Finally, I'm guessing from the fact that you have the most windows on the south wall, including the entrance and also a large deck there, that the best view is to the south. If that is the case, it's another thing that the cook will be able to appreciate while at the sink.
    Bookmark   October 9, 2013 at 11:00AM
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meljane
Oh, I see erskingardner. This is a main entrance made possible by having a divider wall between the kitchen and entry. Hmmmm, this is much a better main entrance than in the middle, with another door located opposite, leading to the bedrooms.
Now I understand your dilemma.
Shall have to have digest this... ;-)
ps I'm also in Switzerland ASVInteriors.
I do like the other kitchen with the island...
1 Like    Bookmark   October 9, 2013 at 11:14AM
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meljane
...my iPad again, adding words now.
    Bookmark   October 9, 2013 at 11:17AM
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ASVInteriors
Hi meljane I think I'm going to start a Swiss thread for us ch-ers! :-)
1 Like    Bookmark   October 9, 2013 at 11:36AM
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ASVInteriors
So it is a problem to move the front entrance? I have seen a number of homes where the entrance is straight into the main living area?
    Bookmark   October 9, 2013 at 11:43AM
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erskingardner
So the main entrance is currently in the middle but adding the very large patio door would make that entrance impossible because we'd be cannibalizing that door opening to become part of the patio door.

Anne's points are salient but, as the main cook, I actually am more concerned with having an efficient cooking space than having a view while I'm chopping. I'm happy to leave the kitchen for that ;)

Thanks for all the opinions and help guys!
    Bookmark   October 9, 2013 at 1:07PM
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meljane
Interested to see what you decide upon, erskingardner. Keep us posted? :-)
    Bookmark   October 13, 2013 at 8:58AM
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Mark Greenwood
The "entry area" need not be inside the house. It could begin at the outside gate/outside the front door with a covered porch. Ultimately the entry space is a conduit or threshold between the outside world and the inside. Practically speaking an entry space is to provide a buffer between you and visitors. Could you put a gate at the bottom of the stairs with an intercom which visitors must use if they want to come in?
    Bookmark   October 30, 2013 at 2:33AM
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erskingardner
Unfortunately, because of planning regs it can't be outside the house, that was our first hope as well.
    Bookmark   October 30, 2013 at 2:45AM
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Mark Greenwood
Hmmm. I see. What about the attached. The joinery creates the entry zone and you can have a little shelf beside the door for dropping your car keys etc. Inspired by the attached apartment: http://www.archdaily.com/115495/montmartre-apartment-swan-architectes/swan_gpd-extrusions_img-01-copy/
    Bookmark   October 30, 2013 at 3:36AM
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Mark Greenwood
similar idea used here:
http://www.archdaily.com/tag/small-apartments/
    Bookmark   October 30, 2013 at 3:37AM
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erskingardner
Interesting idea Mark, thanks. We've decided to go with the idea of moving the entrance and installing a 3 meter sliding door onto the patio. Demolition has started :)
    Bookmark   October 30, 2013 at 4:27AM
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Mark Greenwood
Nice.
1 Like    Bookmark   October 30, 2013 at 4:44AM
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PRO
RomaPorte
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    Bookmark   October 22, 2014 at 8:26AM
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