Please review our house plans

January 16, 2014

We've been working on these plans for a while, and I'd love to hear feedback!

The goal: Build a retirement home for me and my husband, where we plan to live for the rest of our lives. We want to incorporate amenities that'll allow us to be comfortable as we age, including an upstairs that'd be good for one of our adult children or a paid caretaker.

This house will be built on a small farm that we already own, and it's remote enough that privacy is not an issue. The back of the house (patio, pool, the large windows) will face west.

I'd call our budget moderate. We want something nice, tailored to our needs, easy-in-which-to-live, but we don't want to build something so large that it's expensive and time-consuming to maintain. We don't want to build rooms that will be used twice a year. We are looking at a cash build.

Things with which we're pleased:

- The downstairs is 1485 sf, which is moderately compact yet also allows for good storage and wide walkways. We want to stay under 2000 sf, so I think we'll have no problem adding two bedrooms connected by a bathroom and a small seating area upstairs -- and we want some walk-in attic storage upstairs -- but we're not that far down the road yet; we want to be more settled on the downstairs before we start talking upstairs.

- We have good windows /good lighting in every room.

- We've incorporated loads of storage /built-ins in every area -- large pantry, built-in cupboard for dishes, entertainment center by the fireplace, locking storage in the bedroom, and shelves in the study.

- We love the function of "the block" that is the master bath, closet and laundry. It seems to have a good flow. I like the idea that we can come in from the pool /hot tub, and cut through the laundry room and closet, dropping swimsuits off in the laundry as we go.

- We're particularly concerned about building a bathroom that'll accommodate our needs as we grow older. The no-barrier shower is 4x5' and will contain a Tornado body dryer. Towels will be hung on the angled wall between the tub and shower. The tub will be used every day, so it's a must-have, and we imagine the bay window flowing straight out from the tub deck to form a flat space for plants and candles. The toilet is set in a not-quite 40" open area so it's accessible with a walker or wheelchair. The weak spot here is that we don't have a true linen closet. We'll have a cabinet with shelves above at the foot of the tub, and that'll hold towels below and a TV above (husband loves to watch races and football from the tub). Bed linens will be stored under the window seat in the bedroom.

- The living room is not so large that it'll feel oversized when it's just the two of us, but the sofa could be pushed back, or dining room chairs could be brought in to form another row behind the sofa when we have a larger group. Realistically, this isn't going to happen often -- our nearby relatives have larger homes, so we're likely to gather there for winter gatherings, and since we're going to build a pool and a large patio /outdoor kitchen, our house'll be the summer-place. And we're in the South.

- With 45 acres, we have almost unlimited outdoor space, and we will be able to store tables /chairs in the garage.

- Along the same lines, the dining room table won't feel disproportionately large when it's just the two of us, but the space could handle 8, if necessary.

- The study will function as a private spot for the two of us to keep clutter-y projects, to use the computer or read in quiet, to store books and games on the shelves, etc. I like that it'll keep the bedroom a bit private.

Things I think could be better -- would really like advice on these:

- We have three doors in the entryway, which seems cluttered. Note that the back door is only accessible through the garage -- we want guests to enter through the front door. The coat closet won't be used much (again, we're in the South). Guests can set their things -- keys, purses, etc. -- in the study.

- Still at the front door, I'm not sure about using a split 36" French door (two 18" doors) on the study . . . on both ends of the study. We've put it in because they'll stand open most of the time, and these smaller doors'll be out of the way. I know that placement of light fixtures is a nightmare with these doors, but this is my plan: We've already bought a ceiling fan that has a stained glass "night light" above the fan, and we're thinking of setting that to work as a motion-sensored light. This means that when anyone enters the study (from either direction), a soft night light will come on . . . and that'll either be enough light to allow you to walk through the room, or it'll be enough light to allow you to find the lamp, which will be the only other light in the room. Obviously, these doors would be covered with pretty curtains, attached at top and bottom -- I like that look.

Am I rationalizing too much about these doors? Should I go with pocket doors instead?

- Same problem at the back door: The garage door and the powder room door are close together, and with a pool, this powder room will see a great deal of use. I went with a pocket door here -- your thoughts? Yes, I had considered flip-flopping the shower and the powder room, but I did want to keep the little window for natural light in the powder room.

- The giant staircase eats up almost as much room as the study or the kitchen or the dining room. It's hard to justify this much space for a staircase, but I can't seem to get a smaller, straight stair in this space -- I tried hard to make the stairs fit where the study is, and it just didn't seem to work out. Now I love the study as an ante-chamber to the bedroom. The stairs are 4' wide and have a comfortable-to-walk-up tread. And I love the idea of a pretty staircase overlooking the living room so I can decorate it at Christmas.

- In the living room, I'm imagining this type of set-up, from the left: Staircase . . . single floor-to-ceiling window . . . fireplace . . . low entertainment center (with doors) topped by a short, squatty window. Kind of typical of Craftsman fireplaces with built-ins.

- People who approach the house will approach from the "staircase side", then park towards the front of the garage. This means they'll have to walk around the "bedroom bump" to reach the porch. Thus, I want to bump the porch out far enough that people won't feel like they're walking around to . . . well, nothing . . . but I also don't want to over-do the front porch, which is really just for show. Thoughts?

The porch will be decorated for Christmas and for some other holidays too. I definitely want a porch railing for lights, etc.

- I don't think I'm loving the front windows. They work great from the inside, but how about the outside? On the left of the house, where the staircase is, we don't really need any windows for, well, window purposes . . . but I think we need something there for balance. I definitely want to keep the double windows in the study, but the split windows work better for the bedroom (the bed won't fit as nicely if we place it on the other wall).

I should've said this up front: We want the exterior to be a Bungalow, kind of like Craftsman's not-so-fancy little brother. BUT if the second story doesn't work out with that flat-room concept, our second choice is a Southern farmhouse with a couple dormers. I'm thinking that this might work better because of the staircase position; that is, it might be necessary to have a full two-story on that side to accommodate the upstairs landing . . . and I'd be fine with a country farmhouse.

Whatever we do must be all brick -- deep red, if we go Bungalow, whitewashed, if it's a farmhouse.

Thank you in advance for your ideas. Let 'em fly -- I can take criticism!

This post was edited by MrsPete on Thu, Jan 16, 14 at 13:55

Comments (55)

  • scrapbookheaven

    One thing I don't like...if you are out at the pool and need to go to the bathroom, you either have to go in the door at the family room, and then walk across the kitchen/dining room and then thru the mud area. All while dripping. Or you have to go into the garage, out of the garage, and then you are at the bathroom. How about putting a door to the outside in the mud area where the window is? It wouldn't likely be used by guests parking in the driveway, since they can't see the door from there.

  • lavender_lass

    Maybe something like this? If you want another access, you could modify where I put the pantry. Just a few ideas :)
    {{gwi:1401253}}From Kitchen plans

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    How wonderful to be able to plan now for the future. I was born with multiple orthopedic problems. Each year brings increased disability. Bring a wheelchair or crutches into that space and see what happens. Your parents may enjoy life long health but there is always the broken leg, sprained ankle, and it could be a grandchild. Most changes to accommodate temp or permanent disability aren't decorating issues. They won't be noticed if done right. Thinking about it now will make it so much easier if it happens. Being able to be a part of family in the kitchen is a big deal. Being left out because there's no room is awful. It's terrible to not be able to get into the bathroom door and have to use a bedpan or potty chair someone else has to empty and clean. I hope they have many happy healthy years with family in this home. are not in
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    Hi, yes we ended up leaving the main floor bathroom as is. It's easy access for guests who come over. I use it for dog washing every day, since my new puppy is the type who loves to run around and get dirty. I think the entry into the mudroom would be awkward for guests. If my budget had been bigger and we had more space I would have preferred to tuck a guest room and bathroom a little more out of the way so that the entry isn't right into the main room. But, I also use it for an office and only have guests a few times a year, so not that big of a deal. I gave up the small foyer closet, and on the backside kept a small closet in that room and left the other side open for the desk area - eventually we'll have something built-in there. I will say that my one disappointment about this first floor plan is that the great room area really is too small, considering the walk-through area to the kitchen. It's fine for my family of four, but for bigger events, I wish it was a little more spacious. But we were very budget conscious and trying to keep square footage down. I LOVE having the walk in pantry and the freezer in there, with a fridge only in the kitchen - that's probably one of my favorite features on the first floor. I also love having all the windows in the kitchen, and I have plenty of storage. Let me know if you have any more questions!
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  • mommyto4boys

    I just wanted to say congrats real quick. I know you have been thinking and planning this out for a long time. I haven't had a chance to study your plans much, but they look real nice. Just quick....will you ever close the doors between the closet and laundry? Also will the pool blathers use the half bath!
    Before Lav Lass added her idea...I was wondering about moving the half bath and shower locations. Be back later ;)

  • nepool

    Are you sure you don't want to put a 10" overhang on the island for your grandkids to sit someday while you cook? You seem to have the space for it, and it doesn't mean you'll use it on a daily basis (you could get the stools that tuck under or the ones that you can fold up and put away), but its really nice to have if you need quick extra seating- especially at holidays where seating space can be a premium (and you only have 1 eating area).

  • done_again_2

    It looks like a great start with a lot of thought. All the essentials seem to be covered and then some of the extras you don't see in smaller houses. For accessibility and moving furniture, do you want to have to go through the den or laundry/closet to get to the master bedroom? It's one extra layer to get through after you have furniture, appliances, clothing, etc. in there.

    I don't think your furniture layout will fit in the family room. I lived in a house with a similar staircase and the furniture had to spill into the space you have designated for a walkway. As drawn it's maybe 8 ft.

    Access to the powder room from outside as shown by lavender_lass would be nice.

    Would an island sink give you a better view outside to the pool area? Adding an overhang for stools would be a nice addition also.

  • jdez

    Nice job Mrs Pete.

  • mrspete

    First, dimensions. Foolish mistake not to include them.

    Only two things that might need explanation:

    - For no particular reason, I separated the living room and the hallway. Someone else might consider that living room space 18.5 x 17.

    - The 9x12 master bath space includes the powder room.

  • mrspete

    Wow, so much input so fast! Thanks!

    Sun orientation: Yes, the back of the house, where most of the living areas are located faces West. Ideally the back of the house would be oriented South, but this works best in regards to placement with the road.

    The living room will have some Eastern light pouring in over the stairway, and two windows oriented South, and the big Western windows will be shaded by a large covered porch.

    I am a little concerned about the dining room, which I don't want to be covered by the porch -- because I want lots of light pouring into the dining room and kitchen. I like the idea of a pergola over the dining room.

    Handicapped concerns for master bath and bedroom:

    My grandmother was walker-dependent in her later years, and I'm very familiar with the space they require. After seeing the idea for putting the powder room across the back entry hall, I'm rethinking the master bath -- and I'm thinking about my grandmother's needs as I plan it.

    If the king bed were removed, we could have a twin bed and a hospital bed in the master bedroom. It wouldn't be ideal, but I don't think such a thing would be a long-term choice. I wouldn't mind going down to a queen (we're fine with a full or a queen in a hotel room), but my husband insists upon keeping the king.

    I was thinking, too, that in case of a serious illness, the study could be useful -- we could put a blow-up bed or a cot into that adjacent room (the chair would have to go), leaving the sick person alone in the bedroom.

    With that in mind, I'm thinking of making one change in the study: I've drawn in 24" deep cabinets with shelves above. I think I'll change that to 12" cabinets with shelves above -- this'll be for books, craft storage, games, office supplies, etc. That'll give us an extra foot of floor space in the office.

    Powder room /pantry:

    I had previously drawn a straight line across and made the pantry bigger . . . but I made it JUST a bigger pantry, and I said to myself that almost 100 more sf to go from a L pantry to an XXL pantry wasn't worthwhile. However, LLass, you moved the powder room too -- I was rather locked into the idea of the powder room being adjacent to the master bath, and I wasn't seeing that option. The 100 sf is worthwhile if it gives me a slightly bigger pantry AND a powder room that works better AND fixes the garage door problem AND allows me space for a linen closet in the master bath. Yes! Good idea!

    Yes, we can grow wisteria here.

    About the powder room bath:

    I'd wondered about the door to the bathroom not being particularly direct from the pool. I'm not so worried about dripping water; I'd teach future grandchildren to get a towel, and I'd have good quality doormats both inside and outside the door. However, if I do LLass' switch, an exterior door would be a possibility.

    However, I had wanted to minimize the number of exterior doors. Fewer doors means means less expense (both during construction and if we ever do an alarm system), fewer doors to lock each day, fewer places for people to track in dirt.

    I'll think on the bathroom thing.

    Yes, we have been working on this a long time -- but we're still a fairly long ways away from starting to build. Our youngest will finish high school in 2015; we can't leave this county 'til that happens. Then in the 2015-16 school year we'll have two in college -- probably not the best time to begin a build. But after the oldest graduates, our expenses will decrease significantly.

    I don't think it's a bad thing to have a lengthy planning time. I've read so much and learned so much, and our thoughts have changed a good bit since we began this process.

    I expect the two pocket doors in the laundry room will probably stay open most of the time -- we're kind of open-door type of people. I expect we'd close the closet door when people are over . . . but in the summer we'd probably leave the laundry door open -- I'm thinking I'd leave the washer open and tell people to throw their wet towels right in.

    Or should I consider eliminating the pocket door between the laundry and the master closet? I mean, is it really necessary?

    Island seating: I know people love it, but I'm not so sold. I have it now -- well, no, I have peninsula seating, but what's the difference? I see island seating as a good thing for other people . . . but not something I want myself.

    I imagine using the island as a buffet, so it wouldn't be useful as extra seating during gatherings.

    Walking through the study to reach the bedroom: Originally I kept trying to make the stairs fit into that space, but when I moved the stairs over and made that space a study . . . everything fell into place, and I really think I'll like it. It'll mean that the bedroom is very quiet and private.

    No, the living room is more like 12' wide . . . plus the hallway behind it. Perhaps you had smaller, steeper stairs? Also, I currently have an oversized sofa /loveseat set . . . and I sized the pictures for my current oversized stuff. Likely we'll get a new set, but I thought it was better just to draw in what I currently own.

    I thought about putting the sink in the island, and I agree that it would make sense to break up the appliances in that way -- but I absolutely love having a large, open space on which to work, and that's why I want to preserve the island as an open workspace. And I like having nothing over my head while I'm working. But I rarely spend a lot of time at the sink -- I never hand wash dishes.

    Okay, good feedback . . . I'm thinking over a couple things . . . what else ya got?

  • lolauren

    "Or should I consider eliminating the pocket door between the laundry and the master closet? I mean, is it really necessary? "

    I would REALLY want it there unless you can change the site lines so you can't see directly in. If you do not mind that people will see into your private space (closet) and don't care about resale, skip it. However, I have a similar setup and really appreciate being able to close off my clothes/dirty laundry when I want. (The laundry door to the main spaces almost never gets closed because we use that room so frequently. When I feel compelled to close off our closet is when we have people over I don't know very well.) For the record, I would redesign this area in my own home to eliminate that site line if I could.

    I am not sure if anyone else addressed this, but will your pantry hold food? If so, consider moving your fridge closer to the pantry. It doesn't make sense to me to have them so far apart. Nearly every meal I prepare requires items from the pantry and fridge, and, at times, I need to go back to both to get more items (a dash of milk, a bit of flour, whatever.)

    RE: islands. Perhaps they aren't for you, and it sounds like you made your mind up on that one. So, disregard if that is truly the case. Our island seating is comfortable, and we use the island all the time. If I am cooking and hubby wants to be near me, he'll sit at the island. In my sister's home, they have just a buffet island like you have planned. Guests literally pull chairs from the breakfast room to that island to similarly visit while people are cooking in the kitchen. It isn't comfortable without the overhang, but they still do it. I've noticed the same congregation in basically all of our family homes, (when people are cooking, a lot of us want to help and/or be near the action. It just happens.) Perhaps that is just my family's culture, but the island seating makes that a more pleasant experience. Additionally, when my getting-less-and-less-mobile Grandma visits, she can sit at the island and do some prep (as she loves to cook and wants to help.) One last thing... the island counter, depending upon surface durability, can lend itself nicely to various non-cooking projects that you wouldn't want to expose your wood table to (eg, a young child gluing crafts together.) The seating is nice for that, for us.

  • mrspete

    Yeah, I don't really want to get rid of that door -- it was just a random thought. You say you'd change this design, if you could -- is it JUST because of the sight lines?

    The pantry will hold home canned foods, which are large and plentiful and not practical to store in the kitchen. And it will hold bulk-purchased foods and paper goods. And the pantry will hold my massive amounts of kitchen goods (for example, two 3-gallon punch bowls, four crock pots in varying sizes, over 100 cake pans). It's steps away from the kitchen, but my preference is to have all my "everyday" kitchen goods in a small, pretty kitchen . . . and when I'm ready to cook, I'll go into the pantry and bring out the dry goods I need for a given meal and prepare it in the kitchen. Since I always begin by gathering all my materials, I don't think it'll be a problem.

    I've always wanted to build a small kitchen (efficient, easy to keep clean) and a nearby huge pantry (cheaper than cabinetry, hidden away) to hold all the stuff.

    The more I think about it, the more I'm liking the sketch that LLass drew with the pantry a bit different from mine, but the concept of food-comes-in-stops-in-the-pantry-only-comes-into-the-kitchen-when-its-time-to-cook remains the same. When I drew it up on my own plans, I did move the door a little closer to the kitchen and the bench a little farther down towards the bath.

    I know many people love-love-love the island seating concept, but I have it, and we just don't use it. Instead, everyone's always seated at the adjacent kitchen table.

  • robo (z6a)

    Hi MrsPete! Just personal preference - I lived with two 18" French doors into my bathroom and I found they were a pain. I had to shoulder my way past them, plus when you want to get them out of the way you have to pull two doors in two different directions, so I just in general found them a little annoying. Also they let a lot of sound through. So my preference would be for a single door.

    I love pocket doors and they are very handy, but I believe they're also not very sound blocking if someone were in that study watching TV while you were in bed (not sure if this would happen for you -- it happens with my inlaws where she's in bed and he's in his den working and watching TV). Therefore my preference would be for a pocket door from the hallway and a real door between study and bedroom. The real door could swing into the study against the front wall and I don't think it would be in the way.

    Now the only thing about pocket doors is if you have a lovely glass paned door, of course it's hidden when open. I think you might also have room (based on your shelving layout) for a regular sized windowed door to open against the wall. The other nice thing about this as opposed to the double French doors is that when the door is swung open, it rests against the wall/shelving, whereas with the double french doors, you might have to maneuver a bit around the right hand door to get to the chair in your study.

    Another possibility if you're willing to swing more modern rustic would be a barn door in the hallway to separate study. Door on display at all times and a neat feature to see when you walk in the house. But untraditional.

    And there is my masters thesis on doors.

    This post was edited by robotropolis on Fri, Jan 17, 14 at 11:33

  • lolauren

    " is it JUST because of the sight lines?"


  • mrspete

    Robots, I'm sure French doors were a pain in the bathroom! The only reason I'm considering them here is that these doors will stay open 90% of the time (because it'll just be us two most of the time, and we never close doors when it's just us two), and I'm thinking that two small doors might be easier to prop out of the way than one larger door.

    Do glass doors convert well into pocket doors?
    Wouldn't the extra weight make them more likely to break?
    I've had the hardware break in a pocket door, and although I had no problem finding someone who could fix it, it's always a pain to make the appointment, etc., etc.

    And I'm not set on glass doors at all.

    As for maneuvering around the chair, that's not a chair we actually own at this moment, so it might end up being larger or smaller -- I just popped in a random chair, but I was thinking of one comfortable spot to sit and read by the windows.

    I will verify something you said: Pocket doors don't hold in noise very well. In our case, that isn't a top priority, but I'm throwing out that fact, just in case anyone else is wondering.

    No, barn doors aren't my thing.

    This detail could still go any number of ways.

    LoLauren -- Good, just sight lines. Nothing to do with the function of the space. I'm thinking folding clothes and taking two steps to put them away is going to be wonderful. My current laundry is literally as far as possible from my closet, and I really look forward to this small luxury.

  • lavender_lass

    I thought that was a freezer and I put a bench on the other side of the hall. That's something that could be moved if you needed more room down the road (wheelchair, etc.)

    Here's a few changes with pantry access closer to kitchen and a back door...which would be nice with grandkids and a pool! Good point about the sight lines with laundry. What if you moved the door into the bathroom?

    You'd have easy access for wet towels, etc. Yes, you'd have to walk through bathroom to put clean clothes in closet, but you wouldn't have to walk through closet with dirty clothes and towels. And, if someone had to access shower, they wouldn't have to go through your bedroom. Just an idea :) {{gwi:1401254}}From Kitchen plans

  • kirkhall

    I haven't had time to go through all the other comments, but I did carefully read your first.

    I have 2 thoughts:
    1) why 4 foot wide stairs? If they are open, 4 feet is very generous (to huge). I'd think 42" would be plenty. Esp if the upstairs will be for others and you aren't keen on making/using space for only occasional use.

    2) I think you need a door from the pool area to the mudroom without first having to go through the garage. Did I miss that? As well intended as I'd want my kids to be at their grandparents, I am sure there will be many a wet feet that come in through that LR door (nearest the pool)--esp if the alternative is to go through a (dark) garage out of the way.

    So, if it were me, I'd try to get a door more direct from back patio (near garage) to the mudroom, without going through 2 doors and a garage.

    Finally, are you going to get tired of having your back to everybody? You kitchen is interior (dark--but remedied with lighting), but also all your appliances are not facing any place... In fact, I'd probably swap your dining area and your kitchen. I guess one good thing the way you have it, is you won't be blinded by the sunset as you are working in the kitchen.

    If I were designing it for a family, I'd probably also swap the location of the stove and the fridge (approximately) so that the fridge and sink are easily accessible to the dining area without having to walk through the work space or around the island

  • lavender_lass

    One nice thing about wide stairs...if you ever need to put one of those handicap seats in to go up and down...plenty of room for it and maybe for someone to sneak by, if necessary. And room for a window seat, too :)
    {{gwi:1401255}}From Stairs, landing, entry, etc.

    This post was edited by lavender_lass on Fri, Jan 17, 14 at 15:41

  • lavender_lass

    The only other thing I am wondering about is the garage. Such a nice feature to have it drive through, but do you think the driveway might be a little too close to the house? If you added a few feet, it would give you room for storage between the doors (to house and backyard) and give you a little more space between driveway and house. Maybe enough room for some small evergreen shrubs or azaleas, depending on your climate.

  • mrspete

    Well, you guys are improving the part of the house I thought was "JUST RIGHT" . . .

    LLass, I don't know about a freezer -- I have one now, and I do buy meat in bulk from a co-op. Will we continue to do that once the kids are gone? Probably not. I was figuring that with such a large pantry, I could add that in later, if I decide to keep one.

    I'm definitely sold on changing the back wall layout . . . but I'm not sure just how to do it. This layout took us a year -- I'm not likely to say, "This is it!" in moments.

    I'm remembering my grandmother having difficulty balancing a laundry basket on her walker, and I was really, really enjoying the idea of a closet and laundry connection . . . so I don't 'specially embrace for the idea of laundry-bath connection.

    I've been trying to re-do the master bath, and I keep failing. Here are the pieces I'd like to work in:
    - Large, no-curb, no-barrier shower
    - Tub, standard size, preferably with a window -- doesn't necessarily have to be a bay
    - Shelves near the tub for towels and a small TV
    - 5' vanity with single sink
    - Toilet, not housed in a tiny closet
    - Linen closet or cabinetry for storage
    - A reasonable amount of space to move about
    Thoughts, anyone?

    Would it perhaps make sense to flip-flop the laundry with the half bath, putting an exterior door in the laundry? . . . and, if so, move the closet to a spot just across the hall from the laundry . . . which would then change the footprint of the bathroom as well?

    Do I want another door in the mudroom? I really don't. I really do want to keep a minimum number of exterior doors. And I can't lose the front door . . . or the door in the living room . . . or the garage door. But everyone is rallying for another door -- I'm thinking y'all are right. I'm going to have to give in and have a fourth exterior door.

    A bench that could be removed and the space used as wheelchair storage is a practical idea. I mean, people don't typically go straight to a wheelchair all the time -- if you're talking about the progression of old age, most people use a cane first, then a cane at home and a walker when they're out of the house, then a walker in the house and a wheelchair when they leave the house. I definitely welcome the idea of building in such a way that small changes can be made to impact our lives later.

    Stairs: I don't want to go with a minimum-code something that won't be easy to walk up, will make carrying furniture upstairs difficult . . . so I thought 4' was a wise choice. Would you say 42" is "comfortable"? You're right when you point out that these stairs will be used primarily by guests -- which means they'll be used less frequently than the main floor items. Anyone else want to weigh in on this topic? Multiple voices have talked me into another door -- what does the group say on the width of staircases?

    LLass, the window seat picture is lovely -- but those are some seriously wide steps! Any guesses on just how wide? Something smaller than this is my goal!

    As for the kitchen, I spend MUCH more time prepping than working at the sink or the stove. I do lots of canning and kneading of bread. I use primarily fresh vegetables, so I spend lots of time chopping. When we entertain, I usually do the salads and side dishes, while my husband grills the meat outdoors. I've thought that one through pretty well.

    I had considered switching the dining table and the kitchen, but I saw a kitchen with this layout, and I loved it. With so many windows in the dining room, the kitchen wasn't dark. Floor-to-ceiling windows (which we had in our first house and LOVED) bring in so much light. I was considering a banquette, but I've given up that idea because you can't have that AND floor-to-ceiling windows.

    I've also thought that we could do a small vaulted ceiling over the dining room table and something like a half-round window above the three windows by the table -- that would bring in more light. But now that the dining room is no longer a "bump out", I don't know about that.

    Since the space is relative small, I would welcome a way to differentiate the two spaces, and a change in ceilings would be a way to do it.

    You know, I have flip-flopped that stove and fridge a dozen times . . . because what you say makes so much sense! But then when I look at it in "view mode", I keep remembering why I keep putting it back this way: The cabinet run looks funny with the sink and stove "together" (okay, they're not side-by-side together, but on the same run). In my current house, I have the sink and stove on the same run, and they look fine -- but the sink has a window above it, which differentiates them. I see your point, and it is practical. I'm open to ideas on how to do it . . . in a way that's both pretty and practical.

    The garage and driveway . . . those aren't well thought-out at all. Well, other than the location.

    Thanks, folks. You're providing me with plenty of food for thought. Keep it coming!

    This post was edited by MrsPete on Fri, Jan 17, 14 at 15:51

  • lavender_lass

    Here are some pretty steps (a bit less wide) that I posted for Red.
    {{gwi:1401256}}From Stairs, landing, entry, etc.

    And a really pretty landing area, which may or may not work with your guest room spaces. {{gwi:1401258}}From Stairs, landing, entry, etc.

    I do think another outside door makes sense, mainly due to the pool. I don't think the living room door would be open much during the late evening, so you'll probably lock that fairly early (unless it's really a nice warm evening) so the garage and back door would be your check, along with the front. More doors, yes, but more convenience, too. Isn't everything a tradeoff?

    The kitchen...I like it, it's a lot like my mom's. She loves her big island work area and has the fridge, sink, range in the same arrangement. The only thing I would consider (depending on your prep) is do you want a prep sink? If not, I'd leave it 'as is'. If you do, then maybe swap the range and main sink (with dishwasher on end closest to dining) and put a prep sink on the left side of the island (as facing the dining room.)

    The raised ceiling and half window in the dining room sound wonderful! Why can't you do that, even without the bump out? The porch off living room and pantry/bath could slope down towards the yard with a gable over the dining. Wouldn't that work?

  • kirkhall

    I think I'd rather have a door through a back laundry room than the pantry (I'd want to keep my pantry as water free as possible). I like the idea of swapping laundry and powder room, but that would be for me, not you. For you, you like being able to have easy access to the laundry from your Master.

    Whatever you choose for your laundry location, I would have it have a door--for sight lines, yes, but esp for noise. The appliances these days are quieter than they used to be, but the spin cycle is still loud as it whirs and whirs.

    What if you took LL "expanded pantry" model, and considered turning the table (or making it nook-like with built in benches in an L and moving it to the left) to make room for the (only) back door to be between the pantry and the dining table? It would put the door nearer the end of the house with the "utilities" needed when swimming, without having to have 2 doors.

    One other "rebuttal" is that, with open stairs, putting in one of those motorized stair chairs isn't really practical. They really need a wall, don't they? 42" wide really is generous. You might visit a location with stairs of a comfortable width to you, and measure (yes, I have been the crazy lady with the tape measure at open houses).

  • lavender_lass

    It looks like there's a basement (or is that a closet) but either way, there should be a wall on that side of the staircase. I don't know if that would have to wrap around to the other wall...that's a good question. So maybe a wall on each side of the second part of the upstairs? I have only seen them on TV.

    Here's one more sketch...with a few ideas discussed earlier. I added a linen closet across from the shower and the door to the back hall could be a pocket door, if that's easier. Still a close walk to the laundry, but now there's easy access to the backyard and the powder room is a little closer to the living area. Bigger pantry with freezer, too!

    Made a few changes to the kitchen, but you might prefer it before. Just thought I'd see how it looked...and the stairs are just a bit smaller...and I added a few more plants :) {{gwi:1401260}}From Kitchen plans

    This post was edited by lavender_lass on Fri, Jan 17, 14 at 20:11

  • mrspete

    I see the living room-patio door being used frequently, perhaps especially in the evenings. We currently have a covered back porch, and we are out there quite a bit in good weather. We grill several nights a week, and we like to sit outside in the evenings.

    New topic: We are planning to go with a patio rather than a deck. We don't enjoy removing all the furniture from our deck and weatherproofing it every two years, and we're thinking that a patio would be more maintenance-free. Our land is flat as a pancake. Is our thinking correct?

    Back to the subject of doors: I read something years ago that resonated with me: The fewer doors you have, the fewer places you have to bring dirt and grime into the house. So if you have only two entrances, you're going to have only two places to clean. But if you have four entrances, you have four places to clean.

    Plus there's the extra cost of buying the door and the hardware, and it's one more thing to secure each day. And doors are less energy efficient than windows.

    Regardless of my logic, I see that the point isn't to have the least number of doors (after all, that'd be two); rather, the point is to have the right number of doors. And for this house, that number is four. I had thought it myself and tried to lie to myself, but I know y'all are right.

    I think no to a prep sink. It's a fairly small kitchen, and the sink'll be right behind my prep area. I already know how I want to "spend" my 7' of island space, and I don't want to give it up to a prep sink.

    I think I'm liking the idea of the sloping ceiling and gable above the dining area. Unfortunately, I'm not very skilled at thinking "up", which is odd because I think I'm pretty good at thinking laterally. If what I'm tentatively picturing is "right", I think that'll be a great "topper" to a small dining area. Hmm, could I use any more "quotation marks" in this paragraph? "Why, yes, I could."

    Expanded pantry model . . . yes, that's what this is!

    I don't see us adding a stair-chair. Everything we need will be on the first floor, and if we reach the point that we cannot go upstairs, it'll likely be time for someone else to be in the house with us anyway -- a child, a grandchild, or a paid caregiver. I'm thinking of my grandmother; she could go upstairs until the last year or two of her life -- she couldn't do it quickly, and she wouldn't have wanted to do it to reach her bedroom multiple times a day, but the upstairs wasn't "out of bounds" for her until she was 97 or 98.

    No basement for us. Our soil isn't particularly good for basements; I think I might have known 2-3 people in my whole life who've had basements. They're not cost effective in this area.

    Tenative thumbs-up to the bathroom sketch -- I am pleased to see a linen closet added, especially because it hadn't occurred to me (in all the hours I've stared at this plan) that I didn't have anywhere for a hamper in that bathroom! This is why you get feedback.

    But I just can't give up the laundry attached to the pantry. I want that next-door convenience. I agree that the pantry works in that spot, but it's gotta go to the exterior wall.

    Great feedback, y'all. You've made me question some things, and in a scant 24 hours you've improved my plan. I'll make a new sketch soon -- but probably not this weekend 'cause I'm going out of town.

    Thanks so much -- I'll look forward to more suggestions when I come back on Monday!

  • bpath Oh Sophie

    Just a quickiei on stair width: in our split, the stairs going up were 42-48" wide, and it was gracious, and easy to move furniture and laundry baskets on the hip and walk beside someone who needed help. The stair sgoing down were about 36, fine but not as easy with a laundry basket.

  • autumn.4

    Mrs.Pete - so excited to see things moving forward for you! I really like LL's edits with the bath/laundry/pantry from 17:10 post. The stairwell seating pics are very nice also.

    I wanted to add that we have 2 beds and a bath up with a SMALL (10x6) seating area upstairs in 615 sq. feet. The closets are nice sized but I wish the seating area was a bit bigger.

    You will get a lot of light from the stairwell windows too. :)

    Anyhow - good luck! I can't wait to see what you settle into.

  • darleneac59

    This is my first post and I have to say I love the forum. I'm looking forward to asking for help soon on my new home.

    MrsPete - Congrats on getting to this point. I love the floor plan and love what LL did with moving the guest bath to the back wall. I agree with having the laundry, master closet and master bath all intersect. I was wondering if you moved your w/d to the other side and if they were front load could you put a folding table above them. Then you could have door access to the closet and bathroom. If the w/d are not front load could you still move them to the other side and then build in a 2 sided laundry cabinet. Doors could open from both sides so when you are in the bathroom you put your dirty clothes in the basket and when in the laundry room you could grab the basket and wash. This is my hope for our new home. You could even have a folding counter on top of the cabinet. I would really like to have the upper cabinets open on both sides so I could just fold the towels and put them in the cabinet from the laundry room (I hope this makes sense). I guess it sounds lazy but I think about aging in place and making things as easy as possible and laundry is something that has to be done.

    With that said I have a husband that loves to do woodworking and build cabinets. I don't have a clue how much it would cost to have something like this done so it might be cost prohibitive.

  • mrspete

    I'm back from my out of town trip, and I really like some of the changes y'all have suggested.

    I've downsized the stairs.
    I've reworked the pantry and half bath at the garage entrance.
    I'm intrigued by the idea of making a connection between the master bath and the laundry room, though I think it might only be a pass-through rather than a door.

    Thanks so much for your thoughts, and I'll post a new, updated drawing soon -- right now I have to prepare for school tomorrow.

  • autumn.4

    MrsPete-we have a connection to our laundry through the closet and went with a door. BUT, dh has odd sleep/work schedule so there are times that laundry will be going and he is sleeping. I want the option to close it.

  • lavender_lass

    My SIL has her laundry off the closet...and it's kind of dark and depressing. No window and you feel like you're intruding on her personal space. I'm sure you can design around that, just an observation...

  • autumn.4

    Ours is funky. Haven't 'lived' with it yet but windows span the laundry and closet (think bottom of a u). Door at entrance of laundry, windows at bottom of u, around the corner is the closet. Then door between closet and master bath and door between master bath and bedroom. There is another entrance to the bedroom as well. As I said kinda funky but I hope it lives well!

  • mrspete

    Okay, I've made changes based upon y'all's advice -- and although I liked the first plan, I think this shows improvement. I am grateful for your advice!

    Changes and thoughts:

    1. Stairs /front door.

    I've narrowed the stairs, which gives me a little more room in the living room -- nice. But it creates a problem at the front door. Obviously, I want to keep the front door centered in the entryway, but now the front door bumps into the closet door. On the positive side, we Southerners have little use for coat closets.

    I'm thinking this is one of those "you can't win them all" things. Your thoughts?

    Oh, and I moved the study doors over a bit so that a person walking downstairs is still walking directly towards those doors. It's a sight-line thing.

    2. The master bath. Lots O'Changes here.

    Moved the half bath to the outside wall, allowing more space for the master -- which is good because now I have more space in the shower (which is a priority for us) and a linen closet.

    My drawing is poor, so I'll walk you through it: Entering the room, you have the toilet and a 5' vanity on the left.

    On the right you have a small closet that'll house the dirty clothes hamper in the bottom /bathroom needs on the top. At the foot of the tub is a bookshelf that'll hold pretty towels and a small TV (for my husband who loves to watch football and races in the TV). The bay window will make the standard sized bath feel spacious. If a wheelchair ever became necessary, we could yank out the tub, allowing more space.

    At the end of the bathroom is the large, no-barrier, walk-in shower. The shower head is on the right side (yeah, that's drawn oddly, I know). I can't put a closet on the left side because it'd get wet, and I don't like the idea of the toilet going there because it'd make for an odd sight line upon entering the room. Instead, this end-of-the shower area will hold a moveable stool (which we prefer to a built-in bench) and up high (above the water spray) it'll have a built-in towel shelf. We'll also have a Tornado body dryer in this area. The shower is large, but we've read that the ability to bathe oneself is the first thing many people lose, and we want to have a big, comfortable shower that'll remain easy to use.

    The shower is not big enough to double as a parking space. That's my poor drawing skills.

    I've included a pass-through in this end-area that'd let us drop dirty clothes or towels into a basket on top of the washer/dryer, but I'm not sure I like this detail. This pass-through might work better if I flip-flopped the washer/dryer with the folding table.

    3. Half bath.

    New position. Exterior door. It's a large bathroom now, so I'm thinking it might include a small closet (or storage tower) for beach towels, sunscreen, and other pool necessities.

    I really didn't want the exterior door, but y'all have convinced me that four is the "right size" number of doors for this house. If I'm going to include the door, I'm going to put it right where it should be: IN the bathroom. You know, in for a penny, in for a pound.

    4. Pantry.

    New shape, larger. Love it. Will include some of those great lazy susans that've been all over the internet. Note that I ended up with a deep spot in the pantry -- I'm thinking that'd be a good spot to tuck away brooms. Not a true broom closet because it won't have a door.

    5. Garage.

    You probably wouldn't have noted this one, but I pulled the garage a bit forward. This is a small money saver because it means the garage shares a little more of the wall with the house (now that I don't need the window in the half-bath anymore). I like the garage being a bit "back" so it isn't the first thing you see. Also, I've not forgotten that someone suggested moving it away from the house a bit, but I didn't draw it -- I will have space for a nice, wide flower bed here.

    So, your continued thoughts? You were helpful the first time around, and I appreciate it.

    By the way, we've likely run into a delay: We were planning to start building after our youngest graduates from high school in 2015 . . . but we were talking about college, and she made it clear that she's scared and not ready to leave home. She's fairly sure she wants to start with community college, and that means it'd be better for us to stay HERE for another 1-2 years after her graduation. I hate this delay, but I know that her needs are more important. It's not like we don't have a place to live now. I shouldn't be mope-y about this.

    This post was edited by MrsPete on Wed, Jan 22, 14 at 20:59

  • lavender_lass

    I like it! One suggestion....with that huge pantry, could you shave off just a bit to put a linen closet/standard shower on the wall opposite the sink/toilet? This would give the 'kids' an opportunity to take a quick shower BEFORE they jump in the pool :)

  • darleneac59

    I like the changes. The pantry is amazing. One another note...with a year and have before graduation your daughter could change her mind again. When we retired my husband wanted to get started right away but my youngest had just graduated college and was moving out of state for a job so we went up for a month to help her get settled. When we got home we started planning for my oldest daughters wedding. Two months from the wedding she was in a major car accident and required extra help and was living with us. I can't imagine trying to build a house with everything that was going on. Since the wedding we were finally able to buy a lot and we are finally on track and have started the design phase. You are so far ahead of the game. I wish I had been planning before now. I agree our kids needs come first. Good luck but you have a right to mope for a little bit. BTW-my youngest didn't like her major and has moved home to go back to school. We are still moving forward. She just might have to drive farther once we move.

  • kirkhall

    (You might just need to say "ta-ta" for now! Really, everyone is scared of college--but a trade school/2yr college is still college. She can do it! People have been for ages. It is one of those growing up things.)

    But, I like this new plan. Your pantry is HUGE. And, as long as you are okay with that (and you don't think you'll end up with wasted space in the middle because it is just huge) it is great! Maybe check with Beagles about pantry size. ... the pantry may end up being a place that the "hvac" chase goes too; or the other random "thing" you didn't know you need to plan for (my crawl space entry is in my pantry floor, for example).

    What are your kitchen L dimensions? (by that I mean, the length of the 2 walls that make up the L?) This is more for my curiosity and thinking about my project than a criticism of yours. :)

  • mrspete

    Shower in the pool bath -- I played around with it a bit, but I'm not willing to give up an inch of the pantry, and it isn't quite wide enough to include even a small shower without making things overly tight. I don't want elderly guests to have trouble getting in and out of this room, so I'd rather stay generous with the half-bath rather than squeeze in a shower that I don't think would be used all that often. We'll have a shower upstairs that people can use before /after the pool.

    I did make a "bump in" in the wall between the pantry and half-bath doors, which will be a "drop spot" for wallets, keys, sunglasses, and purses. I sized it to fit a small chest of drawers I have now, and it'll have a mirror above it. The drawers'll be good for storing tote bags, brushes, and other out-the-door things. I had previously considered having a built-in bench here (with shoe storage underneath), but I think this is more in lines with what we actually need . . . and this has a couple plusses: If we ever have a need to store a walker or wheelchair by the door, it's easy enough to remove the chest, and there's a perfect spot. And since the closet is just a few steps through the laundry room, we don't really need shoe storage in that area.

    Yes, the pantry is large, but it's been a priority from the very beginning. My plan has long been to build a small kitchen and a large pantry. My reasoning: Cabinets, countertops, etc. are expensive, while pantries are cheap -- and I have more kitchen gear to house than you'd believe. I also like seeing it all laid out neatly on simple white shelves -- better, in my opinion, than searching for it in the back of the cabinet. Since I took that "bite" out of the pantry for the "drop spot", it doesn't have all that much space in the middle . . . but it'll have roughly 17' of shelves, floor to ceiling. Oh, and a small kitchen (with loads of out-of-the-way storage) is easier to keep clean.

    Given that we make our own cheese, wine, home brew, and we can vegetables and fruit from our own trees, we do have a good bit of food on hand at any given time.

    And I want to have a 4' workspace in the pantry (straight across from the open door), which will be a spot to set down bags of groceries, to let a crock pot run outside of the kitchen, to let bread rise, and so forth. If I ever get back into professional baking, it'll be a great spot to let cakes sit and cool. I also imagine the work shelf to be a perfect spot to measure out a couple cups of flour, beans, spices, whatever . . . then take them into the kitchen to do the cooking.

    And, yes, I had considered that we may come up with a need for mechanical spaces, vents, ducts, whatever. Note that all the water in the house is in the back right quadrant. I'm imagining that we'll have a tankless hot water heater in the garage (or we'd have space for it in a cabinet in the half bath). But things like the breaker box could end up inside the pantry -- I'd like that better than having them in a "showy place". Yes, my mom also has a crawl space entry in the pantry floor. I thought that was a pretty odd thing confined to her old house, so I'm surprised to hear someone else has it.

    The "L" of the kitchen is 13x8 (island is 7x3). I think the measuring points are pretty obvious: The two walls to the edge of the island. This measurement does not include the walkway between the kitchen and the table. All the appliances are standard sizes. We have 40" or so between the island and the cabinets. This is not a large kitchen, but I like it.

    I'll get an updated floorplan posted within a couple days. Y'all have helped so much, and I do want to share it.

    Finally, you're exactly right that we have to put the kids' needs before the house, and as terrified as she is right now, I'm thinking that staying in the same house and going to community college may well be the right option for my youngest. My oldest and most of her friends had a 1-2 day "pang of fear" around May when they realized that this college thing was quite real and that they were leaving soon, and a couple of them seriously considered cancelling their going-away plans -- but going away to college was the right option for my oldest. She's thriving academically and emotionally, and I'm thrilled for her . . . but I'm not sure that path is right for our youngest. She has a whole year to go, and we're tiptoeing through the choices.

    I was just being mope-y in thinking about delaying our house building project longer, but in the end she absolutely comes first.

    Thanks so much!

  • mrspete

    After a week or so "away", I'm back to thinking about my house plan again. Y'all were very helpful and have improved what had previously been my favorite part of the house.

    I'm taking "a bite" out of the pantry to have a small cabinet (which I already own and will be a good spot to drop keys, etc. as we enter through the back door).

    I'm thinking of adding a window seat to one side of the fireplace -- TV on one side, window seat on the other.

    Other than those things, I have a couple questions that I thought might arise during the discussion but did not, so I'd like to bring them up:

    - I'm not sure about loving the front elevation. Specifically, think about the windows. We'll have a double window in the study and separated windows in the bedroom -- I'm fine with that because it "needs to be" to fit the rooms. But what about the side where the staircase is located?

    - I'm also not sure about the porch. I'd like it to be small (the real outdoor living spaces being towards the back), but I want it to be a traditional porch with pretty railings. I do care about putting up Christmas lights (and decorations for other holiday decorations too). Where would you "start and stop" the porch?

    - Is the staircase going to be a problem? I definitely want it to be "open" to the living room . . . but I also want this to be a 1.5 story house. I'm not sure this is going to work out. Will a person walking up the stairs have enough "head space"? Would a dormer allow the head space? I'd want the natural light pouring down the staircase anyway.

    - Please talk to me about the concept of "no ceiling, open to the floor joists above". I've seen many pictures of houses lately that essentially leave out the ceiling to expose the floor joists. And I saw it in a restaurant recently and liked it (though theirs was larger, industrial in feel and painted black, whereas I'd want to go with white paint and more of a cottage vibe). It seems like an inexpensive way to get an interesting ceiling. How does this work out in real life? Any experiences?

    - I'm also interested in knowing that the house we design will be moderately inexpensive to build, and that it'll be easy to maintain. Does anyone see any glaring problems that could be eliminated with slightly different choices?

    And I'm open to any other thoughts that may've occured to anyone. I appreciate the feedback very much and have no problem with criticism.

    Thanks so much!

    This post was edited by MrsPete on Tue, Feb 4, 14 at 10:05

  • lyfia

    Where will you have your vaccum/brooms/cleaning supplies? You know all that fun stuff, but having easy access to it makes a difference in maintaining your home.

    On the stair side I'm not sure how to make sure you have windows in a good spot I think having one on the landing there will be out of character with the style you want.

    Maybe have a fake window into under the stairs and then consider adding landscaping where there is none and end the porch as you have it drawn.

  • Oaktown

    >>>Please talk to me about the concept of "no ceiling, open to the floor joists above". I've seen many pictures of houses lately that essentially leave out the ceiling to expose the floor joists. . . . It seems like an inexpensive way to get an interesting ceiling. How does this work out in real life? Any experiences?If you have bedrooms upstairs I suspect there might be code requirements for drywall (or similar) for fire safety purposes; I'm sure one of the pros could tell you. You always could add a decorative treatment over a drywall ceiling, but that will cost $$.

    Other potential issues with an "open ceiling" -- noise, fire sprinklers (required here), lighting, ductwork . . .

  • mrspete

    Cleaning items: Look at the pantry. See the "indent" to the left of the door? That's maybe not a broom closet, but more of a broom indent. I imagine cleaning supplies (i.e, chemicals) over the folding table in the laundry. Hmmm . . . why am I thinking that these would live in separate locations? Now I'm questioning myself. The laundry isn't as spacious, but if I make my folding table a little smaller (not a big sacrifice), I could have all the cleaning items in that area. Thinking . . .

    And I know that quite a few people would choose to decrease the pantry and add a nice-sized closet to the half-bath. That would be a good place for cleaning supplies.

    Since we're going with all hardwood floors, we're probably going to have an area rug only in the study and the living room -- and top-quality floor mats by every door, of course. I'm a big believer in using floor mats to keep the dirt from making it into the house. Thus, I'm thinking of only a small, cheap vacuum . . . but good brooms. I hate dust pans, though, so I do want the toe-kick dust-suckers in various places around the house.

    I was thinking about a fake window accompanied by landscaping.

    I'm thinking of a house in our neighborhood -- kind of a barn-looking house. It always looked a little funny because (on the very prominent upstairs) it had one window and NOTHING where that window's pair should've been. After years and years, they added in a pretty metal grate the same size as that other window . . . and what a difference. It's clearly not a window (I suspect that area of the house is a closet, where they probably don't want a window), but it makes the house so much more "balanced". And since I'm describing a second-story window, they don't have the benefit of landscaping to hide anything.

    I hadn't considered noise with an "open ceiling", but I did think of lighting and ductwork. You know, when you see pictures in magazines, you don't see any of that -- but we all know that they pick "just the right angle" so that those things wouldn't show. They DID show in the restaurant where I saw this type of ceiling in person, but it was an industrial-vibe type place, and it worked. I wouldn't want that same "feel" in my own house, but I don't know whether it's possible to put those ducts, etc. just out of sight, perhaps in an adjacent closet or similar.

    I'd still love to hear more on the ceiling concept. It seems that I see it "everywhere" in magazines and online, so it must have some benefit. Yet Oaktown came up with the very same concerns that were already on my mind.
    " Thanks for the thoughts, folks. I welcome more.

  • Oaktown

    Hmm . . . why not have a real window under/at the stairs? If you have stairs going down, it will let in natural light. If no stairs going down you could have a nice storage area/child's hideaway under the landing. Our stair has the same configuration as yours and the height under the landing is a bit over 5' between the joists (but it will be lower once the drywall is in, and builder is saying that the drywall -- and a fire sprinkler(!) -- is required now that the space is accessible).

  • dekeoboe

    The pergola over the dining room window isn't going to help much to keep the hot sun from shine into the room. It would work if the windows were on the south side, west facing windows need a larger overhang.

    You have a lot of floor to ceiling windows. Those are going to be expensive, not only because of size but also because they will all need to be tempered glass. The same will probably be true with the stairway window.

    Since you have a pull through garage, it will need to be larger if you plan on storing your outdoor furniture in it during the winter months. Where do you plan on storing the lawnmower, weed wacker and all the other stuff needed for lawn and gardening maintenance? Where will all the pool maintenance stuff be stored?

    I don't see a space set aside for the mechanicals. I know you mentioned tankless hot water, but what about your HVAC?

    But my biggest problem with the plan is the location of the master bedroom. In order to get to the bedroom, you either have to walk through the laundry room and master closet or through the study. I really dislike walking through one room to get to another room.

    I do think at this point you need to figure out the floor plan for the upstairs. Then you will be able to determine if the stairs are in the correct location and how the windows will effect the elevation.

  • mrspete

    No stairs going downstairs /we don't live in basement land. A real window would be fine . . . if it were to fall in the closet, but I'm not sure whether it would bisect the staircase itself. If your landing is around the 5' mark though, I'd assume a (small) window would fit into that closet. I'm thinking that it could be a small, non-functional window -- after all, we'd never want to open it in the closet.

    I think the dining room roof overhang will end up being a BALANCE between letting in enough light for the sun-filled space I want vs. overheating. Perhaps we should go with a ceiling fan above the table. I have several pictures of dining rooms in this style that I love, but this may be a weak point in the plan.

    Yes, I count 12 floor-to-ceiling windows. We had them in our starter house (though only four of them), and I LOVED THEM. They're something upon which I'm willing to splurge, and I like the idea that we'll have a wide-open view of the pool. However, if we check the price and find them outrageous, I can see a couple possible downsizes:

    - On the back wall of the living room I've placed a bank of three. That could drop to two. Considering we have a single door there, perhaps two is the "right size" anyway.
    - I could go with standard-sized windows flanking the bed.
    - Perhaps the study windows could become standard-sized.

    However, even thinking about them being a big splurge, I wouldn't give up the floor-to-ceiling windows altogether. I loved them too much in our old house. They brought in so much light, and the cross-breeze was wonderful in the spring and fall.

    The garage isn't particularly drawn to any scale -- it's just stuck in there. I can't say I've much thought beyond, "Yes, we'll store pool things there". I should investigate just how much space is necessary for these items.

    We recently ditched our lawnmower and other yard tools and have no plans to replace them. We're done doing that ourselves. I do have rakes, hoes, etc. for flower beds, but those don't take up much space.

    We're Southern, so we don't store our patio furniture in the winter. We're still using it.

    Similarly, HVAC units are all located outside here. I'm imagining it behind the pantry, enclosed by a trellis box and surrounded by flowers. However, in reality, the HVAC guy will tell us where this should go. He might say it should go along the side of the house. I feel out of my element on this one.

    I don't share the concern about walking through the study. That was the last part of the plan that came together for us: We tried all types of staircases in the space that's now the study. Tried bumping the entryway forward to the edge of the bedroom. Tried all sorts of things . . . 'til one day we thought about the staircase going to the corner, and it was a EUREKA MOMENT. We both like the arrangement very much. We think we'll like that the bedroom will be more private, and it provides a nice small entryway, while keeping the stairs out of the way but visible from the living room. Yes, I can see that everyone wouldn't like it, but I think this is one of our favorite parts of the plan.

    I'm trying to work on an upstairs . . . but while I think I have a pretty good eye for one story things, I find myself unequal to the task of "going up". The problem is that I'm set on a 1.5 story, and I can't visualize how far everything should scoot "in". I know exactly what I want upstairs: A small seating area, two bedrooms joined by a jack-and-jill bath and good closets. And I want to keep the plumbing roughly somewhere over the kitchen (or somewhere we already have plumbing -- I want to keep it somewhat consolidated).

    I'm still playing with upstairs layouts, but I'm not feeling very successful at all. I suppose the best choice is to draw out my best and throw it out here. Y'all do make good suggestions, and even when I don't care for the ideas, they often make me think, which is good.

    Thanks, folks! I'm enjoying the ideas you're sending out.

  • mrspete

    Okay, I just checked window prices online.

    Anyway, I think I've made a mistake here: I've been saying "floor to ceiling windows", thinking of the ones I loved so much in my old house. I always thought of them as floor-to-ceiling, but in actuality they were probably 6' windows. I did have 10-12" at the top and bottom. I had curtain rods at the top and a little bit of wood at the bottom.

    So I checked the price of 72" windows, which I discovered are really 71.5" windows . . . but who cares?

    Lowe's most expensive option doesn't cost $400 each. I wanted to check some of the better brands, but I discovered that isn't all that easy to do. They want you to submit your information for a "quote". Since I'm not buying today, I'm not interested in getting tangled up with a pushy sales person.

    Anyway, I think my misuse of the terminology was misleading, and what I actually want will be a bit of a splurge over standard-sized windows, but it won't be out-of-the-water expensive.

    I think I probably should cut the back wall of the living room down to two windows anyway.

    And I see that you can buy windows on ebay for GOOD PRICES. Has anyone ever done this? Do you have to be incredibly lucky to get exactly what you need . . . or do you buy what you can get at good prices, then fill in the rest of your windows with same-type but full-price windows? I didn't pay any attention to shipping. That's probably the killer, and I'd never be lucky enough to find them locally.

    Still on the subject of windows, I want a couple stained glass accent windows. I mean actual installed-windows, not stained glass hangings. Has anyone ever purchased these from ebay? Do you have the installer cover them with a piece of glass on the outside of the house to protect them? I'm figuring they wouldn't be functional.

    Perhaps that's the right answer to the window in that stairway-closet.

  • dekeoboe

    We're Southern, so we don't store our patio furniture in the winter. We're still using it.
    Oh, I was responding to this statement:

    With 45 acres, we have almost unlimited outdoor space, and we will be able to store tables /chairs in the garage.

    Those were the tables/chairs that I thought need to be taken into consideration when determining the proper size for the garage.

    Similarly, HVAC units are all located outside here.
    My understanding is the air handler(s) goes inside.

    Will you have hard water there that will require a water softener? If so, you will need to plan space for that too.

  • lyfia

    I saw you mentioned 1.5 story and the way you have your stairs you are going to need it to be a 2 story - at least on the front. There is no way you can have the slanted roof where the stairs come up upstairs. Even if you change the swing of the stairs it might not be enough height. A 1.5 story really needs stairs to come up more in the middle to have sufficient height at the top of the stairs.

    You might consider the use of something like a dust mop for the floors or you'll be kicking up a lot of dust with all that sweeping. I dislike brooms in general as I have allergies as they really stir up the dust. We have all hard floors in our house with some rugs and I use my central vac hide-a-hose to vacuum the floors with a dust mop attachment. This way the dust is removed from the house and not stirred up so much. The vacuum gets up the grit and other stuff too. Which is why I don't use just a dust mop as it would leave a pile of the other junk, but you could use the vac pan to put that in there with a dust mop.

  • mrspete

    Tables and chairs . . . yes, I see that I've had some double-think here. I know what I was thinking:

    Right now we have only a small quantity of lawn furniture, and we leave it out year-round. Everyone here does. In fact, we most recently cooked out on Super Bowl Sunday. My husband cooked on the grill and used the table as a work space, while I sat in one of the chairs. So, no, we don't put away lawn furniture. When we have pool loungers, they'll stay out all winter too.

    BUT in planning this house, we're not planning expansive (or expensive) interior dining space. Instead, we're planning a large, covered porch and pool area, and our house'll be the "summer entertaining house" -- which isn't a problem because we have other family here who have larger interiors, and they'll be the "winter houses".

    And here's where my double-think was coming in: I don't really want, say, seating for 30 "available" all the time on my porch and around my pool. Our pool's going to be small, and I don't want it to look like a public pool with more chairs than water. So I will need to store those "occasional" tables and chairs in the garage. I had forgotten that.

    So I need to address this double-think problem and consider how much space we'd need for folding tables and chairs that'd come out only occasionally. This isn't as much space as pool loungers, etc. Thanks for helping me clarify that issue.

    Air handler -- is that just a medium-sized vent bringing air into the house? That's all we have now: An outside unit (covered nicely with lattice board) and a vent that enters in the hallway. Our current one comes up through the floor and takes up a portion of the linen closet inside our kids' bathroom . . . and, as I said, exits into the adjacent hallway. If I'm right about the HVAC people choosing to place the unit outside the pantry (and that seems to typical of houses in this area), I could see the vent coming through the pantry /half-bath area. It might take up what I'm currently calling the broom closet (inside the pantry).

    I'm not sure what water softening is, but I know it's not "a thing" here. I've seen people on HGTV talking about bringing bags of salt into the basement, but that's the extent of my knowledge.

    Yeah, I thought I had an issue with the stairs coming up that side. But the stairs really work in that area -- I like the design. Perhaps we'll need to go with two-stories above the living room . . . and "reduce it to" a 1.5 story for the rest of the house. I know it's a problem, but I can't visualize this. I've said before, I can think "out" but not "up".

    Dust mops, brooms -- I have an assortment, and I assume I'll continue to have an assortment. I hate to vacuum. Hate it like . . . oh, I can't even think of anything. I'd rather clean toilets all day long than vacuum. And I don't do it regularly enough. I'll put it off another day, another day, another day. Whereas, I don't mind sweeping and dust mopping. In my mind, it doesn't "feel like" as much effort. And, to my shame, my standards aren't all that high.

  • lavender_lass

    I'll vacuum for you, it you'll come clean my toilets! LOL

  • kirkhall

    About Windows: know that any glass below a certain height has to be tempered. If you have big windows that are "floor to ceiling" and they are below that level, they will be expensive because of the tempering. If you can live with a "bar" across the window at some height, then your lower pane can be tempered and the upper less expensive untempered/regular glass.

  • mrspete

    L-Lass, it's a deal!
    Now let's begin the negotiations for laundry and changing of bedsheets.

    I need to investigate tempered glass . . . but I absolutely know I want the nice, tall windows that I had in my first house. Yes, they'll have a "bar" at some point because we're talking about double-hung windows. I suspect I have used the wrong terms when I've said "floor to ceiling", and I think I've confused the issue. I do not want the solid wall of window that works in modern houses; modern isn't my thing.

  • lavender_lass

    I just got rid of those windows...and hated them!...but that's because they were cheap aluminum (black) frames and only opened from the bottom. The back of the sofa got a lovely breeze and the cats tried to go through the screens on the other side! LOL

    Done right, I think it would show off a lovely view and bring a lot more light into your space. I don't mind changing sheets or doing do you feel about washing the kitchen and bathroom floors? :)

  • Skyangel23

    I think this house is lovely. :-) For the windows, our builder told us we needed tempered glass only if we put our windows lower than 18" from the floor. So I think you can still have amazingly tall, beautiful windows that won't be too expensive.

    I know you said you like having to go through other rooms to get to your master, but even if you plan to live here 30 years, eventually the house will have to be sold. If not by you, then by your heirs. I think the rest of the house is wonderful, well laid out, and functional, except that for myself and I think at least some others the tucked away master would be a deal breaker. Just a thought.

    Whatever you decide, enjoy your land. It sounds amazing!

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