quilter_robbi

Hello, I'm new to this page and we are starting to build a house

Robbi D.
March 3, 2017

I usually hang out on the quilting page (hence the BIG sewing room, LOL). We have built a few houses before, but never tried to lay one out myself. Using the criteria we need/like (family of 4), here is what an architect has designed for us. I'm playing around with some software myself, and I've made some changes, but you will get the general idea of what we're looking for.

Please ignore the kitchen layout, we're having that done by a kitchen designer (and I can't figure out all the pieces in the software to make it look right!).

The mudroom/pantry will have stairs that will lead up to over the garage storage. Otherwise, the living space is all on one floor.

We live in East Tennessee and have a fairly level lot that's about 3/4
acre. I'm sorry for the small size. I hope it will expand?

Please let me know what you think?? We plan on meeting with a contractor next week. We are still flexible on the layout and plan on going back to the architect with final changes.


Comments (55)

  • Robbi D.

    Thank you for the comments! I need help thinking outside the box (or house as it may be?).

    I'm a little confused on the 1-2 room deep comment? The great room and sewing room are only 2 deep? We can't make the house any more narrow since that would make it longer and would make it impossible to fit on the lot. We're both approaching retirement age and I really don't want stairs or a multi-level house. So, that is why this is all on one floor.

    We laid out the house and had an architect "clean it up".

    We are ok with a dark laundry and not concerned with the fabric dust. Right now, the laundry is next to the kitchen, which I really don't care for. We will be empty nesters soon, so next to our bedroom seemed like the logical place for the laundry.

    I'd love to hear some suggestions on how to make the master bath and closet more efficient.

    My kids' requested they not have their bedrooms next to each other and my daughter wants a window seat. If she had her way, she'd have a master suite!

    As far as light, I spend most of my time in the sewing room which will have a whole wall of big windows with an open deck on the back. I wanted that room on the back of the house because I love to sew and look out at the trees and scenery (there's a state owned wood preserve on the back of the house).

    The office is 10'x12' and I hope to have a wall of built-ins on the right wall. That should be plenty for what we need. We don't spend a lot of time using an office (we work at a desk all day) and I doubt this will change that. We don't watch much TV, so a comfy reading spot is a bigger concern. I hope to have wall between the sewing room open up as much as possible into the great room to make them feel connected most of the time, but be able to close it off when I get a little crazy with the noisy sewing machines. Any suggestions on temporary walls would be great!

    Thank you again!

  • bpath Oh Sophie

    I may have been reading it upside down: is the sewing room facing the back, which is north? I was reading the room to the right of the sewing room as a vestibule, but is that the office, and the front door is above the living room, next to the dining room?

  • Related Discussions

    Need help placing furniture in home we are building

    Q

    Comments (2)
    Could you put the tv next to the fireplace in an angle (160) and put the recliner at the same angle on the other side (of the fireplace| it faces the tv but at an angle) with the love-seat facing the tv directly (maybe next to the recliner)?
    ...See More

    Hello all, I'm building a new house in the Bahamas.

    Q

    Comments (5)
    A grey might be nice for the shingles... When you're ready to make your lighting selections check out some of our "beachy" lighting we make from blown and fused glass! :) All custom made and tailored to fit your space with as many pendants as you want. www.shakuff.com
    ...See More

    Advice on appliances for new higher end home build?

    Q

    Comments (15)
    Hi tangfj.....like what you're thinking with the Wolf cooktop vs. a range. We too upgraded have the 48" cooktop (which by the way also means a bigger vent insert) with the griddle. It was one of hubby's few "musts" for the new home. We too like having the additional pots/pans drawers, spice drawers below the cooktop area and like not having to bend down when utilizing the ovens. Btw, we also chose to stay with the builder's "standard" Kitchen Aid double ovens, microwave, Bosch dishwasher and Kitchen Aid built in fridge. There were other upgrades (with wood flooring, hardware, cabinetry, lighting, plumbing fixtures plus "behind the wall options", structural options, etc.) so we allocated option monies to those items instead. Not sure if you are building in a neighborhood or development like we did....but if so, perhaps observe what your neighbors are installing in their homes, ie to what extent they may be upgrading their kitchens, and other elements of their homes, etc. That may give you a better idea as to what to prioritize upgrades-wise....so you aren't over-improving or over-upgrading in comparison to your general "market". Most importantly though consider the items that are the highest priority to you first and foremost and perhaps allocate funds to those items that are more costly and/or difficult to do after closing on your home. Best of luck to you....hope to hear how the new home progresses! :-)
    ...See More

    How to start with new backyard outdoor living space build?

    Q

    Comments (5)
    The best way is to talk to friends, family, people you work with and ask them who they have used or who they know about. Also go up to Find Pros at the top of the page and see who might be listed in your area that does outdoor landscape design and implementation. You can also go to home tours in your local area to see work that has been done. Many remodeling contractors will also do outdoor living spaces. You can find those in Find Pros above or you can go to NAHB.org and there is a place to find remodelers by location. You can check out their websites. Interview several people/companies and see who seems to be the best fit for you. Good luck.
    ...See More
  • Robbi D.

    bpathome, That is correct, the sewing room is on the back which is north. The living room and dining room are on the front of the house. I'm laughing, the office does look like a vestibule in the drawings! I wanted to allow as much light as possible, hence the big french doors. We really don't "need" an office, but more of a place to store files and an occasional place to pay bills (which I usually do on my laptop in the sewing room). I think joining the office and sewing room will help eliminate the vestibule feel?? In the drawing, the dimension lines make it look like 2 separate spaces. I tried to eliminate some of those dimension lines before I took the picture, but didn't see a way to do that.

    I wanted a foyer type area when you walk into the house, so the architect made the vestibule area leading into my dd room on the left (and to help hide her teenage mess!) with a coat closet on the right. I'm toying with the idea of bring those walls in a little, making them half walls with columns for a little bit more definition of the space??

  • PRO
    Virgil Carter Fine Art

    Sorry to have to be the one to say the following:

    The layout of the house and the circulation patterns are very circuitous and labored. It's almost a maze, trying to find one's way to this or that. You will be spending a lot of money on corridors, which in a more efficient plan would be unnecessary.

    The plan has an "interior" living area and kitchen area. There will be no natural light in these spaces.

    Because the house is so deep--four normally sized rooms--the roof will be very high and very large when viewed from the exterior.

    What does the exterior and roof plan look like? Successful architectural design is a combination of working simultaneously on the site development, interiors and exteriors of the house.

    "... We laid out the house and had an architect "clean it up"..." You will be best advised to go back to the architect and let her/him start afresh, rather than cleaning up your own lay-out. It's possible to do so much better than this.

  • Stan B

    I can tell you've put a lot of effort into this to make it your own. A great design is flexible but not over-personalized. You may love it once it is built but I think as designed it will be very difficult to sell (whether in 5, 10, 20 or 30 years). You may say that's not a factor because you plan to stay there the rest of your life but sometimes things don't work out that way as we get older. Buyers aren't going to walk into the house and say "wow, what a great house". They are going to say: "what were they thinking" which will lose you maybe 20% of value on resale and take much longer to sell. For example, I would design the sewing room as a family room and then modify it for your sewing needs. There is no separation between the front entry and the great room. The only access to the back yard appears to be through the small office which is dominated by two sets of french doors. Do you ever BBQ outdoors?

  • millworkman

    What do the elevations look like? The interior, exterior, and lot conditions all need to be worked in conjunction in order to develop the house properly. You cannot work them individually.

  • cpartist

    Here is what we are trying to show you. There is very little light that will enter the interior of the house. Any white areas are areas where the light will not penetrate. In East TN, I would think you'd want lots of light flooding the house and since it's your retirement home, I would think you'd want more of an indoor/outdoor feel. This isn't it.

    Additionally you said you're empty nesters which means your children only come to visit? Why are you letting them dictate how you arrange your rooms, especially if it makes for a house with poor light and flow? My feeling is the rooms can connect with closets and/or bathrooms used to block sound between rooms.

    How often will the kids be staying there?

    Another thought. While I understand you don't want a 2 story since you're empty nesters, why can't you put the guest bedrooms upstairs if that would give you better light and flow downstairs. You can make one of the closets large enough to put in an elevator if it's ever needed.

    My lot was too small to have all our rooms on one floor so we added an elevator and put the guest bedroom and my studio upstairs. For now I can use the stairs, but if the time comes, I'll use the elevator. Here's a link to my thread with my house and all the changes I went through. Cpartist's House Notice every room in my house has light coming from two sides and the rooms are at most two deep? (My kitchen/dining room). My lot is 9100 square feet and we could only build on 35% of the lot, yet every room will have lots and lots of light. Even with the lanai.

    BTW: My studio will double as a second guest room for the 1x a year we might need the additional room.

    Additionally if you plan to age in place, it's not only important to have everything on one floor, but it's also important that it's easy to maneuver in and around the rooms. Your layout isn't easy to maneuver around in. I have to leave now, but can show you later what I mean.

  • cpartist

    First how wide are your doorways and your hallways? You want wider for ADA.

    Also I noticed your laundry is on an interior room. Where will you vent your dryer?

    Also why do you need a 4 car garage if the kids will be out soon?

    Another problem is you open the front door for your guests and the guests see through the living room to your sewing room? Or to a wall?

    Ok here are flow lines to show you.

    The red line is to show bringing groceries in from the garage. This looks fine.

    Blue is showing the route from your garage to your master closet. Assume you buy new shoes and need to put them away. Also reverse the process getting from the closet to the rest of the house. Notice the pinch point in the closet/bathroom area and the convoluted path to get out?

    Green shows if you decide to lounge outdoors and maybe barbecue or just bring some snacks from the kitchen to the outside.


  • cpartist

    Regarding your garage, why in the world would you want a 4 car garage and utility area that is over 65% the size of the rest of the house? I understand you have two teens home now, but how much longer will they be home?

    When I was growing up, and when my kids were growing up, us teens parked on the street or the driveway and we actually had to get up and move our cars if the parents needed to get out of the garage. When I grew up, we only had a 2 car garage and 3 teens/young adults with cars. We managed.

    And what will you do with all that garage space when the kids move out? The pink shows the garage space in relation to the house.

  • rockybird

    It is good that you have worked out what is important to you in the design, but this is not a plan that I would like. The kitchen and living room are going to be extremely dark and there are too many corridors. I would want more windows or glass in these areas. Do you need a four car garage? I have to agree with the other posters.

  • bpath Oh Sophie

    Whoa, a little judgmental about garages today, aren't we! I can think of all kinds of reasons why I'd rather keep all the cars indoors rather than out, though character-building in teens is not, I confess, one of them. And number of vehicles, that may include tractors, snowblowers, trailers, bikes, four-wheelers, boats, whatever, can really drive the need. My folks have a three-bay garage that's really big enough for four vehicles, and boy is it ever nice to have the room.

    To be honest, I don't see a plethora of hallways, I see separation of private spaces from public. My personal preference, though, is that each private space not open individually off the public space, and of course I love circulation--more than one way to get from one place to another. Here, the LR is a hub and will get a lot of traffic passing through, all the time. There's really no quiet "away" space, except for the dining room.

    The sewing studio will make a nice family room down the line for another family. I don't run a home-based creative business so while I can imagine how nice it is to integrate a workspace with the rest of the house, I can also imagine hoe nice it is to separate work and home life. As for back yard access, we don't know what the site is like, perhaps the back yard really isn't conducive to active use?

    Robbi D. thanked bpath Oh Sophie
  • Robbi D.

    My kids are 14 and 16, so they will be with us for a few more years, but they themselves have plans to move on to college when the time comes

    I'm sorry, but the 4 car garage is not an option to change (the man of the house has spoken there). We have 4 cars (the kids are just now beginning to drive) and will have 4 after they're gone. The utility room will be storage for lawnmower, Christmas decor, electrical and such. The architect didn't put in the above the garage storage when he did the plans, so the utility room can be made smaller if we go with that space.

    And if you'd like to call the sewing room a family room, I'm ok with that. There isn't anything permanent in that room that won't let it later be a family room. I have a 16'x3' quilt frame that requires a large room. It will be off on the side, so not to be seen from the living room. The corner closet is for a very noisy 6 needle embroidery machine. That could be removed if a future occupant doesn't like it. The reason for the sewing room/family room to be next to the living room and kitchen is because I don't like being isolated from the rest of the house and family when I'm sewing. I'm usually cooking. helping with homework, or any variety of household duties.

    Here is the front of the house:

    The style goes with the style of the subdivision, which we do like.

    As far as the back and access. It isn't on the plans yet, but I know there will be a deck added and windows changed to doors for backyard and back deck (for grilling!) access. We love to sit outside, hence the screened in porch, but the bugs are really bad, so we'll probably use the screened in part more than the open deck part. Also, another reason for the orientation of the house. The deck we have on our current house gets way too much westerly sun and is impossible to sit out in the evenings, especially the summer.

    As for guests seeing my sewing room, I have to laugh. If they know me at all, they know I sew.... and I'm good with that :-)

    I'm also confused on corridors? There is one hallway to the master bedroom. Where are these corridors I keep hearing about?

  • Robbi D.

    One more thought on the quiet space... My kids tend to stay in their rooms (I think most teens do??) We actually like it when they wander out to join us :-) We like the idea of a central living room hub

  • Renee Texas

    I might consider a secondary structure to house additional cars, as your garage looks to be nearly the size of 1/2 the home. Aditionally, this extra space may free up more room for windows/natural light. I do like the kitchen area- I've always had pinnensula/island sinks where you talk with people while cleaning up0 or preparing food. I HATE facing a window, so have fun laying it out how you like :). I'd consider a little walk-in corner pantry.

  • Robbi D.

    If our HOA wasn't such a pain to deal with on outside structures, we'd consider options for the cars.

  • lakeerieamber

    I don't see an excess of hallways either and I totally get the extra large garage space. I'm wondering if there is a possibility to somehow stretch apart the back of the house to create more of a u shape so you get more windows and a less dominant roof? I'm no architect/designer so I have no idea if that would be a possibility...

  • bpath Oh Sophie

    Ooh, interesting idea, amber. I'm picturing pushing the middle of the house either forward or back, making a U courtyard in the front yard or backyard. It can change the light, and the flow especially on the left. Or, just moving the master bedroom and sewing studio to the left, so that the back is more open to the LR.

  • Architectrunnerguy

    "We are still flexible on the layout and plan on going back to the architect with final changes."

    A coupla things....

    What seems odd here is while the OP wrote the above, the plan, while a technical permit/construction doc, is in the standard DIY off the shelf CAD program that homeowners use. Normally, if an architect is involved those kind of drawings are in AutoCAD, Rivit, Vectorworks or similar.

    And why do we always have to stop the designing at the exterior walls when we should be stopping designing at the property lines? Always think of the house and lot as one. I feel so strongly about this I made an "ideabook" illustrating that way of thinking.

    Robbi D. thanked Architectrunnerguy
  • cpartist

    I'm sorry, but the 4 car garage is not an option to change (the man of the house has spoken there).

    Understood. Lots of folks need the 4 car garage. However do all four bays need to be attached to the house like that or might there be a better way? Even maybe splitting it in some way?

    The reason for the sewing room/family room to be next to the living room and kitchen is because I don't like being isolated from the rest of the house and family when I'm sewing. I'm usually cooking. helping with homework, or any variety of household duties.

    I don't think having the sewing room next to the living room is a problem.

    Here is the front of the house:

    The style goes with the style of the subdivision, which we do like.

    Is that they only style available in the subdivision?

    As far as the back and access. It isn't on the plans yet, but I know there will be a deck added and windows changed to doors for backyard and back deck (for grilling!) access. We love to sit outside, hence the screened in porch, but the bugs are really bad, so we'll probably use the screened in part more than the open deck part. Also, another reason for the orientation of the house. The deck we have on our current house gets way too much westerly sun and is impossible to sit out in the evenings, especially the summer.

    The orientation of your house is fine in that it's a north/south orientation. That's ideal, IF you flood the south with windows to bring in warmth in winter. And getting indirect light from the north is also good.

    Again, how will you get to the backyard since there's just a small hallway with a desk in it to bring food and stuff out? Major pinch point and when you're indoors getting food, no way to look out at your guests and visa versa.

    I don't know about you, but if I'm entertaining, I'd want my living room and my outdoor space to be integrated. In fact, that's exactly what I did. I can open my sliders to my backyard (and I may screen in my lanai too if it's buggy) so that my exterior and my interior work together. Yours doesn't.

    The way your house is designed, it has absolutely no relationship between your interior and your exterior.

    As for guests seeing my sewing room, I have to laugh. If they know me at all, they know I sew.... and I'm good with that :-)

    I'm not questioning your friends knowing you sew. I'm questioning that when they enter it's the first thing they'll see. I believe there's a way to design the house so when you walk in, you have a vista to the backyard or through the house or??? Instead of the sewing room. Again it's a matter of integrating the interior and the exterior of the house.

    What are your lot dimensions and your setbacks?

    Are you ok with the roof being twice the height of the house?

    As for the front, are you ok with the round doric type columns going into the square craftsman base? And are you happy with the shingles on the gables?

    Are you really ok with your living room and your kitchen getting NO natural light?

    Are you sure it's just not that you've put your heart and soul into the plan and that's why you're justifying it?

    We've shown and explained how you will have no natural light and how the flow isn't conducive to aging in place. However if you're happy with it, that's all that counts. Best of luck on your build. :)

    Robbi D. thanked cpartist
  • cpartist

    I'm also confused on corridors? There is one hallway to the master bedroom. Where are these corridors I keep hearing about?

    I think they mean walking paths around the house. I again showed all paths in pink. While they're not actual defined hallways, they are "corridors" to other spaces and rooms in the house.

  • PRO
    Virgil Carter Fine Art

    This plan appears to be an assemblage of rooms pushed together without any central, overall organizing concept. The "pink paths" from CPA demonstrate the random and meandering travel from one space to another. The elevation (I know--it's an elevation and not a perspective) is a wall, dominated by a huge, out of proportion roof mass. Do any of these things bother you?

  • Robbi D.

    We do have room to go to the back of the lot. We can't go any wider. We can also play with the idea of putting 2 bedrooms (the kids) upstairs. Suggestions on what rooms to move and where for a better flow??

  • Architectrunnerguy

    "Suggestions on what rooms to move and where for a better flow??"

    To expand my post of few hours ago, house design isn't like a game of Tetris or that childrens game where we had to get all the numbers in the proper sequence moving blocks around with only one empty space to make that happen.

    But good luck. Exciting times.

  • One Devoted Dame

    Just to clarify my first comment... When I recommended a 1-2 room deep redesign, that totally doesn't mean one long rectangle, necessarily. :-) Think alphabet shapes: L, T, U, C, H, I, or even E.

    Unfortunately, after seeing the elevation, I've gotta stick with my original thoughts. The roof is just so darn big. :-( So sorry. I know that a lot of time and effort was put into the design so far. Starting over is *not* a welcome thought, but I really think it's the best option. :-(

  • PRO
    Virgil Carter Fine Art

    For successful custom home design, one must simultaneously explore and try out concepts for 1) site development; 2) interior organization, and; 3) exterior design. As ARG suggests, above, one simply does not connect a bunch of rooms, plunk them on the land and put a roof over them. Whatever happens in one of the three categories of design impacts the other two categories. Design takes place when an experienced designer works in all three categories at the same time, asking her/himself, "If I do this here, what happens over there...and over there?" It takes some time and a lot of experience to get site, interiors and exteriors into some sort of creative and successful design.

    If you post your site plan, with orientation indicated (which way is north), and the lines of your allowed building envelope, perhaps we can offer some suggestions for improvement.

  • Love stone homes

    Hello lafonda. I have been following your thread and totally understand what you are saying. I was, at one time, in the same exact spot you are right now. If it helps, this is my story http://ths.gardenweb.com/discussions/4449548/the-journey-for-the-plan-has-finally-been-realized-long?n=40

    Robbi D. thanked Love stone homes
  • Robbi D.

    Does this floor plan flow any better? This is putting the kids 2 bedroom and bathrooms upstairs (which I haven't done yet). I wanted to see if this works any better before I went any further. I didn't add anything to the outside like porches or decks. I want to be sure the inside flows better?? It is about 15' narrower with the living room exposed to the back which is the north side of the house (the entrance, or top, is the south side). And we're looking at putting an elevator shaft somewhere, too.

    And here is a top view of about how the house will sit on the lot. We need 15' on each side, 25' from the front and 20' from the back. I was trying to square the front with the street. We are on a corner lot, so the garages exit on a side street.


    Thank you for all your help!

  • bpath Oh Sophie

    Would visitors usually park on the street and come to your front door?

  • cpartist

    My house is on a corner lot too. Wouldn't you want to utilize both sides? I have an entry on both sides. My front entry and then a friend's entry at the garage side with parking for four additional cars. This on a small 9000 square lot.

    As you have it now, where will guests park?

    And as the architects have suggested (Architectrunnerguy and Virgil), you can't just move rooms around and get a well designed house. It needs to be a wholistic process where the interior, exterior and your lot all work together.

  • PRO
    Mark Bischak, Architect

    What if . . . you took a list of all your wants and needs in a house, a survey of your site, and a panoramic set of images taken from your site to another local architect and had them schematically design a home for you (do not show them your current plan). It may cost a little more, but I think the benefits would outweigh the expense.

    I look at your plan and really don't know where to start. Part of it is I do not like the way the spaces are arranged and part of it is I do not know all your needs or familiar with your site.

  • Architectrunnerguy

    I don't know why, if an architect is involved as you say, you're doing all the heavy lifting. Kinda like the owner of an NFL team hiring a head coach but on game day is on the side lines sending in all the plays to the huddle....a circumstance likely to yield easily predictable results.

  • cpartist

    ^^^ Probably because what the OP is calling an architect, is really a draftsman

  • mrspete

    I agree with the major criticisms here: Maze-like hallways, dark interiors, garage of questionable proportions. No strong positives to this plan.

    The living room is the only one that concerns us that way and why we've put so many windows on the back of the house

    But here's the thing: When you put in all those windows ... then put a covered porch over them, those windows are no longer the sunny, light-bringing features that they could have been.

    We can't make the house any more narrow since that would make it
    longer and would make it impossible to fit on the lot. We're both
    approaching retirement age and I really don't want stairs or a
    multi-level house. So, that is why this is all on one floor.

    How big can you go (in each direction, considering set-backs) on this lot? With a large one-story plan and the demand for an oversized garage, you're asking a great deal of a modest 3/4 acre lot.

    We're about the same age, and I understand your thoughts on stairs; several thoughts:

    - When you build this big on one level, you have to have hallways, but you want hallways that make sense.

    - You could build everything that you and your husband will need on one level ... and put the kids on another level; you don't need to access the kids' level on a daily basis; this will allow you a smaller, more accessible footprint ... and you wouldn't walk past rooms that aren't used daily.
    We will be empty nesters soon, so next to our bedroom seemed
    like the logical place for the laundry.

    This is personal opinion, but I agree with it.

    My kids' requested they not have their bedrooms next to each other
    and my daughter wants a window seat. If she had her way, she'd have a
    master suite!

    If they're paying for it, they can dictate what they want; otherwise, you're driving this bus -- especially given that they aren't going to live in this house long! Focus on what you want long-term. When your kids are older, what will work for you? I'd build the kids' rooms big enough for a queen-sized bed (they will come home with spouses one day, and you want them to sleep comfortably). I think a window seat could be very practical if you build it the size of a twin bed; eventually your adult children and one grandchild could share that room during visits. I'd consider building in two small closets to the sides, as this is less expensive than a bump-out window seat:

    I'd give them choices, but not cart-blanche choices ... for example, I think it'd be fair to tell them, "We have a certain budget for your portion of the house ... given that you can't have everything, which is more important to you: large floor space or a big closet? a window seat or built-in bookcases? ... or have them list the things they'd like to have in order of importance.

    Given that they're only going to be with you a few more years, I would not build them each their own bathrooms. They're very expensive rooms, and you'll still be cleaning /maintaining those rooms after the kids are living elsewhere.

    As for the kids asking for their rooms not to be placed together ... what are they really trying to accomplish with that request? Kids don't know houses, so you have to analyze what they really want.

    I suspect this means they want privacy and don't want to hear one another from their own rooms; as such, I'd place the closets in such a way that they'd act as sound buffers.

    I'm sorry, but the 4 car garage is not an option to change (the man
    of the house has spoken there). We have 4 cars (the kids are just now
    beginning to drive) and will have 4 after they're gone. The utility
    room will be storage for lawnmower, Christmas decor, electrical and
    such.

    This luxury will be extremely expensive to build, and it isn't doing the house any favors: It's driving the roofline to unattractive proportions, and it's robbing your house of natural light. As for Christmas decor, etc., remember that you're going to have a massive attic in that oversized roof space; with all that attic, I'd want to include a permanent set of stairs to access that storage space.

    I'd also argue that you have some double-think going on here: You're saying that you cannot walk up stairs, yet you think you'll be mobile enough to want/need four cars ... and you think you'll still be doing your own yard work. These thoughts don't really reconcile together.

    If you are determined to build four stalls, which I would not do, remember that they don't have to be attached to the house, and they don't have to be in a line.

    Depending upon your topography, you might be able to do two bays down in a basement garage /two bays up level with the house.

    And you could include lifts for items like Christmas storage, which would allow you to store items in that top-hat roof without building so much square footage.


    And if you'd like to call the sewing room a family room, I'm ok with
    that. There isn't anything permanent in that room that won't let it
    later be a family

    Flexible is good, but a family room is typically towards the back of the house in a spot more private than the living room. Also, your best light is at the front of the house, right? I'd want my main living space /great room to have that best light.

    The style goes with the style of the subdivision, which we do like.

    Here's what I see:

    An oversized, hunchback of a roof. You have more roof than you have house. Oversized and lacking in proportion, it lacks elegance.

    I think they mean walking paths around the house. I again showed all
    paths in pink. While they're not actual defined hallways, they are
    "corridors" to other spaces and rooms in the house.

    Yes, visuals are always a positive. Someone else described the hallways as maze-like. In comparison, here's a ranch plan with a strong axis hallway running through the middle -- I picked up this plan quickly as an example, but the point is that the main hallway makes sense and provides straight-line access ... given that you're concerned about aging-in-place, straight lines will work better for you in the future too:


    One more thought on the quiet space... My kids tend to stay in their
    rooms (I think most teens do??) We actually like it when they wander
    out to join us :-) We like the idea of a central living room hub

    No, mine didn't stay in their rooms. They were almost always out in the family space, and now that my oldest is married, she and her husband are over for dinner 1-2Xs a week. If you want them out of their rooms, don't over-build them /don't make them as comfortable as the main family space and don't allow electronics in their rooms.

    Electronics are becoming more and more difficult for parents. When my kids were teens, our rule was that all phones were on the kitchen counter after 9:00. I hear my students talk about sleeping with their phones and waking multiple times per night when friends text them -- this is so unhealthy. Today you have even more electronics with which to deal. If you don't plan, they will rule your kids' lives.

    Would visitors usually park on the street and come to your front door?

    You need a plan for visitors to approach your house, part, and walk to the front door ... you want your visitors to have a view of the front door at all times; it's uncomfortable for guests to lose sight of their goal while they're parking /entering the house.

    Consider, too, backing out of your garage ... you need a "back up space":


    Robbi D. thanked mrspete
  • Robbi D.

    I really have enjoyed working with this software, so I'm sorry I'm driving you guys crazy trying to figure out how to make this work.


  • Architectrunnerguy


    The problem is a computer program will not provide one with creativity. That will only come from one's head.

    JK Rowling didn't write what she did because she went out one day and bought a hot shot state of the art word processing program at Office Depot. Her creativity, all of it, came out of her head. Computer programs can allow a greater testing of that creativity of course as JK had it much easier testing and editing of words and phrasing than say Hemingway on his manual typewriter but the one thing they both had in common was ALL of their creativity came out of their brains, not from some motherboard or a Royal manual typewriter.

  • Robbi D.

    I totally understand what you're saying. I'm a quilter. I work with creativity all the time.

    Maybe I'm not asking the right question? I've looked at so many house plans, my eyes have crossed. I'm sure there are many out there that aren't good, but many that are. Even if I hire the "correct" architect, how am I going to know that he's made a design any better than what I've done. I don't know what makes a good design. Is there a list or some criteria that makes it a good plan????

  • Architectrunnerguy

    Is there a list or some criteria that makes it a good plan????

    That's an intangible thing but here's a homework assignment...

    A coupla great threads....

    http://ths.gardenweb.com/discussions/3285825/what-makes-a-house-have-good-design?n=39

    http://ths.gardenweb.com/discussions/4106638/designing-a-custom-home

    And a list of great books...

    http://ths.gardenweb.com/discussions/3281434/book-suggestions?n=10

    Read up....test on Wednesday...

    Robbi D. thanked Architectrunnerguy
  • Love stone homes

    Arg Read up....test on Wednesday...love your humour.

    Lafonda...said..."how Am I going to know that he's made a design better than what I've done?" Excellent, excellent question. It's the same one I asked over a year ago. I was very skeptical and had many doubts and fears. I too heard horror stories about wasting huge amounts of hard earned $$$$. Someone else on this forum encouraged me to make contact with one of the architects on this forum. So, now I am passing on this wise advice. I encourage you to contact some of the architects on this forum.( This can be done via their private message. )You might be pleasantly surprised about how much more info you may receive. Or about what they may be able to do for you. After all, what do you have to lose?You are also welcome to send me a private message.

    Robbi D. thanked Love stone homes
  • Robbi D.

    My better half has been out of town on business most of this month. He'll be back very late tonight, so we will go over all your much appreciated comments and suggestions. It's a lot to digest and learn, but this is a big expense and we want to get it right. I really do appreciate all the comments and suggestions (and I love the humor, too!!!) :-)

  • Architectrunnerguy

    Wait a minute.....all you guys didn't have to pass a test to participate here like I did?

  • PRO
    Virgil Carter Fine Art

    "...Even if I hire the "correct" architect, how am I going to know that he's made a design any better than what I've done..."

    Well...chances are the design will be much better, but chances are you won't know why. That's simply because you don't have the experience.

    If you're a quilter, and you've been at it a while (say a minimum of 20 years), what would you say to someone who wants to be a quilter and just bought some material for the first time :-) ?

    The good news is that there's lots of folks here who have gone through what you are now attempting. Lots of good comments in this thread.

  • mrspete

    Take a look at something with all the spaces you're considering in a more consolidated, better laid out design with a proportional roof:

    https://www.thehousedesigners.com/plan/southborough-cottage-house-plan-5558/

    Make a couple changes -- note image below:

    - Pull the (green) great room out so it receives natural light ... put in a single French door between the great room and the covered porch (purple), which is now more square /less rectangle ... better for setting up an outdoor seating area, and it doesn't block your light. With this in mind, I would add windows to the SIDE of the kids' rooms. I'd then add a patio, which could be accessed from the screen porch, the great room, or the master bedroom.

    - Re-do the master bath (red) and master closet (blue) so that the bath receives natural light. You could also have a door connecting the closet and the laundry -- so convenient. I'd probably make the laundry /closet a bit deeper to allow for a folding cabinet opposite the machines.

    - Add your second garage (yellow) to the side ... the yellow garage would be slightly larger than the existing one. (I actually wouldn't do this, but you say it's a must.)

    - The breakfast area isn't 'specially spacious, but you could easily stretch your table out into the great room when you have a big group.

    - With the hall bath available for guests, I'd make the half-bath into a lovely little desk spot ... so convenient off the kitchen. Or a pantry.

    - It's not perfect, but it still gives you your craft space in the area that's now a dining room ... or you could use one of the kids' bedrooms as your craft space and put the other kid in the upstairs bonus room. Note that the flow works better: the hallways aren't long and twisty-turny.

    Robbi D. thanked mrspete
  • bpath Oh Sophie

    I am totally not getting the maze-like halls description. Even after following the pink trails, I see three distinct suites, each with its own path within that is not that different from any other plans, and each with a pretty direct route to the central part of the house, and the mudroom. The plan just above, on the other hand, forces people to walk from the garage directly through the dining room or the working part of the kitchen, to get anywhere else. I don't see that as an improvement.

    And, just an aside on using software to design: DS plans to study music composition. At each college visit, someone asked why kind of software they recommend, Sibelius for example. The answer was: pencil and staff paper. Collective moan from the students.

    Robbi D. thanked bpath Oh Sophie
  • Robbi D.

    mrspete, I appreciate all the time you've put in this post, but there are so many things that won't work in this layout for us as a family. For me in particular, the dining room/craft room wouldn't even hold my long arm (it's 13'x6') and I'd like that room on the back of the house. I am laughing, because that's where it currently is in our rental house! It's the first thing your see when you enter the house. It does make for great conversation!

  • Amy79

    I'm going to try to post a picture of my kitchen (really my husband's) to show how overhangs/porches impact your light levels. My house is mostly only 2 rooms deep.

    The kitchen has a window facing South, no leaves on the trees yet (so it's even darker in the summer), but the front porch is about 4 ft deep. Today is a completely sunny day.

    I'm not even sure this is completely color accurate. And there's a light on over the stove (to the left of photo).

    Robbi D. thanked Amy79
  • PRO
    Mark Bischak, Architect

    Hire the architect (my 'what if . . . " scenario), then post their design with yours in a new Houzz Forum and everyone can let you know what they think is the better design and why.

    Robbi D. thanked Mark Bischak, Architect
  • rockybird

    The good thing about hiring an architect is he will know things that you aren't even aware of. And if you dont like something, tell him/her. It's their job to design a house that you like. Also, you wont be stepping away from the design. You will be involved with him on the design.


  • Robbi D.

    I'm working on my "wish list" to read better without a drawing attached to it. When my better half and I can review the list (probably tomorrow?), I'll see about another architect.

  • PRO
    Mark Bischak, Architect

    If your husband has been out of town for some time, put the house on the back burner until you are both ready.

    Robbi D. thanked Mark Bischak, Architect
  • cpartist

    Ideally you should find an architect that will work with you and listen to you. However that doesn't mean someone who you need to hand them your layout and they tweak it. That's not an architect. That's a draftsman.

    Robbi D. thanked cpartist

Need help with an existing Houzz order? Call 1-800-368-4268