Going against the grain...two story family room vs 10' ceiling.

December 6, 2017

My wife and I (as some of you know) are in the early stages of planning a new home build. In talking with a few designers (not licensed architects...yet :) , we've struggled to find the right solution to an otherwise seemingly simple problem. We want three bedrooms on the second floor, with a guest bedroom on the main floor that can be turned into a master down the road.

As she and I sketched ideas out, it's apparent that the two story family room we had always both assumed we would incorporate, is causing the layout on the second floor to seem quite odd. Every solution seems to add unnecessary square footage, and odd hallway space.

I know it would be much simpler to just do a normal (or even a 10') ceiling height in the family room, and run with the second floor, but part of me wonders if I would be happy.

Why the desire for the two story great room? We will have really great views, and a southern exposure to allow a lot of natural light to spill in. I felt that we could really take advantage of these to things in the main living spaces (open concept) with a two story family room at the heart of it all.

I'm concerned about energy efficiency (including heat dispersal/cold spots), as well as sound deadening, both of which can be challenging in a two story family room.

So, what is the consensus on two story family rooms? Is it a 90s/early 2000's trend? Or can it be practical?

Curious to hear your thoughts.

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