lshack17

Critique My Parents Possible Retirement Home Please

lshack17
2 years ago
My mother sent me this possible floorplan for the retirement home they plan to build. Thought I would put it out for any thoughts or critiques. The green shaded areas are upgrades they will add, side load garage, front porch, tray ceiling in the dining room, large retracting slider wall/door to the lanai. They will also do a pool.

They are downsizing from almost 4500 sq ft New England colonial and want to downsize some and obviously go to one story. This home is 3100 sq ft.

Things my parents like:

Front porch
Side load 3 car garage. Dad has lots of handyman projects always going on
Large open great room
400 sq ft lanai, perfect for a pool.
3 full baths, kids and grandchildren will be visiting and my parents like the 3 separate bedroom areas so everyone has space.
Large island, we are definitely a family who loves to cook together
Convenient pool bath access to the lanai
Wet bar across from the dining room
Great closet space
10 ft ceilings

They are looking at spending more money on a good size lot with some acreage which is why they are not doing a custom home. They feel this is a good value and plan for a production builder. Let me know what your thoughts are. I am asking for my mother because she is not the best with technology and probably has no idea that this type of forum exists. Thanks!

Comments (100)

  • lshack17
    Original Author
    2 years ago
    Thanks Kristin!
  • suezbell
    2 years ago
    last modified: 2 years ago

    This is definitely not my idea of "downsizing".

    Considering its location, that "dining room" is really a "bonus" room -- yet another bedroom.

    You might ask your parents if they would be open to investing in a larger/wider/deeper lot and separating their guest space from their own private space by putting all the guest bedrooms and baths and any bonus rooms upstairs over both their more practical retirement living space and their garage, connected to the main house by a sun room.

    Two people living alone for most of the year would likely be comfortable with the equivalent of two master bedroom suites on their main level with all other family/guest bedrooms would be upstairs -- a guest area that could be closed off fully from the main living area's heat/ac when not occupied.

    The two bedrooms in the main living area could have their windows on the front exterior wall of the home, each with two large walk in closets between the bedroom and a bath and a half. One of these baths+ could open into to a mudroom/laundry room that serves as a rear entry to the home; the other could open into a back hallway (with floor to ceiling pantry cabinets) that would serve as the hallway to the sunroom. These two "powder rooms" attached to the full baths (but separated by a connecting door) could then be designated his/hers when the house is full of guests.

    The kitchen/dining part of the great room would be against the back exterior wall and the living room and front entry (which could be closed off from the rest of the house with French doors) could be against the front wall of the house.

    The bathrooms sounds and smells would be well away from the living room and not actually even opening into either the kitchen or dining room.

    Family/guests upstairs would also have a level of privacy and could have their own two full baths opening to a hallway, also designated his/hers when the house if full of people.

    With interior French doors, trusted visiting family members could each be given a key to the outer doors so they might come and go to their upstairs bedrooms as they please even while the inner doors are locked for the night and not disturb your parents.

    Read somewhere that in most places upstairs bedrooms within a roof (rather than as traditional second story) tax less than a two story home. If true where your parents want to build, then the house could be constructed as a traditional two story with a 4/12 roofline and then, over front and back porches extending the full length of the primary residence and sunroom and over the third, front garage could be the steeper roofs of a barn style roof.

    http://www.adrianarchitecture.org/glossary/

    http://www.livintotal.com/gambrel-roof-house-plans#

    or just a standard steeper roof (yielding less upstairs space).

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  • suezbell
    2 years ago

    If/when your parents ever need a walker or wheelchair, having the toilet in a separate nook is NOT convenient.

  • Agnes
    2 years ago
    As an aging couple going into retirement, I would urge you to think hard about universal design. Really take the time to imagine a space and its function/flow on a daily basis and then imagine being in a wheelchair or have a walker to do the same things.

    Life happens and it is so much better if you plan for the what ifs. Our parents purchased a house that was supposedly accessible, yes there was a 36" door to the powder room but you would never get a wheelchair in there let alone a helper and no grab bars anywhere. The showers were inaccessible and the flow from room to room difficult to maneuver for the helper let alone by herself in a wheelchair. It was a nightmare when she broke her leg and needed a wheelchair for 6 months.

    These are things we don't like to think of however if they are building for their retirement years, you really need to consider all that. Thought this might be a good read for your mom and you as their new house is around the same square footage : https://abilitymagazine.com/past/brianW/udhome.html. Good luck and keep looking. I think they can do much better. A little more time and research will be well appreciated in their future.
  • cpartist
    2 years ago

    That's why they were going to use a "builder basic" plan.(There's got to be a kindler, gentler way to say that , FYI) From the research they have done, custom build was too much for the boat, pool, ect. I appreciate the help and so do they. I have forwarded this thread to my mother already.

    Actually once you start adding up all the extras, a custom house may cost the same as one that is a builder's basic but the difference is the things that matter most, might be cheaper in the builder's basic house.

    True story. My friend who just built a 2000 square foot house downtown, and myself went to visit the Parade of Homes back in March.

    One of the last houses we went to was in a new development out east where houses were starting in the $200's. The layout of what your Mom is looking at is actually very similar to the house we looked at. (And trust me it was dark). The house was about 2400 square feet, so a bit smaller than what your Mom is looking for.

    The base house was something like $279,000. However the model was well over double that cost because of the "extras" that were added. I think the model wound up costing something like $710,000 when all was said and done. Extras like level 1 granite. Extra's like an appliance package that was better than the standard Amana base package. (I believe it was KA appliances) Extra's like adding gas to the house. Extra's like crown molding and molding that was better than clam shell molding. Extra's like pavers instead of concrete. Extra's like tile or LVP instead of carpet. Extras like shelving put into the closets. Extra's like finishing off the "bonus" space. Basically every single thing was an extra.

    What wasn't in the house were quality windows. They rattled which is not a good thing in FL. The AC system was the bare minimum for code (14 SEER) and wasn't a zoned unit. The interior doors were hollow core. (read cheap) The roof tile was basic composite roof tile which here in FL is not the best choice because of heat retention. (Better to have concrete tile or metal roofs) I could go on and on but you get the point.

    Land prices out where we looked were approximately $50,000 for the lot so the house cost about $660,000 to build.

    Well it turns out my friend's house cost her somewhere between $680-$690,000 to build. Her house is just under 2100 square feet. Yes it's smaller, but she worked with a local architect to create a house that worked for her and in reality her house lives larger than the poorly laid out model we saw.

    Additionally, my friend has higher end appliances, LG fridge and washer/dryer (Did I say the washer/dryer didn't come in the model we saw?), a Wolf gas cooktop, KA ovens and a Bosch DW.

    Her house has 3 zoned AC and with a higher SEER. She has expensive porcelain tile throughout. Her windows are PGT windows and doors which are a higher quality than the windows we saw. All her interior doors are solid and not hollow core. While she doesn't have crown molding (her house is contemporary) her base molding is a 1 x 8 molding that works with her 12' ceilings. Her closets are finished with custom shelving units. Her lanai is finished with custom tile and not concrete.

    My point being my friend got a better designed and better built house that lives larger, even though it is 400 square feet smaller than the one we saw. The house was designed to best take advantage of her lot whereas the model we saw was just plopped down without regard to light, etc. And the difference was $20,000-$30,000 but with the appliances and finishes she wanted.

  • cpartist
    2 years ago

    While it's certainly worth asking questions about whether the OP's parents have thought through all the implications of a house this size, without knowing their life we have no way of knowing if they will use it regularly.

    Exactly. My parents when in their early 50's bought a house on 2 acres for their retirement and lived comfortably there until Mom passed away at 84 from Parkinson's. The house worked because it was a one story and had lots of ADA accommodations, although she could have used a walk in shower!

    Their house was almost 4000 square feet and they loved and used most of it. Up until the last few years Mom would have Sunday dinner so the kitchen and formal dining room were always used.

    Dad had his own room for watching tv and puttering. Mom had her "office" off the laundry area where she wrote.

    There was a large den that was also the entry from the garage and that's where Mom went to watch TV at night and where we occasionally gathered to watch a movie with grandma.

    The living room was where Mom loved to sit and read and of course it was used to entertain.

    One bedroom was a guest room that was rarely used and the other guest room was actually Mom's exercise room. Then they had a large master suite, each with their own walk in closet, and a dressing area.

    Did they need all that space. Nope but they did enjoy entertaining there (my sister's wedding was held there as well as numerous parties) and the house lived well. It also fit their neighborhood. They could afford to hire help and Mom had her housekeeper come in to clean weekly and in later years her aide.


  • auntthelma
    2 years ago
    last modified: 2 years ago

    I love it!

    I happen to like a house that is flexible and this one is. Small when you want small, but able to expand.

    I love that the secondary bedrooms are insulated from the great room.

    I love that the den can convert to a guest room if needed.

    I love the bathroom access to the outdoors. Sooooo convenient. And smart.

    I love that the master is right there by the living room and kitchen. When they are alone, that is a nice, small, manageable apartment.

    I LOVE the laundry room right by the kitchen. I have that. I wish I could say I designed it that way, but I didn't. It came with the house. I spend my day in the kitchen/family room and I always know when the wash cycle is ended. It's very convenient.

    The dining room is NOT too far away. My parents' house had a dining room around the corner from the kitchen. It's not like it's in another building.

    I love that there are two walls on which you can put the TV and entertainment stuff. Sometimes, in an open plan, there's no thought to where to put the TV.

    I love that there is plenty of storage!!!! And I love the extra space by the two back bedrooms. You can have a toy box there with all the grandkids' favorite things that are out of the main, adult, everyday great room. OR - you can have a TV there for video games or a table for coloring.

    The only thing I'd change is the toilet room in the master bath. Consider making the master bath ADA compliant so that, if there is a walker or a wheelchair in their future, they are already set up for comfort.

    I'd move into this home without a care. Looks very well organized for a couple that is sometimes a big family.

  • chicagoans
    2 years ago

    I'm curious about how they picked this plan. Based on what you describe, a U or modified U shaped house would seem to lend itself better to what they need and want - bright rooms, a wing for guest BRs, access to a pool nestled in the middle. The garage could be a leg of the U perhaps.

  • typeandrun
    2 years ago

    No doors on master walk in closets, hallway will look like dark tunnel. I would also take off door to master bathroom as well, you have a door to toilet room.

  • PRO
    Virgil Carter Fine Art
    2 years ago

    Does this seem rather large and maintenance prone for a retired couple...?

  • auntthelma
    2 years ago

    Virgil, they want to be able to sleep the whole family when they visit. I get it. We have the family home where we always gather for holidays. When parents downsize, where does the party move to? These people want to downsize and still be the party/holiday house.

  • lshack17
    Original Author
    2 years ago
    auntthelma: Thanks for the positivity and kind words. I actually just went through your list with my mother and the things you pointed out as positive she agreed with too. For example, many people said it was poor design to have the Master next to the kitchen and there was no privacy. My mother likes being able to wake up and be right in the kitchen and doesn't care if it's visible. Laundry room also is so close to the Master and kitchen to put away or put in dryer if she' s cooking.

    I think you are right about the Master bath, definitely could be improved to prepare for the later years and accessibility.

    Thanks again! :)
  • RaiKai
    2 years ago
    last modified: 2 years ago

    @aunthelma - I like your enthusiasm and positivity. It can be refreshing on this site where builders plans are often snubbed (I have a builders plan and am perfectly happy with it, so it can be hard not to take it to heart at times!). There are comments I made on the plan posted, but I also recognize there are budgets involved here, competing priorities, as well as perhaps being tied to a certain builder, lot already, etc. I for example chose a rather basic modified “builders plan” (though a builder with high standard finishes) as my priority is in money to travel and so forth versus entertaining at home, etc, and things others may not like are things I do.

  • lshack17
    Original Author
    2 years ago
    cp: Thanks for the real life scenario, definitely something to consider. Bottom line is, my parents will do more research and may go the custom route . Adding up the upgrades for a production home vs what is standard for custom is what they need to work out. My mother still loves this house, and it is still a possibility. Will update later after more research and comparisons are done. Thanks again and good luck with your build!
  • cpartist
    2 years ago


    I happen to like a house that is flexible and this one is. Small when you want small, but able to expand.

    Agreed that a house that is flexible is the best. However this one is more a series of closed off rooms than true flexibility. All my rooms do double duty and every single room in my house has windows on at least 2 walls.

    I love that the secondary bedrooms are insulated from the great room.

    Always a good thing but rooms insulated from the great room doesn't mean they have to create a great room with little natural light. It can be done as someone else suggest by creating an H, T or U shaped house or by moving those rooms upstairs. That would create a separate zone that could be closed off when not in use.

    I love that the den can convert to a guest room if needed.

    Again, a good thing but the overall layout could be better. Especially if they want land. This house is more suited to a narrow city lot on 6000 square feet versus the 2 acres they want.

    I love the bathroom access to the outdoors. Sooooo convenient. And smart.

    Again nothing unusual about that. I have that in my house and yet my house isn't dark on the interior. And my house is 2870 square feet on a narrow 9100 square foot lot. It can be done and done well.

    I love that the master is right there by the living room and kitchen. When they are alone, that is a nice, small, manageable apartment.

    Agreed but once again, you can create a master by the living room and kitchen and still have it so that you're not looking directly into the bedroom. Good design takes all that into account.

    I LOVE the laundry room right by the kitchen. I have that. I wish I could say I designed it that way, but I didn't. It came with the house. I spend my day in the kitchen/family room and I always know when the wash cycle is ended. It's very convenient.

    The problem is where it's located will not allow for the dryer vent to vent to the outside. Yes they can get a condensing dryer, but having one in our rental in NY, I do not recommend it. Everything that needs to be dried takes 3x as long.

    The dining room is NOT too far away. My parents' house had a dining room around the corner from the kitchen. It's not like it's in another building.

    It is too far when the parents start to age and need to bring food to the dining room. My mother's was right across the hall from her kitchen and it was fine when she was in her 50's and 60's but got considerably harder as she aged.

    And is that where they're going to eat every night? If not, then that means they're cutting into their living room space to create another dining area.

    I love that there are two walls on which you can put the TV and entertainment stuff. Sometimes, in an open plan, there's no thought to where to put the TV.

    One doesn't need an open plan to create a house with good design. Some people prefer an open plan and others prefer a more closed plan. A good architect can design either/or depending on the needs of the people involved.

    I love that there is plenty of storage!!!!

    As others have noted, there really isn't as much storage as thought especially if this is in FL without basements.

    And I love the extra space by the two back bedrooms. You can have a toy box there with all the grandkids' favorite things that are out of the main, adult, everyday great room. OR - you can have a TV there for video games or a table for coloring.

    So relegate the kids to a dark hallway with no natural light? Now that's inviting.

    The only thing I'd change is the toilet room in the master bath. Consider making the master bath ADA compliant so that, if there is a walker or a wheelchair in their future, they are already set up for comfort.

    Honestly that's one of the few things that doesn't bother me personally because that wall can easily be taken down if either parent ever needs it to be more accessible. I have a toilet closet in my bathroom but designed it so I could easily take down the wall if needed.

    I like your enthusiasm and positivity. It can be refreshing on this site where builders plans are often snubbed (I have a builders plan and am perfectly happy with it, so it can be hard not to take it to heart at times!)

    Believe it or not, there are lots of quality builder's plans and quality internet plans. However this is not one of them.


  • RaiKai
    2 years ago

    lshack17 there is no standard for custom as it is whatever you choose. Different production builders though will have different basic standards as finishes. We chose our builder in large part as their basic standards were much higher than competing local production builders (ie much higher level of granite or quartz in all baths, etc). Nothing super fancy - basic cabs are MDF not wood for example but I wanted MDF so for me that is okay. Your parents really need to review the builders standard specifications and decide if they work or if they need to factor in allowances for upgrades.

  • cpartist
    2 years ago

    cp: Thanks for the real life scenario, definitely something to consider. Bottom line is, my parents will do more research and may go the custom route . Adding up the upgrades for a production home vs what is standard for custom is what they need to work out. My mother still loves this house, and it is still a possibility. Will update later after more research and comparisons are done. Thanks again and good luck with your build!

    Ishack, here's hoping your parents get everything they want and need and have lots and lots of years to enjoy the fruits of their labor in their new home.

    I will say we used to love coming to my parents house on Sundays for dinner and for holidays and my Mom was always in her glory. My sisters and I would help Mom in the kitchen. The husbands and kids would be playing on the gym set out back, or driving those motorized kids cars or just running amuck when they were young. My kids have wonderful memories of dinners with Grandma and Papa and all the tumult in the house.

    I miss those days.

  • swrite
    2 years ago
    last modified: 2 years ago

    Lshack, sprite weighing in here again. ;) Ah, totally understand cats who can defy physics, scale walls & inexplicably get to the most out of the way places. Haven’t read through all the comments (stand strong & hang in there, not all of us are overly judgmental about others’ retirement home choices), but yeah, pocket doors might be a better option in that case for closing off each side of the closet. Mine has light switches on those little walls, so they’d need to plan for that in advance setting up their electrical. Also forgot to mention we put in a transom window above the doors that we added between the bathroom & closet. Helps let some additional light in there. Just wanted to send some extra positive vibes & support your way. Your parents' ideas for their setting sound like a lot of fun & not all old people are sitting around w/ oxygen tanks or walkers. Know plenty of active older types who could run circles around people a half to a third of their age! So enjoy it all while they can, big space or small. :)

  • chiflipper
    2 years ago

    Ishack17....Ask the builder for the "as built price" for the model your Mom loves (that's the price that includes all the "extras" shown). Be prepared for extreme sticker shock.

  • lshack17
    Original Author
    2 years ago
    Rai Kai: Your production builder sounds similar to the one my parents are thinking of using. They felt the standard was higher than others, example is quartz just as you said. Thanks for the positivity!
  • lshack17
    Original Author
    2 years ago
    SPRITE: :) Thanks for the positive vibes! Yes, my parents are thankfully still in great health and have made a promise to the family to finally retire. My Dad has worked since he was 15 almost nonstop to give my mother and his kids a great life. My husband and I will help any way we can and are excited they can start a new chapter with more family time and fun. These are the years you can never get back so we all want to make the most of it.
  • lshack17
    Original Author
    2 years ago
    auntthelma: I hear you on that! :)
  • tqtqtbw
    2 years ago

    I wanted to add my voice to those concerned about the size of the toilet closet areas. Make sure at least one bathroom on the bottom floor has room for the user and an aide. We have had family members' health decline quickly and being the aide in a too small space has caused multiple real problems. (Several times a day.)

  • lshack17
    Original Author
    2 years ago
    cpartist: I was actually trying to wrap up the thread. I thankfully received a lot of valuable feedback and advice. Now is the time for more research and decisions. To go line by line and argue auntthelma's opinions seems unnecessarily argumentative . I get that you hate the plan but not everyone does. What is important to you is not important to everyone. Just something to think about when offering advice and how it is perceived. Thank you again for having my parent's best interest as your focus.
  • PRO
    Virgil Carter Fine Art
    2 years ago

    Perhaps the most important perspective for the design of homes for older empty nesters is not to look back at how the family used to live, but rather to look ahead for the next 5-10 years and anticipate the medical issues which, sooner or later, impact us all.

    This means universal design, and a home of a size which is livable and maintainable by aging adults in various health and mobility conditions.

    This design is not one of those.

    I'll guess that at least 50% of this house will never be used on a regular, daily or weekly basis, but housecleaners will be needed regularly simply to maintain the house.

    Good luck for this project...

  • dchall_san_antonio
    2 years ago

    I think it is hilarious how you don't see what's going on here. And you don't seem to see yourself being defensive about it. You even defended being defensive right before you returned to being defensive. If you really want people to participate with their thoughts, you shouldn't snap at them when they don't share your opinion. Clearly not everyone hates this plan. Your mother doesn't hate it, and neither does aunthelma. So, there! See? Not everyone hates it. These comments are so negative that now you are seeing the off topic ones as being positive.

    Also, 15 yard penalty for withholding information. You didn't mention the reason for the 10 foot ceilings or the fact that they are also building an outdoor kitchen. Do they already have an outdoor kitchen that they use? I ask because I'm in the appraisal business and see a lot of houses with outdoor kitchens. By and large they are filthy with dust from disuse. Even the outdoor brick barbecues don't seem to get as much use as the portable roll around barbecues.

    It might have helped, too, if you had mentioned up front that money was no object. You used the word, value, up front which gives an impression that cost was a concern. Now it has become obvious that cost is not a factor in this home. With that in mind I'll try to be more constructive...

    The pool access bathroom to the house is not safe. You need to have a lockable, solid, door somewhere that keeps intruders out. Ask me how I know that 8-(

    If you flip the washer/dryer to the other wall, you can vent the dryer into the garage without a Herculean effort redesigning that system.

    One linen shelf for four bedrooms and three bathrooms is not enough. We had to remodel to add 48 linear feet of shelving for the unused towels, sheets, pillows, and blankets. Could the closet inside the roomlet by bedrooms 2/3 be for linens? That is still small. I guess I would make that closet run all the way down that wall. In my opinion each bathroom should be sized to store its own extra towels and associated sheets for the attached bedrooms. That way you don't have to walk all the way through the house to find out you forgot a pillow case.

    Someone else mentioned the 425 square foot size of the great room. I suggest drawing that out on quad paper and cut out some furniture sized pieces. Then place the furniture where it makes sense to see if 425 is large, small, or just right. We took a 100 square foot chunk out of our 2-car-garage sized bedroom to build a closet. We still have enough room for a sofa and chairs in there. Looking at what you have, I would move the big wall toward the great room to make the MBR larger and the great room smaller. I would leave the entry door where it is which makes a 3-4 foot 'hallway' into the MBR. That gives less of an impression of looking right into the private area of the bedroom. Also how is the great room 25'4" by 7'9" and the MBR is 13'11" by 21'2"?? They share a wall, so one of the dimensions has to be identical for each room.

    If I had to have a wet bar, I would put it on the back of the island in the great room. Then that wet bar area becomes the coat closet which is sorely missing. This house is near the coast or by a lake. I lived at the beach in Southern California and had to wear a windbreaker or sweater every day of the year. It's nice to take that off at the door.

    I like the 10' depth of the back porch. 8' is a minimum in my opinion and 12' is nice to have.

    I would change the closet doors in BR 2/3 to a double swinging door on each one. They should open out into the room and not into the closet space like the double swinging doors in BR4.

    Den/Flex would be my media room. It's far enough away that the loud TV would not bother the MBR. Of course that room needs a real door in that case. We don't have TVs in the main living part of our house (although we have a small one in the kitchen). The big screen is in another room. If weather is not a horrible factor they could put a TV on the back porch wall by the bathroom.

    The faucet in the shower in bathroom 3 is all the way at the end of the wall. So you have to stand under the cold water while it's heating up. Wait a minute, the water heater is only 4 inches away, so nevermind. But I see they took care of that in the MBR bath. Faucet valves can be moved around - they don't have to be directly under the shower head.

  • cpartist
    2 years ago
    last modified: 2 years ago

    cpartist: I was actually trying to wrap up the thread. I thankfully received a lot of valuable feedback and advice. Now is the time for more research and decisions. To go line by line and argue auntthelma's opinions seems unnecessarily argumentative

    Actually I did it not only for you at this point but also for those lurkers who may be reading this thread. You and the lurkers may agree or disagree, but I wanted to give another view showing that there is more than one way to get all the things that AuntThelma felt was a positive in the house.


  • Mrs Pete
    2 years ago
    last modified: 2 years ago

    Virgil, they want to be able to sleep the whole family when they visit. I get it. We have the family home where we always gather for holidays. When parents downsize, where does the party move to? These people want to downsize and still be the party/holiday house.

    I understand this, but it can be accomplished in a better way. Ideas:

    - I know the OP says her parents are dead-set on a one-story house, but I also think they're still very much in the initial planning phases, and ideas change during that phase. I'd vote for everything they need for themselves on a daily basis on the first floor -- and a comfortable upstairs for the guests. This would allow them to "close off" the guest space when no one's using it /avoid heating all that space. It would also give the guests privacy.

    - The rooms can be arranged to do double-duty. For example, a pull-out sofa or a Murphy bed in a den could work wonderfully well.

    - They could build the house they actually need -- perhaps with a master bedroom plus one guest room for when grandchildren stay over without parents -- and build a pool house out back with sleeping space for guests.Again, it could be closed off and it would afford everyone more privacy.

    - Instead of three full-fledged guest rooms, the parents could build one nice big guest room plus a big bunk room that could sleep a crowd.

    I wanted to add my voice to those concerned about the size of the toilet closet areas. Make sure at least one bathroom on the bottom floor has room for the user and an aide. We have had family members' health decline quickly and being the aide in a too small space has caused multiple real problems. (Several times a day.)

    Yes, anyone who's building a retirement house needs to pay close attention to (not just toilets) the bathrooms. I've read that inability to use the bathroom facilities is one of the first things /biggest reasons people are forced to leave their homes -- so this topic deserves plenty of attention.

    You can bring in house cleaners, yard workers, or someone to do your laundry -- but you're going to need to be able to access your bathroom on your own, if you're going to live in that house.

    Perhaps the most important perspective for the design of homes for older empty nesters is not to look back at how the family used to live, but rather to look ahead for the next 5-10 years and anticipate the medical issues which, sooner or later, impact us all.

    Yeah, the #1 thing that gave my grandmother trouble in her later years was changes in flooring. The bump between carpet in the den and linoleum in the kitchen would throw her. She could go through standard sized doors /hallways just fine, but the 5-6" step over the shower threshold was a real challenge for her. She could come/go fairly easily through her garage entrance because it had only one step and she had perfectly-placed grab bars. The list could go on, and these topics deserve real attention in any house intended for retirement years.

    Also, 15 yard penalty for withholding information.

    I'm iffy on that. It's hard to squeeze everything in to your initial questioning post ... without making it so long that no one wants to read it. Still, you're not completely wrong.

    It might have helped, too, if you had mentioned up front that money was no object.

    But cost was mentioned as an object. The OP said her parents wish to go with a stock plan so that they can put the bulk of their money into the pool, boat, etc.

    As for budgets, I'm allowed to have whatever I want -- my husband has made me wait long enough, so he had to agree to that. Still, I insist upon everything being a good value -- a good bang for the buck. Just because I have money doesn't mean I'm willing to spend it on more-more-more that may not add to the usefulness /enjoyment of the house.

    If you flip the washer/dryer to the other wall, you can vent the dryer into the garage without a Herculean effort redesigning that system.

    That sounds do-able ... it'd involve moving the door a few feet, but that doesn't seem difficult. Another idea for the laundry: Include an empy spot under the counter that can hold a laundry basket -- one of the laundry baskets they use at laundry mats. The master closet isn't terribly far from the laundry, but such a basket could be very useful.

    I know that once my grandmother started using a walker, she was perfectly capable of washing her own clothes, but moving them up and down the hall was a problem. She could push a shopping cart at the store /used it in lieu of her walker at the store, so I think such a thing would've been great for her.

    One linen shelf for four bedrooms and three bathrooms is not enough.

    Agree, but since these are guest rooms, I'd say store the bed linens in the bedroom closets.

    The faucet in the shower in bathroom 3 is all the way at the end of the wall. So you have to stand under the cold water while it's heating up. Wait a minute, the water heater is only 4 inches away, so nevermind. But I see they took care of that in the MBR bath. Faucet valves can be moved around - they don't have to be directly under the shower head.

    Yes. small things like that matter so much in the long run.

  • pink_peony
    2 years ago

    - “Instead of three full-fledged guest rooms, the parents could build one nice big guest room plus a big bunk room that could sleep a crowd. “

    As adults who wants to sleep in a dormitory style bunk room with a bunch of other adults and or kids?

    i come from a large family with multiple siblings. Ideally each sibling and their spouse get a bedroom and either that room has trundles for their kids so one family is contained in one room or there is one room for all the kids to share.

    At a certain age sharing a room with other adults isn’t fun.

  • lmckuin
    2 years ago

    I think the dining room is in a terrible location. Do they definitely need 4 bedrooms? I would put the master suite where Bedrooms 2 & 3 are and put 2 bedrooms (and guest bath) somewhere in the front of the house (where dining and flex rooms are?). Put a nice office/ sitting room where Bedroom 4 is. I would put the dining room where the current master bedroom is. And maybe a flexible playroom where the master bath is now. The prime location for this house is along the back so I wouldn't waste it with a guest room that won't get used much - much better to have the dining room open to the lanai.

  • auntthelma
    2 years ago

    lmckuin - love your ideas. It moves the whole 'apartment for two' to the back of the house and the whole 'guest house for visitors' to the front. Much more organized. And better privacy for the master bedroom.

  • miss lindsey (She/Her)
    2 years ago

    "At a certain age sharing a room with other adults isn’t fun."

    I would say in my experience that age hits whenever there is a spouse in the room.

  • miss lindsey (She/Her)
    2 years ago

    lmckuin I just want to caution against tunnel vision. The reality is that as humans we are programmed to provide ourselves with shelter, and many of us are interested in making that shelter beautiful. So realistically, one could take any floorplan on earth and adjust it to suit her needs. And we do that often out of necessity. Add to it that it is so very fun and satisfying to solve a difficult puzzle...

    I understand that your mom loves this plan and has probably already started designing around it. Your parents have the chance here to make the *best* home to enjoy with their family for decades. From every indication there are no monetary restraints or builder concessions that need to be made. Is there any possibility at all that your mom would take a chance falling in love with a couple more options?


  • tqtqtbw
    2 years ago
    last modified: 2 years ago

    All of this reminds me of my first short-time real estate agent. I told him what I wanted (traditional/colonial 2-story) and he kept showing me what he thought I needed (1970s odd slashed-triangle roofed homes). I finally fired him the day he told me I didn't need as much space as I had requested. What?!? Who worked for this money? HA!

  • Mrs Pete
    2 years ago

    As adults who wants to sleep in a dormitory style bunk room with a bunch of other adults and or kids?

    For visiting a couple weekends a year? No problem.

  • miss lindsey (She/Her)
    2 years ago

    I agree that for a weekend here or there, sure it can work.

    It might not only be for a weekend.

    When we visit my parents we take a couple weeks.

    And when my sibs in law come here it can be months.

  • pink_peony
    2 years ago

    “for visiting a couple weekends a year? No problem.”

    I disagree. We have a family home in the mountains. When the whole family goes on ski vacations and kids/grandkids are there it’s a nightmare. Especially if kids are super young or infants. Figure in naps and early bed times and it is quite miserable .if the visit goes over one night two max it can create a very not so fun environment . If someone wants to create a comfortable home with one or fifty guest rooms and has the means to do so why shouldn’t they?

  • auntthelma
    2 years ago

    Yeah, I think bunkrooms are super cute and fun but I wouldn't want to sleep in one for a long visit.

  • cpartist
    2 years ago

    I like Mrs Pete's idea of a separate wing or a separate guest house. Maybe a detached garage with a guest house on top? That's quite common in my neighborhood. As mentioned, the advantage of either doing that or having a separate guest wing upstairs is they can be turned off when there are not guests visiting.


  • cpartist
    2 years ago
    last modified: 2 years ago

    I agree. I wouldn't want to sleep with other adults in a bunk room type situation. Heck sometimes I don't even want DH there. (j/k)

  • lshack17
    Original Author
    2 years ago
    dchall_san_antonio: What I think is hilarious is that I already answered your question of 10ft ceilings up thread and yet you are asking again for some reason. Here's what I said" They want the grand feeling that 10 ft ceilings offer. And yes, my Dad is 6'5." Not to mention 10 ft ceilings are more efficient to cool in warm climates as you correctly assumed the home will be in. But someone in the appraisal business should already know that, right? So does that mean you can give back the 15 yard penalty now?

    Let me correct you on a few more items.

    Don't assume my parents will not use an outdoor kitchen. They have one now and it is used at least twice a week in nice weather. Now that they will be moving to a warm climate it will be used even more.

    I clearly said they thought this home was a "good value" as they want to put a lot of money into a boat with storage and the pool area. So the assumption that "money is no object " is absurd.

    I talked about and the plan shows a large linen closet near bedrooms 2 and 3. And a linen cabinet in the Master bath. So to say "One linen shelf for four bedrooms and three bedrooms is not enough. " is again, incorrect.

    The great room plan is 25'4" x 17' 9". So wrong on that point as well.

    Wow, you must be up to at least a 50 yard penalty for all the incorrect assumptions and lack of comprehension!
  • Kristin S
    2 years ago

    Just a quick thought on bunk rooms - I think one's stance on them may depend a lot on how light/heavy a sleeper one is. I'm an incredibly light sleeper and would have hated them even for a night by the time I was a teenager (and did hate them at camp and such - I actually avoided a lot of camp type things because I couldn't take being perpetually exhausted). My mom, a heavy sleeper, wouldn't see any problem with them for quick trips. Even if your family falls solidly in the heavy sleeper group, consider for resale that potential buyers may be the opposite.

  • PRO
    Virgil Carter Fine Art
    2 years ago

    Have you and your parents considered a design where there is a "main" house designed for the day to day living and operation of your mother and father and a free-standing, but interconnected "guest" house, of whatever size is needed, for as many visitors as desired?

    Another approach is to locate the guest quarters as part of a separate garage element.

    Obviously, the public spaces of the main house could be sized based on visitor load.

    Usable outdoor areas can easily link the main and guest quarters.

    It's such a simple concept, but allows operating and maintaining only the amount of space needed at any given time.

    This also allows small children and adolescents their own space when they visit.

  • Kristin S
    2 years ago

    If your parents income/lifestyle is such that they might ever consider live-in help when they're older, a guest house or separate guest quarters also make it a much more viable option.

  • miss lindsey (She/Her)
    2 years ago

    It's been mentioned a few times Virgil.

    lshack17 would it be fair to say that your parents have gone beyond "critique this plan" and are now more in the "help us tweak this plan to suit our needs" zone?

    I know you already thanked everyone and indicated that they have all the information and ideas they need to make a decision but since you can't actually close the comments is there any input that would actually help or make a difference for them? I'm thinking flooring ideas, kitchen tips for aging in place, that kind of thing.

    (I still think Houzz needs a RESOLVED tag for dilemmas)

  • cpartist
    2 years ago

    I love the idea of one bunk room for the kids but parents need their own space. So many ways it can be achieved as already mentioned and so many ways rooms can do double duty or closed off.


  • lshack17
    Original Author
    2 years ago
    Hi Everyone

    I want to take a moment to thank everyone for all the feedback, ideas, and the critique. I have been given more than enough information to bring to my parents. We all appreciate it as many valid and thought provoking points were made. By most, not all. :)

    For now, we have moved on and are currently researching other plans, and builders. Custom homes and production homes are being compared. This plan is still a contender. I think my mother still likes it and part of that is it was the best open concept plan that they walked thus far. They came from a two story 4500 sq ft New England colonial that had boxy rooms with a choppy, closed off floorplan as was traditional in the era it was built. The difference is night and day. I grew up that home so I was sad to see it go but glad they are starting a new chapter. They are both open minded and excited to explore more options.

    I will be signing off for now, will update later when they make more decisions. Thanks again for all the thoughts and efforts!
  • miss lindsey (She/Her)
    2 years ago
    last modified: 2 years ago

    Good luck, I'm really looking forward to your update! I find myself very excited for your parents :)

    ETA: in case you didn't realize, on the desktop version there is a green link at the bottom to stop getting notifications so if you don't want to see further comments you won't have to. Just don't forget to update us!!

  • cpartist
    2 years ago

    Best of luck to you and your parents. I'm sure you'll all come up with the right solution.

    PS: My parents also went from a boxy colonial which we all grew up in to a more open plan ranch house.

  • Lyndee Lee
    2 years ago
    I know you have closed down this topic but I just wanted to give you kudos for investing the time and energy to assist your parents in their decisions. There are many, many decisions with moving, downsizing, and building a home. Your parents are wise to have reached out for additional input.

    My comment for them is plan for backing for grab bars, upgrading to lever door handles, railings at the pool access zones, and be sure to add more lights than could ever possibly want. When my parents did the downsizing house, they had tons of lights and electrical everywhere, even the electrician thought they were crazy. Now 25 years later, with macular degeneration, my father uses all those lights and needs a superbright Led desk lamp to read. Also, look into a raised dishwasher so they dont have to bend over to use it