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ARG House Plan Feedback

P M
December 6, 2018

Hey Everyone! My husband and I have been working with Doug (architectrunnerguy) over the past several weeks and would like to share our house plan!

A bit about us:

  • Building on family farmland in North Carolina
  • We have a 10 year old, a 2 year old, and plan to have 1 more child.
  • I'm a bit of a clutter-freak, so I've requested tons of areas to store not-so-frequently-used items (hence the massive pantry and laundry room!)
  • We wanted tons of natural light and great views throughout the home.
  • We wanted easy connectivity between the shared living spaces (indoor and outdoor) to allow for and encourage casual gatherings.
  • 9 foot ceilings on 1st floor, 8ft on 2nd (with the exception of possibly vaulting the living room or doing 11ft ceilings in that area).
  • We wanted a future space to expand our home via the bonus over the garage.
  • We plan to do white hardiplank siding, a black shingle roof, and white framed windows.

We welcome all constructive feedback, comments, and ideas! We would love to hear your thoughts!

Comments (43)
  • AnnKH

    I love Doug's work! Can you post the floor plan separately, so it shows up bigger?

  • P M

    A bigger version!

  • P M

    @AnnKH - Let me know if that didn't work :)

  • AnnKH

    That seems better, but I still have to squint to look at the layout (I'm an old fart).

    Can you clip out the floor plan, and post it separate from the elevations?

    P M thanked AnnKH
  • gthigpen

    I really like it! It looks like an efficient use of space and all the rooms will get lots of light.

    P M thanked gthigpen
  • P M


    Our Home · More Info


  • bpath Oh Sophie

    Nice and efficient!

    As a fellow "clutterbug", I wonder about the Drop-Off. We have two kids, and among us we deposit all our shoes at the door. (I guess I could finally put my sandals and espadrilles back in my closet lol). I like that our drop-off, with it's service door to the porch and one to the garage, is around the corner from the kitchen so we can't see it most of the time. But there is a family room that is in view. We actually don't use it much, so when we entertain there we have to stash the shoes, boots, umbrellas, and jackets hanging on the hooks, the items in transit (things to be returned, etc) and I still worry about the keys hanging, the rechargeable stick-vac, etc that are there.

    All that to say, you might want a pocket or swing door there, but then it would close off the stair. Any way you can, er, adjust the drop-off space? All that occurs to me is to grab the garage space to the side of the door, before the car bays, but I'll bet you were going to use that for storage and bikes.

    P M thanked bpath Oh Sophie
  • P M

    @ bpath Oh Sophie - excellent points! I have a few options I've been toying with to address the exact thing you are mentioning. When you enter from the garage, immediately to the right is about a foot of countertop//drop space that I am planning to utilize. Either that, or the under-stair area opposite the pantry (right side upon entering from garage). In my head, I'm picturing a locker-type set up, with a few 15x15x15" cubbies at floor level. The idea would be to come in, kick off shoes and push then underneath, making them out of sight unless you're standing directly in front of the storage area.


  • AnnKH

    Thanks - now I can see the details!

    I love the layout - very efficient use of space. I like that the kids' bedrooms are not huge, and that you've planned a hangout space for them upstairs.

    I do wonder about the "open to below" from the playroom. Isn't that open to the dropoff room? It seems to me that would make the dropoff room feel like you're at the bottom of a well. I would close that off to provide a bigger playroom - as your kids and their friends get bigger, they need more space!

    I love how big the garage is.

    P M thanked AnnKH
  • PRO
    Anglophilia

    Great layout ad very attractive exterior!!! Kudos to you for having the good sense to have ARG design a house for you that meets all YOUR needs instead of a generic one off the internet! Great work, ARG!

  • P M

    @AnnKH - Very good points! We intentionally made the kids rooms on the small-to-medium size, as we want our kids OUT of their rooms, and PLAYING :) Glad to have this decision affirmed!

    One of the things I really like about the open to below stair is how big it makes the downstairs garage entry feel. I totally agree that it may feel "well-like" at first - if it were dark. But, in stepped our wonderful architect - If you take a look at the 2nd floor window placement, you will see why I'm so in love with this area. The 2nd floor window is on the stairway wall, flooding the downstairs garage entryway with LOTS of light. Otherwise, this space would be VERY dark and exactly like a well, as you mentioned.

    Very good point about the benefits of closing that area off though! The extra space will be key! Our plan is to expand into the bonus over the garage when the need for more space arises.

  • kmg11

    I like it!

    Nice light and flow! Nice big pantry and the door to the back from your garage will be so convenient.

    Is that a closet on an exterior wall? (humor ;) Would you want windows on the side of your kids bedrooms and bath? Maybe a door in your master bedroom to access the back? Just thoughts..

    Nice to see one sink in the bathrooms, but I'm not seeing a linen closet in yours? Make sure you have enough floor space surrounding tub/shower area if you plan to be in the home for years to come. Same with toilet. I always think about injuries, health issues and aging- I know...what a buzz kill, sorry!

    For the mudroom idea, instead of divided cubbies, what about making it open so you actually have the ability to sit on the bench, if you have one :)


    Cooper Woods Modern Tudor · More Info


  • P M

    @ kmg11

    Thank you! I love that entryway storage area so much. I definitely like the idea of having a bench there with the cubbies under. This will be great for sitting down to tie shoes. Yours totally wins!


    Master Bath: this is a part I'm considering changing up a bit. I have a "real life" bathroom/closet set up that I really like. Example of how it would look is attached. It has a big window over the tub, which would face the most private area of our entire property, and face slightly eastward, giving sunlight in the mornings when we are getting ready each day. The closet is still on an exterior wall, but I feel like this layout provides more privacy from the hallway and allows a portion of our closet to double as a linen closet without being inconvenient. Also, in this layout, no one will be able to look down into our bedroom and see an unmade bed, a dirty closet, or a bathroom piled high with hair products! This drawing has 2 sinks, but I think I'd rather drop back to one sink and have more counter space. TBD on that though!



    For the children's bathroom, ideally, it would have a window, but I don't believe the layout would make that possible unless we decided to forgo a shower/tub combo, and just went for the tub. Given that this is our forever home, it won't be realistic to go for the tub alone. Does anyone have any layout ideas that would allow for a tub/shower combo and an exterior window?

  • kmg11

    This is what my parents had, except theirs was just a walk in shower. It was a fixed window above. You would have to use a step stool to clean it, (that was my job-lol!)


    shower tub combo window above - Google Search · More Info


  • AnnKH

    How about if you steal a bit of space from the play room, and put the upstairs bath where you now have the Bedroom 3 closet? Since the space can be wider than long, you put the toilet and vanity on one side, and tub on the other. Window at the end. The bathrooms in our house have this configuration, and it's very functional.

    Now Bedroom 3 gets a reach in closet where the bathroom is now, and gains an extra foot or so. Since that is not a bigger closet, you can put the storage closet at the end, opening toward the stairwell.

  • PRO
    Virgil Carter Fine Art

    I frequently wonder why folks who work with talented and experienced architects take the designs and post them here for crowd sourcing.

    Of course, everyone is free to do whatever they want, but here's the deal: when one posts a design worked out between a family and their architect, no one here knows or understands what the family's criteria and priorities were. No one here knows or understands what amount of give and take, what sort of studies and design revisions took place.

    All any of us see is a finished design.

    And so, everyone responds with their own individual ideas and suggestions, but who knows if any of those ideas and suggestions are responsive to the alternatives and decisions the family and architect made in their work together?


    And so, suggestion after suggestion chips away at the design which the family and their architect created. What's the point?


    In other words, posting here is just starting the process over again, rather than working with the architect about any lingering concerns or mental questions.

    Good luck on your project.

  • P M
    @Virigl - while I understand your points, the architect himself actually brought up and suggested that I share it with this community. Thanks.
  • PRO
    Virgil Carter Fine Art

    Thanks, PM. Hope you get lots of helpful comments.

  • P M
    @ virgil thanks! So far I've found a "drop zone" general design that I like significantly better than what I had in mind, so even if that's all I gain from this post, it's been worth it! :)
  • P M
    Thanks @kmg! I'll have to do some research on those windows above the shower. I know the one in my grandfather's house had leak/mold issues, but that might be because of the construction of it rather than the concept itself. I'll also have to consider how it will look on the exterior, but great thinking!
  • P M
    Thanks @AnnKH. I like your thinking, but I'm having trouble visualizing how those spaces could be rearranged while still maintaining the awesome exterior. What goes in must come out, I guess! A window in the children's bathroom isnt a super high priority for us. it was just a "oh that would be cool!" kind of thought. What I was mainly wondering is if anyone knows of a bathroom layout that would free up that wall for a window, as far as rearranging the tub, sink, and toilet. I dont think that will happen given our space constraints, apart from the small window going above the shower like mentioned.
  • just_janni

    I REALLY like how this house is laid out. I LOVE the front porch and the gracious doors out from the dining room. I also LOVE that pocket office - I can see that being a very desirable spot - quiet and away. Great laundry location. Great playroom for the kids. Great future expandability without compromising current layout.

    Think your kitchen will be wonderful too - no one walking through it to get anywhere - great views to the backyard.

    NICE area between the car spaces and the house - you can put garbage / recycling / some additional storage, etc - thoughtful design to make sure that you are not crowning in your stuff.

    Understand your concern about master bath - it "feels" a little tight - but I am a big shower person, so I think I'd feel a little cheated. But..... with the windows and a stellar freestanding tub - I could see this being spectacular and feeling larger than it is. Maybe depends if you are a shower or tub person.

    Overall - I think this is one of the best family designs I have seen.

    (obligatory cloud comment - I do prefer an odd number of clouds - but that might be seen as picking nits)

  • P M
    @just_janni - thank you! I totally agree with you. It's such a well thought out design and we are so in love with it. I never imagined he would be able to design something with all of our "must haves" and nearly every single one of our "wants".
  • P M

    I knew there were some specifics I wanted feedback on! Just now remembering! In working with Doug, there were a few things that were put into a "up to your personal preference" bucket, in that they were minor mods to the plan that don't change the overall concept of the beautiful home that Doug made for us. Two things I'd love some help in working through are the main entryway and the pantry entrance.

    Entryway: originally, there was a coat closet to the right when you enter the front door. We asked that this be dropped (various reasons of personal preference and our lifestyle!). What's currently in the plan is a really nice window seat, adding a cozy element and providing a neat place to sit. A modification to the current plan would be to drop the window seat, and expand that entryway between the foyer and the living into a wider space. With that, I would center the front door with the steps. I like how this modification opens up the home upon entering, also. I'd love some feedback on the pros and cons of each choice that I may not be considering!

    Secondly, the pantry entrance:
    we are toying with the idea of adjusting the pantry entrance to off the "drop zone" rather than the master bedroom hallway. Pros of the current entrance are (1) clean simplicity of design (2) pantry interior is not visible from public areas (3) longer counter space on the drop zone counter (4) Can "walk right in" to pantry instead of immediately turning. Cons of current: (1) when passing by, can see entire interior of pantry aka clutter, unless door is shut. (2) maybe less convenient to navigate from kitchen, but I'm unsure on this!

    Pros of the modified drop zone pantry entrance are (1) cannot see all the way into the back of the pantry aka see all the mess/clutter (2) I feel like it has easier access to the kitchen being off this drop zone hall, but I'm unsure (3) adds some sq footage to the pantry. Cons: (1) lose counter space in drop zone hallway (2) more complicated design instead of simple/clean rectangular pantry.

    I know with either options of either area we would be thrilled with this home. I'm just trying to think through every square inch and make sure I'm making informed decisions on these minor details. Any feedback of additional pros and cons that I might not be thinking of would be great! Example photos of my general ideas are attached.

  • Architectrunnerguy

    Virgil: Those are valid points. Posting a finished concept here is in reality a snapshot of the end of a fluid and dynamic process, a process the folks here were not privy to.

    I generally encourage owners to post a design here for comments as I think usually it's helpful. Sometimes there's a tipping point like in the last one where it turned into a giant game of Tetris with entire room rearranging going on but all it takes is one good suggestion on a small scale matter for the experience to be positive. And what's not apparent to all the posters here is there's usually a real time parallel discussion between myself and the owner as the thread evolves.

    It's really not much different then when I do a design for a local and they take their design to the family July 4th picnic for everyone to look at and come back with Aunt Alice's drawing on a napkin with dried barbeque sauce on it of a different way to do whatever.

    But a fun project for a fun couple. PM and I had a great time in our many "meetings"!

  • PRO
    Virgil Carter Fine Art

    Thanks for clarifying, Doug. Small scale suggestions may indeed be helpful, if they don't change or contradict the overall design concept. But, as you rightly point out, when the thread drags on, the original question gets lost lost, and the game changes to redesigning the house or a major portion thereof, it's time to call it quits.

  • just_janni

    Entry - keep the asymmetry and the bench. It's features like this that will differentiate your home for everyone else's and you'll get get many appreciative comments from your guests like "how thoughtful!"

    Pantry - that one is harder - my original thought was to keep the base shape. I think turning the corner in the hall is more natural than going into the drop room and then turning immediately. I think it would feel tight.

    But then, I looked again and....

    Moving the door into the drop room keeps the "working" part of the house closer together. While it shortens the drop zone counter, I think it's long enough with the door added. Removing the door from the hallway to your bedroom perhaps adds some wall space for some nice art and creates a more calming entrance to the bedroom - especially if you leave the pantry door open. Lastly - it IS more convenient to come in from the garage, drop all the groceries on the counter, and then put them right in the pantry, feeling like it's all one room.

    Conclusion = while the shapes look better on paper with the hallway entrance, I'd go for the entrance from the drop room.

    Hope this helps.

    Again - great plan. So happy that you are happy with it.

    P M thanked just_janni
  • P M

    @just_janni - I think you articulated my same pantry thoughts, but in a MUCH better way :)

    Regarding the entryway, I'm leaning toward centering the front door and dropping the bench, but I do agree that it would make our home stand out, among the other 6 houses on about 100 acres ;) I'm super torn on this decision. I'm wondering if this will help others guide me to a decision: posting some of our favorite front doors. Would doing a front door similar to these in style have an impact on the open entry vs. the window seat?


  • nidnay

    I have to be honest, I find trying to understand and read this type of rendering almost impossible and a real strain. I much prefer a typical boring blueprint style with the dimensions and room identification on the actual layout and not along side with room numbers and dimensions. Also, because of the hand drawn style, I find it extremely difficult to make out or understand what’s a wall or a window or an opening between rooms or a door or furniture etc. My eyes see a lot of lines that are hard to differentiate from one another. Is that a fireplace in the family room or just an exterior wall? I can’t tell. In the master bedroom on the left exterior wall, are those doors or a fireplace? The dining room ...on the exterior walls, are they walls or windows?

  • P M

    @ nidnay I have to be honest, the others don't seem to have issues understanding this design. Please see attached "key" that may assist you in discerning

    the floor plan.

  • nidnay
    I guess it’s just me then.....wouldn’t be the first time.

    What is this circled in red?
  • P M

    @ nidnay - that is a window with a dresser in front of it. Same dresser as the one between the bathroom and closet entrances.

  • beckysharp Reinstate SW Unconditionally

    Very nice plan and elevation, PM and ARG, and so much better than what you posted back in August, PM : ) . By the way, you might want to post a link to this thread in your old thread so others can follow along and see your progress.

    in this layout, no one will be able to look down into our bedroom and see an unmade bed, a dirty closet, or a bathroom piled high with hair products!

    Give some thought to storage in your bathroom. Will you have a section in your walk-in bathroom devoted to some bathroom (and linen closet) storage?

    I knew that in our new house we would need lots of room for storage in the bathrooms, for our kids and for ourselves (for everything everyone uses daily as well as cleaning products). We used Ikea cabinetry, and each bathroom has a 48" vanity with four full drawers, and a porcelain (easy clean!) top with one integrated sink, similar to this (though I don't think the top is porcelain in this one),

    and each vanity has a tower cabinet (what Ikea calls a high cabinet) on either side. The tower/high cabinets look like this,

    So lots of room for storage. Something to think about, especially since you're planning on adding to your family : ) .





    P M thanked beckysharp Reinstate SW Unconditionally
  • PRO
    Virgil Carter Fine Art

    It's architectural language. Like any other language, it takes time to learn. More time to become fluent.

  • kmg11

    I love the idea of a sweet little window seat by your entrance or even a nice entry table. Not sure of the dimensions, but when you're guests arrive, is there enough space to step to the side if you have the seat? I do wonder if you have guests, where will they hang a jacket? Possibly wall hooks?

    The pantry I think would be personal preference and how much storage you need for both areas. You're making the same amount of turns from your kitchen regardless. If the opening is off the drop zone, the wall to the left could be utilized with peg board. I've seen it mentioned here actually and it would be a great way to hang extra utensils, a broom/dust pan, step stool, etc. Yet, when you come in with the kids and groceries both, would this area get too congested? Also, possibly more dirt tracked into pantry? Where would you miss the storage most? On the storage note, I would certainly make use of any space under the stairs.

    And just to reiterate, I would really work to get the bathroom/closet right. I had a girlfriend who broke her foot in several places and had to use one of those wheeled scooter things for three very long months. She had a heck of a time even maneuvering with just the toilet, which wasn't even in a closet.

    Hope we get to see your process and decisions! I love seeing these plans and learning from them :)


    P M thanked kmg11
  • chicagoans

    That's going to be a lovely home, on what looks to be a beautiful site!


    One question: is the breezeway space b/w the house and garage (b/w 5 and 8, yellow box below) going to be interior or garage space? It looks like it will be part of the garage, based on your walls, but I would love it as part of the interior space. If it's wide enough, that looks like a great spot for cubbies, shoe drop, keys, pet food dishes, umbrellas, etc. I love having an exterior door in my mudroom for all of those reasons, and that space would suit very well as a mudroom that's next to the garage but part of the house.



    P M thanked chicagoans
  • P M

    @chicagoans - the current plan is for that area to be additional garage storage space for leaf blowers, chainsaws, bikes, sporting equipment, etc!

  • P M

    kmg11 - thank you for your thoughtful comments. Yes, it appears there is room to step to the side even with the window seat there. The majority of our visitors are family and close friends. If the need arose for someone to drop off their coat anywhere other than just laying it across the back of the couch (the typical move), we would offer to place their coat in our pocket office just off the entryway. But again, we don't see that coming up but maybe a handful of times over the duration of our life in this home. This is why we dropped the coat closet at the main entrance.


    Regarding the bathroom/closet config, did you see both the original and my proposed modification? I understand things may arise that make certain things inconvenient (like the scooter), but at the same time, I feel like daily use preferences must take over. If not, we would be building a fully handicap accessible one-story on a slab, just in case one of us were to ever be wheelchair bound. Do you have any thoughts on the pros and cons of the 2 bathroom layouts? Or maybe suggest something else? I'd love to hear any input!

  • AnnKH

    kmg, I broke BOTH my heels in June (luckily one was not as severe as the other), and used a scooter for 6 weeks. I could not put any weight on either foot for a few weeks, so I needed to be able to support all my weight on the scooter and the vanity next to the toilet to transfer back and forth. I would not have been able to use a toilet closet at all.

    Of course, those occurrences are rare - we have lived in our home for almost 30 years, and it's the first time any of us was in such a predicament (though a couple of us have been on crutches before). We also live in a split entry house, so I was scootching up and down the stairs on my butt for several weeks. One does figure out how to make do. If there aren't any accessible bathrooms in a home, one can rent a commode for the duration of the injury.

    I have never had a need or desire for a separate toilet room, but I recognize that they are important to some folks. One change I would make to the master bath for the OP is to put the toilet on the wall shared with the shower, rather than the bedroom wall, to cut down on noise.

  • kmg11

    PM--as AnnKH has pointed out, unexpected incidents in life can happen. There's no ability to predict every circumstance. Does one plan for a fully wheelchair bound house when you're young and healthy? No, but it is wise with some forethought to make things a bit easier should you be faced with anything out of the ordinary. A little extra space surrounding a toilet, a larger opening for a shower, less awkward turns and corners, etc. can make for a little less worry in the long run.

    Considering the bath/closet layouts. I prefer Arg's original concept for better use of space and flow. Keep the layout simple. I would just make sure you have enough storage within the bathroom as suggested above. Beckysharp's linen tower is a good example of packing a lot in minimal space. :)

  • nini804

    I would center the front door. I like symmetry, I like big impressive front doors, and I would NOT like a built-in bench near my front door. Unless that is the door your family uses daily, MOST guests are not going to sit down and take off shoes when visiting you! And family members aren’t going to sit there and read a book or anything, lol. It will become a clutter magnet.


    i agree with you about a coat closet at the front door. While I love closets and storage, and have tons of both in my house...I think closet doors are not an attractive first view into a house, plus in our old house no guest EVER put a coat in the front closet. I think people are nervous they will forget their coat if its behind a door, lol! When we have big parties in the winter, we just lay coats on the bed in our first floor master.

    P M thanked nini804

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