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Please review our preliminary plan for one level home

April 23, 2019

I’m new here but have been reading for awhile with interest. We are planning to start building a home in the summer/fall. Some background: two empty nesters, DH is retired, I work PT from home. We currently live in a large 2 story on a farm in Virginia. We want to build a one story, 3 BR, 2 ½ BA home with unfinished basement in the 2300-2500 sf range and will be in the same area. We have a 10 acre, partly wooded lot with a slight hill that is where we will locate the house. We’re hoping to build a “simple” but comfortable house with minimal stairs and as low maintenance exterior as we can—brick.

Over a year ago we went to an open house and toured a new home that we really liked, except that it was not in the location we wanted. We liked the layout, mostly, and the finishes on a spec house we thought were very well done. We contacted the builder and saw several more homes he built and get along great with him. Our house will face south-southeast, so we wanted the side garage on the rear and the master bedroom in front which was the opposite of his plan. We found an online plan that we like a lot. We met with the builder and showed it to him, he has indicated that he can make the changes to the interior that we want. We're about ready to purchase the plan.

Changes we'd like: The 2 guest BRs will be set up differently, with a short hallway and bathroom between them. You’ll enter the bath from the hall, not J&J. (See my crude drawings) The office will lose the hall and large closet and become larger. There will be a small coat closet in it from the foyer, and a small closet adjacent to that for the office room. We will lose the 3rd bath in the center, giving that space to the living room. There will be a door and hall set up to get in from garage, not in the DR. The entry from the garage will be into a mud/laundry area. Sorry it's split in 2, I was trying to scan for a better photo, doesn't look like I got it.

The major changes will be between the garage and master BR. First, we will straighten the offset line of the house on the garage side. That adds approx. 3’ to the MBR and the rest of the area. We don’t like the closet access from the bath, so will switch the closet (and I thought about 2 closets, not sure) to enter from BR. We will have a shower only, no tub in bath & might expand the size of shower and bath. We want a ½ bath coming in from the garage. Builder suggested making a straight basement staircase instead of double. I’d like to have the washer, dryer, sink and water softener on the outside wall, also a closet for cleaning supplies somewhere and maybe a pantry. We need an area for the dogs to eat and get cleaned up when they come inside. There’s a lot of space in the area I outlined in red, which is at the top left of the 1st drawing, just not sure how to arrange it, suggestions welcome!

We’ll shorten the length of the front porch and probably the rear one too, but we do use our porches currently and will continue, I’m sure. The front is only 6’ deep; builder said easy to make it 8’. Also, we will be reversing the plan from right to left but I left in in the readable format; my drawing is reversed. Our garage will be on the NW corner.

Thanks for reading if you’ve made it this far. Would love critiques, suggestions, any help!

Comments (12)

  • mistover_farm

    Forgot the photos of front & rear--

  • sheepla

    I think the changes you are proposing are good improvements to some problem areas.

  • cpartist

    Why wouldn’t you want your major public spaces facing south?

    Why do you want that dysfunctional kitchen layout?

    Why do you want that long dark entry foyer?

    Why do you want to walk past your master bedroom when you come in from the garage?

    Why does the office open off the living room?

    Why do you want guests to walk past your master bedroom to get to the powder room?

    Why do you want people sitting in the living room able to see into your guest bathroom?

  • mistover_farm

    Thanks, cpartist, for your questions. Currently our LR & DR face south and become very warm in the summer. We have AC, but prefer open windows when possible. I kind of like switching those 2 rooms to the back.

    Not sure yet what we’ll do with the kitchen, will have help there. Do you mean the size/shape is bad or the actual layout which isn’t settled? I like the idea of looking out the window at the sink, beyond that don’t know where anything will go.

    Don’t love the long foyer either. We talked of opening the office from that side to break it up. Would that be better?

    As far as the hall, we liked it in person—2 of the builder’s homes we saw had that arrangement. How could it be better?

    And looking into the guest bath, the builder’s home had a linen closet centered on the door opening. I thought about that too, and slightly offsetting the door to the bath. I was trying for a direct shot, for any future walkers or wheelchairs, I guess, but agree it’s not a great look. I’ll try to rearrange that.

  • Snaggy

    I wouldn't want my bedroom that close to the kitchen and I would want somewhere to put my coat in the hallway as well

  • cpartist

    Have you considered looking into working with an architect to design something wonderful? As for south facing, if done right it is the best orientation. Done right means large overhangs and siting so you get the winter sun but not the summer sun. I’m in SW Florida and my main rooms face south with a lanai, and it’s been excellent. Now that we are coming into summer my main rooms get indirect light. In winter the sun streams in warming the space

  • loobab

    Hi mistover-

    On the one hand- I do see that you want a larger office and larger master bedroom.

    However, losing a large closet and a bathroom will not help your resale value at all.

    Rather than cobbling together an already made plan, why not do as cpartist suggests and consult an architect?

    You can still show the architect the plan you already have as the type of thing you like and say what you like and don't like about it and go from there.

    And you can still work with the builder that you like.

    You don't know what you don't know, and you don't know what is available and possible until you hear the suggestions from the architect.

    After all, you are sinking a whole lot of money into this, and this is your forever home.

    Don't you think you deserve at least a consultation with an architect to know what is possible?

  • Jmint
    I would definitely not put the kitchen next to the master bdrm
  • tatts

    No one should EVER be seen from the public areas of a home entering or exiting a bathroom Ever! And people using a bathroom should never have to worry about making noises (or smells). This is basic Architecture 101.

    A plan that puts a bathroom right in the middle of a home's public spaces is garbage.

    Your kitchen--one of the most-used rooms in the home--will be a cave; 20 feet from the south windows and one window opening on to a north-facing covered porch. The dining room, on the other hand, will be bathed in light during the day (when nobody uses it) and look out at inky blackness in the evening (when it is most often used).

    Lousy layout from a cheap plan mill.

  • PRO
    Summit Studio Architects

    After quick glance at your sketch I think you improved on some of the issues of the original plan... like the entrance to the master from inside the kitchen. Front and back porches on farmhouses are important features that engage the interior space with the exterior to create inviting outdoor living space. These porches seem more a design element to make the house look good than real, functional outdoor elements

  • mistover_farm

    Thanks to all who weighed in!! Lots to think about. We did speak to 2 local architects. Sadly, both were way out of our price range for a similar house & their lead time was quite lengthy. We’d love it to be our forever home, but it might not be and adding in their costs (both similar) we’d be hard pressed to recover our initial investment.

    Snaggy – we’ll have a small closet in the foyer and one in the back coming in from the garage, if I can figure out where to put it.

    tatts – there will be no bath in the center of the house, unless you mean the guest bath on the hall. Also, the kitchen windows – probably 6-8’ wide - face south.

    Summit studio – I agree the long, shallow porches on the plan are artificial looking, we plan to shorten the front one & center on the entrance, making it deep enough to sit comfortably. We sit on our current porch a lot. We have mountain views to the south and often have coffee and lunch there. The rear will be more of a gathering space, I hope. We'll cover only a part of it and have a patio for grilling, etc. We get our strongest winds from the W and hope the garage will shield us a little. The rear looks out to the meadow beyond and will have my gardens just off of it.

  • cpartist

    Get in touch with architectrunnerguy who is a member of this forum. He’s an architect who will work with you remotely

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