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Help!!!! New House Concept Review

Ryan
22 days ago
last modified: 21 days ago

My wife and I have been reading through other posts with house plans that received valuable feedback. Our architect has sent us a concept for our new home and we are looking for comments before we get back to him with some changes. We have a family of 4 and are located in the Northeast. Please see the attachments and notes below.

  • The new home will have a view from the front - https://youtu.be/MYx1T1nsM0g
  • 3 Car Garage - Would like to turn it so it is set back and front view facing like the neighbors house (attached picture)
  • Study / Future Master - Thinking about removing this room or swapping it with the family/living room. We had told the architect that this will be our forever home and we wanted a room that could be flexible, like a sunroom, that could be used for kids (2 and 4 year olds), entertaining, enjoying the view, with some separation from the main living room. Having second thoughts now that we see where it is, knowing that we are young and may never need it to be a master, and if we did it wouldn't be for a long, long time (hopefully).
  • Jill and Jill Bath - Would like to move this to the outside wall with a window to bring in natural light.
  • Bonus Space above garage - This will be finished at a later date. Hoping that 1200sqft will be big enough for a 4th guest bedroom, bath, office and rec room.
  • Font porch - We asked for it to be big and deep. Thinking about going deeper than 10ft as the afternoon/evening sun is going to heat up the first floor living room. Neighbors said they should have gone deeper than 10ft with bigger overhang.
  • Home Size - With everything built out the plan would come in at 4,582 sf including space above the garage. Considering increasing the size overall to be closer to 5,000 sq ft.
  • Carriage House - This will be in the future, 2 car garage with apt above it.

Feel free to share your comments! Thank you!











Comments (38)

  • chispa
    22 days ago

    I really dislike that someone coming into the house has a direct view into the kitchen and basically all of your family spaces. Just noticed your double glassed front door, so even people standing outside your house can see you in your kitchen ... major 'no' for me.

    I like open plans, but at some point you end up with no walls at all! I have furniture and art that require some walls, so your plan would not work for me.

    I would have the upstairs kids bath open to the hallway. Design it so one kid could use the toilet or shower, while another could use the sinks, so toilet and shower/tub separate from sink area. It also gives you access to another toilet, should you need it, and not have to go downstairs or through a kids bedroom.

    In the master, I dislike having to go through a bathroom to get to a closet, but others are fine with it.

  • bpath
    22 days ago
    last modified: 22 days ago

    I agree with changing the JnJ to a hall bath. JnJs are fine if there is a privacy issue going into the hall, but that isn’t the case here. Then, make the kids’ closets reach-ins, and have the one along the master bedroom wall as a buffer.

    From the entry, visitors have to skirt the dining table, chairs, and probably kitchen stools to get to the family room. I’m not sure I would like that. Will you have a buffet table or storage nearby for special serve ware? There’s not really a good place for anything in the DR besides a table and chairs.

    I‘d consider giving the study double doors, and maybe a door to the foyer as well.

    What is DO in the pantry? Not Double Oven, is it?

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  • PRO
    RES2
    21 days ago
    last modified: 21 days ago

    Its difficult to understand the "concept" of the house from only one elevation.

    Where the outside corner rakes meet will be a critical detail and needs to be solved as early as possible.

    The roof wedgies may be a problem in the northeast. How far north?

    The vertical siding is a bit rustic for such a formal Colonial Revival form.

  • Mrs Pete
    21 days ago
    last modified: 21 days ago

    I really dislike that someone coming into the house has a direct view into the kitchen and basically all of your family spaces.

    Agree -- but not strongly. If you were to move the powder room to the other side of the foyer, this would block the view of the kitchen ... and make the powder room more private. But it means the family room, the place you'd usually bring guests, is quite far away. I agree that entering the house is an issue.



    But I like the kitchen /dining /family room layout. It's just entering the spaces that's problematic. Perhaps the entry could move to the far right /enter into the family area?

    - You have a lot of kitchen cabinets, which are expensive to build /excess tends to just collect clutter. With such a large pantry (best feature of the house!) nearby, you could do away with one of the "short runs". This would allow you to open the pantry from the kitchen, making it slightly more accessible. This looks like a better layout than the U-with-island.



    I assume the study /future bedroom is for your elderly years? It's well laid out and I like the little light-filled hallway leading to the bathroom, but I have a couple suggestions:

    - If you start using this downstairs bedroom, you won't have a laundry room handy. You could "rough in" a space in the mudroom now with the idea of someday adding a washer/dryer in this space.

    - Go with a pocket door on the closet. As it's laid out now, the inswing door will cover a portion of your storage space. You'd have to enter the closet /close the door to reach those things.

    - You have a lot of empty floor space in the bathroom. Consider turning the vanity 90 degrees ... you'd have a huge-long vanity /could have tall linen closets in this area. It also enlarges the shower. You could even make this bathroom smaller and still have a large /comfortable space.



    Upstairs thoughts:

    - That's a massive master closet -- I'd put the laundry in half of that. This would make the master closet a more reasonable space /could have a door opening into the laundry. Then you'd have the current laundry for a large hall closet /general storage.

    - The downstairs bedroom's closet is way smaller. What's the thought process here? You're thinking you need all the space in the world for clothing now, but someday in the future you'll be happy with an average-sized master closet?

    - I like a Jack & Jill bathroom -- or, in this case a Jill & Jill -- but you don't have space to support duplicate sinks. Especially having girls, you need drawer space at the sink -- as shown, they will have none. They can have a single sink and a bank of drawers for each girl's use; with no other in-bathroom storage, they need this. Note that they have no space for a hamper, no towel storage in the bathroom. Also no natural light in this bathroom; could the closet and the bathroom switch spaces?

    - 4,582 is a huge, huge house. Even when my children were all at home, we were swimming in 2400 sf. Do you really want to pay for, maintain, heat /cool, pay taxes on that much space?

    Ryan thanked Mrs Pete
  • PRO
    Mark Bischak, Architect
    21 days ago

    It appears your architect gave you what you requested in the Study / Future Master. If this is your "forever" home, being young does not exclude you from needing a first floor master bedroom at some point; it is a harsh reality I know.

    Rarely is a bathroom with two entry doors a good idea and the way your "Jill and Jill Bath" is set-up is the worst. Two doors get locked and one door gets unlocked, and the sounds and other things generated in the bathroom at night by "Jill" get to permeate the dreams of the other "Jill".

    The "future space" should be designed now as well as you can see into the future as to how you think it will be used in the future to have a sense of the usage.

    Design and allocate specific space on the site for the future carriage house, master plan the site and house.

    Get rid of barn doors, gas chambers, and walk-in closets that are difficult to walk into.

    Have the long axis of the "family room" parallel to the long axis of the main mass of the house.

    Engage the services of a professional kitchen designer. The kitchen in your design does not reinforce my argument that architects can design kitchens.

    Ryan thanked Mark Bischak, Architect
  • shead
    21 days ago

    My first thoughts were, "Wow! This is actually a very nicely designed house!" I love the exterior. It's not unnecessarily complicated and is balanced. Kudos to your architect.


    The interior is actually not as horrible as some make it out to be but I see some room for improvement. My first thoughts were regarding the rear of the house. Will you have a patio or covered porch? Do you do any grilling or entertaining outdoors? If so, I don't see an easy way in and out with convenient access to the kitchen. I wouldn't want to carry large platters of uncooked meat outside to grill and back again and have to go through the family room to get there.


    I live rurally and therefore, seeing the kitchen from the front door doesn't bother me. I don't have guests that will ever enter my front door that will actually CARE. To me, it's one of those issues that is "much ado about nothing." Similarly, I prefer "gas chambers" to a toilet that is exposed to the entire master bath and I prefer entering my closet from the bathroom. Others don't. Big deal, move on.


    I would definitely change the kids' bath to a hall bath instead of a Jack and Jill.


    Ryan thanked shead
  • PRO
    Mark Bischak, Architect
    21 days ago

    I think from the drawings shown, you have a "schematic design", which goes a little further than a "concept".

    Ryan thanked Mark Bischak, Architect
  • Ryan
    Original Author
    20 days ago

    Appreciate the feedback! The location is in central CT and the front of the house will be facing north with views that you can see from the pictures and videos. I believe that DO is a double oven. Grilling out on the back patio will be frequent and I do agree that we should have a back door from the kitchen. The reason the JNJ bath does not have a door to the hallway was because it’s only for the girls to share and we are planning to add a 4th bed and full bathroom above the garage for guests during our 2nd year in the house.


    One of the bigger changes that we are thinking of proposing to the architect is to remove the study / future master and put the living room there instead. If we do this then the current family room would become our “sunroom” (south west facing, opposite of garage) which could hopefully be renovated in the future to become a master in our elderly years, if needed.


    We do a good amount of entertaining guests. The large front porch will be used very frequently with outdoor dining due to the view.


    These ideas are helpful as we think things through before committing to the next round of changes with the architect. We will stay tuned for more comments and post any updates!

  • anj_p
    20 days ago

    Just a few comments.

    You've designed a nice feature staircase, that no one will ever see, that's next to your mudroom. That's a shame. I would say eliminate the extra space you're taking up by that staircase (meaning, make it more utilitarian instead of a feature - a straight stair takes up the least square footage, while a U shaped stair takes up the most), or make it visible to the rest of the house.

    You said that the front of your house gets a lot of hot sun - I assume that means it's facing west? So, if that's the case, I might consider switching the future master/living room to the back of the house. This accomplishes a few things: keeps hot sun out of your bedroom (I grew up in a west-facing bedroom and never again); keeps your bedroom away from the front porch (more privacy); and if it's a living room, keeps your TV viewing in a darker room. It does eliminate the view from the bedroom, but I think bedroom views are overrated unless you're spending a lot of time there during the day (mostly I use my bedroom to sleep, and it's dark so no views can be seen anyway). Honestly I wouldn't make the living room/sun room into a future master.

    Your kitchen is laid out with appliances spread too far apart. Agree with others to eliminate one cabinet run and put the pantry door right from the kitchen instead of around the corner. You could also have seating on 2 sides of your island if you did that. If this were my kitchen, I'd put the range on the back wall, cleanup sink on the side wall, prep sink in the island, and fridge on the back wall near the pantry.

    Not a fan of J&J baths. That's fine that the bathroom only services your two daughters' rooms. It can still have a hall door. It's not so other people can access it, it's to avoid the locked door problem/fighting over the bathroom (and make the rooms more usable in the future - what if you or a future owner wanted an office up there? It would make for an awkward set up). Your 2 kids rooms are large but their closets look small. Neither looks like it should be a walk in. I would make the bath a hall bath and give the kids a reach in closet - and I'd put Bedroom 2's closet on the shared wall with the master for a bit of privacy. I can't tell you how thankful I am that my current house has a two bathrooms and a closet between our master BR and our kid's room.

    Ryan thanked anj_p
  • Mrs Pete
    17 days ago
    last modified: 17 days ago

    Two doors get locked and one door gets unlocked, and the sounds and other things generated in the bathroom at night by "Jill" get to permeate the dreams of the other "Jill".

    So don't put a lock on the doors to the sink area. It's a shared area, and it's a sink -- does anyone care if one sister walks in on another who's brushing her teeth? It's also an opportunity for the kids to learn to share.

    The real issues with the J&J are that the room lacks natural light, the tub/toilet room is cramped and has no storage.

    The interior is actually not as horrible as some make it out to be but I see some room for improvement.

    The interior isn't horrible at all, but it does have room for improvement.

    I don't see an easy way in and out with convenient access to the kitchen. I wouldn't want to carry large platters of uncooked meat outside to grill

    This is a fair criticism. A door to the backyard would be a very good thing -- but, if you can't manage that, you could do a pass-through window over the sink.

    You've designed a nice feature staircase, that no one will ever see, that's next to your mudroom. That's a shame.

    Good point. I like the staircase, but it's a space-hog and an expensive feature. It doesn't make any sense to sandwich it between the pantry and the mudroom. If you're going to put in this feature, bring it out to the main living area, where it can be appreciated.

    Your 2 kids rooms are large but their closets look small.

    Again, that's a good point. You are splurging on large bedrooms here ... and larger closets may not seem necessary while your kids are small, but soon enough they'll wear adult -sized clothes. I'd be very willing to give up some bedroom floor space to get better closets.

  • RTHawk
    17 days ago

    I agree with anj_p -- move the closet of bedroom 2 - make it into a reach-in closet all along the shared wall with the primary bedroom. This will provide a noise buffer between the 2 rooms.

  • PRO
    Mark Bischak, Architect
    16 days ago

    "So don't put a lock on the doors to the sink area." (there is no "sink area", just bathroom)

    Jack & Jill bathrooms are perfect for developing sibling relationship, learn how to resolve conflict, challenge memory, and enhances vocabulary. One kid can assist the other when they hear them "talking to Ralph on the big white phone". Learn anatomy when they walk through unintentionally unlocked door. Learn finished carpentry in repairing the door jam after having to kick in the door that was accidentally left locked. A catalyst of human development.

  • Mrs Pete
    16 days ago

    (there is no "sink area", just bathroom)

    Isn't that a small room with two sinks and a separate room with a toilet and tub?

  • PRO
    Mark Bischak, Architect
    16 days ago

    It looks like one room to me. Having a separate room with only sinks that is accessed from the bedrooms is better than one open bathroom, but I just do not care for Jack & Jill bathrooms because of the lack of privacy.

  • Tracey Woods
    16 days ago

    I always think about how the family will enter and exit the home, and unloading groceries from a car in the garage to kitchen seems like a trek - through a mudroom, past a staircase and pantry before landing on the island.

  • Felix Pradas
    16 days ago
    last modified: 16 days ago

    Hi Ryan, here is a quick alternate floor plan for the ground level which I believe has a better flow. The red areas are storage and coat closets. The façade is over articulated (too many gables). I will try to produce another alternative tomorrow. I have added a porch at the back of the living room. You can always just make the living room bigger is you want. I hope this serves as food for thought. Cheers!




  • tangerinedoor
    16 days ago

    This is going to be a very nice house!


    A few:

    • This will be an expensive house to fuel. What is the plan for alternative energy? This is a bright and sunny ridge, so there must be roof-mount solar? Or?
    • I would definitely maintain the option of a downstairs bedroom. However, I would install a curbless shower in the bathroom. This makes it available for in-laws, visiting friends, and kids with leg casts.
    • I'm not crazy about entering the main door into a dining room. However, being able to see into the kitchen from the front door may be a huge plus, since, vice versa, someone in the kitchen will be able to keep an eye on action on the front stoop and yard.


    FWIW There are many Debbie Downers on Houzz about barn doors. Posters gang up on this issue. I have one on my bathroom and LOVE it: it's one of the best decisions I made in my interior, both for aesthetic and practical reasons.

  • Felix Pradas-Bergnes
    16 days ago

    Here is a modified plan adding a snack/wet bar and mudroom access from the backyard.



  • lyfia
    16 days ago

    I think if you plan for adding a residential elevator where you don't need to install it right now, but use it as closet space until it is needed then you don't need to have a down stairs master.

    However that said it might be nice to have a downstairs bedroom in case someone in the family needs it due to a temporary injury, or you have aging parents coming to visit.

    We have aging parents so are planning a downstairs bedroom that will be used as our home gym for most of the year and then used by my parents when they visit which is usually a longer stay so we'll temporary move things out. We also have a first floor master because when we don't use the upstairs anymore we want to be able to cool/heat it less and just live on one floor. However we don't have a master upstairs at all. It's for our kid and her cousins and friends to stay.

  • tangerinedoor
    16 days ago

    There are several problems with elevators for disabled folks, not the least of which is a fire situation.

  • Felix Pradas-Bergnes
    16 days ago
    last modified: 16 days ago

    Hi Ryan, please consider this arrangement for the second floor. Cheers!


  • lyfia
    16 days ago

    Felix you have great ideas, but I think you missed the connection to the future space above the garage in the new upstairs.

  • Felix Pradas-Bergnes
    16 days ago
    last modified: 16 days ago

    Hi Lyfia (beautiful name by the way), "my" thinking for that future space, since it is a guest space, is that it ought to be separate from the main family sleeping quarters. It ought to have its own set of stairs which can be added off the mudroom or the downstairs studio. Of course, this is all folly, since we are not privy to the owners' full mindset. Cheers!

  • decoenthusiaste
    16 days ago

    Love your "boudoir" Felix! Every woman needs one; better than a she-shed!

  • Felix Pradas
    15 days ago
    last modified: 15 days ago

    Hi Ryan, here is another more refined floor plan set and some elevations. The stairs to the space above the garage is a second separate set of stairs to provide privacy to the family quarters and a second egress (fire escape) from the basement. Cheers!











  • Felix Pradas
    15 days ago

    Here is another floor plan with a more straight forward arrangement of the garage. I hope this helps. Cheers!


  • Mrs Pete
    15 days ago

    Felix' new entrance is vastly superior to the original image. It makes the staircase the showpiece it should be, AND it makes the entrance much nicer /efficient.


    FWIW There are many Debbie Downers on Houzz about barn doors. Posters gang up on this issue. I have one on my bathroom and LOVE it ...

    The right answer is for the OP to try one himself. I was ambivalent about them until we stayed in a hotel with a barn door on the bathroom, and I found it problematic.


    Here is a modified plan adding a snack/wet bar and mudroom access from the backyard.

    Eh, we're already looking at an oversized kitchen -- I don't see any point in a snack bar.

    The mudroom is "too far from the action" to place the backyard access. This remains a problem.


    second separate set

    Think carefully about this. Stairs are quite expensive, and they're not needed in a house this size.


    I see the bathrooms are adding up -- are you sure you want to clean and maintain this many?


  • Felix Pradas
    15 days ago

    @Mrs Pete, I can readily agree. For me, it's a matter of providing the OP with options, with ideas, not necessarily the ultimate plan since we are not privy to so many vital details on the site and occupants' lifestyle. Cheers!

  • Felix Pradas
    14 days ago

    Hi @Ryan, here is another floor plan. The intent is to show you alternate treatment of the volumes.

    This version removes the carriage house (garage) away from the house via corridors (one open and one enclosed around a protected garden). This option allows for cleaner lines. I hope this helps.









  • A B
    14 days ago

    This is a really lovely house.... so many other houses that appear on here are just utter mishmashes, burying whatever original design there was beneath countless additions and tweaks that turn it into a McMansion. This house on the other hand, while huge, looks intentional and simple and deeply classy.

    Well, except for the garage. If you truly need three car garage, the go for it, but the massing there is a LOT. And I guess I just don’t understand building a house from the ground up and having a huge chunk of the house unfinished. To each their own, of course, but I would think either you need the space or you don’t, and if you don’t, why increase your budget so much for something you don’t need?

  • claire larece
    14 days ago

    I personally don't like the flow of the house at all like for instance the pantry for the kitchen belongs facing the kitchen, if you're going to have a mudroom connected to the garage I would pull staircase and foyer altogether as others stated. I also feel all bedrooms should be located upstairs especially. Laundry in the mudroom area. The kitchen I think would be best at the end of where living will be mo.

  • Ryan
    Original Author
    13 days ago

    Thank you Felix for those visuals! The comments that everyone has been posting has really helped us while articulating new thoughts and ideas to the architect.

  • Ryan
    Original Author
    3 days ago

    The architect has sent us a new potential layout before getting in too deep. Feel free to leave any comments as we are looking for more feedback. Thanks!




  • PRO
    Mark Bischak, Architect
    3 days ago
    last modified: 3 days ago

    Double door entry directly into the open space of the Dining/Living/Kitchen with no coat closet?

    Trying to figure out the Escher stair,

  • Felix Pradas-Bergnes
    3 days ago
    last modified: 3 days ago

    Hi Ryan, please consider moving the kitchen door to the patio off the living room and switching around the stove and the refrigerators so you and the children can get drinks right off the patio without coming near the stove. Cheers!



    P.S.: I agree with @Mark Bischak, Architect, the location and orientation of the stairs leave much to be desired.

  • cpartist
    3 days ago

    Do you really want your guests walking into the house and the first thing they see is the kitchen?

    In the master bedroom, do you really want to walk across the bedroom to get from the master closet to the master bath?

    It seems like the hallway with the staircase is an afterthought.

    Lots of wasted space on either side of the seating area in the living room.

  • bpath
    3 days ago

    I’d want the mudroom to be a little more unseen from the living room and kitchen. But you can‘t put a door there because you need access to the stairs. Can you pull the cubbies forward onto the front porch, in line with the garage (making a straight line from the overhead garage door to the dining room) to hide them and any shoes a bit more? I’d leave the door to the garage where it is, that creates a convenient spot for the trash/recycling bins.