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Design Dilemma
Design Dilemma

Need help with my floor plan

kreckartJanuary 19, 2013
We are building a custom home and need design input on this floor plan. The 'foot print' for the plan has to remain the same- but I know the space is not maximized. I hate the kitchen area and really want a large island. Ultimately, I would love to move the stairs out of the kitchen space - is that possible? They need to remain somewhere that would allow access to our bonus area that is over the garage/ master bedroom area. Thanks for any input!!
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You should really ask a professional about this.
    Bookmark   January 19, 2013 at 7:13PM
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I am consulting someone - but - I have seen other responses to discussions that were addressed by knowledgeable individuals. I would appreciate any thoughts/opinions concerning this topic that would be helpful.
    Bookmark   January 19, 2013 at 7:26PM
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Fini Design
I am trying to read it but can't seem to enlarge the document clearly. I will keep trying too see if I can help
3 Likes    Bookmark   January 19, 2013 at 7:40PM
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Dezign Studio Inc
Can you zoom in different sections of the house please.
2 Likes    Bookmark   January 19, 2013 at 7:43PM
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Please let me know if the new image is better. Thanks!
    Bookmark   January 19, 2013 at 8:01PM
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Dezign Studio Inc
Sorry , still not clear ,specially the text, dimensions.You may have to zoom in different sections, and upload in 2 or 3 sections. we can piece it together then.Thanks
1 Like    Bookmark   January 19, 2013 at 8:17PM
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If you do choose to forego an architect or an actual designer, it can be done, but be very careful of contractors who are more like handymen than knowledgeable carpenters. My hubby is one and he does a lot of design ideas on his own, but has had to fix a lot of problems from previous 'carpenters' who don't have the knowledge to get it right.
I'd love to see more detail of the print--it's hard to figure from this image. :)
1 Like    Bookmark   January 19, 2013 at 8:37PM
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I have an architect - but he has not really given me a lot of feedback about space saving, smart design. I have just asked him about the movement of the stairs (no response yet on the matter from him) - so I thought I would get some advice from everyone here. A second opinion never hurt :)
    Bookmark   January 19, 2013 at 9:18PM
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Barbara Griffith Designs
I agree It is very hard to read the printing, but I would consider removing the stairs from the current location and turning it 90 degrees to the right..and then moving it to just past where the stove is now in the kitchen and the back butting up to the wall of your MB sinks. Can you visualize this? There would be a new wall there, and you would gain all the space where the stairs are now. You would also need to redesign the kitchen but you could then easily have that island as the room will be wider. You may even be able to have a larger opening in that corner of the kitchen near where the stove is now, because the stairs will take less space than the current configuration. My husband and I designed our own 3800 sf home and were our own contractors. We researched everything and made all decisions. The house was fantastic and we had other builders asking us for advice.
1 Like    Bookmark   January 19, 2013 at 9:23PM
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Fini Design
I think you are smart to do that. I see a couple of issues without being able to see to clearly. Are those french doors swinging in? That will eat up seating space. Have them swing out.

Does he have the sink kitty corner to the dishwasher? I may not be reading the plans correctly but if that is the case you will want to change that. A sink needs more space on either side of it and the dishwasher also needs to be accessed from both sides. It is a safety issue. People inadvertently splatter moisture around sinks and dishwashers. Reaching into the dishwasher from one side is awkward and you could slip easily.

If you take several larger photos of the plans, I think people would be happy to help give insight.
1 Like    Bookmark   January 19, 2013 at 9:32PM
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Close ups
    Bookmark   January 19, 2013 at 9:33PM
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Close ups
    Bookmark   January 19, 2013 at 9:35PM
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If the stairs are moved to that location--where would the MB door be located (breakfast nook?) and how would I relocate the utility room door to access the interior of the house?
    Bookmark   January 19, 2013 at 9:42PM
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Barbara Griffith Designs
The stairs would go only up to where the back wall of the pantry is located. In other words, the left wall of the stairs going up would be where your current kitchen wall runs along the hall and leading to the door of the MB, as it is now. You would also only be moving the actual stairs and you wouldn't need the 3" turning entry to it as it would be straight up as the stairs alone would only use approx. 11' of footprint. The balance of that wall could be open to the foyer/hall as the doorway to the stairs would be approx. where the current doorway to the kitchen's right side is located. It is really hard to put something so visual into words.
    Bookmark   January 19, 2013 at 9:52PM
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Got it! I like that idea - thanks Barbara!! I was also thinking of eliminating all of the closets along the dining room wall/hall/BR area and adding those 2 feet to push the foyer over and add a closet behind the door and bump out the utility room footage. Do you think that would be more beneficial than the closets?
    Bookmark   January 19, 2013 at 10:00PM
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Barbara Griffith Designs
I would certainly remove the closets from the back of the dining room wall. I would use the space in the dining room, but I would remove the entire foyer-to-dining wall, place an 8' pillar where the current inside, upper left hand corner of the dining room is located and one near the front door. These should be "grand" pillars and have a 1' drop wall (or parallam beam) across the top of the pillars. This will define the dining room space as well as the foyer's space, but both would seem bigger. If you wanted..you could do the same on the wall to the great room. Now every room gets bigger.
    Bookmark   January 19, 2013 at 10:13PM
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Barbara Griffith Designs
Another thought, the windows in the MB, GR, and Dining are too small. They are only 36" wide and will provide very little light. Using newspaper, tape pieces together to create the exact dimensions of your windows and then tape them up to a wall in your current house.
    Bookmark   January 19, 2013 at 10:21PM
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Robyn Eisler
So I think you want the stairs leading up and finishing above where the pantry is... OK. Do they have to be a single straight flight or could you have a corner or in the shape U? It would take, say, the size of the pantry. (see [houzz=
Crossway · More Info

Is a walk in pantry a must have? Or can a wall of cupboards (located where the stairs used to be) work? ([houzz=
Piano White · More Info
]). This could give you some valuable storage if you do the good ideas from kreckart.

Still on the kitchen, do you need to have a wall between the kitchen and the great room or would you prefer a more open-plan style of living? (see [houzz=
Barrie Residence · More Info
] - I really love this look). This look gives you a breakfast nook and large island bench in one.

One other thing I noticed was the linen cupboard opens inside the bathroom. I would put the door on the hallway instead. It decreases the door clash and enables access to the cupboard while someone is using the bathroom. Besides, I don't know about you but I have more sheets than towels in my linen cupboard.
    Bookmark   January 19, 2013 at 11:16PM
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Barbara Griffith Designs
Good ideas housewench, I would totally redesign the kitchen area.
    Bookmark   January 19, 2013 at 11:28PM
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I see several issues. Not really sure I understand everything mentioned above.

You have an architect but you also have a trainwreck. And it's puzzling that what's in your Ideabook doesn't even appear to relate to what's in your floor plan. Not much for putting pen to paper for free design work but here, since you've already spent hard earned money on a "professional", I would. Floor plans however have so many pitfalls in "likes" and "gotta haves" and "doesn't matters" etc. I would probably miss the mark. I did that here: http://www.houzz.com/discussions/263597/Need-help-with-exterior-design-of-this-house- but that was just an elevation (more on this below). My drawing is about 15 posts down in the thread.

Coupla things however, the hall to the master bedroom is closed-in and dead, same thing with the hall to the front bedroom, Doors at the end of a dead space...... that's going to feel lovely!! Dining room's a loooooong way from the kitchen. Nice foyer but the kitchen wall coming out half way into the line of sight from that foyer is very awkward.

It looks like your guy/girl is thinking a little beyond the exterior walls with that space in the upper right but get him/her to get the thinking to stop at the property lines, not the exterior walls for the whole house. I've brought this up before here and there are examples of what I'm talking about in one of my "Ideabooks" if you care to look.

The back wall with the fireplace and breakfast door I'm seeing a wall with holes in it (windows and the door) instead of an integrated building component that relates the inside to outside. Same thing with the rear wall of the master bedroom. If I think of a window as simply a hole in a wall that's probably all it will ever become. If I think of a window as an element that connnects outside and inside, bridges light and dark and as that window relates to other windows it has the potential to become so much more. Example photo below.

And a bunch of other stuff too numerous to mention.

Any architect worth his/her salt can sit down with a client in a face to face design session and work out all of the clients concerns. I do them all the time and call them charrettes. Get your guy/girl to do one. This person, for better or worse has the responsibility of guiding you to the best way of spending a healthy six figures of your hard earned money so don't hesitate to lean on him/her. Back to the examples in my ideabook, all of those houses where conceptualized in a one day charrette with the client and builder.

Building bad design costs the same as building good design. In the discussion I cited above these people turned out to be local (since charrettes are very dynamic I don't do them remote) and we not only fixed the elevation we fixed the floor plans (they were a train wreck too) in one six hour "eyeball to eyeball" session (photo below).
1 Like    Bookmark   January 20, 2013 at 4:18AM
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Your floor plan is quite dated, and I think you should listen to Barbara and Housewench!
Open up the kitchen to the living area, take the wall out between foyer and dining room , and have the stairs turn, wherever they are--much more attractive than a straight up staircase ! You are very smart to ask for help NOW, before you feel closed in by spaces that could be open and feel larger!
    Bookmark   January 20, 2013 at 5:05AM
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There's a lot of wasted space in this design. THe dining room looks to be awkward and loses 2.5-3 feet in closets that appear to be unnecessary (ok, where do you store the vacuum?). And there's that hall from LR to Master Bedroom which seems awkward nad a waste of space. Frankly, if you haven't committed to this floor plan, I'd ditch it and start over!

Given that, it makes more sense to sacrifice the laundry room for staircase off the foyer. Open to the first floor. switch-back stairs. Laundry room can be relocated in some of the area where the stairs were.
    Bookmark   January 20, 2013 at 5:57AM
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Now I am really freaking out! My husband and I are teachers and do not have the resources to get another architect. This man was recommended by a friend who has a wonderful home he worked on. I want an open concept living/kitchen area (which is evident by what is in my idea books) but d t know how to make it work. I want a beautiful, livable home but now I am very discouraged. I have serious budget constraints so I have to make this footprint work. I can make any changes I want- but it is evident he is only willing to change what I say without much regard for aesthetics. I want to solve the issue - he will draw it - now I just need to know what to say. Any redesign ideas would be great (ie what would you do?) thank you to all who have already spent time responding- I really have taken what you have said to heart.
    Bookmark   January 20, 2013 at 6:24AM
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I feel for you krectart. I did notice the apparent almost total disconnect between what's in your ideabook (open spaces defined by columns, cofferered ceilings and half walls, etc.) and what's in your plan. They look like two entirely different projects.

I know you have budget constraints (now THAT'S a first for me....wink) but let me frame the arguement for at least getting someone creative to sit down with you and look at it. You guys are going to be spending some six figures for this house if it's a dime. The cost to get a creative person to look at it with everyone at the table will be about 1K. I know that may seem like a lot but in relationship to the big picture, it's small. For example, you're going to be spending many times that just for the countertops!!

The last thing you and your husband want is to be sitting around a few years from now and saying "Gee, I really wish back in the winter of 2013 we had spent 1K to look at this thing a little more closely". Since you've already hired a professional I'd look at it (I wouldn't if it were "Hey guys, I'm spending $500K here, so I drew this up myself and need your free help"), but a whole plan is full of minefields as opposed to an elevation as referenced in the thread I noted.

There's a very large amount of your money involved here in an endeavor where there are no do overs once something's built. Just keep things in perspective here.

What I've found really helps is for a client to understand a little about what seperates so so or even good design from great design. There's a bunch of books in that regard. Not all of my clients read or get them which is ok because making things work is my job not theirs. But some are interested and if you are send me an email at dburke20117@yahoo.com and I'll send you the list. It'll help in communicating with your architect.
    Bookmark   January 20, 2013 at 7:14AM
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Melley Nelson Design
OK... don't freak out. Your architect will work with you, its their job. Take a look at the attached. I put the stairs in the mudroom, mudroom took your one closet. Stretched you bedroom to takeover former stair space, and got you two closets for the master and a half bath so you dont have to send friends to your kids bathroom, just as you remember it hasnt been cleaned in decades. That half bath could probably scooch out a little to allow for a 12" deep pantry there, use cool panel details to match the column and low paneled walls in the diningroom to tie it together. The diningroom I would take the center closet for your display space and add a window seat, just because I alawys want a window seat. Depends on what you have for a buffet, maybe the dr closet should be in the corner. whatever, just don't freak out. YOu will have a lovely house, its a huge deal and its going to have some speedbumps.
3 Likes    Bookmark   January 20, 2013 at 7:16AM
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Just a quick thought- take your time and don't freak too much. You WILL get the house of your dreams, as long as you don't rush- and if you are VERY clear with your architect your needs. My registered architect husband constantly reminds me that our contractor works for me, not the other way around. When you are sure of the changes you need- based on all this great research- your architect should breathe a sigh of relief that he has a clear direction. Push him to think out of his comfort zone- his original plan is very dated- too many walls and wasted space.
Good luck- and stay confident!
1 Like    Bookmark   January 20, 2013 at 7:37AM
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Roma Design-Build, Inc.
Hello Kreckart,

Everyone has made very good comments!

How many plans has your architect developed so far? - it usually takes one or two or sometimes more revised plans to produce a really good plan that balances wishlist and budget development priorities. I encourage you to stick with your architect and communicate until the plan is right for you. Even though there have been many good points, there can definitely be things that are not addressed by this online critique that only your architect with be able to.

I'm a landscape architect who also has a passion for residential space planning - I don't offer architectural or interior design services - I let these pros do this. However, I have studied a lot about space planning so that I can provide better landscape architectural service and plans - interior space planning affects exterior space planning and vice-versa - they are interrelated. If you have been thinking about hiring a landscape architect - I always encourage people to develop both plans at the same time. How the site is utilized could affect where doors and windows are located and this affects interior space planning and not just the footprint of the house. Revisit some of the comments from Architectrunnerguy's first post.

Get the plan and all the details right with your architect before you start building and then live with them - it is much more costly to make changes during construction. See the big picture - great design is not always painless but it will be one of the best investments you can make.
    Bookmark   January 20, 2013 at 8:08AM
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Melley Nelson Design
also, I agree with the hallway comment above. Maybe you lose the top two closet and open up the kids hallway for a 2-3 foot gain and maybe an art space or something for the kids to display their stuff?
    Bookmark   January 20, 2013 at 8:12AM
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It's my intuition that suggests something is telling you that the plans aren't quite right. I'm stating the obvious here I know, but if you were thrilled with the plans so far and comfortable with them ( had peace of mind) then Houzz wouldn't be within your radar.... I've done the same as you when I've known what I have isn't right and worried about impending doom!
That said, the argument for having more knowledge to talk to your architect about seems to be the present way forward....
I'd be inclined to state what is that is bothering you to your architect and get them to change it...
    Bookmark   January 20, 2013 at 11:43AM
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