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Community and Q&A

Floor Plan advise & suggestion

arnoldk | Posted in General Questions on

Hi,

I live in Ottawa, Canada (zone 6) and I’m designing a pretty good house, aiming for 0.6 ACH with an all electric house. Currently I’m wrapping up the design of our two story, slab on grade house before we outsource the plan optimization and the energy model for window size, insulation…

Before I move to the final step I am hoping the GBA community can provide some feedback, suggestion and opinion on the design. I am open to everything and anything.

Thank you,
Arnold

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Replies

  1. Expert Member
    Rick Evans | | #1

    Hi Arnold,

    I personally like the layout and would enjoy living in such a home.

    Get rid of that woodstove though! :-)

    1. arnoldk | | #5

      The reason for the wood stove is because the house will be built on a 23 acres fully tree property in the outskirts of the city. the wood stove would serve as backup heat source when there are power outage which neighbours have confirmed and I have a free source of wood.
      With that said I understand the draw back in a tight house and the fact that the green building community do not like them.

      Thank you,
      Arnold

  2. Expert Member
    AKOS TOTH | | #2

    Aronld,

    House layout is not an easy job, a good architect can make a world of difference when it comes to this. Other than that, your best bet is to start from an existing layout for the size of the house you are looking for and work from there.

    The house layout looks workable, but I can't put my finger on what doesn't feel right. It feels a bit cramped for a 2300sqft house with 3 bed plus den on 2nd floor. Maybe too much circulation space.

    P.S. I like the mini pantry in the corner of the kitchen. That is an excellent use of a typically useless space.

    1. arnoldk | | #6

      Hi Akos,

      I should have mentioned that my wife is the one who has been doing the AutoCAD drawings and studied interior design and facilities.
      We originally started with exciting plans but quickly found that the majority of them assume you will have a basement were you storage and utility room will be. The floor plans design for slab on grade had a tiny utility room that seem to be just big enough for mechanical thing for a house built in the city that does not have a pressure tank and water softener.

      If you know of any slab on grade floor plans with a reasonable utility/storage room, please let me know.

      Thank you,
      Arnold

      1. Expert Member
        AKOS TOTH | | #26

        Slab on grade is non existent around me, pretty much all houses have a basement, I can't help much with layout. Finding space for storage and utilities without a basement does pose some challenges.

        If you do go with a single story layout, the issue is getting light into the center of the house as at least half the exterior walls will be bedrooms. Make sure to design in some extra windows such as clerestory/dormer/skylight.

        If you can design the width to be within the span of vaulted parallel chord or scissor trusses, one nice option would be to cathedral the whole space and have living space taller but build in the area above the bedrooms as conditioned attic for storage/hvac/utilities. It would mean a slightly larger conditioned envelope but keep almost everything on a single floor.

        If you have access to firewood, I would definitely install a wood burning stove. Nothing like on a cold winter day to be able to get the place up to 27C and walk around in shorts. Spend a bit more money on one of the smaller high efficiency units that have a combustion air intake.

  3. jberks | | #3

    Hi Arnold,

    Here are some things I thought of from taking a quick look. Just my thoughts.

    1. Your dining table looks out of scale. You're probably 13' inside dimensions of that bumpout. You might find that space too small to stick that dining table in. And might have to bump down to an 8' length. Remember to account for the space needed at the table ends to get in and out from under a table and "embark/disembark" from the chair. So taking into account the length of chair, plus your legs and some buffer room to comfortably do so. You might need 2.5 to 3 feet on either end of the table.

    2. try to put the laundry machines on the second floor. It makes a world of a difference. Heck I even have come to my personal thought that washer/dryers belong in the bedroom closet, bedrooms are where all the laundry originates! why are we still designing them somewhere else and lugging the laundry around the house? But that's more practical for 1 bedroom type designs. It's still impractical to have multiple machines in one house. So a central location like the linen closet outside the bedrooms is ideal.

    3. Consider shrinking the storage room and the flex room. So you can move the kitchen down a bit and it'll give your first floor more of an open concept and better "feng shui" as I like to call it. That's just me though. I like wide view sights as much as possible. Makes it feel bigger. Obviously that's a compromise that only you can decide what's best.

    Jamie

    1. arnoldk | | #7

      Hi Jamie,

      Thank you for those suggestion. My wife already finds the house to big and is still looking shrink in by a 300-400 sq. ft. so making the kitchen bigger is not what she wants.
      We thought about putting the laundry on the second floor but we air dry out clothes so finding a spot on the second floor to dry them became an issue without taking living space away so we dropped the idea.

      Thank you,
      Kris Heiss

      1. user-5946022 | | #11

        This makes sense, especially if this is your forever house. But things happen, and people end up needing to sell, and small issues such as no laundry on the 2nd floor can prevent the house from selling. Even if you personally want the laundry on first floor, design a closet and rough it in, so a future owner can have the laundry on the 2nd floor.

  4. user-2310254 | | #4

    I would want to have a full bath connected to the flex space. This gives you the option of creating a first-floor bedroom should that become necessary.

    1. user-5946022 | | #10

      +1
      This was also my first thought - find a way to make that a full bath and have a door either direct from the flex space, or through a vestibule.

      1. arnoldk | | #12

        We have kept this in mind if for some reason we would need to convert the flex room into a bedroom in the future. We plan on roughing for that in the utility room which is why the flex room is next to the utility room.

        My wife is big on the aging in place and these two comment just reinforced her position. lol

        Thank you,
        Arnold

  5. user-36575 | | #8

    First impressions -
    I like that you have a separate garage.

    For designs without basements, and without conditioned attics, the design of the utility room becomes more important. You'll want to make sure you preserve space for your HRV, your water heater, dehumidifier, etc, including enough space to service them and change filters. Sounds like you know that, just keep it in mind if you make changes.

    If you decide to keep the wood stove as your backup plan, design in external air supply, especially with a well sealed house.

    Your kitchen is in the middle of the house (no exterior wall). Plan for a large efficient capture range hood and exhausting thereof. If you go over (~200 CFM, I think) in exhaust fan, you'll need makeup air for that.

    I don't know how to design them, but I do like mud rooms and screened porches in our climate.

    I suspect that you'll want an office that has doors that close, even if they're glass. With any time spent on the phone or Zooming, you probably will appreciate some isolation from the rest of the house, and vice versa. You may end up using one of the upstairs bedrooms as office space.

    I don't know what your house orientation is, and that will have an effect on fenestration, but I like rooms that have windows on more than one side, for light, for views, and for cross ventilation during pleasant weather. Sometimes a transom window can allow for these things without loss of privacy.

    Have fun.

    1. arnoldk | | #16

      Hi Andrew,

      The bump out of the house will be orientated almost due south and plan on putting roof overhang for summer with sunshade inside the house.

      Thank you,
      Arnold

  6. johngfc | | #9

    I'd carefully consider that half wall by the office. My wife and I do conference calls from home, and as we design our dream home (also CZ6; hoping to break ground in the spring), we're planning an office with a solid door, door seals, and extra sound deadening. Extra privacy isn't expensive to build in, but it would be as a remodel.

    1. arnoldk | | #15

      Hi Johngfc,

      That is something I have been on the fence about and we may be changing that to be a full wall. My wife is currently working on shrinking the second floor because she still finds the house to big at 2300 sq. ft.

      Thank you,
      Arnold

  7. user-5946022 | | #13

    This is generally a nice design. Since you asked, here are some thoughts:

    1. Need a full bath on the main level. You never know when someone in your household will break a leg and arm at the same time, preventing them from using stairs, or a grandparent will need temporary help, or a relative who visits for the weekend will acquire a significant other who can't do stairs, etc . This becomes far less disruptive if there is a full bath on the main level. Also make sure all the doors on the main level to this flex space (future bedroom) and bath are at least 2'8", preferably 2'10" although those are difficult to source, or the easy to get 3'0" doors.

    2. Since you will have a full bath, make sure there is access from the flex room without going through the public spaces of the house.

    3. There is alot of space on the main level for mud rooms. If you are looking to reduce, start there. Perhaps these are also play spaces for kids. If so, consider what you can do to support their later conversion to home office desk/ homework areas. Consider putting the closet in the front mudroom against the stairs, thereby giving enough space so you could put in a small desk at the lower left corner, facing page left, if needed. Also gives easier access to the considerable space under the stairs. You could also easily add a door between this mud room and the balance of the house for work from home privacy. Consider similarly rearranging the other mudroom.

    4. I don't agree with the comment about the dining. 13' is plenty for a 6 person table the long way. At holidays when this becomes a 12 person table you can turn it the other way - either way it will be crowded at holidays, but without building a huge house, that is just what happens and is part of what makes the holidays fun.

    5. Are the mechanicals in the utility/laundry/storage room? That room also has a workbench. Workbench and laundry and mechanicals all may want separate spaces. Where do you plan to store your (battery powered) lawnmower and garden tools - is there a separate outbuilding? If not consider a closet accessed from the exterior which could potentially be unconditioned.

    6. The 9'5" bedroom is fairly small. Consider swapping the 13x15 office area and that bedroom. Build a double stud wall and acoustically treat the wall if you are concerned about sharing a wall from the master with a future teenagers bedroom wall. That would let you move the kids bath to next to the 11x11 bedroom and get your plumbing out of an outside wall and it makes your plumbing runs shorter, especially for hot water. You could also rough in a future laundry area on the new loft side of that wall and either build out the room not or not (or it can just be a closet on the far end of that wall).

    7. At the master closet you have 5' width. Allow 2' for clothing/rod, then 2'6" for a door, then reserve the last 6" on the other side of the door so you can install 6" deep shelving along that wall - 2'6" in the master closet is plenty for average size people, and the space on the opposite wall for shelving really increases closet usefulness. The tendency to shove all walk in closet doors into the corner reduces useable wall space and thereby reduces storage.

    Remember it is not just what works for your family. The idea is to make sure it works for others also so IF you need to sell fast, you have the widest market possible.

    1. arnoldk | | #18

      Hi C L,

      Thank you for your feedback and some of your points have been food for thought we are looking into implementing.

      As for the storage of tractor, lawnmower... we will have a 24' x 24' detached garage which will house all of those type of equipment. The indoor storage/utility room will be for item which need to be conditioned.
      The workbench is a small bench with basic tools in there to keep me from having to run out to the garage just for a screwdriver when fixing something simply in the house. The main "shop" will be in the garage for when I am doing more extensive work but I may also decide not to put a workbench once we move it.

      Thank you,
      Arnold

  8. this_page_left_blank | | #14

    I will concur with some other comments:
    -main floor full bath; even if you don't put one in there, at least rough plumb it for a potential future change.
    -don't skimp on storage space, that's a mistake we made (I kind of knew it was a mistake in advance, but lost the argument about it with my wife). Looks like you're in pretty good shape with that utility/storage room.

    Since you mentioned you're on 23 acres, I'll make a big suggestion based on the biggest regret I have about our house: throw out that whole plan, and design a single story slab on grade. With that much space, the reasons for building up instead of out are pretty flimsy. Yes, it's more energy efficient, but the difference is pretty minimal. The list of negatives of a two story house are pretty long. Siding is more difficult and expensive, keeping windows clean is a big deal on the second floor, you have to give consideration for safe window escape in case of fire, risk of falling on the stairs is ever present and ongoing and will only increase with age (or if you have a baby or infant). Plus it's just annoying the number of times you go up and down those stairs.

    Also, in regards to the wood stove: How long and frequent are these power outages? Being a resident of Ontario myself, I am guessing they don't last much longer than a couple of days. If that is the case, you are far better off just having a back-up generator. Way cheaper, and way more convenient. I mean, don't you want to use your electrical appliances during the power outage anyway? The woodstove is wasted floor space 99.9% of the time, and is a 24/7/365 energy loss due to air leaks and conduction through the stove pipe. Even in a prolonged outage, do you want to refill a generator tank once in a while and have all the mod-cons that electricity brings, or be hauling in firewood daily and stoking the stove multiple times a day and reading by candlelight?

    1. arnoldk | | #17

      Hi Trevor,

      My wife has always wanted a bungalow and keeps bring it up once in a while but was having an issue trying to keep the bungalow from spreading out to much since we will be doing a slab on grade. Also the front of the property is narrower (250 feet) then the rear and both neighbours have built their house closer to the boundary line bordering out property.

      The reason for the slab on grade is because the water table is about 4-5 feet below grade. I know from speaking with the neighbours around us that their sump pump run pretty much year around, even during the winter.

      Thank you,
      Arnold

      1. this_page_left_blank | | #20

        We had the same reason for doing slab on grade.

        250' frontage is still pretty big. If you want 2200sf on a single floor (don't forget the stairs take up floor space, plus you're wife is wanting it smaller anyway), you only need a 40'x55' footprint. That's only 6' closer on either side to the property lines.

        1. arnoldk | | #21

          Your comment has my wife quickly putting something together in AutoCAD to see if a bungalow could be possible with everything she wants. She also came up with a smaller second floor by reducing it by about a 1/4.

          1. user-2310254 | | #22

            Or make the house rectangular and run it deeper into the property. This gives you more privacy on the sides and potentially better views into your acreage. Something like this (https://www.archdaily.com/788972/corbett-residence-in-situ-studio?ad_medium=gallery) maybe with a gable roof if the design is too modern for your tastes.

  9. Expert Member
    BILL WICHERS | | #19

    Your two upstairs bathrooms have plumbing fixtures on the exterior walls. You want to make sure to keep all of your pluming in INTERIOR walls. It's possible to come up through the floor into those sinks and toilets, but you'll want to make sure that's noted on the plans if you don't want to try to rearrange those bathrooms at all.

    I would consider putting some basic soundproofing into the ceiling of the flex room (to isolate the bedroom so that the bedroom doesn't hear the TV in the flex room), and the shared wall between the office and master bedroom. I would also put a door on that office. You want to be able to work in the office without disturbing anyone in the master bedroom, and the same goes for watching the TV in the flex room. It's easy to put in some basic soundproofing now, much harder to retrofit later (especially the ceiling).

    I agree a backup generator is a better option than a woodstove. Put in an ATS (automatic transfer switch), and use a generator powered by either natural gas or propane depending on what you have available. I'll mention that the Kohler residential standby units are of much better quality than the more common Generac units that you commonly see in the box stores too. A backup generator will let you run everything in your house (if sized correctly), and is much more flexible. Also, if you haven't split wood before, you'll find that the effort of splitting and seasoning all that wood makes it seem a lot less "free"...

    I would put windows on both sides of the bump out in the master bedroom. I'd also consider a balcony coming out from there too but that's just me. If you have a big wooded lot (yours is very close in size to my lot here), you have nice views and you'll want to SEE those views. I'd also be very careful with placement of the house to get some sun in. I have fewer south-facing windows here than I'd like, and in the winter I wish we had more natural light coming in.

    I would consider a covered walk between the house and the garage. This is nice in winter since it keeps the path clear of snow.

    Looks like a nice little layout. I'd be reluctant to try trimming out square feet though unless you're trying to cut costs. Usually people wish they had MORE space down the road, not LESS, and it's easy to just use an extra room for storage if you don't need it. It's hard to add more space later.

    Bill

    1. arnoldk | | #23

      Hi Bill,

      Thank you for your feedback and we are looking to implement some of those (interior plumping and soundproofing). We have a breezeway connecting the house to the detached garage but it's not shown in the attached plan.

      The reason for not having a backup generated is we are trying to minimize the type of fuel we will have on the property since we are doing an all electric house. We're more likely to install a backup battery but due to cost, that will need to wait until later.
      Admittedly the main reason for having the wood stove is we enjoy the look and feel of it and also the self reliant aspect of providing backup heat.

      Thank you,
      Arnold

  10. arnoldk | | #24

    Hi,

    Does anyone know if reducing the total size of the house by around 250 sq. ft. (mostly on the second floor) will make that big of a difference in term of building cost?

    Thank you,
    Arnold

  11. Expert Member
    BILL WICHERS | | #25

    Where you take out those square feet will have a lot to do with how much of an impact it will have on your project cost. If you want a super duper no warranty expressed or implied, use it at your own risk, etc etc, guess: take your total project cost and divide it by the total square footage. Divide that cost per square foot number by half and multiple the result by the 250 square feet that you're thinking about taking out. There's your very ballpark guestimate for planning purposes.

    Regarding a generator or a battery, don't use a battery for power outage backup purposes. Even a very large battery is VASTLY inferior to ANY type of fuel in terms of energy density. What this means is even a very large, and very expensive, battery will only offer a VERY short amount of runtime as a power backup device. An example would be a 10kWh battery, which for a typical home is about 10 hours of backup power -- and that assumes the usual 1kw average load. Chances are you'll actually see something less than that in terms of actual runtime during an outage. And with a battery, once it's used up, that's it -- there is no possibility (within reason, anyway), of getting some more fuel to run some more. You have to wait until power is restored to recharge the battery.

    If you're in an area where you can expect power outages to occur, and if you're on a large wooded lot then you're probably in such an area, you really want a generator for backup purposes. Natural gas or propane is best for this in terms of ease of use, next best is diesel (the fuel lasts longer without degrading). Last is gasoline. If you're going all electric, you probable won't have natural gas available so propane and diesel are your best options. Propane's main advantage is that it NEVER degrades. Whatever is in your tank is good to go at anytime, even if it's many years old. The downside is reduced energy density, so you need a larger volume of propane for the same runtime. Diesel is better about energy density, but there are more issues with fuel maintenance.

    I would probably go with propane here as a fuel choice for two reasons: 1 is that it's not that unusual to put in a residential propane tank of reasonable size, so there are lots of contractors out there familiar with projects like this. 2 is that propane lets you use any of the standard residential standby generators that are pretty much all able to run on either natural gas or propane and can be ordered for either fuel type from the factory, and usually can also be easily converted in the field. Propane is the lowest maintenance and least hassle here.

    Gasoline is best for portable generators which really aren't well suited to residential backup purposes, especially if you expect to have longer duration outages of several days. Gasoline is also the most dangerous fuel to store on site, and it degrades pretty quickly as well.

    Bill

    1. arnoldk | | #29

      Hi Bill,

      You have given me some food for thought but since we plan on having a tractor for work out the property including snow removal, diesel is likely the fuel choice I would pick.
      I think I would need to speak with the neighbours to find out how many power outage they get per year and their average duration. Depending on their answer, I may still go with my initial plan of installing a manual transfer switch with a 30 amp outlet on the exterior wall to plug in the generator. Something like in the below link.
      https://www.homedepot.ca/product/generac-homelink-manual-transfer-switch-30-amp-6-8-circuit-kit/1001151352

      Arnold

  12. joenorm | | #27

    I disagree about getting rid of the wood stove. A new, very efficient wood stove can be easy to operate and be a primary heat source if you so choose. Splitting wood is fun, gets you outdoors, and keeps you fit.

    I'd much rather rely on wood, which came from my own property, then a fuel generator I have to keep maintained for a few outages a year(If you have many prolonged outages this would change my mind perhaps.)

    I agree with others that I'd prefer single story over two story(I just finished building a small two story)

  13. ROBERT OPALUCH | | #28

    -- Very good use of larger south-facing windows for wintertime daylighting and solar heat gains, yet avoiding early summer overheating (just plan on effective shading for August). Likely you will enjoy the free winter warmth and lighting to get you through the dark, cold months of being kept indoors. This daylighting and winter warmth may be one of your favorite features of your home. Hopefully a nice view too. Consider your landscaping plan.
    -- The open floor plan with living, dining, kitchen, (open?) stairway, and corridors leading out on both ends, is a great way to provide the perception of a large interior and minimize the size of the home, by eliminating walls and overlapping walkway space. That perception of large space is even more magnified by the large windows. Nice.
    -- Try to keep exterior dimensions a multiple of 4' or at least 2' (4’x8’ sheathing dimensions, and 24" spacing on-center of studs/joists/trusses aligned vertically). So you might make the bump out 6' x 16'. It can save labor cost if you align with 2' dimensions. So that extra space may be quite inexpensive by saving some labor and otherwise wasted material.
    -- The bump out is architecturally interesting, but I typically try a rectangular footprint that's a multiple of 4', like your garage. Corners are more labor intensive. Adding extra length to a rectangle doesn't add much in labor cost and avoids wasted material and minimizes siding and roofing details. Consider aligning the interior stairway to framing/floor sheathing as well, to reduce a little framing labor and material waste.
    -- Agree that plumbing is better located in interior not exterior walls in your cold climate. The second floor master bath fixtures could be located along the closet wall. The first floor bath could be rotated so fixtures are located along the kitchen wall (where the sink plumbing is located too); especially if you add a tub (recommended).
    -- Even better, redesign the layout so all baths and the kitchen sink are located along a single, two-story interior plumbing wall. Have the upstairs baths back to back with the plumbing wall directly above the first floor plumbing wall, with the kitchen and first floor bath located back to back. It makes for less plumbing labor and materials, faster hot water arrival at sinks and showers, and less plumbing noise in other rooms. Right now you have baths spread out across the house, a plumbing (and noise) nightmare, and adding to expensive plumbing labor, some materials costs, and some wasted water during occupancy.
    -- Are you considering glazing, insulating panels, or insulating low walls and ceiling on your porch at some point to extend its useful season? And to keep snow from getting through screens and into porch? (Bad enough shoveling walkways, avoid shoveling your porch! ;-) Or using (or extending) the porch for storage during winter months (or adding some storage space to it)? Not all of your storage needs to be inside your conditioned space. Think about more, cheap storage in a shed, extending this porch, adding storage in the porch ceiling, or extending the garage to be 24' x 28'? Those options would free up more of your conditioned space, or allow you to reduce the size of your building shell a little bit. Garages, sheds and porches provide discount space vs. inside the conditioned envelope. You could always plan on less storage inside your home, and add a shed or extend a smaller porch at a later date.
    --Consider making your porch and rear entrance into a single doorway into the home. (Although you don’t mention the views or landscaping plans that might justify keeping them separate.) The door to enter the porch could be located near the door to enter the home from the porch. Two mudrooms seems to be overkill if you are trying to minimize space and cost. You need a second exterior door for the home for safety reasons, but most people hardly ever use their "front" door, even for more formal occasions. Do you have a real need for two separate mudrooms? Or just label the corridor a "mudroom" in your plan as a way to add extra storage to a corridor?
    -- Walk-in closets are nice (but to be more space efficient, 7'+ wide with closet poles along both sides not one). However, walk-in closets add a corridor of wasted space. If you are trying to minimize SQFT, then use a typical closet door along a bedroom wall, unless you really prefer walk-in closets.
    -- For stairways, I try to avoid steep stairs that take up less space. What is your rise/run? Steep stairways are unsafe for children and the elderly. U-shaped stairs can make moving large items difficult, and take up more space, but can be safer. Space above and below stairways can be used as storage space, so less steep stairs aren’t necessarily a waste of space. You are planning to create a lot of interior storage space anyway.
    -- Consider putting storage space(s) above the stairway landing, accessed by the upstairs bedroom and/or office. It allows use of the wasted space above a stairway landing. Be sure to calculate the clearances so furniture can be moved around the landing to access the upper floor, after railings have been installed. (And during construction, plan to keep a window or part of a wall open so drywall can be delivered to the upper story without going up the stairs.)
    -- In one home, I designed a queen-size bed loft, located mostly over an enlarged landing of a u-shaped stair. (Most of the stairs were beyond the stairway landing, to allow the bed to be nearer the second floor level.) Kids loved it, and it can expand the size of a bedroom immensely, at little cost. An adjoining bedroom closet was partially located over the lower stairs of the stairway. The first floor of the stairway was open to the living area, making the living room feel larger and less boxy. The wider stairway landing made moving items up the u-shaped stair easier, as well as to provide a space for sitting at the window on the landing.
    -- Its probably cheaper to build a two-story home than a single story, despite deleting the stairway. In a single story home, hallways can become a larger part of the percentage of your total SQFT. There's more roofing and a larger concrete slab (vs. a wood frame second floor). Heat loss would greater for the larger envelope area of a single-story design vs. a more compact envelope of a two-story.
    -- Consider making the Flex room and an adjoining full bath to be wheelchair/handicapped accessible. Its a low-cost option during initial construction, and may be needed later (and far more expensive or difficult to redesign later). We do get old, and we do get injured, unfortunately. Use 3' interior doors that open outward or provide clearance inward; handles not knobs; wheelchair clearance on one side of the toilet (where storage could be located for now); 5' walk-in shower; and grab bars or backing in walls to provide grab bars later.

    1. arnoldk | | #30

      Hi Robert,

      Thank so much for a great feedback and has given us a lot to consider. We plan on optimizing the floor plan to minimize material waste by rounding off measurement to the nearest foot when we outsource that along with the energy modeling but you make a good point on the 2 feet increments.

      For the plumbing, everything will be coming through an interior wall or through the floor which seems to be a common practice in my area now that PEX is being used. I am not sure if that's the best way of doing it but switching things around in the bathroom won't be difficult.

      The screen porch will remain that way initially but I plan on building it with the flexibility of turning it into a 3 season room in the future. During the winter we plan on buying some transparent covers which you can roll up and down just like interior window blinds that are sold near by. They can also be used to cut down on wind in the shoulder season.

      The corridor by the screen porch is not a mudroom but there will be a spot to tuck my garden shoes next to the door. There will likely be a small touch down desk in front of the window with cupboard on either side.

      For the full bathroom on the first floor, we were planning on roughing in for a shower on the other side of the wall between the washroom and utility/storage room. If we ever needed it, we would knock down that wall and install a shower. We feel it's the best of both world since I don't see a point of having three full bathroom in house our size. Also that would likely affect the size of the septic system we would need to get which would add additional cost.

      Thanks,
      Arnold

  14. rockies63 | | #31

    Hello, here are my thoughts on your main floor plan. I decided to do a “cut and paste” on a screen capture of your plan because a picture is worth 1000 words. First, I turned the plan 180 degrees so that “south” is towards the bottom of the screen. This allows you to better understand the path of the sun throughout the day and how it affects the layout of the interior.

    One of the best design guidelines when looking at a plan is to ask yourself “where will the sun be during the day when I am most likely using these rooms”? In the morning you want the sun in the kitchen and breakfast room, in the afternoon in the kitchen, breakfast room and living areas, and in the evening in the dining room and living room. Therefore, I flipped your plan so that the living room is on the west side of the house since you will most likely be in that room in the evening and you will want the evening sun.

    Then, I switched the locations of your flex room and utility room. The flex room should be as far away from the main spaces as possible so that when kids are using it and blasting the TV you can’t hear it and with regards to the utility room it really doesn’t need sunlight so it should be on the north side of the house. Another reason for this switch is that someday the flex room might become a bedroom and if so I added an east facing window to the flex room for morning light (Also, nobody really feels comfortable if their private bedroom opens into the front hall).

    You said wanted to have a full bathroom on the main floor that can also be accessed from the flex room/bedroom so I expanded the powder room and put it’s doorway off a short hall between the back mudroom and the flex room (this is a better location for the door because no guest wants to step out of a powder room and be observed by everyone sitting at the dining room table).

    In the living room I pulled the wood stove away from the wall (most wood stove manufacturers say there has to be at least one foot between the back of their stoves and the wall) and then centered the stove on the wall (nothing looks worse than a prominent feature that is “slightly” off center on a wall). Then I added windows over what I assume are low bookcases on either side of the wood stove. These windows should be small but they will still provide some light from the setting sun.

    Finally, I pulled the south dining nook wall about one foot further south to allow for an outswing door onto a southwest patio (you didn’t have any way of reaching the backyard from the house except through the screen porch). Deepening the dining area by an extra foot also pulls the table a bit more south and out of the circulation path between the back mudroom and living room so when someone is seated at the dining table their chair won’t jut back into this pathway.

    Upstairs I just re-arranged the master bath a bit (you’ll want to see that huge glass enclosed shower straight ahead as you walk in) and moved the bathroom window east. I switched the office with that small north bedroom and added a full height wall and closet to create the new bedroom. Lastly I moved the linen closet to the north side of the hallway so that it encroaches into the office and that allowed me to move the master bedroom door into the corner (you could do double doors here).

    When it comes to the exterior elevations try to align the upper and lower windows. Overall, it’s a nicely laid out house. I hope you like my suggestions and understand my rational for making them.

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