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We have been searching for years to find the right home for us and one that would fit all of our needs. We have found a company who's price is better then any other builder we have spoken to and they have a floor plan priced in the budget. we can make changes to it that would consist such a small price, it is still way less then anything else.
Here is the layout with our changes:
or click here for dial up users for a direct picture link

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note that the only real structure changes are 1 wall added between the dining room and what is now a home office (use to be a big 2nd living room which we chose to divide into 2 usable spaces. There is a great room with a fireplace which would be used all the time- no need for a 2nd living room). This is done to provide a walk in long pantry with a false door entering from the kitchen. The only other addition is a shower stall in the what was a half bathroom in the downstairs, it sits perfect by the door entering from the garage- no walking through the house all muddy- just hop in the shower 3 steps away and throw the clothes in the laundry/sewing room(which use to be the study) off to the side.
The pantry measurements are not exact but i am estimating about 7'4 wide by 12 long. Any wider and the home office would be too small and so would the dining room.
I plan to put 2feet wide shelfs down the entire length of the 12' walls There may a false door put in front of the long pantry and have a false pantry in the entry portion from the kitchen. I am always thinking what if someone were to try breaking in while we were not home and the children were there by themselves. My thought was they could get into the hidden pantry and long bolt lock it. I went as far as considering a "trap door" from the upstairs hidden away in the case they were upstairs and could not get down to that door.This would also have the option of long bolt locking.
In this day and age, I worry about my family's safety and the twisted minds of others. If anything it would give me peace of mind.
Any input on the size of the pantry? How about the false door idea? Anyone utilize it in their home?
Here is the link to the original floor plan:
http://www.bardenhomes.com/williamstown.asp
Thank you for your input.
 

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My first thought was "where are you going to sleep?", then I read the post again.

I personally like the idea of a "panic room". You may need to work out some support issues for the upstairs entryway but to me it sounds pretty cool. Do you have some quick escape method available from the pantry area. I'm always worried about being trapped in the house if there is a fire.

A friend of mine was home asleep with her 2 children when someone broke in. Fortunately the cops came in time and ran the burglar off (he came back later and stole everything that had any value) but her situation could have been so much worse.
 

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Looks good to me, but I would change one thing: I'd take the laundry area and put it in the bathroom, and keep the sewing room as a more "normal" room that has no plumbing in it. This might keep the building costs down a hair and at the same time have the sewing room a little more versatile, plus you wouldn't have to worry about water leaks from the washer.

I have a combined laundry/bathroom where the washer and dryer are at one end, and toilet, shower and sink are at the other. There is no shower stall, but the whole area is tiled, walls and all, so the whole small bathroom section acts as the shower stall. Works out great and I get a lot of complements from people who see it.

Jennifer

In Edit: One thing that you might consider is having the laundry in the upstairs bathroom. Most of the laundry is going to come from there, anyway.
The only items going upstairs would be towels from the kitchen and bathroom, vs. all of your clothing coming downstairs.
 

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Just my opinion, For someone worried about a budget it seems pretty big especially for just the downstairs. My 1 story home is 28x56 with more room then we need and there's 4 of us.
I don't know how long you plan on staying there or how old you are. these are factors many don't consider when building but like it or not we all get old. 2 story homes are great but try to design with those stairs in mind. I remember the laudry basket at the bottom of the stairs that always needed to be carried back up to the bedrooms, and the one upstairs that needed to be carried down to the laundry.
Directly attached garages or garages in the basement are not my favorite things either, especially if used for cars or other vehicles. The smell alone from a recently parked vehicle will waft thru the tightest house. Besides the fact you will have gas and other items stored in your house. I would get rid of the garage and attach it with a breezeway in the future. It's a lot of money to pay for non living space in a new house.

How do you get groceries and such to the kitchen and the pantry, looks like you would want direct kitchen access to the back yard.
 

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If you can work through weight bearing wall issues and provide sufficient cabinet space, I'd try to open up all the space from the family dining area all the way through to the family room, essentially making it one continuous room. For dining in the kitchen, try to work in a bottom cabinet that can double as a bar for eating. Best wishes in whatever you choose to do.
 

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How about just moving the washer/dryer to the wall behind the bathroom? Then no long plumbing runs. Actually, I like the idea of the laundry upstairs.

Do you have large formal/family dinners? If not, I've found a formal dining room to be mostly unused space.

Although I like the idea of your sewing room & office, if you have company, they have to walk through the kitchen to get to any conversation area. It's nice to have an area that is always neat where one can talk with the rest of the family off doing their thing in another area.

I am envious of your pantry!!
 

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Like the plan. Consider moving the kitchen to where the dining room is and have a combined dining/living room (unless the intent is to have a formal dining room). Also could then access the pantry from its midpoint rather than one end.
 

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I know you are probably thinking you will live here forever, but you should still consider resale in the future. In that vein, I would suggest:

1. Consider making the pantry narrower, to keep the office larger, so that in the future a formal sitting room/living room might be possible in that space. Seven feet is an awful wide pantry.

2. I would use a stacking washer and dryer and incorporate them in slightly larger bathroom. You can still use the sewing room as such, but in future it could convert to a bedroom, study, or sitting room.

Unrelated to resale, I personally don't think panic rooms are very necessary, but if I was to have one, I would put it on the second floor near the bedrooms. If someone did kick in your front door, it is likely to be at night and then everyone is trapped upstairs.
 

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Could the Laundry/sewing room be converted to a bedroom if needed? Having ALL second story bedrooms & baths become quite an issue in the event of injury or illness. Being able to convert a room on the first floor with a full bath at least nearby can be a real lifesaver if (When) someone needs to recuperate. Until & after it could be utilized as the sewing/laundry.
 

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As someone who was in a non weightbaring cast for 6 months I would want a bedroom with a full bath downstairs. I do love the pantry area.
 

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How old are you? How many children do you have?

This looks like a whole lot of house and I too always shy away from two stories. Up and down, up and down, and cleaning and laundry will be a whole lot of work. It can be a big chore just to "inspect" the kids' rooms.

Where will you be as far as family at home in 10 years? 15 year?

It's always good to consider what might happen if one (or both) of you becomes even partially disabled. A bedroom on the second floor might as well be a million miles away.

Same for the toilet and bath.

I'd consider making the Living Room & Home Office into an area that would be easily accessible as a bedroom/and handicap-friendly bathroom somehow--down the line.

I too think formal dining rooms end up to be a big waste of space. You already have that nice big family room, and I'll bet you end up using that dining area most of the time. For big family get-togethers you could easily add a fold up table or two in that big area.

I think the pantry sounds way too big. But I have no idea what you plan to store. As far as a hiding place...what about one of those self-contained storage rooms in the garage--I know they sell them in Oklahoma for tornadoes. They'd surely be a safe room from an intruder. Just an idea.

You could also add another "pantry" in the garage for things you don't use often.

Our DD & hubby bought a huge 2 story house--they have 6 kids. It's a nightmare to keep clean and in good repair. Not to mention heating and air conditioning, plus taxes.

My DH broke his neck 5 years ago. Our home was already almost totally okay as far as being handicap friendly--the doors are all at least 36" wide, for one thing...and the bedroom & bathroom needed just a few things to be accessible for him in a wheelchair.

I know it's something young people don't think about too much, but time marches on--you don't want to be living in a house that is just too much for you in your later years. JMO

Good luck! Planning is such fun!
 

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My criticisms echo a lot of the others. You need a space that could be a bedroom on the first floor (I like two stories, though - easier to heat).

I don't like the heated space off the garage. I think a three-season room there would make more sense, along with moving your chimney to the center of the house., If you put it there, you could decide to use wood heat much more easily, and the mass of the chimney would help heat the house instead of bleeding to the outdoors.

I also think the hidden pantry would make better sense in the basement than on the ground floor. The you could take advantage of the thermal mass of the earth and the ambient temperature of same and have a root cellar as well as a pantry and make it as big as you like. If you buy sloped land, you could make your basement a walkout so it'd still be wheelchair-accessible (putting the pantry on the buried side, of course).
 

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As for the laundry upstairs ...I have one and wish it was on the main floor. I spend more of my time during the day on the main floor and that would make it easier. If you plan on using a clothesline you would still need to haul the laundry up and down also.
 

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Also, with an eye to selling in the future, the laundry room immediately inside the front door might be an issue with most potential buyers. Like other posters, unless your family dines in the formal dining room routinely you might want to consider alternative uses of space there. A dining room in the back corner would not be attractive to me & I use my dining room at least monthly. Perhaps make the home office larger & the dining room & move pantry sewing to rear?
 

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I'm with the people who would put the laundry area UPstairs. That would be awesome! I'd also change the sewing room into a mudroom. If you have a homestead, you NEED a mudroom. If you have several children, you NEED a mudroom. Put your sewing stuff in a corner of the livingroom. That's what I do and it looks great. I'll see if I can post a photo of it later.

:) RedTartan <- has a 16 x 20 mudroom and adores it!
 

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I like the hidden door for the pantry. It's cool. I don't know how hidden the room would be though, anyone with any familiarity with your family would know that it's there. Anyone who did not know, but suspected you had a safe room, would be able to find it because opening and closing the pantry door several times a day is going to wear the floor in front of it, wear the secret handle, and leave fingerprints. One could figure it out. I would make the pantry shorter, with a secret closet in the back. This way, a bad guy would find the pantry, but find that the door was open, bolt not used, nobody there. The secret closet could even lead to a larger room in the basement (root cellar on your house plans). Or, you could redo the entry area of the pantry so that you walk directly into the pantry and have seperate access to the low area under the stairs. Since this area, (if you start the stairs across from the bathroom, see below) is low, people would not suspect it of being a secret entry. If this was the secret entry, it would be less obvious because you aren't continually opening and closing the door. You'd duck down to access this entry, would would have a narrow stairs down to the cellar. If you have an automatic car starter, you start the car remotely and the bad guys think you are making a mad dash with the car. To get people from the upstairs bedrooms to the downstairs, you can buy rope ladders designed to be used with bedroom windows very resonably.

I like that you have a formal (front) entry along with your garage entry. This is very practical. If the laundry was moved upstairs, I'd turn the laundry into a formal living area with a lovely glass door (I think the office should have a lovely glass door, too). This is where adult conversations can take place, telephone calls, etc., you can sit quietly with visitors. It could even be the library with a wall of bookshelves. It's what we would call in our family, "the clean room", with the toys etc in the family room. It could easily be turned into a bedroom or sewing room if need be.

All of the doorways should be three feet wide, and the hallways four feet wide to accomodate limited mobility, feels better, and looks more upscale. It would be easy to put in a ramp from the garage to the house instead of steps.

I would not have a vaulted ceiling. People love vaulted ceilings in model homes, but realisticly, people do not like living in them. They feel vulnerable. It is a tremendous waste of space. Sound bounces all over. Unless you have infloor heat, your heat is going to be heating the vault and not you. You will pay for that second story over the family room, and you will pay for it every year in your property taxes; nobody cares if that roof is over dead space, it is a second story. However, a vaulted entrace, esp with a chandelier or stained glass window, works nicely.

The staircase should not start at the front, near the front door. It should start in the hallway (more private, better flow). Remove the long closet beside the staris. If you did this, it would enlarge the entry (more welcoming), you could have a small coat closet under the stairs (near the front door) and a bench and rack where the closet is. This would give people a place to sit down and take off their boots (put on their boots) and generally get settled before coming into the meeting part of the house. As for your family, if you generally come in through the garage, have a mud area in the garage for coats and boots etc. This will keep the house much neater.

It appears that you are creating the "Great Room" effect of having the kitchin, eating, and living areas together. This is very nice when you have small children, but when the kids get bigger, you will find it very noisy. When you build, make sure that it will be very easy to put up a wall between the kitchen and family room.

If you do much sewing, I would not want the laundry to be in the sewing room. However, I also would not want the laundry "room" to be stuffed into a closet or the bathroom. Laundry is a big job and should be accorded a place large enough to hold dirty laundry, fold clean laundry, and iron. Personally, I would prefer to have the laundry room upstairs.

Just some thoughts from someone who has looked at hundreds of houses, both for planning my own home, and as a tax assessor.

And, on another note: Our place is over our large garage, so everything is on the second story. We can escape from our bedroom out the window and via the deck that pans around two sides of the house.
 

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it really depends on your personal desires and vision for the future. I personally would change almost everything about this floor plan for my purposes. I want to take off my clothes put them in the laundry and get in the shower in one swoop, so that would be combined. and no matter how much a try not to, I will get old! and just being old makes upstairs a bad idea, even without any injuries or illness to contend with.

I also don't like the idea of exhaust, gas and chemical fumes that are normally present in a garage to be a part of my house, not to mention the waste of quality floor space on an in inanimate object. :) if you just need a place to get your car and tools out of the weather you can get by alot cheaper, and have a nice master on the ground floor.

I like rooms that can serve many purposes, and a formal dining is not one of those, I also feel like houses with lots of different rooms isolate people from each other when they are in the house, and I feel like a rat in a maze just going to get a drink or to the bathroom.

I do however like LOTS of storage, and your pantry does not seem too big for me. I want to have everything put away behind closed doors to reduce clutter. a pantry for me serves also for a place for large occassionally used appliances, cleaning supplies, gardening and preserving supplies etc...

I have an obsession with floorplans though :p always trying to make them more usable, efficient, easy to care for, with minimal cleaning, and have better storage. at this point I am only dreaming...just a few more years.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
We were outside all day and I thought i may have just 1 or 2 responses. WOW! I did not expect this many.
Thank you for all your input. The main inside walls of the above floorplan can not be moved without greater costs. By adding 1 big wall (addind a space between the dining and our new home office), removing the washer/dryer closet which sits on the back wall of the half bath-and replacing it with a shower. its doorway facing the garage entry- no need for a mudroom.There will be a entry door on the garage's outside wall for everyone to traipse through. there will be space for boots and gear on the inside. Adding a breezeway between the house and garage sounds great but the cost would put us out of budget and would cut into the barn budget which is not that big.The "breakfast area" will remain open space and the kitchen island will face the great room. bar stools will be added for the kids to sit on.
Now to answer some of your questions.
I grew up in Florida and do not winter well. I want a bigger house since i am stuck indoors for most part of the year. Plus think about it- we have 3 girls in this family. And what do all females have once a month? So most likely, there will be 3 weeks of grouchy woman. :grit: Large space and rooms give for less distemperment. :duel:
We are a family of 5- 2 adults age 32, 3 kids age 8 years girl, 4 1/2 years (Boy), and 20 months girl. This is to be our home for at least 30 years. Ideally, my ashes will be spread amongst the lands trees close to this home. We want to cater to our family's unique ways and needs, which is why we went with this layout. I hate having children around my sewing supplies with sticky fingers and curiosity edging them on and the such. Not to mention my husband is sick of runaway needles in his foot. So in order to have my own space, we had to share it with something else that children would not hang out in, nor risk the tender feet of my husband. We may switch it to share with the home office, since i did not think about the possible smell of someones dirty clothes being thrown into the wrong part of the room.. the laundry room has to stay on the bottom floor. No room upstairs to put it and a closet for the units would not work for us. We have discussed a laundry chute from the upstairs hallway. We are putting french doors up for the home office entry and for the laundry entry in the foyer. The entry by the garage will have a regular door.
The pantry is a must and that is the only spot i have to put it. I am sick of my cabinets being full from all the stuff i use seasonally or occasionally. When looking at the picture & comparing it to the original floorplan, you can see the original "closet" they had in the kitchen for a pantry. After reading a few posts, I thought I would make it appear as an everyday pantry with a false door off to the side, which would slide open (imagine a door that slides in between the wall- (not swing open) to reveal the longer pantry.I would hang something on that wall to hide the sliding door. The master bedroom would have the "trap door" to escape from or into the pantry. After all, walls can be kicked in or beat in with a solid appliance if doors wont open..
We will be entertaining ALOT more in a new house. I believe families should sit together for dinner- as much as possible. I love entertaing and look forward to having a real dining room. we need more friends so i can host more parties.
I'm not worried about the kids becoming teenagers- i was a foster kid of 19 in 1 home. I know how things can get. We currently live in a home which does not flow well for me. So we have alot of outdoor get together's.
There will be a 24 X 36 "dutch barn" for the livestock. Each child has their own room which equals their own space to "hang out in". I vowed all my children would have their own room. There is no reason to make the girls share a room to cut costs when that money will just end up spent on therapy for me- listening to their fighting. After all- our youngest girl will be 10 when the oldest girl will be 16.....
A year after moving into the new home, my husband will be granted his wish for a "Man Cave". A cottage cabin which is 10X20 and costs less then most people think (unfinished- just means gotta have the guys over to help finish it). .
Big house? to some yes. To me its the perfect size. Ranch homesq with 4 bedrooms cost way more money. Look into it if you do not believe me. We already have and thats why we are going 2 story. If I cant climb stairs then my children will have to take over the house. I have 2 daughters and a son. one of them is most likely to want the lifestyle after they flee the nest and circle with the "cooler" birds. one of them is bound to venture back if they wander away from this life. then My husband and i will build again and have a small ranch built.
I am emailing this thread to my husband for him to look over. there are lots of great ideas and some we will be discussing.
Thank you for all the feedback and great advice. this is why i asked this question here. Most people would think i have really lost it when i talk about hidden rooms and hidden compartments in a homes building process....
~T
 
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