Original house concepts
Here is the description of what we originally planned for our home. We want your expertise in designing our home, but we wanted to share why we did what we did for a little (or a lot) of background.
Click the floor plan for a larger image >>
Working with the existing footprint (60'x26') we mentally divided the house into 3 20' sections with the living room/entry in the middle. The south section was kitchen/dining open space and the north side was divided into a couple other rooms. We could see ceiling treatment guiding you through the space and making separations between spaces.
1. Laundry room
It may seem odd to start with the laundry room, but since this is part of the new section — actually, physically there — it's some of the more thought out space. The laundry room was conceived as the "utility room" that I grew up with. It had the sink you used when you brought the garden produce in and where you did your canning. We planned this space not just for laundry, but to store all that stuff that you don't know what to do with — like the vacuum cleaner. Here are some pretty detailed lists of that "stuff" and how we imagined it fitting: Detailed list 1 (pdf) and detailed list 2 (pdf).
2. Mudroom bathroom
The bathroom you need just inside the house that you can use with muddy feet or greasy hands. It also became our guest and main floor bathroom because we really didn't want to have four bathrooms to clean...
All of these spaces really make up the mudroom. The indoor/outdoor easy-to-use spaces. The place we will almost always enter the house, and spaces that need to be easy to use and clean. The mudroom hallway has a tiled floor that you can't hurt, a wall of cubbies to for coats, backpacks, and shoe storage immediately available when you come in from outside or the garage (car).
4. Pass through
In the direct path from the garage into the house/kitchen, the pass through is where you drop the mail, purses, and computer bags when you come home. It's also the spot to charge cellphones and other electronics as well as a staging area for items that leave the house with you first thing in the morning. It needs great shelving for all of those thing, a calendar on the wall, and lots of convenient outlets. The counter top is standing height so you can sort mail and handle in/out things easily and possibly a stool if you ever need to sit... but I don't see doing many seated tasks there — unless it's an extra homework space since it's right next to the kitchen (in our original design, that is). The most important thing about it is that it needs to be hard to not use it. In other words, it's best if there isn't a horizontal space between entering the house and that counter.
5. Screened porch
We see ourselves living here much of the year. We eat outside every chance we get! The floor is intended to be tile — an extension of the mudroom floor so the inside and outside boundaries blur. The french door was designed to open out against the house so it could stay that way and be out of the way of people going in and out. We have a concealed screen that could be used if/when the screens are open. We see a built-in banquet along the house and south end in an L shape with storage for chair cushions and outdoor linens. The grill would be built into the southwest corner. Stephen imagines a fireplace in the underside of it so that it can be opened to help heat the space. The floor has pex installed for in-floor warmth. There's much more, but that'll be in the ideas section...
The kitchen seemed to fit well on the front side of the house with windows to see who's comin' and who's goin'. It also leaves the lakeside for more relaxing activities with the view. Once past the pass through, I saw a counter perfect for depositing groceries — it needs to be in the direct path. We want it close to the exterior spaces for hauling food and drinks in and out.
In the southwest corner of the house we saw a built in banquet with windows on both sides. I never could decide if the table should be coffee table height or dining table height. Both have many pros. This seemed to be a great space for morning coffee, kids playing or doing homework or for guests that isn't too far from the kitchen.
8. Dining area
So... oddly enough we were thinking of a nice lovely dining table here. But that makes two (or three, if count the island in the kitchen) eating spaces right next to each other. This is one area that never seemed to work quite right.
9. Living room
We imagined the living room as the two-story great room with lots of windows and great lake view. The fireplace is on the east side separating it from the entry (and doing that Sarah thing — protected entry). We see this space w/o a TV and with comfy furniture and an awesome rug over the wood floor.
10. Away room/office/guest room
The north side of the house mentally divided into two rooms. One was an away room with glass pocket doors. This room doubled as a library and home theatre room with an awesome sectional and bookshelves lining the walls. The other room... well, it was hard to decide. We needed an office, a project space (sewing, crafts, etc.), a guest room, a workout room, and... Many of those things you don't want to do (or not always anyway) off by yourself. Hmmm.
11. Front porch
I have a thing for those long farmhouse front porches. And it worked well to add one here both for the idea of it and separation between the two floors — so the house didn't look so much like a hotel.
12. Safe room/wine cellar
This space wasn't planned, but it happened when we repositioned the angle of the garage and found this lovely triangle that was already excavated. Stephen designed a domed concrete roof and has lots of amazing ideas for the door, floor, and walls. It seems like a great spot to store the apples that will eventually grow on our trees and the wine. We imagined flip-down benches for storm shelter purposes. But then, we talked about the storm shelter issues...
13. Mechanical room
Our current mechanical room is under the house in a crawl space. Stephen said... not so much (or something less cherry than that). So, there's a designed space in the garage for it. It's intended to include the electrical panel as well.
The garage has pex in the floor for some wintertime in-floor heat. Stephen tried to make it big enough for a work area and tools as well (but it's kind of like my shoe closet...) We planned to have a garage sink and location for the freezer. We did plan an area for shelved storage (since we don't have a basement), but I think it might be sucked into the work area... The back door is six feet wide so that we could drive a tractor through it to get to the backyard, garden, etc., w/o regularly driving around the house over tree roots and landscaping. We'd love for there to be a fun door there, but it will likely be a garage door like the ones we have unless you all come up with a better idea!
15. Bonus room over the garage
We weren't planning this room until the trusses for the garage were designed and it wasn't much more to make a truss that housed a room. The ideas for this space have been endless. Most recently we've imagined it as a family room with the TV space, project space, desk space, and possible workout space...and maybe even double as a guest room. Clearly, it can be anything! It does need a deck off the south side though, the view from there is nice.
16. Master bedroom
Upstairs plan was open in the middle to below with bedrooms on both ends.
17. Kids' wing
Originally we planned three kids, and two bedrooms worked great. We liked the additional space overlooking the great room for a play area/homework location — except for the possible noise heard down below.
18. Great room
We've always liked the mountain lodges with the beautiful beams, open great rooms and large windows overlooking the view. We understand that we may psychologically prefer people-sized spaces and great rooms aren't very efficient. Maybe there's a compromise.
An upper deck, particularly one off of our bedroom is very attractive. Something that didn't block the great room windows was the challenge.