September 6, 2012 by megmstephens
It’s weird that the one thing I feel confident about – floor plans and design – is the one area where I am struggling the most with this project. I can’t even describe how often I have drawn and redrawn options for the Heartland House. I just can’t decide! There are so many factors. And above all, I want to make sure that the house doesn’t just fit for us, but is attractive to whoever may come along in the future to live here next. And keep costs down during renovation. And not redesign it so much that it’s unrecognizable. And be comfortable. And, and, and….
I’ve come up with a partial list of requirements loosely based on the things I mentioned above. Heartland House should have:
- 3 bedrooms.
- at least 1.5 bathrooms, although 2 full baths would be better.
- a fabulous kitchen, to encourage gathering and conversation (ideally I would love to have a taller breakfast counter, too, but it’s not required).
- a laundry space.
- as much storage/closets/etc as possible in an old house.
- the original feel of the house, especially in the older portion.
- The original door and window locations- I’m not crazy about the idea of moving exterior doors and windows, and I think the house works well on the property the way it is now.
Seems crazy, but this short list is creating a lot of heartache for me in figuring out the floor plan. First, here is a look at the floor plan showing the elements I consider “unchangeable”
My thoughts: this stripped down version of the floor plan – without the kitchen and bathroom – makes me really excited! There are so many possibilities for how to arrange the space. The living room and the 2 front bedrooms are the parts of the house that are in the best condition, so they require only cosmetic fixes. Therefore I’d like to leave those as they are. Beyond that, the door and window locations should stay as they are on this drawing. The center wall between the right half and left half is structural, so it has to be there – BUT doorways and other openings could be placed anywhere, for whatever suits the final layout. And a final small consideration is that the basement is under the back portion of the right side, and I’ve shown a dashed line where the basement stops. This is only a consideration because I have only a little bit of plumbing experience, and installing plumbing in a full basement is more appealing than trying to figure it out with a flashlight in the cobwebby crawlspace. Not that I’m scared of spiders. Just…willing to leave them in peace.
So, that leads me to the first option for the floor plan:
My thoughts on Option 1: This isn’t a fully developed plan, because I ran into issues with having enough space for everything. By locating the kitchen at the back of the house on the right side, the kitchen could have a view of the backyard. The kitchen could also be open to the area in front of the french doors and include a nice breakfast bar between. The french doors lead to an outdoor patio area in the side yard, so it makes sense that the area right inside of the doors would be used as a dining room. With the patio doors open, the space would flow from inside to outside very nicely, especially for entertaining in the summer. I love backyard barbecues!
But the space remaining on the left side of the house has to fit a bedroom, bathroom, laundry, storage/closet space, and ideally another half-bath. There’s just not enough room left over to make that work, so it’s on to option 2:
My thoughts on Option 2: This is a very inelegant option as it’s shown here, but maybe worth further development. This floor plan uses the same basic kitchen and dining room arrangement as Option 1, but both are smaller. Sliding the kitchen to the front of the house leaves space at the back for Bedroom 3, one of the requirements from the list. It’s a small bedroom. To make the bedroom work, I would have to find space for a closet somewhere and I don’t like that the door to bedroom 3 ended up right next to the back door.
Even though this arrangement isn’t fully developed, I can see that there is room for several other items from the list: laundry space, and a bath and a half. The half bath can be connected to Bedroom 2 to make it a pseudo master suite. Finding room for a closet for coats and shoes in the back area would be icing on the cake. The negative side of this arrangement is that the hallways have gotten excessive and take up a lot of space. One thing that drew me to the Heartland House after walking through it the first time was the simplicity of the layout, with bedrooms along one side and living spaces on the other. This option is much more complicated to navigate walking from the front door to the back door.
Another quick option, #3:
My thoughts on Option 3: This one is getting closer to hitting a lot of the items on the list. Bedroom 3 is back to the left hand side and a small half-bath fits nicely by the back door, making Bedroom 3 the largest bedroom and the pseudo Master suite. Figuring out a closet for Bedroom 3 will be on the list of tweaks if this plan is the direction it goes. The kitchen is open to the dining area, which is my preference. And we can have a breakfast bar counter! The main bath and laundry are tucked behind the kitchen, directly by the short hallway to the back door. The majority of the plumbing is located over the basement! I like this aspect of Option 3. I would still want to figure out if there is a better arrangement for the bath and laundry area, but at a glance I can also get a closet in back there for coats and shoes!
I’d love to hear your thoughts on the plans – including new ideas for how to arrange everything! Just leave a comment below or send me an email. If you are an Autocad junkie and want to play around with the floor plan, I can email you the DWG file.