The devil is in the details. When designing your custom home, make sure you take your time and put a lot of thought and planning into what I consider to be one of, if not THE most critical design decision… the floor plan.
Sure we all get caught up in seeing the “elevations” or how the house will look from the street. But let’s face it, you spend more time inside your house than you do walking around the outside of it. The ease to which you can live within your house is going to have the most influence on how much enjoyment you get out of your custom home.
There are some pitfalls that are easy to avoid and also some very easy ones to miss. Let me give you my top ten floor plan considerations:
10. Putting a bedroom over the garage.
“Hey you know what honey? We can use all that wasted space over the garage for a master bedroom!” Why yes you can. But go into the project with an understanding of noise. Garage openers are not quiet devices. Neither are husbands with a garage workbench and power tools. Either set rules in terms of garage use or invest in some quality ear plugs.
9. Quiet spaces separated from loud ones.
Along the same vein, you might not want to put your study next to the play room or the kitchen. Banging pots and pans, kids banging pots and pans or your spouse banging pots and pans over the kids heads to stop them from fighting are not necessarily conducive to getting work done, bills paid or even just “quiet time”.
8. Closets in halls.
Think of traffic patterns in your house. If you have a heavily travelled hallway, having an open closet door blocking it, can be an issue. Use pocket doors or move the closet.
7. Put your laundry in a convenient spot.
Having your laundry as the same floor as your bedrooms, seems obvious, but in fact most people throw their laundry machines in the basement. Save your back and frequent trips up and down stairs by putting the laundry closest to where you need it the most.
6. Dining room and patio access from kitchen.
Plan on having company or eating alfresco? Make sure you kitchen has easy access to the dining room or the patio/outdoor eating areas. Lugging that Thanksgiving turkey through multiple doorways can be a recipe for disaster (pun intended).
5. Putting the TV room next to kitchen.
Having your family room next to the kitchen or even integrated into the kitchen can be a great way to keep the family close. However, both rooms are noisy places. Unless you separate the activities, no one will be able to hear anything. Mix in some chatty in-laws and several local noise ordinances may get broken.
4. Will you really use that room?
Formal living room’s look nice, but rarely get used. They are just showpieces that need to be cleaned. Formal dining rooms in houses with large eat in kitchens are the same way. Think about your lifestyle and design rooms that will get used and enjoyed, not giant dust bins.
3. Try and keep you guest rooms separated.
Do your guests really want to hear SpongeBob SquarePants at 6am on Saturday morning? Consider placing guest quarters on the opposite end of the house from your main family living areas.
2. Consider a playroom in the basement.
Unless your kids are freaks of nature, they can turn a clean and orderly playroom into a war zone in less time than you can say “Calgon take me away”. Inevitably at the height of the toy tornado, unexpected guests will arrive. Save yourself the embarrassment of a messy house and relegate the playroom to the basement.
And finally the number one thing to be aware of:
1. Do NOT put a bathroom right next to kitchen.
Seriously. Who wants to hear those kinds of noises while cooking. Enough said.
Sure, a lot of these tips seem basic, but as we get caught up in the fervor of planning custom workout rooms, breakfast nooks, bidets, and fallout shelters (I grew up in the cold war so forgive me) the simplest of concept of convenience and practical usage get left in the dust.
Take your time and plan wisely. When you have your plan, show it to some friends, a buddy, the mailman or anyone who you normally bore with your vacation pictures. A second, third or fourth set of eyes can often times see something you did not.
Oh, I almost forgot our shameless plug. At Kelly Custom Homes we work with homeowners every step of the way to make sure the home plan you select also has an appropriate floor plan to match your needs and lifestyle. That’s just how we roll.