What common floor plan mistakes do people make when designing their own houses?

Monday Apr 03rd, 2017

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Here's a list of 11 items:

  1. Keep layouts simple.
  2. Avoid angular walls.
  3. Embrace Great Room layouts: Kitchen/Dining/Living.  This will provide greater flexibility for entertaining and place the Kitchen and Living at opposite ends for noise buffering, while still keeping things open visually.
  4. Avoid unnecessary "formal" rooms.  They are typically very underutilized and eat up square footage. Plus, the Dining area in a Great Room layout will accommodate large tables for holiday meals with guests.
  5. Avoid 2-story spaces.  They are an energy/money vacuum, are very difficult to regularly clean, and don't create the minimal intimacy all spaces should provide. (Note: This doesn't include cathedral or similar raised ceiling treatments in 1-story spaces.)
  6. Minimize/keep entry into Bathrooms out of view.  It's best to keep views into Bathrooms out of sight from "public" spaces like Living and Dining areas. This also makes using the Bathroom more comfortable, psychologically, for guests.
  7. Don't over-complicate Kitchen layouts.  Like no.2, above, avoid angular cabinetry layouts (other than right angles).
  8. Locate a window within the Kitchen space and/or in close proximity to Kitchen.
  9. Don't require Walk-in Closets.  If a Walk-in Closet can't be provided at a reasonable size, don't force it. Strip Closets are usually maligned, but often make better sense with respect to use of space. It's better to look at the linear feet of shelf & rod provided in a given Closet, than the type of Closet. And, consider the use of armoires instead of framed in Closets... they add character and are more flexible with respect to placement/inclusion.
  10. Don't get caught up with presumed "requirements"... Fireplaces being an example.  Consider the climate you live in and how much practical use you will get from it. Instead, spend that money on quality doors and windows... which are far too often undervalued. (Including interior doors.)
  11. Pay attention to Garage placement.  Nothing ruins the composition and identity of a well designed house like a Garage placed in a prominent position. Do not let the Garage sit forward of the facade of the house. The Entry Door is the critical element of every home... not the Garage doors.
    - Who lives in and visits a home?
    People. Not cars, lawn mowers, etc.

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