Friday, February 24, 2012

A gracious floorplan

While I continue to edit and sort through my photos of Seaside, I'll bring you the last of the floorplans. While not really in 'small house' territory, this plan has a lot of out-dated features common to these 1920 designs. Small closeted kitchens and maid's quarters, phone closets, sleeping porches and bathrooms without private baths are all features rarely seen in the 21st century.All is not lost however, I think the warren of small servant spaces in the back of the plan could easily become a powder room and more open kitchen with a connection to the living room for better traffic flow.The bedrooms are all small and share one bath. Heavens! The bedroom in the upper right hand corner could easily and inexpensively be turned into a master bathroom and walk in closet as the plumbing is nearly there, en suite with the bedroom on the lower right. I would shut access to the sleeping porch off from the left hand bedroom so it becomes private to the master suite. Wouldn't it be nice to turn the roofs on the 2 sunporches into decks too?
In general, are you bothered by the loss of a formal living room in all of these plans? Personal preference here, but I hate formal living rooms as I feel they never get used despite all of the care lavished on them. I have to admit to loving a dining room though!
What would you do?


Bob said...

Have to admit I like very large living rooms(drawing rooms). I'm used to them. For a dozen years living in a building, I crafted one 1200 sq. ft
room with WBF for living, dining & kitchen thus giving me the feel of a big house. This is the best for me now! BTW, I really like your blod!

Parnassus said...

An oddity in this plan is the large double-hung window for the powder room, right next to the front door. Of course, you could curtain it, but you would have to treat the phone booth the same way. The simplest solution is to rip both of them out, then have more natural light and space for the vestibule.

I think you nailed how to improve the first floor. For the second, how about converting the sleeping porch, which seems to be wholly within the block of the house anyway, to two baths, making in-suit baths for both of the larger bedrooms.

ArchitectDesign™ said...

Parnassas, I thought of that (re sleeping porch) but no plumbing exists in that part of the house plus you're loosing a major design feature. I think it would make the house too much of a boring box. The 2 bathrooms would be too small to make it worthwhile -but it could make a GREAT master dressing room / sunroom with some light windows in the existing openings.

ArchitectDesign™ said...

Bob - one room for living is what I mean, and think you do as well. Seperate family rooms seem like a waste unless you have a lot of little kids and toys.

Stephilius said...

I love these floorplan games! I don't know how many of your readers are personalizing the plans to their own needs/desires; not being in the business, I do.

I'd do just what you said about the kitchen, etc. I do like a formal living room, but I'd arrange the upper part of it as a library, with a nice large library table. (Great place for drinks, etc., during a party.)

Upstairs, I'd go with your plan for the master suite, but I'd enclose the sleeping porch so it could serve as a study for my writer wife. I'd take the upper left-hand bedroom, including most of the closet space shared with the lower left-hand bedroom, and the large linen closet, and make it into my studio; I'm a painter. (In the transition, some linen storage could be added back in the hallway if the hall doorway to the new master bath is suppressed.) And love the idea of making the roofs of the porches into sundecks.

So much fun, dreaming this way - and very economical!

ArchitectDesign™ said...

Stephilius, Yes, economical to do this 'on paper'! I think the living room here is large enough for the setup you suggest -maybe even 2 seating groups.
I could see one of the 2 sunrooms on the ground floor being used as an artist's studio too -all of that natural light!

Russ Manley said...

As always, so much depends on how many people live in a house, what ages, and what lifestyle. Formal dining rooms I've seen don't get used much either, maybe once or twice a year at Thanksgiving, Xmas, etc. Still, people who own nice tables, china, etc., want a place to display them.

On this plan, maybe put a breakfast bar between the kitchen and dining room, making a big informal space - which you know is where all your guests will congregate, anyway, while you are cooking.

Alternatively, the LR, opened up into the maid's room, could also be a big family room/informal dining area. The left sun porch could be used as a home office for people who need one.

Upstairs, the sleeping porch would serve me much better as a study/computer room. But the bedrooms are so small! Look at what you would make the master bedroom - there's no room to put a nightstand on either side of the bed. So many of those houses were built so narrow, looks like only 26feet wide to me.

I guess you could expand the MBR by removing the closets and doing the bath/walk-in arrangement you mentioned, but it would take some thought.

Or expand the MBR over the sun porch on that side? I love the Georgian plan, but with such a narrow house needs a lot of thought to make it comfortable for today.

ArchitectDesign™ said...

Russ, I know! Those rooms ARE so small. However -with such a great living / dining area and 2 sunrooms - I don't think people need HUGE bedrooms (I mean, the whole point here is 'smaller living'). It's definitely not a king sized bed kind of house. I think you can fit in a queen and 2 nightstands into the master if you got rid of the closet doors and had just one opening into the master bathroom / closet.
As others have suggested -the other TINY bedroom would make a good den, office or artist studio.

I think it's best to have square rooms, so not sure I agree with you on opening up the maids room to the living room or the sun porch into the master bedroom. They loose wall space and are hard to furnish. Although, I have to admit I've seen a number of houses with 'nooks' off main rooms which are CHARMING.

Brandon @ Southgate said...

The formal rooms versus no formal rooms debate is one on going at my house. We have both formal living and dining rooms. We've eaten in the dining room twice, and were the piano not in the living room it would never be used. (As it is, no one has ever sat on the furniture in there, and I am not exaggerating)

These recent posts of yours have had be dig out all of my old house plan books. I remain amazed by two things--that apparently even people of modest means had live in help (though what on earth would live in help do all day in a 2000 square foot house?). And that even larger homes (like this one) were small in comparison to what we think of as the suburban norm now.

Kevin Orlin Johnson said...

I don't know--if it were my house I'd just get a maid and sleep on the porch--

Malnurtured Snay said...

I really like these houses from the 20s/30s. Even if the floor plan is a little tighter than what people expect, the place just feels sturdier (and certainly has more visual appeal than mass-produced suburban 'hoods).

Russ Manley said...

I agree on the smallish bedroom idea - once I get out of bed, I'm never in mine except occasionally to change clothes or fetch something, until bedtime. Most of my home time is spent in another bedroom which is set up as a study. If I nap in the afternoon, I do that in my big chair in the living room.

But some folks I have known use the bedroom as a place to sleep and study and work and even receive company - which I would be very uncomfortable with. Depends on how people want to live, as always.

BTW to answer Brandon: a maid would have done all the things that a stay-at-home housewife/mom would do today, dusting, brushing, vacuuming, washing, ironing (no permanent press!) etc., but with fewer appliances and clotheslines out back and no microwave oven. Plus perhaps the grocery shopping and running assorted errands for the family, answering the door and the telphone, cooking one or two meals a day, etc. Which is a big enough job to keep anyone busy, even now.

James said...

These homes are beautiful in the details...Harrie T Lindeberg sketched many of the same, they're included in Acanthus Press's book on the architect...worth a look.

FAshiOnistA ErA said...

such great details lovely pictures!! just came across your blog..really nice

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