If you number yourself among some 78 percent of Americans who love their cars and the 12 percent who say they value their car above anything or anyone else in their lives (these numbers according to a recent poll by Progressive.com), you may not see anything amiss with Design K-30.
This is a house totally dominated by a double, front-facing garage. If walls could talk, this house would shout, "Our Ford is a family member!"
The trend is going up for car ownership. When I took a safe driving course last year (don't ask), the teacher asked each of us how many people were in our families and how many cars we owned. I was stunned at the number of households with two and three people who owned three, four and sometimes five vehicles.
Expect more new homes to have three car garages. At the same time, expect to see more versatility in garages. As consumers realize that three-car garages gobble up a huge amount of space, I think we'll see a demand for more functional garages. It's entirely possible that the future will bring more garages that are heated, air-conditioned and plumbed; fitted with cabinetry; used for indoor recreation; and designed with upstairs space reachable by real stairs, not shaky, pull-down ladders.
A back hall that connects the garage to the kitchen in Design K-30 is particularly dreary. The designer expects you to open an extra door halfway up the hall before finally making it to the kitchen. Consider eliminating this door or replacing it with a pocket door that you can nudge open with your foot when your hands are full.
Design K-30 makes good use of space upstairs under a volume roof. There's even a future area, albeit with no windows. Consider adding an indoor window in the future area overlooking the stairwell below. An indoor window will give visual interest to the high, blank stairwell wall and will bring light into this windowless upstairs space.
Furniture will be tight in the living room of Design K-30. That's because there is a hidden hallway (parallel to the stairs) that must be kept clear and unfurnished so people can pass through the living room. That leaves only a 10- or 11-foot-wide strip for furniture. If this is too tight for you, ask your contractor if your lot size and setbacks will permit bumping out the living/dining area a few feet. That will give you more livability. The cars can take care of themselves.
(For more reviews and advice on the Web, click on www.houseplanadvisor.com)
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