Could we have a bit more porch here? The front porch of Design K-40 is a foot or two shy of being welcoming and easy to furnish. And there's no back porch at all. Porches are a key feature of farmhouse designs. This is not a feature you should skimp on, keeping in mind, though, that porches can darken a home's interior.
The circulation downstairs in Design K-40 is impressive. The only bottleneck during a party might be between the dining room and kitchen. Otherwise, guests can circulate easily through formal and informal areas.
Overnight guests might feel shortchanged, though. I'm concerned that there's not a full bath downstairs. If you have long-term guests or a disabled family member, the den will not function well as a bedroom unless it has a full bath (and more storage).
Consider asking a building designer to rework the bath so you gain a tub or shower. If you want to be extra thoughtful, design a handicapped-accessible bath in case the den becomes a permanent sleeping spot for someone too disabled to climb stairs.
The upstairs layout in Design K-40 is interesting. Four bedrooms are arrayed around a stairwell. The master bedroom will probably be the quietest room, since it does not open directly off the stairs. Although the proportions of the master suite are average, the designer manages to provide adequate closet space, a double vanity and a whirlpool tub, as well as a shower. The shower, though, is pretty small.
The more I look at Design K-40, the more I feel that bumping the back of this house out a few feet would add a lot more livability for a relatively low cost. This would enlarge all the rooms across the back of Design K-40 -- upstairs and down -- and could help correct problems such as a too small closet in the den; a downstairs bath needing a shower or tub; a too small fourth bedroom; and a seriously small shower in the master bath. This is one instance when a few feet might make a big difference.
Only if you have masochistic tendencies will laundry day be fun in Design K-40. There's way too much distance between upstairs bedrooms (where most laundry is generated in modern times) and downstairs laundry. If your local fire code permits, take some space from the plant shelf and the foyer closet to enclose a laundry chute between floors. Then this home will be working with you and not against you.
(For a free list of more than 50 Internet sites featuring stock house plans, contact Emily at email@example.com or at HPR Services, P.O. Box 1143, Reidsville NC 27323.)
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