The front entrance of Design J-45, pictured a bit optimistically here as flat and well lit, is actually dark, narrow and elegant as an alley.
Two long walls flank the front door, creating a slot-like approach. The roof is cut away over the stoop, in an attempt to let more light into this gloomy entrance, but only at high noon will this front door see the light of day.
Inside, though, the designer works wonders. In a rather small amount of square footage, we see lots of appealing features: separate master suite with sitting room and a luxurious compartmented bath; nicely proportioned secondary bedrooms; several eating areas; a sheltered porch; and plant shelves.
Plant shelves look great, but, as we see in Design J-45, designers often situate them too far away from natural light to actually grow greenery. And, if you think you have a problem reaching a plant shelf with a watering can, wait until you have to change a grow light bulb in a 12-foot ceiling. Try silk plants or maybe art.
If you'd like a home office or study and have no need for a formal dining room, consider converting this dining room -- which is sunny, out of the mainstream of traffic, and conveniently located near the kitchen -- into a work space. Just remember to add French doors in the living room, instead of windows, so your guests can go out onto the patio without walking through the study.
If you like this layout, but would prefer a friendlier facade, consider asking a home designer to do away with the front garage completely. Add a covered front porch instead and, lot size permitting, locate a detached garage in back, off the kitchen porch. Connect it with a covered breezeway. This version of Design J-45 will cost more, but it will be infinitely more welcoming, with only a slightly longer walk from garage to kitchen.
Reviewed by Emily Smith, house plan consultant. For a free list of "More Deadly Sins in House Design," write to Emily at House Plan Review Services, PO Box 1143, Reidsville NC 27323 or click on www.houseplanadvisor.com and go to Reader Comments on the Advice Column page.
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