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Floor plan layout question

We're planning on remodeling our home and have been working on the plans for that. I have a 1920s American Foursquare home and I'm stuck on what to do with the kitchen and bathroom layouts. In every house I can remember being in, the kitchen faces the back yard. But because of the way this one was added on to, I can't really make that work if I want a full bathroom on the first floor.What do you think of this layout change? Any suggestions?

Our Answer

I like the plan changes you've proposed.  Most American Four Square homes are pretty boxy and the open floor plan will be a delightful surprise to your visitors and provide plenty of room to spread out.  

I would however, suggest that you give further thought to the rear entrance configuration. It seems like the rear foyer could be better utilized as a true "mud room" perhaps by incorporating storage cubbies along one wall and a row of hooks for coats on the other.  

Between the rear foyer and the laundry room, the wall has room to slide one way or the other. I'd think through this as you have many possibilities for storage and organization, including inside the laundry room where you might consider a built-in folding table, fold down ironing board and cabinets for storage of detergent and related supplies.

Best of luck with the project - I'm sure it will be amazing!

Tom Kraeutler

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Are Gutters Needed for Cottage in the Woods?

My contractor is building a small 2 bedroom and loft cottage in the woods with a very steep pitch roof. He is advising no gutters and that he will grade the area around the house and install a layer of river rock for drainage. Does this sound correct? The cottage is on a sealed foundation with  dehumidifier.Thanks so much

Our Answer

This sounds like a lovely home! But as for your contractors advice, maybe no so lovely if you are on a basement. Gutters are critical and should not be left out. Gutters prevent many, many problems with a home, including preventing a leaking basement!

Grading the soil away for the home is correct.  River rock can be used as a top cover after that but only to prevent erosion, and not for "drainage."  Since the rock is porous, water will flow through and if the soil below is not properly graded, it will just force it to collect water, where it can weaken the foundation and also potentially flood the basement.

Tom Kraeutler

 

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Converting Bath to Laundry Room: Good Idea?

I have a two bath house and I'd love to have a laundry room closer to my kitchen.  Presently there's a bathroom just across the hall that would make a great space for this.  Should I give up that bathroom and convert it to a laundry room?  There's another full bath down the hall that we can use and I'm really tired of seeing the clothes pile up in the hallways.Other than adding on to the house there is no where else to put a laundry room.

Our Answer

I understand your frustration but training the kids to not let laundry pile up in that hall is probably your best bet for a number of reasons. The biggest reason is this: home value is determined in part by the number of bathroom and bedrooms you have in the home.  If you eliminate a bathroom, your home value will go down, and probably by a lot.  Also, if you are in a development of similar homes, and you have the one with a single bath, you may even have a much harder time finding a buyer.  You home may end up being the "odd man out" so to speak and even though it would cost less than neighboring homes, many home buyers won't even consider it.

I'd stick with the current layout you have now and perhaps invest in some better laundry room organization, and a stern talk with the kids about where that laundry belongs aside from the hallway!

Tom Kraeutler

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