I’ve been meaning to get back around to this building series for a while now. Last week, I shared the 2nd half of our video home tour on Instagram (you can still view it, because I saved it to my highlights) and I got SO many DM’s about floor plan questions, that I thought I would talk about it a bit on the blog today.
Getting the right floor plan when you are building has to be a top priority. You can change wall colors, flooring, windows or whatever down the road, but in most cases, it’s hard to change the floor plan. Unless your hubby is more understanding than mine when it comes to knocking down walls in a brand new house? ;)
But how do you decide what you want in a floor plan? For us, this is was our 5th house, so there was some trial and error involved. We made a list of all the things we loved in our previous homes and all the things we didn’t love or rooms we didn’t use. We wanted to make sure we were going to use every square inch of this house. We had an office at our last house that no one ever stepped foot in (in fact I never even blogged about it!) and we wanted no wasted space this time around.
For example, once we built the sunroom on our old house, we never ever sat in the living room, because the sunroom was so much nicer. We decided in this house to make our living room feel just like a sunroom. We added all the windows of our previous sunroom, but put the fireplace and comfy furniture in here too – now it’s the best of both worlds.
We also realized having a lake home means we entertain big groups a lot in the summer time. We would much rather have large open living spaces that can accommodate lots of people and have smaller bedroom spaces. I wanted the bedrooms to feel cozy and the living spaces to feel spacious. Everyone gathers in our kitchen area, so I wanted to have the living room/dining room/kitchen all open to each other again even if it meant sacrificing on bedroom size.
Another must have was a basement area in this home (which wasn’t possible with our last lot) so that as our kids grow into teenagers they have their own hangout space that’s still close by and open for us to check on them. We wanted a bathroom in the basement for everyone in the basement to use, but also one that connected to the outside, so that there is easy access from down by the lake – I don’t want wet feet running through my house. This worked out great for our kids because that meant they both got their own bathroom, but it was practical for the floor plan too.
We also realized if it rained and we had a lot of people over for dinner we could only seat 6 in our last dining space, so at this house we have a more formal dining space plus our eat in kitchen area and we can comfortably fit 14 people for dining upstairs.
Storage was also high on our priority list this time around. We wanted a space down by the lake so we could store life jackets, tubes, kayaks, outdoor furniture or whatever. Those double doors on the bottom left corner open up to not only storage, but to the bathroom as well.
Our list looked like this –
- Big living spaces, smaller bedrooms.
- Open floor plan.
- Indoor/outdoor spaces.
- Sunroom like living room.
- Eat in kitchen area.
- Deck off master bedroom.
- 2nd living space for kidzone
- Bathroom accessible from the lake
- Designated workout room.
- Storage by the lake.
We cut lots of things out of the budget to get the house the size and shape we wanted. We knew the other things we could change out down the road, but the footprint of the house was key for us. So, what can you cut from your budget if need be?
All of the cosmetic things that are easy swap outs. For us that meant using nice quartz countertops in the kitchen and master bathroom, but laminate everywhere else because that’s an easy change down the road if desired.
Another place we saved on budget was using cheap carpeting in the basement. I originally picked out this really cool patterned carpet for that inset space that would make it look more like a rug, but it was $6 a sq foot. I swapped it out for this much cheaper carpet that we can replace later if needed (assuming my kids will eventually destroy it anyway).
We also put plain jane fiberglass showers in everywhere. Even our master as the cost of putting a tile shower in our bathroom was the same cost as putting the ceiling treatment in our living room. To me, it was more important to have a wow ceiling in a room we use all the time than having a wow shower that just the Mr. and I use. It’s totally doable to rip out that shower someday and tile if we feel the need. Although we would need to look into a better water filtration system, because our well water is hard and rusty. It’s hard to keep even the fiberglass shower clean let alone a tile one, which was another factor that made this an easy budget cut. Put a pretty shower curtain on it (weird fact I hate glass shower doors) and no one even knows it’s not tile. But can you imagine our living room without this ceiling? No way!
So places to cut costs, flooring, wall treatments (board and batten etc), countertops – basically cosmetic changes that are easy swaps! You can even use inexpensive lighting and fixtures to swap out down the road.
My biggest recommendation is to make a list of your must haves! Think about how you live, how you use your space, and what is most important to you. We are so much happier with the spaces in this house and it is so much more functional for us.
I hope that helps and again if you want a video tour of our house there are 2 highlights on my instagram – upstairs and downstairs!