Did you miss the beginning? Start here:
Unlike many families, we had the privilege of laying out the floor plan in our house. We built it ourselves – with our own hands, that is; not in a call-the-contractor sort of way. We built this part of the house with a future addition in mind, so this is not the final structure; it’s temporary, but not short term. We wanted to keep the cost low so we started small while trying to plan for the most efficient and practical use of the space we were creating.
First, we planned just 3 smallish bedrooms. We knew this would be tight but we felt that we could get by with 3 for quite some time, and living areas were a priority to us. In our home, bedrooms are used primarily for sleeping, dressing, and quiet time. None of these activities requires a tremendous amount of space. We strive to live together as a family so we didn’t see a big need for a lot of private space in our home.
We have only one bathroom. We really would love to have another half bath, but simply couldn’t find a good spot for it without encroaching upon the main living areas. The second toilet simply didn’t make it to the top of the priority list. This was a tough decision, and we regularly question the wisdom in it, but usually agree that we made the right choice. Usually these questions arise early in the morning.
We have a 6×12 laundry room, which also contains a huge upright freezer and pet supplies. This works, but not very well. The freezer crowds the walkway badly, but we live with it because the freezer space is important to us. Eventually we hope to move the freezer outside the back door.
Incidentally, we don’t keep any dirty laundry in the laundry room. I find that this is a recipe for disaster: out of sight, out of mind. I keep all the dirty laundry in my bedroom in two small stacking bins: one for lights, and one for darks/brights. We reach the point of overflow at just 2 loads, and this is a good thing. When things overflow in my bedroom, I see that they are taken care of promptly. Keeping up with the dirty laundry is not a problem in our house. Clean laundry, on the other hand…
Our living room, dining room, and kitchen are one long open area. We wanted to keep an open feel to the house that would allow guests and occupants to move freely. We didn’t waste any space on hallways, and we didn’t break up the open living areas with walls. It’s not a very large area, but it feels much larger than it would have if we had divided the rooms. We think it works very nicely.
We also invested in a deck in front of the house. On nice days this gives us a significant amount of additional space, since it’s half the size of our house. The children often play out there, and the older ones love to go out and just gaze at the view or watch birds and look for deer.
I mentioned above that we intend to add on someday. We built this house for expansion: there are door headers hidden inside the walls to make it easy. Some of our interior walls were built to be temporary: those dividing the 2 children’s bedrooms are only 8 feet high and don’t reach the vaulted ceiling overhead. This adds to the open feeling, and when we add the Bedroom Wing those walls will come down to give us a nice big formal dining room.
There are wide door headers, big enough for double doors or a sliding patio door, on the end of the living room and another similar header on the exterior wall centered between the children’s bedrooms. We haven’t decided where we will add on first, but one of these will probably eventually lead out to another deck while the other will open into the Bedroom/Bathroom Addition.