1450 sqft House, California

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  • Belle, Toronto

    The worse thing about this house for me is the fact that there is no real dining area. From the plan it looks impossible to put anything other than a small dinette table, if that. The house has 1450 sq.ft and 2-3 bedrooms so I assume the target market is a small family. I can’t imagine a family home where you cannot sit around a dining table and eat a meal together, even in California where weather enables you to eat outdoors many days.

  • James Scott

    One: I’ve seen almost the exact same layout and the front den/office was just a dumping ground for stuff. At least they had a basement for utilities, laundry, tv room and storage but even that filled up pretty fast.

    Two: I know I’ve harped on this before, but the need for 2 washrooms in what is really a fairly small home is to me just as silly as the need for a 2 car garage. That’s a lot of resources, energy and money to use up on something that really doesn’t enrich our lives to any degree. When you consider how many hours a day that 3 or 4 people would use these spaces every day, is it really a prudent use of our money. Just think of all the money you could save as well, knowing that you can’t get away with a 30 minute shower if two other people are in line.

    Three: My real peeve is that the focus of this home is around the hall to the second bedroom from the living space. A bedroom, bath, main entry and the garage door are all right there. The 45 degree wall draws you to that area as well. You might as well park your couch and tv on the freeway exit ramp. I don’t think this house would provide much relaxation after a busy day.

  • Garry, Calgary

    I agree with James about the bathrooms. One of the things that bug me is when bath tubs are adjacent to bedrooms. The noise can really be disruptive if someone is taking a shower late at night or early in the morning. Obviously in a small space you can’t do anything about it, but there’s ample room in this house to reconfigure the location of the bathroom.

    Because I love to cook I think the kitchen is a disaster. Just look at the location between the sink and the cooktop. Can you see how dangerous this could be? People bumping into each other over hot pot and pans.

    Finally I agree with all of you about just how silly the living/dining/bedrooms are configured, they just don’t make any sense … and the fact that the garage has no mudroom at all. Wow, what a disaster.

  • Doug Roberts

    I feel that the worst part of this floorplan is the central location of the living room. If the kitchen and living room were reversed, then:
    1) the living room would be moved out of the central traffic area, have more light and be connected to the outdoors through the rear deck;
    2) the kitchen would become the central space and, properly designed, could better handle the high traffic flow along the east edge of the space; and
    3) the homeowner would have the option of using the den as a formal dining area.

    I would also consider:
    1) stealing a bit of space from the east edge of the den to enlarge the front entry;
    2) stealing a bit of space from the southwest corner of the garage to create a front hall closet; and
    3) closing off the entry from the garage to the house to reduce the risk of:
    (a) carbon monoxide entering the house; and
    (b) someone being “taken out” while leaving the second bedroom by a person entering the house from the garage.
    After all, this house is in California, so how critical is it to be able to get from the house to the garage or vice versa without going outside?

  • Doug Roberts

    Since my first post it has occurred to me that if the existing entry from the garage is closed off, then:
    1) it may be possible to replace it with a door along the west wall of the garage opening directly onto the front porch (but swinging into the garage), as that would at least give the homeowner the ability to get from the house to the garage or vice versa without being completely exposed to the elements; and
    2) the hallway to the second bedroom could be eliminated and the freed-up space used to reconfigure the guest bathroom and laundry room which, along with both bedrooms, would all be accessed from the back hallway. This would reduce the total amount of hallway space and would also solve the problem that John identified with the closet in the second bedroom.

  • Robert T

    I feel the dining room configuration is the worst part of the house and the awkward entry from the garage a close second.

    Shifting the rooms around as Doug suggested is a good idea. If the room locations remain as is, perhaps changing to a galley kitchen would provide more room and privacy to the dining area.

  • Mark D

    John – I have a question about the square footage listed in houses like these:

    This seems like a very small amount of space for almost 1500sqft. These numbers don’t include the garage do they? I know that here in Calgary the number includes only livable area above ground, and that in BC, basements are included, so it is differentby region.

  • John Brown

    Good question.

    Real estate boards are the primary jurisdiction for how one determines house size because it is such a significant factor in determining value. As these are local boards this means that there can be a wide variation in norms. Personally, I like to use floor area above grade not including the garage.

  • Grace

    I think the worst thing about this house is the wall between the den and the living area. Take it down! and open up the space. Other decisions can flow from that one.

  • Louis Pereira

    When i read and signed the Slow Home Declaration, two things that stood out most was, ‘calling for an end to bad design and misleading marketing’. This house features both!

    The Den, which in this case i doubt would ever be used, takes up too much precious living space. Even as a Bedroom, it wouldn’t function at all as a private space, because how is one to feel when you get up in the morning (looking your worst) and stumbling through the main living space to the nearest washroom?

    For the Builder to claim that there is a Dining Room is also a joke and completely misleading, as it is essentially a small eating nook. The other misleading thing that caught my attention in John’s assessment, was the tiny countertops in both washrooms, especially the Master Bath. This is simply another ploy to extract money from the home buyer, with the Builder knowing full well that it is non-functional to start with…

    Anyway, i took the time today to demonstrate that if someone takes a bit more care in design and planning, you can offer a better product and more dignity to people making what is often the largest purchase of their lifetime. It’s still not perfect but I trust this revised plan offers some glimmer of hope.


  • Brad W

    Louis – nice rework.

    My list of problems.
    3. I tripped over someones shoes leaving.
    2. 1450 square feet? Really?
    1. The gall to market this as a potential 3 bedroom home.

  • Rhonda

    For me the worst part of this house is the front den/ bedroom. I couldn’t imagine using it as a bedroom. The door is right by the entry and it seems too public. I also think it is a problem as a den because it is away the light and view of the street from the living space. Better to have one less room and a better living area.

  • Tony

    i think the worst parts of this plan are:

    1. the narrow hallways to get in and out of both the front door and garage
    2. the horrible kitchen and dining that is really its own room away from the “living” part of the house – but i would argue that the living room is really similar to a basement rec room because it is irrelevant that it is even on the main floor as it has no light and does not relate to any other part of the home
    3. the bathroom counters! they are cut off! don’t be so cheap and add the extra two feet.

  • Tina

    The absolute worst part of this house is the arrangement of the kitchen sink and stove. I suffered 22 years with a kitchen just like this. My family will bear the emotional scars a loooonnngg time.

  • John Brown

    Thanks to everyone who posted their comments today.

    As always the observations ranged from the broadest of scales (James and Garry’s comment about the necessity of two bathrooms) to the smallest of details (Garry and Tina’s comment about the sink and stove).

    I have to say that Tina’s comment about living with a kitchen like this for 22 years reminded me that these exercises are not just academic, they are real floor plans that have used to build dozens, if not hundreds, of houses. All them have families who “suffer through” these problems.

    In light of this (and the fact that there way too many really big things wrong with this house) my top three picks for this exercise are going to focus on the small things you identified that would really make you suffer everyday.

    3. The too small bathroom counters.
    2. The too close relationship of the sink and the stove.
    1. Tripping over the shoes at both doors.

  • Sam

    I’m a bit behind the times on this one, but something that jumped out at me was the closet entrance through the bathroom. A couple would probably use those at the same time – one doing their…business while the other grabs clothes. That needs to be a couple that is VERY comfortable with one another.

  • John Brown

    That is a good point. When considering a property, it is always critical to consider how you (and your family) would use the spaces in a house on a day to day basis rather than just what size the rooms might happen to be. “Walking through a floor plan” is a useful tool to do this because it gives you the time to go through the various scenarios you might encounter.