1900 sqft Bungalow, Georgia

1900 sqft Bungalow, Georgia (PDF) | 1900 sqft Bungalow, Georgia (JPEG)

  • Ian Maddox

    Mr. Brown, I’d first like to thank you for these lecture series; I learned about them over the weekend and ended up completely ignoring my own coursework to watch the clips you’ve posted.

    A quick comment, first off; is it possible the the north-most pantry is actually a closet? The depth of the shelf is the same as the bedroom closets but not the same as the other pantry, which seems a bit odd.

    From my perspective, the worst part of this kitchen is the fake space to the east of the island. Having an open door in the middle of a major thoroughfare seems like a bad idea. Putting stools or chairs directly adjacent to that same thoroughfare creates a slalom course that could increase traffic through the working part of the kitchen. If that second pantry is really a pantry instead of a closet, a busy chef and a determined housecat could bring the house to a grinding halt.

    I also really dislike the fact that getting vegetables to the sink requires passing close by the range – an armload of vegetables combined with protruding pan handles and the aforementioned feline generally leads to dropped veg, barked shins, and maybe scalded cat.

    I wonder; was the larger front porch intended to act as an entry space? I’m not sure it would work, especially if the hall closet is in the kitchen, but a large porch frequently serves as a greeting space here in the South. If that was in the mind of the designer, it would make a second, interior entry space slightly redundant. I’d be interested to see the facade of this house – is it trying to act like plantation mansion in miniature?

    Regardless, the kitchen is bad news. Thank you again for the opportunity to learn how to tell the difference between a good home and a bad.

  • Paul C

    Sorry but I can’t ignore the gorilla in the room.
    What’s wrong with this kitchen?

    Simply put…the garage.

  • Brad Waters

    Move the sink and dishwasher to the island to improve the work triangle in the kitchen. Add storage on the back side of the island. Add seating on the penisula. These budget conscious changes are like putting lipstick on a pig but they improve the traffic flow through the kitchen by moving the seating from the island to the penisula, minimize the work triangle in the kitchen and add valuable storage.

  • James Scott

    I appreciate this exercise, my own home has the kitchen, dining and living spaces in one elongated room. Our kitchen is our home’s main entry into the public space. I still haven’t come to a decision to solve the work and traffic conflicts.

    I can see removing the island, adding counter space and moving the appliances around to create a more contained work space. And leave the two closets for non-kitchen storage. Any counter style eating should be forgotten since the dining table is right there anyway.

    It would be important to try to maintain as much of the light that enters the kitchen from the living and dining areas. So placement of new cabinets and the location of the refrigerator would need further consideration.

  • Gerard Cadger

    I’ll agree with Paul on the pesky gorilla. Since when do we love vehicles so much we feel the need to let them in our own home? Aren’t they built for the outdoors? But let’s talk kitchen. The island needs to be L-shaped and connected to the ceiling, defining the kitchen on the west side while creating a hallway on the south. The pantry could then be integrated into the island, and on the other side of the pantry wall this would open up room to do laundry. I feel that food should be seen by its eaters for the the first time when it is served on the table. This is a “fast food” kitchen: dinner is cooked and served in the same room, lending a sense of speed to the process. John’s fantastic analogy can be applied here, we need a slower kitchen by shutting it off more from the dining room. As in Paul’s apartment, there can be some open space within the barrier but I would suggest glass bricks, arranged artistically to evoke a sense of curiosity with regards to what’s for supper. In addition, the fridge should go where the sink is, and the sink must be in front of a window. We all like to see outside when doing the dishes. Great exercise John!

  • James Scott

    Regarding the kitchen what hasn’t been stated or asked is who is this house for. A couple with 2 kids, 3 kids, a single parent with kids, empty-nesters, a professional couple with no kids? How different each family lives today has tremendous bearing on this project.

    Frank Lloyd Wright was known for keeping the kitchen as separate from the rest of the living space as possible (Usonian) . Certainly there are pros to that. It can be more utilitarian, less spent on fancy furnishings and more on function. It also means that once dinner is served the kitchen is removed from the environment until needed again.

    Today that may be a negative in the sense that the kitchen is used for more than just meal preparation. Often the kitchen is used for laundry, cleaning, homework, paying bills, all sorts of stuff. What’s practical for some…

    I suppose it’s important for us posters to clarify who we are designing this home for.

    Oh, and every time I leave the washroom/bedroom hall I see the fridge staring me in the face. That has to be moved.

  • Louis Pereira

    When dealing with narrow kitchens, the arrangement must work with the space rather than against it. Therefore, the configuration is what’s wrong with this particular kitchen. For this reason, the working triangle doesn’t function properly. Not only is the Sink too far from the Fridge, but the island also impedes the flow between the two components.

    I would propose a Galley kitchen which creates a linear arrangement that better suits the space and provides a more efficient working triangle. In fact the option I’ve illustrated even affords two adjacent working zones allowing two people to cook simultaneously.

    With the Pantry now closer to the Cooking zone, the former pantry space below can be dedicated for a Home Office or additional storage.


  • Louis Pereira

    Sorry about the quality of the last image i posted. Here’s a better resolution i hope!…


  • Heather W.

    I suggest putting the kitchen at the back of the house, away from the traffic. Make it a galley kitchen, with views to the backyard preserved. Put the sink under the window. Put the dining room in the middle of the house, and make it multipurpose – table pushed to the side, with chairs around 3 sides, to ease traffic flow on a daily basis. Make the pantry area a home office/homework zone, as Louis has suggested, and build a bookcase area beside it backing onto the washer dryer wall. Possibly the house can manage with a single car garage, or garage and a half for storage. That would permit in the first case, a centre hall plan, or in either case, a wider living room, proper hallway to the back and foyer to the front, and bigger kitchen if the kitchen remained in the centre instead of moving to the back.

  • Ilya Kirichenko

    What’s wrong with this house:
    1) I think the worst thing that causes lots of trouble is wrong circulation, as you have to go through the kitchen to get to the living room.
    Variant a) If possible I would make alternative hallway straight from the Living Room (see image). To the night part of the house.
    Variant b) I would switch Dining and Living Room and move kitchen zone a little bit to the north, so the Living room in the new position would become bigger. In this case you can get to the Living room straight from the bedroom hallway without passing the kitchen, which will normalize circulation.
    2) No entry Zone.
    3) Bathrooms and utilities are placed in the center of the house breaking the whole space. But probably there is no way to amend this shortcoming.

    1900 sq ft. including Garage?

    Questions to Mr. Brown:
    1) Why is it bad that windows of bedrooms face east?
    2) Is it possible to put scale bar in the drawing?
    3) Is it pissible to have *.DWG files as well?

    Thank You for creating and running Slow Home project.


  • Nigel Histon, P.Eng.

    What a travesty of use of space! Was it Mark twain who said “buy land, they ain’t making it any more”?
    Is this a bungalow squeezed between existing houses/lots? Probably. With a narrow frontage onto the road…….and centered around the “two car concept”.
    Well, it seems to me one might “tweak” the existing design and effect some minor improvements but I don’t think I’d ever buy the property! Unless, it were so fortunate that it was structuraly unsound and had to be demolished……then….
    a)Two stories will preserve more of that scarce land. (Not monster building height, good work with site elevations and roof lines….let the building sit within the tree line not overtop it etc.)
    b)One car garage, other car in another “communal garage” nearby. (Applicable IF an area development is ongoing.)
    Now, we have possibilites to make use of South exposure (and yes, I am thinking of Canada, but even Georgia can benefit from Southern light and exposure). Perhaps now we can do some more exciting things “siting” the house…..thurning it a little on the site to make maximum use of sun, space and external appeal. Perhaps….just perhaps, we might be able to convince Mr. Developer (if it is area development) to consider units of two or three together. Not in a line, in some harmonious and attractive “grouping”……even more space saving and energy efficient too! (And building materials!!!) Think “mews”, “courtyards” etc.
    Well. To come back to reality. Common N. American new housing. In many cases just like letting a bunch of kids loose with Lego! The “must have one of these, some of that” syndrome. Let’s look at this malaise. It is a malaise composed of “I’ve just seen that and I want one too”. Regardless of whether the item was seen in a massive stately home or in a singular dwelling overlooking a stunning view “one of a kind”, I want it too.
    Porch. (And “patio”)….both have a roof line over limiting sun, and what do you really get? If the “porch” were enclosed as an effective entry, this space would not have those siiting in the living room freezing their…..simultaneously yelling to “put the wood in the hole” (close the door) in minus 20 weather (or when too hot outside). And for “patio”, what is the value of roof over?? Kitchen “island”….doubtless with granite top, imported from India or China….and complete with “bar stools”. A most uncomfortable way of sitting and eating. Best reserved for an evening at the local pub.What is the real purpose of this “island” that all houses MUST have? Would the kitchen table of yore have served just as well?
    “Master bedroom”…..with all the trappings. Including bath and shower. Why? Why cannot we come uop with a multi purpose bath/shower and save space? Why is it so neccessary for one bedroom to enjoy exclusive use of this amenity and the other bedrooms to have to share? The “master bedroom bathroom” has been taken to ridiculous limits in most new housing which I have seen recently.
    Laundry. What’s wrong with laundry drying outside, where sun and wind are natural drying and purifying agents. So, let’s have “laundry” close to outdoors. No? Do you mean it’s a good thing to generat electricity for heat then blow all that heat out to warm up the great White North? Or to have a mechanical devise which beats the heck out of your clothes (look at the lint production…thats clothing!). Ah….more opportunity for shopping….Now I see!
    Closet space….must be built in. Ingenious way to use more 2 x 4′s or 2 x 6′s with attendant space waste. Keeps the forest industry busy. But what’s wrong with beautiful furniture? Chests?, Wardrobes?, and such which are not static but can be changed in both location and type as mood dictates.

    I’m aware that I have not answered the “specifics” of this exercise. It could be said I’ve skirted the obvious issues….but to me the primaries have to be answered first and this house just could not do this! I’d never buy it!

    Sincerely, NH

  • Ilya Kirichenko

    fighting with uploading images…


  • Louis Pereira

    Heather W. – Placing the Kitchen next the Patio is plausible but not without changing one thing and that is the Master Bedroom size and the Bath. I’ve lobbed off about a 18″ in order for it to work. The Kitchen could be arranged a number of ways other than shown, but i do like the sequence of Living Room > Dining Room > Kitchen > Patio. I


  • Grace

    There are so many things wrong with this house–the garage, the lack of entry, etc. The worse thing about the kitchen is the inability of two people to work within it, e.g. you can’t even open the dishwasher if your partner is at the stove.

  • Heather W.

    Louis – do you need an island? I would do a classic galley kitchen with one walkway in the middle which is generous enough in size to allow two people to work in it or others to pass through to the backyard. Then no space is needed from the bedroom, although that is a guess as the dimensions are not provided. I would drop the stools and use the dining room instead. As James said, it is steps away, and as Nigel said, bar stools are uncomfortable – and in my view, unsociable and not conducive to conversation and eye contact.

  • Brad Waters

    A key issue appears to be the order of the living room, dining room and kitchen. As Louis has shown,the kitchen can be improved aesthetically and functionally. But how does one decide the order of these rooms?

  • Louis Pereira

    Brad – One way to look at it is how you greet guests to your home. My way of thinking is – Firstly you greet them at the door, then offer a seat in the Living Room perhaps with a glass of wine before dinner. If your Kitchen location is in the middle of the layout, the host can still tend to meal preparation while interacting with guests in the LR. Conversely, if the Kitchen is near the back, then it seems like a natural segue into the DR once dinner is prepared.


    Heather – To answer your question, no, an island isn’t necessary though the distance between between counters in a ‘classic’ galley, in this case anyway, is slightly wider than i would like it. It comes down to personal preference. Personally i’d prefer a larger kitchen over a large master bedroom.

  • Eric Severn

    Your web site has just been pointed out to me, and I like what you’re saying. However, the two car garage is here to stay. And the closet space is way too minimal, so the “pantry” will almost certainly be used as a mere closet.

    Even though you like the way the peninsula helps to separate the living room from the kitchen, in such a small space, and with so much traffic moving through the south (lower) side of the kitchen, I’d remove the peninsula and lengthen the island right up to the living room. The ends of the counters facing the living room (and dining room) can be finished in a way to help distinquish the kitchen from the other rooms, and lighting can help there too. At this point, you’d have a galley kitchen. I’d then move the sink to the north (exterior) wall where it can have a window. Though the window will face the neighbour, the light that comes in will greatly improve the feeling of the space. The range can then me moved to the island. The island could be a mere two feet deep wth a three foot counter – the south foot being slightly raised from the rest and with stools (with no backs) that can be slid underneath when not in use.

  • Deborah Danniels-French

    Great website – fun to test your skills! Louis Pereira’s plan looks interesting but the problem with it, as I see it, is you end up in the living and dining room looking straight into the kitchen, which I always feel is a mistake. I would like to see if it was possible to move the kitchen to the front of the house, then the dining room and then the living room at the back with a walk out to the yard.

    It would be helpful to have a .dwg file or dimensions to see how things would really work. It might even be possible to create an entry and a closet, not sure….

    Anyway, thanks for the web site, I look forward to more!

  • Tony

    maybe i am the only one who thinks this kitchen is not all that bad…..i have seen much worse. i think if the island was just a rectangle and extended to line up with the fridge and the sink was in the island – its not too bad of a layout. I would maybe make the pantry closets out of full height cabinetry to reduce the size of the door swings into the circulation space. i would put the stools on the peninsula where the sink is now – better to sit there and look out the back window than on the island and look at a blank wall. My wife thinks this plan was drawn by a man who only takes two minutes to get ready in the morning – she is looking at the master bathroom and thinks it is a bad idea to lower the already small amount of counter space for a make up table next to the toilet. That is the worst part of this plan for her.

  • John Brown

    It is good to see that a bad kitchen can at least generate a good conversation.

    The day started with some animal issues – Ian’s scalded cats, Paul’s gorilla in the garage, and Brad’s lipsticked pig. Not bad for a Monday!

    I think that the discussion brought out the three key problems with the kitchen – location, appliance layout, and type. The discussion between Heather, Louis, and Deborah teased out some possible solutions. I thought Ilya gave a very thorough analysis of the plan and Grace’s observation about the difficulties with two people working in the space was very perceptive.

    But my top choice for the worst thing wrong with this house has to go to Gerard Cadger’s comment about it being a fast food kitchen. In referring to the open relationship between the kitchen and the dining table he remarked that “This is a ‘fast food’ kitchen: dinner is cooked and served in the same room, lending a sense of speed to the process”.

    I couldn’t have said it better myself.

    Thanks to everyone who commented. Tomorrow we all get to try our hand at a kitchen reno!

  • Paul C

    Good comments and yes the automobile and garages are here to stay, however this over used “plan” formula is more accurately described as a “garage with an attached house” as opposed to a “home with an attached garage”.

    The living,kitchen and dining spaces, to name but a few, take second stage to the garage. They have been relegated to the
    remnants of the planning space available on what is probably a typical rectilinear parcel with narrow side yards.

  • Louis Pereira

    John – Are we to say that the OPENness of the kitchen is a bad thing in this case and isolating it is the answer? If so I would have to disagree. The closed kitchen is inflexible and better suited for the bachelor wanting to impress his dinner date with what he’s cooked up behind a veiled kitchen wall. You could also argue that the OPEN kitchen better promotes the ‘deeper and more intimate relationship with food’ rather begin ‘distanced or even estranged from what we eat’

    Consider also the stay-at-home parent who wants to be able to supervise young children playing in the backyard or wanting some respite from kitchen tasks with views into the garden.

    Personally our own Kitchen is open to the Dining Room, yet we adhere to the concept of ‘Slow Food’, so perhaps the ‘fast food’ gesture doesn’t necessarily apply in some cases. John, my wife makes the best Eggplant Lasagna (organic of course) and we’d be delighted to have you over for a memorable Slow Food experience, next time your in town!!

  • Gerard Cadger

    wow this site is getting over-blogged. a new syndrome perhaps? why is everyone so eager to show their skills? maybe the smart people are getting suppressed (eg. odds of getting in to UBC architecture are 3%)? either way, some system of filtration must occur before comments become redundant by sheer amount. it’s getting too popular john, what to do? i think you’ve tapped into something here, a great answer to many of the problems facing the canadian building industry= a democratic forum addressing what direction needs to be taken. John I think Canada needs a school of architecture that can handle more than 100 first-year architecture students, let’s have the first year be the challenge, not the portfolio or marks. too many people with potential are held back here. go for it John! You’re on the right track, we’d all like to go to a school organized by someone like you!

  • John Brown

    I am glad you brought this up. It gives me an opportunity to make an important clarification that I failed to do last night. What I took from Gerard’s comment wasn’t as black and white as the distinction between a kitchen that is closed in and one that is totally open. I agree that the closed in kitchen is problematic. With that said, so it the condition in this house where the working area of the kitchen opens right into the dining area. For me it is a matter of subtle degree. An island or peninsula facing the dining area would be a sufficient separation, as would a dozen other options. I am sure you would agree that an open kitchen requires more than a big empty space with some appliances and cabinets in one corner.

    Thank you for your comments reminding us all about the functionality of open plans. And I will certainly take you up on the offer of dinner.

  • Eric Severn

    Regarding the garage, or the idea of trying to avoid “plan formulas”, some things are a given and you’re going to have a hard time avoiding them. I live in a heavily public transitted municipality (Canada’s largest city), but the convenience of my car is priceless (judgement call), and I care about it enough to always garage it (at my first house, a little girl next door asked me “Why do you put your car in the garage?”), so the garage, in some form is here to stay. And since most households have more than one person, the presence of more than one car is always a possibility. It’s just unfortunate that some lot widths are practically too narrow for living space next to a garage. (Tandom garages are a pain.)

    That is why I recognised the value of a 50′ lot width long ago. It provides the ability to have a two car garage, a front entrance and a sitting room across the front of your house. Once the width starts to narrow, you begin to have problems and have to compromise, and you can’t make cars any narrower. At that point, it becomes a personal choice of what to sacrifice.

    So, in this case, you’re left with a string of living spaces narrowly stretching along the side of the garage and wondering how the spaces are going to be distinct from each other and yet also provide the necessary transition throughout the house, since there’s no room for a separate hallway. It’s a tough decision and always a compromise. Turning the kitchen into a galley kitchen, to me, is a natural thing to do, and since the far wall is beyond the island, the kitchen does not feel as cramped as a normal galley kitchen might.

    Another solution could be to switch the living and dining rooms because dining rooms have much less need (or none in many cases) for wall space, so an entrance hall alongside would not interfere as much. The living space at the back of the house would also be more private and face the private yard, though it’s a little tight back there – recovering some space by shifting the main bath should be looked into….

  • John Brown

    I don’t think we are over-blogged yet, although I might need to enlist a teaching assistant to help with the comments at some point in the future.

    I really appreciate the enthusiasm of our viewers. Just like in a design office, the most interesting part of the process is usually the discussion that is generated around the drawings. I appreciate the comments from the professional designers who raise the bar and point the conversation in new directions.

    However, the site is ultimately geared to non-professionals who are interested in design and in making better decisions about their home. In my long experience as a teacher, I have learned that it is important for each person to make their own connection with the design process. Their observation about a plan, no matter how many times some of us may have heard it, is unique for them, and therefore important to recognize and respond to.

  • John Brown

    I appreciate your comments about the garage. You are right that they are probably here to stay in some form another. Our concern should then be to make sure that they are at least as properly integrated into the site (and perhaps home) as possible. Too many cookie cutter house plans have the garage thoughtlessly jammed onto the front of the house. As we see in these exercises, this can have a serious negative impact on the workings of the house.

  • Gerard Cadger

    I agree 100% john, but you have to admit that if this enthusiasm keeps increasing at this rate we might have too much fun here… just kidding. having a T.A. is a great idea, but for now i think we all really appreciate the amount of energy you are putting into this, props on getting in the newspapers you’re obviously the man with the masterplan!

  • Deborah Danniels-French

    Hi everyone.Yes, garages are here to stay but I have always wondered if it would be possible to have all city blocks (many in my city currently have this) to have laneways cutting through th emiddle with garage access off them. Just imagine how much nicer the streetscape would be with no garages, no pad parking and not even any cars in driveways! I think it would be wonderful!!

  • Brian

    I just have a comment on the closet next to the pantry. I would call this a broom closet. When I designed a house we built in 1975, I placed a closet for daily use outerwear next the the back door and a broom closet next to it and opposite the doorway to the kitchen. This closet held brooms, mops, vacuum cleaner and other cleaning materials and other “stuff” necessary for daily living.

  • John Brown

    Good point. I think you are correct. I generally like to put this kind of storage in the back entry space rather than right beside the kitchen. There still remains the question of where to hang up your coats in this house.

  • Eric Severn

    If there’s still some life left in this discussion, I’m going to add a little more.

    I remember being 11 years old and moving into a housing development where every house had a big, two car garage sticking out the front. Looking down the street, you’d see these big structures all lined up, and I agreed even back then that it was far from attractive. Nowadays, I see garages far more integrated into the house, but they’re still up front, and, well, I just don’t see any way around this.

    I’ve lived with a separate garage in the backyard. The streetscape is nicer, but after the 30 seconds it takes to arrive home, I’m spending the rest of my time inside staring out the back at the garage. Additionally, I remember the time when I was standing in it waiting for a downpour to subside so I could carry my groceries to the house.

    Right now, I have an integrated garage, and I love the convenience of having access to it at all times — without having to put on shoes or coat to get to it. To me, it is simply another room of the house. It is just unfortunate that it needs to be a certain size and shape, and that is something we simply have to live with.

  • John Brown

    You effectively articulated the love/hate relationship with garages.

    I agree that whether we like it or not, garages will probably continue to be included in new suburban house designs. You are also right that the design conflict comes from its relationship with the rest of the house and the constraints of ever smaller lot sizes.

    Drive through a typical 1960′s suburb and the attached two garages are much less intrusive because the lots were bigger. While I am not advocating larger lots and an even lower density in suburban development I think that there needs to be a more fundamental reconciliation between lot, house, and garage. Right now, the situation is too haphazard and the quality of the interior of the house is suffering.

  • Gerard Cadger

    I lived in Belgium for many years. The extreme density has forced people to park on the street. There simple isn’t any room in residential areas for garages. While resulting in a narrower traffic lane, this in turn slows down motor vehicles who do not enjoy the north american luxury of wide fast residential streets. The end result: a slower, more pleasant urban landscape for all.

  • Paul C

    As long as there is mass produced housing which bases the design programme on a marketing report shopping list as opposed to thoughtful design there will be life in the attached garage discussion.

    That is not to say there aren’t good examples of attached garage house designs on narrow parcels, but all too often, as in the case of this one plan, more consideration is given to vehicular storage, ease of access, etc than where people live, eat and sleep.

    My opposition is not with garages but rather the prominence with which it’s needs are met over those of who will live in the home. Unless someone is Bill Gates, design to some extent, is about tradeoffs. In this plan, why is the kitchen so narrow, act and feel more like a hallway, because in this plan, the garage consumes too much of the valuable planning space. Not a good trade-off imo.

    Good discussion!

  • John Brown

    You bring up an interesting point.

    It is quite common in inner city communities, even in spread out Calgary, for people in rental buildings to have to park on the street. The resulting loss of convenience inhibits car ownership to some degree. A more difficult sell in user owned properties.

  • Eric Severn

    Well, I thought we had talked enough about garages, so I was going to leave it alone, but I could add that in my neighbourhood, which is 50+ years old, and where old homes are being bulldozed for new “monsters”, on lots of less than 50′, new homes typically have sunken garages, where the house is raised a half story, and the driveway slopes down to the garage which is actually part of the basement. The beauty of this design is a central hall surrounded by rooms on both sides, instead of a monolithic garage wall to one side. This design also hides the garage to a great extent and removes it from the main floor altogether.

    However, backing out of the driveway is very scary, and snow is much more difficult to remove, so it’s not favoured up here (Canada).