Part 1 – 1800 sqft Bungalow, Louisiana

1800 sqft Bungalow, Louisiana (PDF)
1800 sqft Bungalow, Louisiana (JPEG)

  • Doug Roberts

    Likes (and I am struggling here):
    1) windows on adjacent walls in both the living room and second bedroom;
    2) second bedroom is relatively separate and private, so could work reasonably well as an in-law suite.

    Top 3 dislikes:
    1) “bowling alley” feel from kitchen to second bedroom;
    2) master bedroom and dining room windows face the neigbhouring houses, so no view and little light or fresh air;
    3) loads of (wasted) space, but laundry is relegated to a tiny closet.

  • Louis Pereira


    John – Welcome back! It’s sobering to think that 1.6B people in China don’t have the same privilage we have.

    Anyway, off the bat, the house is oriented in the wrong direction. The ‘front’ of the house is prodominently a south-facing garage (not to mention driveway) with a small bedroom with 2 windows and no front facing entrance – so virtually no interaction with the street – the most dysfunctional aspect of surburban developments. That elfin bedroom by the way is precariously adjacent to vehicular circulation.

    The entrance off the garage looks narrow and could be troublesome for collecting clutter. The main entry is no better and again could end up with a lot of misc items dropped off at the door way. The Master Bedroom is oddly shaped and over-sized in comparison with the other bedroom. I would reduce the MB and return some of that floor space to the Dining area.

    3. Poor Layout
    2. Site Orientation
    1. Front facing garage


    I’ve attached revised plan that switched the MB and Kitchen. This allows for an open lineal arrangement of the main living spaces. The MB now has access to the better views whether to the front or back of property (note i’ve changed the north arrow to indicate a more ideal scenario so that the Living Room faces the street.

  • BradW

    In the south, is it a disadvantage to have the backyard face north?

  • jim baer

    a little bit of fiddling with louis’ plan. it is schematic, but might get the point across.

  • jim baer


    let’s try again!!

  • Terri

    This house seems to be oriented to avoid light (and possibly heat). If heat is a major concern, then the plan addresses it with some success by having the main rooms have either north or east exposure. Only the extra bedroom and study face the hotter exposures.

    I don’t like the master bedroom access being beside the garage, so Louis’s idea to trade its position with the kitchen addresses that problem well, except for the new access to the master bedroom requiring a “vestibule” because it’s adjacent to the dining/living area. Perhaps Jim’s revision to Louis’s plan makes for a more streamlined approach.

    I wonder why that mechanical closet is reach through the ensuite bath and not just from the garage that’s adjacent.

  • Terri

    Sorry, my last sentence may be unclear (feels like I just got back from China too!). What I was trying to say is, it seems odd to access the mechanical element in an ensuite bath, requiring tools and equipment to be carted through a bedroom, etc. when that same access could be available on the other side of the closet by putting a door in from the garage.

  • Kyle

    The southwest space wasn’t originally a third car garage space, was it?

  • MJ

    I agree with Louis. There’s a lot of waist space. Here’s what I think is wrong with this arrangement :

    1. The garage is too big for the size of the house. It takes way too much space compared to the other room.

    2. The angled wall on the side of the entrance is also a waist of space and create an odd corner in the study.

    3. The pantry(?) between the kitchen and dining space is awkward.

    4. There are not wardrobe near the entrance.

    5. The corridor takes too much space and make the dining and the study area very small.

    6. There are way to many walls included almost as an afterthought. The unaligned walls creates odd nooks that are useless like the one in the master bedroom near the walk-in closet.

    7. I don’t like that Bedroom 2 is facing the main street. Also it’s very small.

  • Leo

    This is not a horrible house; merely a mediocre one. I think what Louis has illustrated is that there is a big difference between good and mediocre design. What I find curious is why he can knock of his version of the plan in less than a day, while some other so called “professional” didn’t bother to refine his plan and proceeded to actually build this half-baked idea.

  • Steve


    I think Louis, Terri, and MJ have captured the big issues here. The first clue for me that there might be wasted space is that this is a 1800 sf TWO-bedroom home (although I think that included the garage.

    Inspired by Louis’ plan — and his ability to flip north for south :) — I also attempted the impossible and decided to convince the client to exchange one of the garage stalls for a street-facing entry and extra bedroom. I’m not completely happy with the long foyer, but I tried to open it to the ceiling and light with a narrow band of clerestory window the full length of the house. There might be better ways to handle that.

    Any way, here it is. And thanks again, John, for your dedication to the SH studio, even in your absence!

  • Steve


    I need to watch that file size. Here it is, and it includes a very rough sketch of an elevation.

  • Steve


    Variation on the theme, with the 3 bedrooms and 2 bathrooms as a block. The study is on the north wall open to the living room around the fireplace wall.

  • Grace

    Love the redos. I’m out of the country . . . er . . . given the bi-national team, i should say away from the continent, but when i can, i lurk and stay connected.

  • Louis Pereira


    Steve – Nicely done!…You’ve even managed to gain an extra bedroom. I wonder how a ‘consumer’ would approach your plan vs. the 2 garage version.

    One consideration i would make (on your elevation – the first elevation submitted i think on Slow Home) is reverse the roof forms, so there is more importance on the living areas rather than on the garage. Also ,the roof overhang could extend over the entire entrance sheltering you and visitors when you enter the house. The roof extension can be supported by a vertical column on a concrete base (seat) or planter to divide the drive way from a separate entry walk, (which is a more civilized way to approach a front entry door to a residence than skirting by vehicles parked on the drive way)

  • Doug Roberts

    Louis — Given the orientation of the house, your suggestion to Steve to reverse the roof forms would have the added advantage of causing the clerestory windows to face East, towards the welcome morning sun, rather than West, towards the potentially harsh late afternoon/evening sun. On the other hand, instead of facing towards the kitchen, dining and living areas, the clerestory windows would then be facing towards the west wall of the centre hallway and its bank of cupboards and closets, and would therefore only provide indirect light to the kitchen, dining and living areas.

  • Terri

    Very nice and efficient renovation plan. Louis’s change to the roofline is also a nice refinement. The question is, will a single-car garage fly in Louisiana? Maybe one of these days…

  • Steve


    Louis’ suggestion is bang-on, a huge improvement on the elevation and porch. Thanks! Doug is also right – switching the clerestory to the other side has a less helpful impact inside. Perhaps a raised flat roof – ala Fred Hollingsworth (1949, pictured) or Wright’s Usonian precendents – would be a good alternative.

    In any event, some kind of raised roof allows for the introduction of light to the interior of the plan, which a long house like this – boxed in on either side – would really benefit from. A spine of skylights down the center might accomplish the same thing. I suppose it all depends on what kind of roof it already has – not knowing this, I felt free to experiment. :) Thanks for the good suggestions, all!