Part 1 – 2700 sqft House, New Mexico

2700 sqft House, New Mexico (PDF)
2700 sqft House, New Mexico (JPEG)

  • Amy

    John, do you know for sure that there is a street running to the side of the house? I ask because all of the houses in my neighborhood are required to have side loaded garages regardless of how they face the street(s.)

    As far as this house goes, I don’t think it is terribly bad. I am wondering where the closet is for the downstairs bedroom. There should be a tub/shower in the bath instead of that closet. I personally do not like tiny formal living rooms off of the entry. However I might add that the formal space off of the entry is a very popular feature in my neighborhood where most of my neighbors have fitted them out with millwork to make rather nice office/studies.

  • Terri

    I’m encouraged to hear that people are managing to “evolve” these formal front spaces to give them purpose and personal meaning, because my first impression is that these spaces are rather small for big friendly gatherings and would be mostly seen and not used.

    My top three picks wrong:

    1) Lack of windows. Since the true living spaces face north, there could be much more light allowed in, especially in the kitchen and study. This lack of natural light includes a limited access to the back yard.

    2) Poor eating area in kitchen in the middle of traffic from family room, garage, hall and outdoors. And that formal dining room seems a little bit too separate, being accessed through a narrow doorway and across a main thoroughfare from the kitchen.

    3) Too much circulation hallway, caused mostly by the placement of the main staircase at the end of a hall.

    As for that corner space in the family room, it’s very large for an art/photo niche, so perhaps it’s for audio and/or visual equipment. If that’s where the TV is expected to be placed, then we’ve got a lot of confusion on how to situate the furnishings. If they face the TV and fireplace, they must turn away from the windows, which makes the room seem even less connected to the outdoors than it already is with that single back door.

    One thing that seems better designed for a multiple-garage home is the real entry for the occupants when they come in from the garage. It’s fairly spacious with a closet and located central to the kitchen and living space.

  • Grace

    no closet in the entry

    vestigial living room–i thought it could be redesigned as a library, but you mentioned that the bedroom is a study

    dining room too distant from the kitchen

    let’s gut and redo!

  • John Brown

    Good question. Yes, this house does have a side street by the garage. I am familiar with your situation, which is usually an attempt to not have the big garage doors face the street. The problem is that this usually ends up increasing lot width.

  • amy

    Our lots in my neighborhood are large by subdivision standards (0.5 acre or more) due to the restrictions on construction in the watershed. So it works out for everyone. By contrast the new home I’m building is on an infill lot that is only 0.18 acre…much “slower!”

  • Sherry

    Hello. I’ve lurked for a long time. We’re in the early stages of planning a new home and the slow home exercises have been a huge help in assessing potential floor plans.

    Now, what’s wrong with this particular house?
    1) Use of space. What strikes me first is that a huge amount of floor space is dedicated to circulation. The formal living and dining spaces are also perhaps not the best use of space. As mentioned above, they could be repurposed as office/den/media room space, but they are not ideal for those purposes. The den/office at the back of the plan is nice enough, but it would be more pleasant with an additional window and it would be useful for it to have a closet so that it could alternately be used as a ground floor bedroom.

    2) The great room. I have trouble imagining where to put the television and the seating in this room. Arrangement of an expanse of windows, fireplace and television in a great room (3 focal points) is a common problem and one that we are struggling with in our own planning.

    I do like the entry from the garage. It has good proximity to the kitchen, a closet and is large enough. I also like the large pantry off the kitchen. In a great room type floor plan, the kitchen is always visible and the large pantry can serve as a place not only to have a well stocked larder but also as a place to keep less than attractive but oft used kitchen items.

  • Steve

    I agree with the concerns above about the amount of space devoted to formal (and probably seldom used) rooms and to circulation, especially the ‘anterooms’ outside the bedroom and kitchen. A few other issues:

    1. Not only are there few windows, but they’re oddly placed. The windows for the bedroom/study, kitchen, and even the garage have been pushed to the corners. In addition to its affect on interior lighting, that makes for lots of blank wall space in the elevations.
    2. Both the garage entry closet and what must be the guest closet (hidden behind the powder room) would be difficult to use given their small doors.
    3. I’d be interested to know what the single dashed lines represent in this plan, whether it’s a change in ceiling or floor levels for the foyer, great room, and maybe the living room, too.
    4. I suppose the post between the foyer and great room is structural, meaning the plan was drawn around it. It’s odd then, that it’s sitting in the middle of the axis from the front door and isn’t integrated into a wall.

  • Elizabeth

    I think this house needs fewer implied room perimeters and more actual walls. The pillar with the arch below the fireplace seems to sit in the middle of nowhere, impeding both traffic flow and furniture placement. So much space devoted to arched entries or space defined by ceiling details… it would be cleaner, I think, to just put a wall beside the fireplace for some grounding, for example.

    Access to backyard is one small door in kitchen.

    Windows are suprisingly few and small.

  • jim baer


    i could not help myself. so i looked at cleaning up the plan some.

    there seemed to be the desire for a better entry sequence.. with closets, a long view, orientation to the rest of the house, etc…

    and an increase in the formality of the great room space… the window and fireplace could center the room but then they got weakened by the ill defined circulation / hall.

    the entry from the garage was ok and its proximity to the kitchen is good … but again it needed a little cleaning up and organizing for better utilization.

    i don’t have a problem with the additional spaces by the bathroom and kitchen. i think they provide needed privacy and a needed function.

    i also don’t have a problem with what seems to be excessive circulation. i used it as a way of organizing the sequences and providing an alternate path that does not cut through or across the living spaces.

    i know i eliminated both the formal living and dining … and if they have 10 people for dinner where do they all sit??? … but the two separate spaces seemed an awful lot of underused space.

    as for the weird dotted triangle in the great room … i am thinking that the room is double height / open to above and the triangle might be an odd hallway or a balcony. Almost an … oops, now what do i do??? i know .. i’ll put in a diagonal across the open space!

  • Grace

    There’s a very nice symmetry to your plan, Jim. I love dinners for ten (my husband loves to cook!), so I wonder if the back study and bath could be eliminated and the great room expanded through to the side wall, thus allowing room for dining between kitchen and great room. A powder room could be worked in by taking some space from the library/media room, around the corner from the entry (or could we sacrifice the pantry?)