Part 1 – Ratliff Residence, Pennsylvania – Upper Floor

Part 1 – Ratliff Residence, Pennsylvania – Upper Floor (PDF)
Part 1 – Ratliff Residence, Pennsylvania – Upper Floor (JPEG)
Part 1 – Ratliff Residence, Pennsylvania – Upper Floor (Full Symbol Library)
Part 1 – Ratliff Residence, Pennsylvania – Upper Floor (Demo 1)

  • Jim Argeropoulos

    Don’t we have a chimny flue on this design? I remember having to work around it on the first floor.

  • Doug in cowtown

    Hi Jim
    I expect it was a chase for heating ducts and plumbing rather than a flue, otherwise we could have gotten rid of it with a high efficiency furnace.

    On that note, this is an older home, so the joists are solid wood, and its not as easy to place plumbing with out installing a (sometime rather large) bulkhead. Is that not a factor we really ought consider in the layout?

  • John Brown

    That is a very good question and thank you to Doug for answering it correctly.

    You are right about the wood timber joists. Depending on the layout there may be a need to drop below the bottom of the joists in order to get the plumbing to fit. However, I don’t think it is absolutely necessary to account for it right now. You certainly can if you want.

  • Doug Roberts


    I considered using the bump-out to create a larger study area but my understanding is that development bylaws generally do not allow windows to be placed on the “face” of a bump-out, only on the sides, and since I wanted a nice big window in the study area I decided to use the bump-out to create a larger master ensuite instead.

    I placed the study area in the centre of the floorplan and left it open to the hallway and staircase to maximize the openess of the floorplan and allow both areas to benefit from natural light coming from windows on both sides of the house. I also “insulated” the study area from both bedrooms by putting the master ensuite and guest bathroom on either side, to minimize the risk of someone trying to sleep in either bedroom being disturbed by someone working in the study.

    Instead of running one long closet along the northwest wall of the master bedroom I decided to split it into his and hers closets and made the left one a walk-in closet to create a convenient place to put a wall-mounted flat-screen TV.

    If it turns out that the chase/flue that we had to deal with on the main floor does need to be dealt with on this floor as well, then it could be buried in the wall between the master ensuite shower and the hallway.

  • John Brown

    Nice plan. You are correct in your assumption that windows on the long face of a cantilever like this are not allowed due to fire protection for adjoining properties. I like the larger master bathroom but wonder if the laundry is adequate?

  • Brad W


    One other problem is the chimney on the same wall as your bump out. I know it is not shown on the upper floor plan but if you refer back to the main floor plan a masonry chimney of significant size is shown.

    John – can you clarify the chimney situation?

  • John Brown

    Sorry for the confusion. The space on the main floor from last week is actually a chase not a flue. As you know this means that it is not a chimney that goes up to the roof through the second floor but a vertical run of ductwork that distributes air through floor vents into the second floor rooms. Therefore it has no impact on the layout of the second floor plan.

  • Brad W

    John, I am referring to the exterior chimney on the west wall required by the living room fireplace. I believe this should be on the plan and would interfere with Doug’s bump out for the master bath.

  • Doug Roberts

    John, I believe that Brad is referring to the chimney for the fireplace on the southeast wall of the living room, not to the chase.

    Brad, if you recall from last week my main floor plan called for the living room fireplace to be removed, as I wanted the southeast wall of the living room clear so that furniture could be placed against it. Accordingly, the fireplace chimney would be removed as well, clearing the way for the bump-out on the second floor.

  • Terri


    -I used the bump-out for the study. I wanted it near the stairs for easier runs down for coffe/tea. The window should twin the one in the guest bedroom.
    -The extra bath can be used by both the study and guest bedroom.
    -Master bath window twins extra bath window.
    -Laundry is accessible to both master closet and the stairs.
    -Master closet is drawn the full width of room, but it could be shortened for a TV inset at the window end if the Ratliff’s would prefer this option.

  • John Brown

    Brad and Doug,
    Sorry to add to the confusion about the fireplace.

  • John Brown

    A really interesting strategy.

    Moving the study to the front of the house with the cantilever certainly frees up the space you need in the center of the plan to have two good size bathrooms. I also like the idea of having the laundry open to the closet. However, I think there might be some size issues because of the very narrow width of the house.

    The existing house is only 15′ wide so adding another 2′ gives you only 17′ for 2 rooms at the front. If the bedroom was a minimum 9’6″ then the study would be pretty tight at 7’6″.

    Similarly laundry machines take up about 2’6″ in depth and you should really have 3′ in front of it for circulation. I am not sure that you could get the required 5’6″ of space in the master closet / laundry in your plan.

    With all that said, however, I want to applaud your thinking. It is much better to start out with a good idea about how you would organize a plan and then test it with critical dimensions rather that to just start with a more conservative solution.

  • Doug Roberts


    Here is a revised version of my previous plan. Taking John’s comment, I have increased the size of the laundry. To make room for the larger laundry I reorganized and reduced the size of the master ensuite. I like the new layout of the smaller ensuite as the “wet zone” in front of the tub and shower is now in one area at the far end of the room, away from the door. Since the window at the left end of the bump-out is now in the shower area, it should either be frosted and well-sealed from water, or possibly glass block.

    Reducing the size of the ensuite had the added benefit of enlarging the master bedroom slightly and allowed me to turn the second closet into a walk-in closet as well.

    I also added a couple of narrow windows to the southeast wall of the master bedroom, as I like bedrooms to have windows on adjacent walls whenever possible to allow for a cross-breeze.

  • Terri

    Thank you for the feedback on my plan. I guess the easiest way to fix the laundry would be to move the pocket door and have a stacking set facing the master closet.

    I know the study is probably too small. The jpg demo plan didn’t include a scale, so I estimated most walls using your 11-foot bump-out addition.

    I think your second plan uses the space more efficiently; however, I’m thinking you probably don’t have the 3+ feet in front of your laundry appliances, just like me.

    I think the master closets would work better as one unit, freeing up some wall space for furniture (keeping the door closest to the ensuite bath).

    Your open study is a nice idea. Guess that’s what I should have done with mine too…

  • Doug Roberts

    Hi Terri — The front (left) halves of our plans ended up being very similar — I like our master bedroom and ensuite layouts. Your concept of providing direct access to the laundry from the master bedroom closet is a great idea. After I changed the second closet to a walk-in closet I toyed with the idea of combining them into one long closet but decided that two shorter ones would eliminate the risk of the Ratliffs having to squeeze by each other, but I agree that the extra door uses up wall space that might otherwise be put to better use.

    It will be interesting to see what John comes up with tomorrow.

  • John Brown

    I like your revised plan. My only comment would be that it would be nice if the walls of the bathrooms on either side of the study lined up. A very small detail but one that would drive most architects crazy.

  • James Scott

    Nice plans and ideas everyone. I always say to myself “Why didn’t I think of that”?

    I’m surprised though that other than a few additional side windows so far no one has increased the size of the windows at the front or back of the second story. One of the priorities was a connection to nature. I think the new owners would appreciate that on both floors.

    After seeing the Malvern House this week I thought the inspiration would have been eagerly adopted. Where’s Nicholas Day?

  • Brad W


    I used the bump out to locate the guest room opposite the stairs. This allowed for a generous study at the back of the house and an efficient master at the front. The closet in the master contains the laundry and is envisioned to be similar to the millwork used in the Day house reviewed earlier this week.

  • MichaelG


    James, I’m not sure either. especially at the front of the house, as the owners where so in love with the street and neighborhood.
    My plan has extended windows on the front, back and side, as well as two new foot-high windows at the top of the roof in both bathrooms for light and ventilation.
    I used the cantilever to extend the master bedroom at the front of the house. I felt there was enough room for all the requirements without it, so why not make the room they’ll use most up there a little bit larger.
    I have a few aspects of my plan I’m not sure about/happy with. The entrance to the laundry, should it be off the master bedrooms hallway, or off the study landing area? I really like Terri’s idea of the entry from the closet, but that will reduce the closet space a bit too much. Really nice idea though!
    Also not sure if I like the guestrooms bath. I fitted a giant shower, which I really love, but I’m not really happy with the vanity and toilet situation. (btw the cistern is in the cabinetry)
    One note, the hallway portion of the master bedroom I image to be similar to the bathroom renovation in the slowhome archives from Moto Designshop, which is absolutely fantastic. But this will be two large frosted coloured glass sliding doors, and should make a rather long hallway feel light and open, rather than dark snd gloomy.

  • Brad W

    I should add that given the chance I would have located the study on a new third floor in combination with a rooftop deck.

  • MichaelG


    Actually, now that I’ve seen mine online, heres a super quick revision. The master closet is now smaller and the side space now a shelving system for the little seating area.

  • John Brown

    Michael G,

    The big front window in the master is a really nice part of the plan. It makes the narrowness of the room feel less claustrophobic. I agree with your concern about the laundry door. What would you think of turning the machines and using a double door by the study? My sense is that this would be a fair trade off to increase the usability of the laundry.

    I think you are right about the guest shower being a bit tight. If the depth of the bathroom is 5′ and the closet is 2′ then you have a little less than 3′ remaining for the width of the shower. Although an acceptable minimum dimension, given its depth I think that would feel a bit narrow.