Part 2 – 1600 sqft 3 Bedroom Bungalow, Arizona

1600 sqft 3 Bedroom Bungalow, Arizona (JPEG)
1600 sqft 3 Bedroom Bungalow, Arizona (PDF)

  • BradW

    Happy New Year John!

    I agree with your comments about the house this week particularly about reversing the master bedroom/bath, eliminating the breakfast nook and squaring up the fireplace. I am not so bothered about the enclosed dining room as I do not think there is enough room there to accommodate a front entry closet. Reversing the master gives you an opportunity to add a substantial closet to the entry at the garage which maybe sufficient in this Arizona location.

    Does the Team Canada #25 jersey you wore yesterday belong to Tessa Bonhomme? Tessa plays defence on the Women’s team and you can find her bio at the following HockeyCanada link –

  • Terri

    Happy New Year, Slow Homers!
    I missed yesterday’s later-than-usual posting. Great to see the hockey jersey and hear your story about it.

    I also agree with your assessed the problems with this house. The way the house almost “hides” from the western side– with smaller-than-usual windows and a large closet along that wall–makes it seem as if heat was a major consideration. In Arizona, air conditioning is used so much, it would be energy efficient to try to block the sun. However, it could also be blocked with an overhang out the back, allowing for an outdoor room. Then access from the master bedroom as well as the living/kitchen area could be accomodated and would make this a much more pleasant place to live.

    Jim, I couldn’t access your download from yesterday.

  • JimG

    The very first thing I would find wrong with this house is no basement.
    Why do so few of these houses you show us not have a basement?
    Do the people that live in these houses not have any hobbies?

  • John Brown

    Brad W,
    I see your point about the dining room. My main concern is more with its impact on the entry, making it cramped and dark.

    You may be right about the Jersey number. It is also, by coincidence, my birthday so I like it. Perhaps Doug will chime in with an answer.

  • John Brown

    Sorry about yesterday’s delayed post. It took a few hours to get the slow home wheels running again. In terms of the west wall of the house I would much prefer some sort of tree screening or overhang to manage the sun rather than those small windows. It think they make the house far too enclosed.

  • John Brown

    Most houses in the south don’t have basements. We have them up here because of the cold weather. The foundation of the house has to rest on soil that doesn’t freeze in order to minimize damage from soil heaving. In Canada that is generally 4′ but it is usually extended down to 8′ in order to make a usable basement.

    I have to say that for someone who grew up with the added space of a basement, I missed not having one when I lived in Dallas.

  • Marilyn

    The average temperature in July in Scottsdale is just short 100F while the most wintery temperature is still above freezing (about 39F). Given that the living room is also the TV/media room, I wonder if a fireplace is needed at all as it seems to be just a knee-jerk decorative feature. Would it not be better to have a wall of millwork to provide a place for the TV, desk for the computer and book/object display shelves?

  • John Brown

    An excellent point – although Frank Lloyd Wright would probably beg to differ. He considered the fireplace to be the center of the home and all of his desert residences featured at least one.

    With that said, however, the fast house version of a store bought metal box with a single row of trim tile that doesn’t even burn wood is a far cry from what FLW was thinking about. I would agree that a wall of millwork and shelving would be a good alternative.

  • Doug Roberts


    Happy New Year Slowhomers!

    Here is a quick redesign of the Arizona house which attempts to address some of the issues that have been raised. The master bedroom has been moved to the back and given patio doors leading out to the garden. The master bath and closet have been downsized slightly and moved towards the front, so now you walk through the closet to get to the bathroom instead of walking through the bathroom to get to the closet. The kitchen has been enlarged to include the former nook space and has been opened up to the living and dining areas with a large island. A large sliding door has been added across the back of the great room to increase the connection to the garden. The west bedroom’s window has been enlarged. A pergola has been added across the back of the house to provide shade from the west sun. Closets have been added to both entries.

  • Doug Roberts

    John — The jpeg that I posted seems to open twice when I click on it, first in a normal window and then again in a wider window that overlaps the first window. I didn’t notice the problem until I clicked on the “X” to close the wider window and discovered the normal window underneath, at which point I had to click on the “X” again to close it and return to today’s posts. When I click on your jpeg it only opens once in a normal window, so only my jpeg appears to have this problem. Are others experiencing this as well, or is just me?

  • Trish

    In Arizona the soil is practically solid rock. Most basements (and swimming pools) are classified as a “hard dig” (read: $$$). A basement excavation is both costly and time-intensive for production homebuilding. On a positive note, in the summer months, the basement is the coolest place in the house.

  • Anonymous

    A nice redesign. I particularly like the switch to the master suite elements. The pergola is another nice touch.

  • John Brown

    Sorry. That last comment was from me. I am still getting used to responding to the blog on my iPhone.

  • Terri

    Doug, Your re-design addresses all the major problems with a minimum of fuss. I like the pony wall between the dining room and entry, allowing some sense of separation without closing off the light.

  • Doug in Cowtown

    Great exercise and discourse as usual.

    I dont think that the sweater is Tessa’s but it may be, its a recent pattern but its in a mens size. Its directly from Team Canada, but they took the names off. So its a mystery, none the less it is still effective during the olympics (and the final junior game 6:00 pm tonight).

    With respect to the house, I wonder why they put such a small window in the back bedroom, its one of the places they could get decent light but they seem to go out of their way to avoid a decent window.


  • Mid Mo

    I think I agree with most suggested changes except for the window in Bedroom 2 (or should we assume you want to enlarge all windows in the back?).

    Jim you bring up a point on the basement and hobbies. Those without- I have seen space made in a large laundry, owner converted an unused bedroom, or the dining room doing double duty.

    I have owned 3 homes so far. One had a “library” space with a nice window, no closet or builts ins, and these nice double doors that we could close off the world. No one I knew in our development used it as a library. Everyone loved this space as it was flexible. Some used it as an office, den, playroom for the kids, or guest room… Those wide double doors allowed it to be a public or private space. That is something I wish I saw more of… The flexibility to change a space to meet current needs. Would such a room be in a slow home or is the flexibility too much to demand of a slow home?

  • Louis Pereira

    Hello Everyone,

    Firstly I would like to wish John and the entire Slow Home group a belated Happy New year!

    It has been too long since my last posting. After a month or so of fighting deadlines leading up to the xmas season and wrestling a crippling computer virus at the office, I am thrilled to be able to correspond once again – ‘back to normal’ indeed. I regret that I wasn’t able to take part in the ‘Checklist’ discussions, however I was extremely pleased to see the amount of participation and the depth of knowledge and insight demonstrated by many Slow Home contributors.

    I would certainly welcome another WWTH excercise tomorrow as it would allow me to get up to speed on the new scoring format.

    As for this Arizona house plan, I would certainly agree with many of your comments John, especially to flip the private area along the north side of the house and have the MB facing the backyard. Note also that this would help to widen the Laundry area by at least a couple of feet, by providing additional circulation space or additional storage per Doug’s plan. I also agree to reverse the WIC and the Ensuite as some have noted.

    Since there is already wasted space between the Living Room and the main circulation zone, I would consider adding an entry closet at the terminus of the Entry Hall rather than cutting into the Dining Room space – even if you kept the FP in its current location. The closet here would also help to close off the view from the Main Entry into the Living Room if you wanted additional privacy. It would also provide more greeting space for larger groups arriving at the front door.

  • John Brown

    Thanks again for the jersey. Everyone at the office was jealous when I returned with my present and my son who is a big Team Canada fan, was really impressed.

    In terms of the window, my sense is that the size is the result of a combination of thoughtlessness and budgets.

  • John Brown

    Mid Mo,

    Flexibility is a key aspect of the slow home philosophy. When we have to have a named for every activity we end up with a house that is too big and too empty. The idea of layering uses (either by different owners of the same house,the same family at different stages of life, or even one person over different times of the day) is a key part of good design. It has been said that a loose fit building has a long life.

  • JimG

    Thanks Mid Mo

    “That is something I wish I saw more of… The flexibility to change a space to meet current needs. Would such a room be in a slow home or is the flexibility too much to demand of a slow home?”

    In my mind a slow home needs more flexibility.

  • John Brown


    Happy New Year my friend and welcome back to the site. I am glad that things have straightened themselves out. Good suggestion about relocating the closet so as not to impinge on the dining area.

  • Leo


    That’s a very nice and simple redo. It is immeasurably better than the original, which brings up the question of why on earth it was not done that way in the first place. Apart from the pergola, there really is not a single thing that you have done which is more expensive. My only criticism would be that the dining room looks a little small, but that is certainly no different from the original.