Part 2 – 2200 sqft Bungalow, Florida

2200 sqft Bungalow, Florida (PDF)
2200 sqft Bungalow, Florida (JPEG)

  • Steve


    John, you liked this place as little as me! I think you were generous, though, with the narrow dining room with the clumsy, oversized columns. What were those for, I wonder.

    After offering my critique yesterday, I puzzled over what one could do in terms of a “modest” reno, and so decided to keep the exterior, HVAC, and plumbing as intact as possible.

    Assuming the exterior is in a quasi-traditional sytle, I choose a traditional, formal layout inside as well. Going with John’s suggestion that this is a corner lot, I moved the entry to the north side, centered the living room with a fireplace, aligned the foyer and dining spaces with that wall, and moved the kitchen (still separate) next to the dining room. I did move the garage to the south and reused that space for a screened porch, just outside the kitchen.

    So much for my modest budget! But I wonder what can be done with this plan for less. Any ideas?

  • James Scott

    Steve – I like the covered porch and the better use of the yard. To me that would be the biggest benefit. If you were able to move your entry closer to the porch maybe the living, dining and kitchen spaces could have a better flow to each other. Though overall a much better plan.

    As I’ve mentioned before one of the biggest issues I feel that is overlooked whether buying new or an older home is the cost associated with the move. Actual physical moving costs, such as gas, van, feeding the posse, legal fees, land transfer taxes and all that stuff are part of any move. But wait, how long are you going to live in the perfect home until that pickled-rose wainscoting just has to go. Or the blue chickens and ducks just don’t match your sensitivities any longer. And don’t underestimate the poor quality materials builders apply to new homes means the trip to the paint store will happen sooner than you expect.

    A lot of the discussion regarding the WWWTH segment has become focused on how to improve the plan to make it more livable. I think this should be taken to the next step in the reality chain, what’s the cost. If it’s going to cost me $20k to move, and $75K to make these renovations than maybe staying put and spending $75k is a better option. I’m saving $20k and making my current home and community a better place to live.

    That being said, possibly even spending more than 15 minutes in this place should tell you to just walk away, or sorry, knock $100 grand off this baby and then we’ll talk, maybe.

  • BradW

    The only justification to renovate this home to any great extent would be its location. The only cheap way to fix this house is to hope a hurricane destroys it and you qualify for federal aid or collect on the insurance.

    The only right way to fix this house is to demolish it and start again – anything designed this badly is bound to be as poorly built. Unless you find a good contractor, skilled trades and invest in high quality building materials even the best design is going to be junk.

  • David R

    I have been following many of the “What’s wrong with this house segments” lately and they are very revealing. This week’s is possibly the worst floor plan that has been featured.

    A recurring theme seems to be that the introduction of a 45 deg angle always manages to mess up the overall functionality of the space. Are there any examples of where the 45 degree angle has been successfully employed to the owner’s benefit?

    Or is it always simply a marketing feature?

  • Doug Roberts


    Here is my attempt to fix some of the problems, while trying to stay within a reasonable renovation budget. I turned the old dining area into a proper front entry, enlarged the old nook into a formal dining area, squared up the kitchen in the middle of the house, squared up the master bedroom, reconfigured the utility room and main bathroom, shifted the second bedroom north, and added more windows to the master bedroom and bathroom. I am not overly happy with having the front entry look directly into the kitchen, but I couldn’t figure out a better solution in the time I had available. Does anyone else have any suggestions?

  • Ruth Hasell

    David R,

    I wholeheartedly agree with you about the house and about the ubiquitous 45 deg angle that shows up in so many American production houses. I am hard pressed to find an example in my practice where a house with a 45 deg (and many modern production houses seem to have one) was not made better by a remodel that removed it. Many of my clients come to me thinking that the slicing off of a corner is a ‘feature’ that will make the space ‘flow’. This site is helping me to demonstrate to them why this is not so. Thanks, all.

    To play devil’s advocate (and I really hate to be the one to say anything good about the dreaded 45 deg), Frank Lloyd Wright certainly put it to good use in many of his projects – the prows of his Prairie houses, some of the Diagonal Usonians, many decorative motifs. It might be fun to take a look at one of those (maybe the Marcus House, Dallas, 1937?) and see what the 45 contributes (or doesn’t).

  • Leo

    I Agree with David R and Brad

    I find usually that I am the apologist for these WWWTH segment designs, but this one really stinks for all the aforementioned reasons. It is practically irredeemable.

  • BradW


    The collage of crap shown here is the Gehry House from 1978. Surprisingly, the floorplan has nary a 45 degree angle…could be its one redeeming feature but I don’t want to be too hard on old Frank…these were early days

  • Doug Roberts


    I felt this need to go back and tinker a little with the redesign. I reconfigured the front entry to make the closet a free-standing object between the front entry and the kitchen, added a large skylight above the kitchen to bring more natural light into the centre of the house (a common problem with large bungalows), moved the door from the dining room to the terrace over and reversed the swing on the door from the master bedroom to the terrace.

  • Terri


    Doug, I’ve been off tinkering too, and as I read through the above entries, I was going to suggest you float your closet just where you have. Your idea to move Bedroom 2 northward was a great one. I think you’ve done a good job of reconfiguring this space while keeping more or less within its original footprint.

    I was going to try and keep the main 45-degree angle somehow but finally only allowed a little nod to this angle with an “art niche.” I squared it off, but then I didn’t like the closing off feeling and preferred the little bit more openness the angle offered. Maybe that’s the only way these angles work–in small doses?

    By moving the garage north, I was able to give the master bedroom two covered porches–lots of cross-ventilation. The kitchen is just functional with a desk, built-in eating area and small island. The bathrooms are also just functional–no fancy extras.

    I’m not crazy about the entry dissecting living and kitchen. That’s a major problem I couldn’t fix.

  • Terri

    Hah! I see I forgot to move the Kitchen label back into the room–it’s not really on the front lawn.

  • Doug Roberts

    Terri — I like your kitchen, which would be very bright facing the bay window. I also like your idea of moving the garage and the master bathroom to open up the master bedroom to the back yard. Putting bathrooms in the middle of such a large bungalow is a good way to use up the interior space. Your front entry seems a little tight – I might be inclined to ditch the desk in favour of a more spacious front entry.

  • jim baer


    i kept getting stuck on the idea that this is a warm climate and there was no indoor / outdoor living. so i had to pursue a more radical solution. though it is more or less the original footprint.

    i also know that i have missed such niceties as washer / dryer and mechanicals, but i am sure i could work out something near the family bath and garage!

  • Terri

    Yes, that is a “radical” solution, by changing the positions of LR and MB. I like the openness from front to back, though that island/kitchen table? looks kind of close to the main entry. I was thinking that maybe if the kitchen galley was turned north/south instead of east/west, maybe a washer/dryer closet could be contained in the area where you now have the entertainment storage/closet set up. (The LR would have to reconfigure a bit too.) I can’t see how the utility closet near the family bath can be incorporated as it is now, as removing the linen closets still doesn’t offer enough space.

  • BradW


    Moved entry, added closet and powder room, eliminated the angles, moved bedroom2 and added new kitchen – still way too much work and cost but there you go…

    In search of well done angles and abstractionism I thought who better than Gehry. But even in my brief look I was disappointed to find that despite the tangled exterior, Gehry maintains an ordered interior.

  • Amy

    Where’s the kitchen sink?

  • Steve


    Some very creative ideas as we struggled to carve livable spaces out this block of darkness. No silk purses, but all improvements, no doubt.

    To David’s question about an angled wall that works. I also thought about the many plans in Wright’s portfolio based (rigidly) on the triange, parallelgram, or hexagon, but to my mind most of these serve best as examples to avoid, especially if we’re looking for simplicity in design. The Hanna House is beautiful, but it’s the most complex piece of millwork I can imagine.

    Where the angle works best, I think, is where it corresponds to the site, like some of Wright’s work, and also our Rue Street case study in March …

  • BradW

    Amy, the drawing is conceptual and intentionally left out details like appliance location in the kitchen etc. Most probably the sink would be located on the island…

  • BradW

    Another thing of note in the Gehry house renovation is that the original home is left largely intact…cost saving and environmentally friendly…and is entirely transformed thru a series of inventive shapes and compositions.

  • Amy

    Well the whole kitchen sink thing was brought to my attention as I was watching John’s response. He circled the island and the short counter left of the stove and cited that was their only counter space. No mention of a sink. I was just surprised because I’ve never seen a plan drawn without a sink! They have a range, refrigerator, even a washer/dryer shown. I don’t think it was left out intentionally. I think it is simply another example of the sloppiness and inefficiency of the plan.

  • Doug Roberts

    Brad — I believe that Amy was referring to the lack of a sink in the WWWTH plan, not in your plan.

  • Terri


    Your example (Rue Street) shows angles where they are more “organic,” that is, they are born from topography or for light transfer considerations, etc. They are more secondary to the overall design; whereas John’s WWWTH example uses the angle as the starting point. It’s like the designer took a 45-angle and just randomly threw down the first line and said, what if I stick this angle in the middle of the house? What then?

    I was a night school interior design student some 19 years ago, and at that time angles were all the rage. We were using them a lot, because our design instructor told us that they are “active” and she was keen on them. They do create movement, especially on paper; but I can imagine that they’re not easy to live with. They’re especially useless when they create so much wasted space as John’s example proves.

  • David R

    Thanks for posting that floorplan! Yes, should have realised – angles work best when they correspond to the site.