Part 2 – Goodwin Residence, Manitoba – Upper Floor

Part 2 – Goodwin Residence, Manitoba – Upper Floor (PDF)

  • John Brown


    This is the completed concept design for the Goodwin residence, upper floor.

  • Steve

    John, you’ve got me all hyped for tomorrow! But until then … two things I quite like about your plan, and two “issues”:

    1. Enclosing the bedroom fireplace. Despite the romantic sacrifice, it does provide for better traffic through the room to the bath and closet. I was also concerned about the long trip around the bed and so provided secondary access from the hall (in exchange for 4′ of closet). I like your option better.

    2. You also narrowed the hall to accommodate a full-depth closet in the east bedroom and cleaner lines in the south room, at a cost of moving ~7′ of wall. I think I’d pull that door another 18″ out to eliminate the corner poking into the hall, but otherwise this was a good idea.

    3. Your bathrooms are both efficient, though I think both toilets need more clearance. Also, can a side-by-side washer/dryer fit into 4′?

    4. Lastly, we’ve done the 1st & 2nd floor exercises separately, but I think you’d have the same issues to fix downstairs as I did — accommodating the underside of the steps above the landing and providing support for the SW corner of the 2nd floor (right above where you’ve got a window).

    Anyway, a fun house to work on — I don’t think we improved simplicity, light or openness on the 2nd floor (usefullness being the focus), but the 1st floor is certainly much SLO-er. Thanks again!

  • BradW


    You and I had similar strategies this week and although I think my proposal maybe slightly less expensive it really does not matter in a renovation this extensive. It is too bad some of the windows on the west wall could not be changed – this would have a big impact for not too much extra money. The NW bedroom would benefit from a larger window. Reducing the large number of small windows would give more options for the layout of the SW bedroom, family bath and laundry.

    As for your plan, I like that you expanded the closet in the SE bedroom thereby straightening the wall in the SW bedroom. Also, your bathroom layouts are very well done. The changes in the master are OK freeing up the front window for seating at the cost of the fireplace. I think having the bed in front of the window is a reasonable choice especially considering the fireplace could be restored with a gas insert and seating can go on the west wall. A choice for the client.

    Last week I wondered about an addition. No doubt a more expensive option but by adding a family room on the main floor and a master bedroom/bath to the second floor while doing as little as possible to the existing structure the client might be better served. The resulting larger house may serve the family better in the long run (do not forget addtion basement space for the boys to play in) and would have a better resale. Your thoughts?

  • John Brown

    I agree about the toilet spacing – particularly in the family bath. 2’6″ is an absolute minimum side to side and 5′ for length. 3′ side to side is more comfortable (particularly for the plumber installing the toilet).

    Glad you are looking forward to tomorrow – so am I…..

  • John Brown

    I agree about the similarity of our approaches. It was a bit of a shock to see your plan first thing yesterday morning. I am glad that there were other strategies submitted or we wouldn’t have had much to talk about.

    You raise a good point about the bed location and the fireplace. My sense is that, as you say, it really would come down to a client preference. Both are nice and both have problems. I lived in an old house with the bed under window and it was cold and drafty.

    In terms of the addition, in my experience extending outside of the original envelope takes the project into a completely different category of work and cost. My recommendation is that if the renovation project is part of a real estate purchase it is much better (and less expensive) to find a house that is the right size and work within the walls rather than find one that needs a renovation. If, on the other hand, the lot is special or the client has owned it for some time then an addition may be warranted. The other concern that we have experienced is that once you start talking about an addition it sometimes becomes more cost effective to just rip the whole thing down and start again. In some sense you could argue that this defeats the purpose.

  • Louis Pereira

    John – I was looking forward to seeing your plan today. Very, clever and simple ways of making things work – things i liked were having all the beds facing the entries (something i couldn’t resolve in my first plan yesterday), extending the flue chase in the SE bedroom and finally the detail around the existing fireplace in the MS.

    I anticipated that you would keep the Master Bedroom in its current location and then redevelop the former seating area into the Ensuite, but i couldn’t get around the amount of closet space. Also, i looked for ways to access this walk-in from the bedroom area rather than through the Ensuite. Add a footrest or soft ottoman in between the two chairs by the front window and you have an ideal reading area and spot to wind down before calling it a day.

    As for the Main bath, I tried to get at least a double sink in my Option 2 plan, so that more than one of the Goodwin boys can use this bathroom. I also thought it would be very useful to have a very functional Laundry, something you’ve provided here, though i would opt to have the W/D along the interior wall to allow for upper cabinets for additional storage.

    I am also excited to hear your announcement tomorrow and look forward to ‘helping’ in any way I can…(hope you’re not moving a Grand Piano!)

  • BradW

    John – Good points…Certainly, the criteria for undertaking any of these projects is personal and unique to the site. In our case, we moved when we needed more space. And this was after renovating a nice but small old home in a downtown location.

  • John Brown

    Not planning to move a grand piano — just the world of mass production housing.

    All hands on deck !

  • jim baer



    i took your non ensuite comment to heart and looked at the plan again. and worked off other’s ideas for the ensuite location, etc…

    however, i really struggled with enclosing the existing master bedroom fireplace. isn’t this the charm of older houses? so i took a different approach.

    i am thinking the new closets can be millwork with hanging above and drawers below, and there will be nicely detailed sliding doors to close off the bath and dressing area for those times when one is up before the other.

    unfortunately i am out first thing in the morning , tomorrow, so i won’t be able to share your message til later in the day. i can’t wait!!

  • jim baer


    i must take umbrage with your plan note that the eldest son should get the biggest room with the fireplace. as the non-eldest son i was always second best. and my younger brother…. now where did he go?

    perhaps drawing straws is a better solution! lol

  • Murray

    Hi All,

    I have been too busy since the term started to work along, but I have been keeping up to speed watching the daily sessions.

    My only comment on John’s plan would be to consider removing the wall in the family bathroom so that laundry gets directly incorporated into one larger space. Possibly this could allow room for a shower as well as the tub (do teenage boys take baths?).

    Another option might be a pocket door to allow the bathroom sink to assist with laundry duties.

    I see that Jim Baer got a sink into the room as it stands, but as noted before it’s not a very wide room for optimal access to the dryer especially, though the washer could be a top-loader.

    Intrigued about tomorrow … John, I don’t suppose you could put this off until the end of term! Alas.

  • Terri

    You did the most logical thing with that master suite by covering up the old fireplace so that the head of the bed could go there. I just couldn’t bring myself to make the fp completely useless, so I opted to allow the eldest that space. BTW, I’m very curious about the Next Level of Slow Home.

    Note to Jim…the idea of giving the eldest the room with a fp is not to favour just him. When he leaves, then number two gets the room, and so on. Maybe in your family it didn’t work out that way though. Other than straws, maybe yearly switches?

  • Louis Pereira


    I was licking my chops last week thinking there would be an opportunity to do something like this (attached) with the upstairs fireplace but alas, the budget would not allow for such luxury, nor would the layout of the overall Master Suite area!…