I’ve been working on the first floor plan. Getting a floor plan that we like is the first step toward getting our permits, estimating what all this will cost, and even determining how we do the structural repair in the basement. After the post I made about floor joists, we decided to come up with a floor plan that keeps the existing load bearing wall in place, but replaces the full stud wall with long span beams to support the existing 2×6 floor joists. We’ll reinforce those either by sistering or adding cross bracing. Because of this, we need a floor plan that keeps the span lengths short enough to use LVL headers or wooden I-Joists. Every four feet in span increase cuts the load bearing ability in half, so I came up with a floor plan that keeps the spans less than sixteen feet.

The next design constraint was keeping the existing wet wall, where the plumbing lines, drains, and vents are. This is important for a couple of reasons. One, keeping the plumbing consolidated will lower costs and simplify the project. More importantly, though, is the fact that we’re living on the second floor, so the wet wall needs to stay where it is so that we can keep flushing the toilet, taking showers, and washing dishes while the first floor remodel is ongoing.

The house is very narrow, with an interior width of only twenty feet. The load bearing wall runs along the length, but instead of being in the center it’s about eight feet from one wall. Right now the rooms on the small side of that wall are only 7 1/2 feet wide, which is pretty small by today’s standards. In order to work around that we’ll wind up having a beam sticking down from the ceiling, but since the ceilings are ten feet high, it shouldn’t be too bad.

Sarah loves to cook, and most entertaining these days winds up in the kitchen. Because of that we decided to make the kitchen big, and to forgo a formal dining room that would probably only be used a few times a year. Instead the plan calls for a big, counter-height table in the kitchen that serves as both work space and dining table. While meals are being prepared or just during parties, people can congregate in the kitchen with plenty of room to move around and sit without getting in the way of the cooking. We’re going to splurge on the stove. Instead of getting a cooktop or a range with a double wall oven, we’re going to get a big 48″ range with griddle, grill, and two ovens. That will be the centerpiece of the kitchen with the rest of the prep area to either side and a big buffet counter on the far side of the table.

We also wanted to fit an office onto the first floor, partly because we spend a lot of time by the computers and partly because we’ll need a bedroom to sleep in while we’re redoing the second floor. The plan calls for a powder room instead of a full bath. That was a tricky point, because as I said, we’re going to be redoing the second floor once this is all finished. Without a full bath on the first floor we’ll need to redo the second floor in stages, keeping the existing bathroom until we’ve finished the master bathroom. Finally, there’s a small den at the back of the house to connect the entertaining space to the screened deck we’ll eventually be building on the back.

The plan is still subject to further revision, especially once we start going through permitting and have to get all of this approved. There may be structural and code requirements I haven’t accounted for. However, this is the direction we’re looking at.


2 Responses to Floor Planning

  1. where’d you get the graphics drawn up? they are pretty awesome…

  2. Google Sketchup. It’s free, and even available for Mac if you’re interested in some drafting.

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