I am in the process of designing a house that I am planning to build. I am
running into a problem with the exterior entry way and was hoping someone
might have an adequate solution.
My goal is to have a very tall entry way. Unfortunately, it is causing me to
have a 14' ceiling in the interior foyer which would jog into a 12' ceiling.
I'm trying to avoid this while maintaining a certain amount of height on the
exterior. Hopefully, this is not too confusing. The PDF's below should help
to clarify things.
Any help would be greatly appreciated.
Frankly, the juxapositioning of the Foyer, F. Porch & Study is not a well
conceived idea. It doesn't look good from the exterior having two gables
overlap. Perhaps, bring the Study back to even up to the wall to the left
of the entrance and jutting out the M.Bath a couple of feet and let the
gable be there.
Something is not right with the heights. The plan says the main part of the
house is 12 feet and the Foyer is 14 but it looks to be at least 16 from the
Hate to tell you but that "dressing area" is a scam. It's a glorified
vestibule. I'd definitely redesign the whole M.BR suite.
hate to tell you but "built-ins" in a 36" depth closet is a scam. You won't
have the room for it.
Quite frankly, the forced 45 degrees gag me. AT LEAST take the one out of
the "dressing room" and maybe you'll actually have a place to put a bench to
sit down on.
Sorry if I came across harsh. You need to hire a designer. Not making this
up: I just "fired" a client of mine who thought they were the designers and
were making my job so difficult I let them go. The guy is a judge and is
used to being in complete control and not taking professional advice. He
comes up with stuff and then I have to be the "bad guy" and tell him all
the things wrong with his design. I hate it when people put me in that
Lastly, Did you really designed this house? Owners who design their own
homes don't name their designs.
Thanks for the in depth feedback. I'm a little concerned about the gables as
well. As far as the rest of the house is concerned it is a juxtaposition of
existing houses so I already know what it all looks like. I like the
dressing area because it allows for an entrance into the master suite and
also keeps the master bedroom from having extra doors.
At this point I am reasonably happy with the floorplan (mainly because I
have actually seen every inch of it) and am mostly concerned with the entry.
If there was a way we could keep our focus on that it would be great.
Exterior height is my goal.
O.K. I'll give you my thoughts (feel free to ignore them though if you'd
The Foyer ceiling height:
1. You can just frame it down inside - This would maintain the outside look
while "fixing" the height inside (though I personally don't know why your
opposed to the higher ceiling)
2. Leave as is inside and out and just "coffer" the Foyer ceiling.
3. Change the outside and that will effect the inside. (and the Foyer roof
area definitely needs some work - regardless of what you decide for the
I personally would address the outside (especially the overlapping gables)
and still coffer the Foyer ceiling. Since the Foyer is fairly small the
expense to coffer it wouldn't be outrageous. Another nice option would be
to barrel vault the Foyer which would mesh nicely with the arched transom.
Now on to other thoughts on the house (in no particular order):
1. Right window of Garage - I'd lose the arched trim above and instead of
doing the "dog ear" I'd make it an eyebrow across that face. This would
better match the toilet room window (which also should lose the arched
trim). The eyebrow would also break up some of the siding and the
"verticalness" which detracts from the entry's prominence.
2. Is that corner boards on the stone areas? Why?
3. I like the boxed out Kitchen window from the outside but not the inside
(water splash and reachability).
4. Add a third bracket under Kitchen box-out (and make them all a little
5. Is that an arched transom in the Kitchen box-out? What's the space
between the top of the window and the ceiling? Is there going to be an
arched soffit over the sink?
6. That's a lot of roof, have you considered putting in a false dormer
above the Kitchen box-out and having the box-out just die into the overhang?
7. how about moving the Kitchen window to the right slightly to better
8. Why is the center Study window wider than the flankers? IMHO it should
either be wider so the difference in size is more noticeable, or the same as
9. The finished inside or the rear Garage wall should flush out with the
common wall and not have a 2' jog in it.
10. Is there a Garage service door?
11. The entry columns look too thin for their height to me.
12. I don't like the roof, gutters and dog-ears inside the covered entry.
13. Too much wall space above entry transom. (have you considered lower
the Study ceiling to 10' instead of 12'?)
14. I'd put a flower box under the Study and Garage windows (the stone
15. I'd look at making the Toilet Room window a double (there's room if you
lose the Study closet) and losing the arched trim (it's too
conflicting/close to the fascia)
16. I'd lose the Study closet, flip the toilet to that side, and extend the
shower to the front of the house - thus allowing for a bench in the shower,
glass block wall between shower and toilet room to allow daylight in, and
enlarging the tub area which looks fairly cramped (then you could add in
built-in shelves at the foot, or both ends, of the tub for
17. Looks like a lot of wasted space between the vanity and tub/shower in
the Master Bath? IMHO more than 5' clear is a waste. If you wanted you
could "push" the vanity into the Bath more and have recessed shelves/file
cabinets/wet bar/whatever in the Study.
18. Master Bedroom - I'm not crazy about the rear windows and the lack of
19. Master Closet - 6'-3"? That's too tight. figure 2' depth for clothes
on each side that only leaves you 2'-3" of walk space which is too tight.
The clear space should be more like 3' to 3'-3" since the clothes might
actually have be put on inside the closet. Also, the door into the closet
should be at least a 2'-4" door, 2'-6" would be better, and if left open
most of the time, I'd consider a pocket door.
20. As someone else mentioned, the Dressing Area is (IMO) poorly shaped and
totally misnamed (try "Master Foyer")
21. Great Room (which really it isn't, it's the Family/Living Room. I
never like a room with things on every wall competing for me to look at
(fireplace, TV, windows, built-in on 4 different walls means I can't sit and
take everything in easily)
22. Walkway from Great Room to Dining Room - Barrel vault that and then
re-center the door at the rear of the Dining room.
23. Open rail on Kitchen side of stairs - I'd lose it and just make the
full wall run down to the end.
24. Pantry cabinetry depth would be better if it was 18" deep.
25. Add a small prep sink to the sit at island.
26. WIC at Bedroom 2/3 - 5'-10"??? That leaves only 1'-10" of "walk"
space! They're not "walk-in" they're "reach-in"! You'd be better off with
just a standard closet with 4' dbl doors and adding the extra space to one
or both of the bedrooms. It'd also be nice to have a display niche at the
end of the hall leading to the bedrooms (which would take 8"-12" out of the
27. Foyer doesn't center on Great Room, nor are the angle walls of the
Great Room symmetrical.
28. Stairs to basement look like you're going to have headroom issues (or
at least less than ideal headroom - if not an actual code violation). They
also probably spit you out in a less than idea location in the basement.
29. On the right side of the front elevation is that a clipped area of the
hip roof? That looks like either poor planning or just plan tacky.
30. The covered entry - this is the area you asked about and it does need a
lot of re-design. It looks like there's a ~3' deep plant ledge over the
front door? There's no protection from rain (well, there is, it's just
useless because it's 14' off the ground and rain doesn't always fall
31. Elevation shows a sidewalk going to front door that is incorrect.
32. Driveway interaction with entry - hope nobody backs their car into the
33. What's the rear look like? I'm guessing it looks horrid because of the
different plate heights?
34. What height doors are being used? With 10'-12' ceiling you're not
going to just use 6'-8" tall doors are you? What about transoms over
interior doors? Are there any, if so where? Keep in mind that just because
you "can" do something doesn't mean you "should".
That's all for now.....
Actually, I've been swamped! My wife's having major health issues the last
2 weeks and we're supposed to be going on vacation next week and I've got to
get a couple of projects completed by tomorrow and......
I replied to the post last night at a time where I just needed something
"non-stressful" to think about, any other time and I would have ignored the
NOTE TO OP - IGNORE THE FOLLOWING PARAGRAPH:
I do agree (but was afraid to say to the OP for fear that he'd feel "bashed"
and thus ignore the rest of my post) that the entry needs a major overhaul.
IMO this looks like the floor plan was decided on (for good or bad) and then
the elevation is what it is. You can't just take a bunch of rooms and
cut/paste them together and end up with a good design. This plan (like a
lot of "designs" done by homeowners or builders) appears more about room
dimensions and total house square footage than thought design. Since I'm
not designing, building, or buying this house it's really not my call to try
to fix it. However, I've seen too many house designs driven/built that fall
into this same category and if I can make suggestions to make it even a
little better it was worth my time.
y, this is not too confusing. The PDF's below should help
Do yourself a big favor and throw in furniture into your plan. Be sure
you include such unimportant things as TV's, A/V equipment, computers,
sofas, chairs,, etc.
You'll find some really interesting things out...
One other point... Are you sure you want to drive so close so
consistently to the front entry column? Do you have the driveway laid
out? How are you going to back out of the garage from the stall closest
to the house?
And, the front elevation... there's something wrong with the balance. I
just see the big hole in the middle above the kitchen. Of course you
don't see structures in elevation. I still think, in perspective, it'll
still be a problem. Try making the gable above the entry a "double
gable" and enlarge it to come over the kitchen, too...
But, the honest truth is there is nothing special/nice/neat about this
house. I feel like I've seen hundreds of them in plan books, cheesy
developments and in the dreams of clients who could have so much better
if they'd take the chance AND HIRE A REAL DESIGNER!
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