We met with our draftsman, Ron, to discuss the house plans a multitude of times (I actually have lost count). Additionally, there were many phone calls back and forth. When he initially came out to the house last year, he measured and took photos of the exterior. When the house was gutted, he came back out to measure the interior and take additional photos of each of the three levels, plus the basement.
When all was said and done, the three of us decided collectively that the three upstairs bedrooms and hall bathroom will remain the same. The stairs that used to lead to the attic above the living room will now lead to the new master bedroom. (We will still have an attic over the three existing bedrooms.) Upon entering the house at the front entrance, half of the living room ceiling will be vaulted, (over the fireplace area) and the back half of the open concept living room, will be part of the master bedroom–so this will remain an 8ft ceiling in the living room (half vaulted/half 8ft). If you can envision a balcony at the top of the attic stairs, we will walk across it (which will be over the original small kitchen) and it will lead back to the master bedroom situated over the new 18×18 kitchen addition. It will be a spacious bedroom with a large bathroom and a walk-in closet. As I mentioned, the bedroom will expand past the 18×18 addition and over the back part of the living room.
In the above architectural plan, you will see the balcony and the entrance to the master bedroom. To the right is the entrance to the master bath and the second entrance leads into the walk-in closet. One side of the closet will be for me and the other side will be for John. Ron had asked if we wanted two separate closets but we thought one large closet is a better fit for our layout.
The architectural plans for the first floor–and because this is a split level–we also have the lower floor, which is the garage level, and below that is the basement. There is a bonus room (with the two windows next to the garage) and there is a small room next to it which leads out the back door to the sunken walled-in patio.
I’m still deciding on whether or not to make the small room, a mud room where John can create built-in cabinets with a bench. We will primarily be using this door to enter and exit the house so it makes sense that it could and should be a mudroom. However, if it’s used as a mudroom then I have to decide where to have the laundry room? I’m still undecided. I found a mudroom on Houzz with a Dutch door. John can duplicate something similar–I definitely want the Dutch door leading out to the patio.
To take a peek at the mudroom on Houzz, click here. By the way, I peruse Houzz daily for design inspiration. It’s one of my favorite websites with endless possibilities for each design phase. It’s like one big candy store for me.
About the front door: We only want to use the front door for when we have visitors or guests so this door will get limited use. In addition to the patio entrance, we’ll also have the kitchen French doors at the back of the house. I’ll be able to pull my car up along side of the house and unload groceries directly into the kitchen. (Due to some of the comments I have received about the disadvantage of having a Dutch door for the front entrance, I have reconsidered and will choose a fiberglass Therma-tru.)
When we renovated our old house in NJ, we installed a Therma-tru with beveled sidelights. Here’s a photo of it below. John painted it black and because the door had a faux grain, when it was painted, from a distance, it actually did look like a wood door. It was a great door with a nice seal and we never had to worry that it would rot or warp like a wood door.
When we renovated our old house in 2001 and 2002 (actually it continued into 2003), we spent about $2000 on the door including the beveled glass sidelights. Probably by now, the same door/glass would be $2600 (just a guess on my part). I’m pretty good with pricing and the cost of everything. With our new front door at Brick House 319, it will NOT have sidelights. Personally, I don’t care for them. The reason: People would walk up on our stoop and literally plaster their face on the window and look in. This would blow my mind when people would do this. I didn’t hang window treatments on the sidelights because that would have defeated the purpose of having them to begin with. People could see right into the entire living room. So, I learned my lesson and this time around, no sidelights. By not ordering them, it will also cut down on the cost.
If you look closely at the door, the black paint started to chip off after 12 years. When we decided to sell the house, John repainted the front door black and painted the trim around the sidelights white using Benjamin Moore exterior paint, which looked very pretty due to the contrast. (For some reason I didn’t take a photo of the new paint job.) We should have initially painted it black with white trim all of those years ago and I don’t know why we didn’t.
Here is the inside of the Therma-tru door. The tile at the entrance is the tile I would like for the new kitchen floor at Brick House 319. I wonder if I can find it now? We bought it in 2001.