Update on my house plans

Posted on Sun, 3 Apr 2011 by KiM

In case you missed my previous mentions of what’s going on at my house, we’re planning some rather large additions to what we have discovered is a house FAR too small for 2 people (especially when one likes to collect furniture and lamps) and 7 cats. At the beginning of February I blogged about some initial plans we had gotten from our architect. We had discussed simply adding on a section to the side of the house (luckily we have a rather large lot for a house in the heart of the city) and replacing the old addition at the back of the house that has crappy insulation. This seemed the most feasible because dealing with construction when you have 7 cats is a nightmare. So we were going to live in the old part of the house while the work was happening. Before we left on vacation to Mexico, I received an email from the fabulous folks of local design firm Vok Design Group (Dylan and Thu) who wanted to help with the exterior plans. When we met with Dylan and Thu they also expressed interest in coming up with suggestions for the interior and we were SO game. We met Friday so they could show us their interior ideas before they delved into the exterior. We were rendered completely speechless. It turned out to be WAY more work than we were anticipating but it makes SO much sense and will make this house incredible.

Let me show you what they came up with for the main floor.

Here is a photo of the initial plans from the architect with a couple minor changes made by me. The existing house is marked off in red.
And this is what Dylan and Thu came up with (sorry the measurements aren’t clear because I had to photograph it):

{Now, we have no idea how much this is going to cost, and I’m frankly afraid to find out. Which means at this point we’re not even sure if this can happen. And, to make matters worse, the plans for the upstairs (as you’ll see in a moment) means we’re in serious trouble if we plan to live here, with the cats, while the work happens. Not an ideal situation but we REALLY want this to work out.}

We absolutely adore their ideas for the main floor. The new entrance is open to the upper level, which makes the house finally feel sort of grand. And OMG there’s a FOYER. Right now you walk into the house and you’re standing in the living room. And if you want to put your coat somewhere you had to walk all the way to the back of the house and hang it on some hooks we installed next to the back door. Right there is also a new staircase to the second floor. The new plans have the old staircase (currently in the living room) being removed. Which creates a very large dining room. 🙂 Love the powder room being off the foyer and more out of the way. This all shrinks the new living room a bit but I think it’s worth it – and 13’x17′ and some change is a decent size. Most of the back wall will be doors to the backyard and windows so the light coming in will be awesome. Dylan and Thu suggested moving the fridge to the left of the kitchen so the opening to the back of the house will be in line with the windows at the back. Since these plans eliminated my new pantry (a bit of a bummer), I now instead need to do something on the wall with the fridge to incorporate the storage I was looking for.

Now for the second floor. HUGE changes up there. Initially we were going to create a huge master suite with a bathroom, and a laundry room, and that was pretty much it.

The new plans have a complete redesign of the upstairs, with only the current master bedroom at the front of the house staying relatively the same.

I don’t even know what to say about this it’s so different. We’ll now have 3 normal sized bedrooms, because the current second bedroom which I use as dressing room, is only 7′ wide. And the existing hallway is reeeeally narrow. These plans include a big laundry room – SO EXCITING. After doing laundry in a dingy basement for over 3 years passing puddles and litter boxes to get to the washer dryer, to a proper laundry near the bedrooms with a SINK and a WINDOW and some storage makes me so giddy. Since we don’t have kids and only really need 1 guest room, I’ll make bedroom #2 a dressing room and my hubby can have the walk-in closet.

That, my friends, is hopefully my future home. I am going to be saying alot of prayers over the next little while, because after seeing these plans, I don’t know how we could do anything less and be as happy about it. Perhaps I should start a Kim’s House fund. Or get a third job. (Too bad cats can’t work). While I’m on this subject, now would be a good time to mention if anyone wants to donate or give us a really good price on products we’d need for this project (flooring, sinks, toilets, fireplace, exterior materials etc.) we’d totally appreciate it and it would not go unmentioned here on the blog I assure you… 🙂 (I’m not very good at begging).

Wendy says:

WOW! how exciing!! love the new drawings!! I have someone you should connet with for kitchen and bath materials — I need to dig up the right contact person and I'll connect again.

priscilla says:

Love the plans.

Sarah says:

It is going to be amazing! We're at the end of Stage 1 of our renovations and we lived here for all of it ( except 1 week at Xmas when all our kids and partners came to stay from all over Australia and NZ).

It is the most thrilling thing you'll do! I couldn't believe seeing my vision actually turning into a home. I was my own client ( no training – just obsessed.) and I'd never done it before. Do some mood boards of colours and rooms that make you feel good. Be really vigilant with editing because there are so many gorgeous styles and products out there you will get torn!

We used an architect to tweak dimensions and help us with orientation of sun etc and I'm really glad we did. I think your architects have done a fabulous job.

Some thoughts- imagine standing in all the spaces and try to "see "what you'll be looking at. Also, think about how you want to feel when you're in the home and what you have always wanted to include in your dream home ( I wanted a pantry and I nearly gave in to using the space for something else).

Enjoy the journey – its wonderful!!

peggy says:

Hi Kim! This is so exciting. I don't think these plans are final yet. I see some tweaking that needs done. It needs a little more of your ingenuity, but you'll get there. You're so talented. I am glad you will be sharing the journey with us. One suggestion. Get a small apartment if you can during. A renovation is HELL on a marriage. It will also be much better for your health. Are you going to try and use green materials? I love the idea of a totally green renovation, but everything I read about their cost shocks me. Good luck!

Ruth says:

Love the new plans (especially the second floor) — so great for cross-ventilation and light! As a quilter, I'm insanely jealous of that laundry room! Space to move around, a sink for treating stains or testing fabric, and a window for natural light– oooh la la!

The dinette area could be multi-purpose: eating or office project spillover. I can see using your laptop at the table so you're facing the larger part of the room rather than the wall, especially since the seven furballs will doubtless be lounging in front of those big windows.

Can't wait to see this evolve!

AMR already said it but I agree. It seems more feasible to have your kitchen open to a space that's lived in more, especially based on the way you say that you live. And then…If you were my client, I would suggest turning that L-shaped area in back into not just a dining room but into a dining/library/ office area. I will be designing this in my head for days now, thanks a lot!!! BTW-still loving the Pets on Furniture posts, keep them coming 🙂

Mary says:

I love it, except for the laundry room upstairs. A problem with the washer hose can cause major damage in minutes.

KiM says:

Here's my take on the living/dining room location ideas.
Call me crazy but I like the idea of the dining room being close to the kitchen – so we're not carrying plates of food around the house and the trip to the stove for seconds is pretty effortless. Also, the new living room space is going to be more open and much brighter, so I see that as a plus for the makings of a living room and not really a dining room. Also, I'd rather have the fireplace in the living room. And if we have to do any special wiring and such for the media centre, then I'd rather do that in walls that are not yet drywalled etc. rather than making a mess to the walls in the existing living room (as it's currently not at all set up properly for a decent media centre).
I do love the idea of a library/dining room though….
Ruth, I do like the idea of a table in the dinette area for having a decent view while blogging, but I think I'd like to get an iMac which I'd use more than my laptop, which I then can't use on a table in the middle of the room….
Mary, I see your point, but I think it's SOOOOO worth the risk…

g says:

re: washer hose – not sure about in AUS, but there are metal weave wrapped washer hoses that detect a water burst and shut off water. sure there are other similar along the pipe contraptions….having 2nd fl laundry quite common.

fingers crossed for you—I loved seeing your kitchen transform so this would be a hell-of-a-lot of awesome posts.

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