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Old 03-06-2012, 12:39 PM   #16
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How big should a mechanical/utility room be?


I appreciate everyone's advice and tips.

Here is some more information on the house design. The right end on the picture will be the main entrance facing towards the road. My husband hasn't decided what side of the road to build on yet. His dad owns the land but we will probably pick the side that the prow will be facing in the direction of the sunrise.

The house from the point of the prow back but excluding the foyer is 42' and is 26' wide. I haven't figured out how big to make the foyer yet. The hallway is 4' wide. My husband didn't want it to small so we can easily carry in groceries and move in furniture. I wouldn't mind having a bench on one side and a place to hang coats on the other side with a spot for shoes below. We usually only use one coat each. Noise won't be to bad. We will be on a road with farms and one farm does drive up and down the road all day but we are use to it since right now we live with my husband's parents on the same road. Other than that it is mostly Amish.

The downstairs bathroom is 10'x11' and I planned on having the washer and dryer in it so I don't have to mess with going into the utility room unless something needs fixed. I prefer to not have them stacked since we've used stacked ones before and like them side by side for easy clothes transfer. I would also like them near an exterior wall for easy ducting. I will probably raise them up some and put in shelving above them. We will be installing a shower/tub combo in this bathroom. We only need one sink in this bathroom. It will be more for guests and when we have kids to use.

After staring at the plan maybe I should make the utility room L shaped which would make the bathroom smaller and the utility room bigger. In the picture the utility room is 4'x11' which seems to narrow.

The upstairs bathroom is a 10'x9' and will be our main bathroom. We would like to have a decent sized shower in this bathroom. We want it big enough so if we both are having to get ready in the morning that we don't have to squeeze by each other. My husband is a decent size and stocky. I'll want to be able to walk by without rubbing up against the wall especially if I'm carrying a baby. We don't plan on installing a tub in this bathroom since neither one of us use one. The one in the downstairs is for bathing children in other wise we would just install a small shower in that one.

The two downstairs rooms will be for a bedroom and a office. They are 11'x11' each. I measured the size out and they seem decent sized. I do know they won't actually be that size after you take the wall thickness off that. I thought about building closets in the rooms but we decided it would be better to buy furniture that can be moved around to put clothes in so we aren't stuck having to arrange the room around the closet.

The master bedroom is around 22'x17'. The WIC will be around a 8'x9'. That is pretty big for what we need but since we plan on starting to try for kids soon I would probably keep the crib in our room for a while. I also have a drum set that I will probably place in the room too.

The space under the stairs I will most likely make some doors on the side of the steps so I can open it and use it as a storage place. I seen some nice ideas online.

The kitchen is 11' along the utility wall and 12' along the exterior wall.

We are going to hire my husband's friend to be the architect to draw up the plan and certify it. Then we will hire some people to do the foundation, well, septic, radiant heating, and the main frame of the house. We have friend that is a certified electrician to do the electrical work and a relative that can do the plumbing. We are going to try and do most of what we are able to do ourselves with the help of family and friends. My SIL built a house a few years ago and did the same thing and it saved her a lot of money. She has been helpful with giving us some advice and will help us through the process of getting everything set up. The friend that is going to be the architect also built his own house and will be helping us. We are going to have the Amish build our kitchen cabinets that way they will be a nice solid wood. They only charged my SIL $3K for all her cabinets (large kitchen), a large cabinet for cans, and her raised stand with drawers for her washer and dryer to sit on. She had Lowes come over and measure the cabinets for the counter top.

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Last edited by reveriereptile; 03-06-2012 at 12:57 PM. Reason: Added more information.
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Old 03-06-2012, 01:15 PM   #17
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How big should a mechanical/utility room be?


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I thought about building closets in the rooms but we decided it would be better to buy furniture that can be moved around to put clothes in so we aren't stuck having to arrange the room around the closet.
I would really reconsider this for two reasons. First, there is no comparison between a closet and a piece of furniture for storage. Closets will hold many times the volume of a piece of furniture. And give you the option of hanging clothes, storing boxes, etc. When your yet-to-be daughter becomes a teenager you will want that closet.
Second, if you ever sell, in many areas you cannot claim a room as a bedroom if it doesn't have a closet. Check with a realtor, but you would have to list your home as a one bedroom!

Edited to add: I seem to be hung up on closets, don't I? I've lived in houses without coat closets, linen closets, pantry etc. You may be the exception, collecting less cr*p than the average American, but don't underestimate the need for storage.

Last edited by Blondesense; 03-06-2012 at 01:20 PM.
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Old 03-06-2012, 02:02 PM   #18
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How big should a mechanical/utility room be?


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I would really reconsider this for two reasons. First, there is no comparison between a closet and a piece of furniture for storage. Closets will hold many times the volume of a piece of furniture. And give you the option of hanging clothes, storing boxes, etc. When your yet-to-be daughter becomes a teenager you will want that closet.
Second, if you ever sell, in many areas you cannot claim a room as a bedroom if it doesn't have a closet. Check with a realtor, but you would have to list your home as a one bedroom!

Edited to add: I seem to be hung up on closets, don't I? I've lived in houses without coat closets, linen closets, pantry etc. You may be the exception, collecting less cr*p than the average American, but don't underestimate the need for storage.
Thanks for the input. I didn't know that they don't claim a room a bedroom without a closet. I'll definitely think about it. I might try making some adjustments to the plan later and see what I can do to make it more useful. I'll look online at some bathroom floor plans to see how I can change the bathroom around.
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Old 03-06-2012, 03:07 PM   #19
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How big should a mechanical/utility room be?


I concur that those bedrooms should be designed with closets as well. Also I would try really hard to ensure they finish out at 12x12.

On the utility room, I think everyone's comments lead back to the same issue: What is going to be in there?

I did the 4' hallway and it is very nice.

I'm still indifferent to the washer/dryer in that bathroom. I think it can be downsized and remain comfortable. And break up the remaining space for a utility room and separate laundry space.

Built on a slab, and with the configuration you propose I don't see much storage (i.e. attic, basement). What are the plans for that? Maybe a garage?

There is another forum http://ths.gardenweb.com/forums/ lots of resourceful people over there as well. There is a building a n home section, you will get lots of floor plan feedback from designers, and such.
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Old 03-06-2012, 03:40 PM   #20
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How big should a mechanical/utility room be?


I messed around with the plan some more for the bathroom/utility room and added closets in the bedrooms.

How does this look.
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Old 03-06-2012, 03:54 PM   #21
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How big should a mechanical/utility room be?


That utility room size would be fine for a wall-hung tankless water heating unit and electrical distribution panel. Tankless units can run on either natural gas or propane and are far more efficient than traditional tanked boiler setups. They can also be direct vented eliminating the need for a traditional chimney (which you currently aren't showing).
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Old 03-06-2012, 04:17 PM   #22
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How big should a mechanical/utility room be?


How about something along these lines? Keeps the water walls centralized, and removes to the extent possible water lines on exterior walls. Centralizing drainage, venting and domestic water will save you time/money on installation.

This would allow for roughly a 36" vanity, 5' Tub, with ~3' for the toilet area. You could put the shower head on a wall separating the toilet, allowing privacy and possible access to the plumbing. With only 11' to work with you may need to reduce the vanity or increase the room size to make the toilet area comfortable. I would suggest at least 36".

The utility room could be broken into two spaces, the front space for the washer/dryer. The rear space for the utility room. I threw in some rough equipment to represent a boiler, water tank, and an electrical cabinet.

You can make the bathroom wider if the utility/laundry can give up the space.

This is a rough idea. If it interests you we could tweak on it.
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Old 03-07-2012, 09:42 AM   #23
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How big should a mechanical/utility room be?


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Originally Posted by reveriereptile View Post
Thanks for the input. I didn't know that they don't claim a room a bedroom without a closet. I'll definitely think about it. I might try making some adjustments to the plan later and see what I can do to make it more useful. I'll look online at some bathroom floor plans to see how I can change the bathroom around.
Be careful here. In some locations, bedrooms are required by code to have a closet.
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Old 03-07-2012, 01:42 PM   #24
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How big should a mechanical/utility room be?


I'm glad everyone is helping me out. It is stressful trying to plan something especially when my husband is just now starting to give me some ideas of what he wants.

Thanks Yogi for the picture. I do like the look of having the washer and dryer there with it separated from the utility room. Utility rooms make me think of those nasty camel crickets even though I don't know if we have any in NY or not. I use to live in IL and hated those things.

I may look around tonight for places near by that install radiant floor heating and talk with them about it tomorrow. I do know for sure that if we didn't go with radiant heating that we would probably go with hydronic baseboard heaters. I don't like forced air heaters due to allergy problems. So I know I need enough room for either one of those heating systems. I'll talk with the company and find out what they say and how big of an area I might need.

I did get thinking of another question. Do I need to have the utility room heated or will the heat in the rest of the house keep it decent? I don't want to pay extra to have tubes laid down if it doesn't need it. I know the tubes will being under some of it when they are coming in to hook up to the system.

My husband is thinking of having stained concrete floors since he loves the look of them. With a radiant heating system running under them without a flooring on top would that reduce our heating cost since it won't be heating through a layer of flooring?

I did go to Lowes last night to see if they had any good books for basic building and they didn't have anything other than plumbing, electrical, concrete, and house plans. I did see one book that was for cost estimating but didn't really want to pay a large amount of money for it. I just looked to see what books my SIL had and she has the Black&Decker plumbing, house plans (one has prow fronts in it), house decorating guides, a guide to home energy savings, and Building Your Own Home for Dummies. I might look through them to see what ideas I get from them.
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Old 03-07-2012, 04:16 PM   #25
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How big should a mechanical/utility room be?


You will get plenty of heat from the pipes coming/going in the utility room.

The utility room can be just as clean as the rest of the house

Stained Concrete would be nice. Is building on slab common in your area? I know here in SW PA it is not.

Another issue is a linen closet for that bathroom. With the layout suggested it would be hard to make one in the room itself. You could try and incorporate it into the laundry room, or as in this incredibly crude picture, you could add it to the end of the closet space in the bedrooms.

Remember everything needs a space. Especially with kids in the future.

My wife and I are finishing up our own build. Best thing you can do is start drawing and showing him what you have, that will give him something to comment on and offer changes.
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Old 03-07-2012, 07:29 PM   #26
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How big should a mechanical/utility room be?


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You will get plenty of heat from the pipes coming/going in the utility room.

The utility room can be just as clean as the rest of the house

Stained Concrete would be nice. Is building on slab common in your area? I know here in SW PA it is not.

Another issue is a linen closet for that bathroom. With the layout suggested it would be hard to make one in the room itself. You could try and incorporate it into the laundry room, or as in this incredibly crude picture, you could add it to the end of the closet space in the bedrooms.
I really like the idea of your closet space at the end of the bedroom closets. That would give me more storage.

I was starting to think of using the under the stair area as a closet and shelving for the bedroom next to the stairs. If I went in 2' under the stairs on the side with the bedroom then I could go in 1' on the living room side and have shelving.

If I do your idea from the image I could use the area under the stairs for a broom closet. At the low end of the stairs I could make built in shelving for the bedroom. That might work good to help storage away toys.

I have been toying with the foyer entrance of the house some more so I might try to work your closet into the plan while I'm at it.

There are some houses around with slabs. They are mostly newer houses since not to many people around have money. Most of the houses are older with basements. We have a swamp area and a river around. We live on the outer edge of a village. All the houses that we know of in the village that have basements have flooding problems. The building spot I know holds water in the lower areas. We are building on the higher spot. My husband said he doesn't want a basement due to the high risk of flooding.

We are going to do a slab but have the sides past the slab raised around 2'. I think my SIL used cinder blocks to raise her walls but I'm not positive. My husband's aunt and friend has a house on a slab also. They don't have any problem with the rain or snow coming in. My SIL's area is more wet too.
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Old 03-12-2012, 04:34 PM   #27
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How big should a mechanical/utility room be?


I never did get a chance to call about the radiant heating yet.

My husband has been debating on how he wanted the end of the house to look since it looked to plain for the entrance. He has so far decided he wants a porch with an above porch that has sliding glass doors to walk out on that is covered. I'll have to find the picture and upload it that he got the idea from.

We have been debating whether to have one of the downstairs rooms as a bedroom with a closet and the other without a closet since it will be mostly a office/gym room. If we needed the house bigger then we would add an addition onto the side.
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Old 03-13-2012, 10:51 AM   #28
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How big should a mechanical/utility room be?


You can save a lot of space by using pocket doors. All of my interior doors are pocket units.
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Old 03-13-2012, 01:06 PM   #29
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You can save a lot of space by using pocket doors. All of my interior doors are pocket units.
I have glanced at pocket doors but wasn't sure how hard they would be to install.
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Old 03-13-2012, 06:44 PM   #30
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I have glanced at pocket doors but wasn't sure how hard they would be to install.
They're easy to install. The rough opening is essentially 2x as wide as the actually door opening will be. The unit comes with the pocket and you place in the rough opening. The sheetrock then covers the pocket area. Just ensure you leave enough wall adjacent the door to accommodate the pocket assembly.

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