Our House 4: Architect Help

Our House 4: Architect Help

After pondering these 4 options, we didn’t end up thinking any one of them would be the best use of space. So we turned to an architect to help us with the plans. The architect we chose was a local firm, IOTA, and specialized in local market, infill redesign, and offered a 4-hr package or 8-hr package. We started with the 4 hour package and made good use of the time. They came up with 3 options for us to look at. The main thing they did is to push out the addition to include the space over the sun room. This gave us lots of room to work with.

Hiring an architect by the hour is a little-known way to get the help you need. Most of the time, architects charge a 10-15% of total construction costs, and give you everything down to the finishes, trim, paint colors, window detail, etc. But in our case, since we were planning on doing the finishes ourselves, we decided to only consult with the architect for layout and space planning, not finish details. So our 4-hour package ended up saving us a ton of money over the 10% standard fare.


I really loved the bathroom in this plan. It had separate rooms for the toilet, as well as the tub. It featured a sitting room for the master and a library area where we could have built-in bookshelves. Also I would have insisted on having a “secret door” to access the attic space. But we didn’t go for this plan because of one factor: cost. The cost of having plumbing that far over from the main plumbing on the first floor would have added quite a bit of cost to the plan. We were trying to keep costs reasonable and didn’t want to spend an additional estimated $5k to do this plan.


The main difference in this plan is that the sitting room was open to the stairway, with french doors to enter the master bedroom. It was more romantic than the first plan, but it still had the issue of cost with the plumbing running across the house. Also, the stairway had a half wall but there would be this pipe extending up from the half wall due to the kitchen sink below. Let’s nix this one as well.


This plan put the master bedroom over the sunroom, which gave us a fantastic view. The bath, however, lost the separate “WC” room. But in this layout, we did gain another bedroom, which would bring our house up to a total of 5 bedrooms. Cool! With this plan the master was 11×14, and the other bedroom was 12×12, while the nursery / study was 9×12. This was very close.


We asked them to switch the nursery-hall combo with the other bedroom, and came up with plan 4. This plan seemed to be the best layout. We had a nursery / study room close to the master bedroom. The hallway overlooked the stairway, which was cool. The bathroom ended up a little smaller than we liked, but that’s ok.  The closet was a good size but had that funny box hiding the vent pipe.

With all that going on, I decided to make my own changes. Since I have Autocad, I pulled up the plans and made my own changes. I proceeded to take out the wall in the nursery thinking that someone else could add it back in, if they really wanted it. I also moved the closet opening to the middle of the closet wall, and the master bedroom door up a little I also changed the bathroom so that the washer and dryer had all that space, incorporating the linen closet area directly into the washer and dryer area. Then I carved out a little from the 2nd bedroom closet for a linen closet for the bathroom. And ….


We arrived at this plan after the above changes and it seemed to work.  I’ll recap briefly. The Master Bedroom extends all the way out over the sunroom. The walk-in closet is right next to the master bedroom, but the entrance is outside the bedroom, in the hallway. The bathroom doesn’t have a separate room for the toilet, but does have room for the washer and dryer. The sitting room is now a media room, and is open to the half wall of the stairwell. Movies will look good projected on the full wall on the other side of the stairs. The bedroom will have access to the mechanical room.


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