Based on buyer feedback, I need to create an open floor plan on my first floor in order to sell my house. Currently, the kitchen, family room and living room are all shut off from each other, and the dining room is small and cramped given it is a house for a family. Key points:
- Built in 1936 and is in one of the historic districts in Charlotte, North Carolina. Was a one story house when I bought it. In 2004 I added an entire second story.
- Large house for a family (3,049 sq ft, 5 bedrooms).
- Feedback from buyers is they like the second floor, but feel the kitchen and dining rooms are small and closed off. They want an open floor plan.
- Family room is closed off from the rest of the house. It has a small bathroom that is unnecessary and can be eliminated. The closet in the family room has a waste drain for the second floor master that is boxed off in the closet.
- Dining room is too small for a family and closed off.
- I want to retain the two bedrooms on the left side of the house and the larger bathroom in the middle of the back wall.
- I would like to integrate the living room with the new floor plan, especially since it is a large space.
- I like the look and door symetry of the square hallway (that goes into the 2 bedrooms, bathroom and basement) and would like to retain that, if possible.
- Charlotte buyers want more modern design, basically an open floor plan, but the design needs to fluid enough to appeal to modern and traditional tastes.
- I need to open up walls and have an inviting design to attract buyers. Closing off 1-2 doors to provide wall space, as long as a good flow and openness remain, is ok.
If there is a plan that utilizes the existing kitchen layout, that is great. But if you think the best design moves the kitchen, I will consider it. I would rather start fresh with new cabinets and even moving the kitchen than going with a less optimal plan using what it there now. The same thing for the waste drain - obviously that is a bigger expense, but tell me where it should be moved. I have a cost-effective contractor who is ready to start as soon as I have a plan. I only get one shot at doing a great renovation in order to get this house sold.
There are a few challenges and issues to note, as follows:
1) There are a lot of very large trees, which makes the 1st floor darker. I just repainted the house to try to lighten it up and to satisfy my realtor.
2) The side door, right now, is often used as the main entrance. Wherever the main family entrance is (side door or back door), I'd like at least a small storage area to store coats, book bags and shoes.
3) As I said before, the smaller first floor bathroom in the family room can be eliminated. However, the window on the bathroom is smaller than the window right next to it in the room. The exterior of the house is brick, and it can?t be matched, as I know from the prior renovation. So, the plan needs to accommodate the windows - window sizes cannot be changed.
4) The dining room is very small and cramped. It only fits a table with 6 chairs and nothing else. While moving the wall back is a good idea, the challenge is there is a larger window in the kitchen right behind the dining room wall that has to be incorporated into the design. I have always thought this would be a good place for an eat-in area or window seat.
5) If the kitchen is moved and the cabinets are replaced, I would probably replace with white, Shaker-style cabinets, but am open to suggestions. I probably will buy through Costco, who provides good design services, but am open to other options like Ikea or other brands that offer good quality for the price.
6) In the family room and next to the small bathroom, there is a narrow closet that opens into the room, and a linen closet that opens into the hallway. In the closet is the waste drainpipe from the master bedroom on the second floor. If you recommend moving it, please specify where/how it should be moved. I have included the second floor layout to you have an idea of where the upstairs bathroom is.
7) I have thought about opening the wall between the kitchen and the family room to make a large opening but retain the linen closet, make the area with the second floor drain into a built-in pantry. On the other side, have the wall come out the same distance and use that space as a built-in desk and maybe coat/shoe/book bag storage so that the smaller window is used effectively.
8) Lighting will be replaced with canned lights, so please include the placement of lighting in the design.
9) I really appreciate the small touches that do not cost a lot to add but that contribute to the wow factor for buyers.
10) The house is empty and will not be staged, so I do not need a furniture plan.
I have provided a number of items that I hope will provide the information you need, including:
1) Pictures and description of the first floor.
2) Layout of the first and second floors, including measurements.
3) Site plan.
Evaluation criteria. I will compare:
1) The design itself. It needs to be very strong to overcome prior impressions because my house has been on the market for a while and a lot of people have looked at it.
2) The first floor design needs to match the functionality and appeal of the second floor layout.
3) The cost to do it vs. the end result.
4) The completeness of design (lighting, storage, etc.). I don't need furniture placement.
Let me know if you have any questions or want to run things by me prior to your submission. As I mentioned, my contractor is waiting to start and will as soon as I can give him a plan.