All Houses Are Not Created Equal When Re-working Floor Plans!



A former bedroom and bath were combined to create new master bath.

A former bedroom and bath were combined to create a lovely new master bath.


I’ve had two clients in the last couple of months who bought houses in the depressed local housing market and rented them out with the future intention to remodel them and move in. Both of these houses are older homes situated on particularly nice sites with fine views of coastal waters.

Both houses were built as modest family homes. One was built in 1959 and the other in the 1970’s. Each house is a product of its time and neither of them had been updated.

Each client was very attracted to the view and felt that their house had hidden potential but were uncertain of what could be done. They contacted me to show them what might be possible.

What surprised me in working with these two houses back to back was how similar the design exercise was but how each house was very different when it came to the ease of developing a new floor plan for the client’s lifestyle, budget and general housing needs.

The first house had a similar floor plan to the owner’s present house so they knew that it would work for them yet the rooms were just too small for them—but all the rooms were in the right place—and that was the key . The solution was to add a small addition on the entire length of the house on the waterside. The rooms could then expand to the size that would work for them. This necessitated a new roof but allowed then to create a cathedral ceiling in the major living areas which is something that they desired.

The second house was not so well arranged but it did have a large deck going for it over the car port that could be expanded upon. This couple wants to remodel the house for their retirement years and so they wanted all their living space to be on the upper view level which became another complication. This required adding additions in two separate locations which is of course would be more expensive. Also, the existing relationship of the rooms were not such that they lent themselves as easily to the redesign, all which would require more extensive internal rearranging of the rooms.

The new floor plan in this house was like a puzzle that needed to be fit together.

The new floor plan in this house was like a puzzle that needed to be very carefully fit together.

These reworked plans were developed first to see how adaptable the house would be to the owner’s requirements as well a tool to talk to contractors about potential costs.

The following is a list of questions that you may want to consider when purchasing a property or when contemplating a remodel in which you need to reconfigure your space to satisfy your living needs. Getting it all to work out can be a difficult task so taking the time and effort upfront will save you in the end.

  • Are the existing rooms generally located where you want them to be?
  • Can the stairs remain where they are located?
  • Can the fireplace stay where it is?
  • Is the master bedroom located where you can enjoy a view?
  • If you want to make a master bath suite for today’s lifestyle, do you have a bath and another bedroom that you can combine? This generally will give you enough square footage for it to work.
  • Is there enough space for a contemporary style walk in closet?
  • Is the kitchen in the right location? Is it the size adequate?  Is there additional space that can be added to the kitchen to accommodate an island with seats? Is there additional space to add a pantry and storage?
  • Is there a convenient location for a guest bath?
  • Can a new laundry area be added on the main living floor, if desired?
  • Is there space for contemporary decks in the right location?
  • Do the kitchen/dining/living areas flow together? Could these rooms have higher ceilings/cathedral ceilings with ease?


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