Looking for layout/redesign ideas

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Topic by Puff posted 11-18-2012 12:34 AM 19763 views 0 times favorited 22 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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11 posts in 1715 days

11-18-2012 12:34 AM

Hi folks,

I own a large house that sometime back in the 70s was subdivided into four somewhat oddly proportioned apartments. (see floorplan URL, below). I’m trying to come up with a plan that significantly improves the layout without spending a boatload of money.

Two of the apartments desperately need remodeling (units 1 and 4) and in general the proportions and layout are just kind of odd. Most of the rooms are 15×15, which is large for a bedroom or kitchen and small for a living room. There are almost no closets. The bathrooms are at opposite ends of the apartment from the bedrooms.


I don’t plan to live here for the rest of my life, so I want to keep the setup as separate apartments, or at least as easily revertible to separate apartments. I’m considering merging unit 1 and unit 4, since they currently share a stairwell landing and unit 1 is pretty small, and a lot of the paperwork gets a lot easier if you have less than 4 units in a property.

-- "Always cut *towards* a major artery... that way you'll be careful."

View Puff's profile


11 posts in 1715 days

11-18-2012 12:35 AM

I already started a bit of work on the downstairs, taking out the wall between the bed/living room and the kitchen. That’s why you see a “wall used to be here” label :-).

-- "Always cut *towards* a major artery... that way you'll be careful."

View Melvin Powell's profile

Melvin Powell

6 posts in 1176 days

04-06-2013 09:50 AM

Thanks for the post. but, the image url you have shared here, is not working…

-- Melvin, San Diego, http://www.xpress-restoration.com

View Puff's profile


11 posts in 1715 days

04-06-2013 05:41 PM

Oops, I recently decluttered my woodworking directory and moved that file to a separate subdirectory:


You can also see this alternate version, which has the apartment borders marked in bold lines.


At this very moment we’re building a wall across the middle of the garage, to create a clean/controlled
workshop space. This included knocking a bunch of old plaster off one of the walls, then chiseling/grinding
the rest of it away, creating a truly epic dust cloud (and fouling a bunch of other stuff in the garage,
because the chiselers didn’t wait for the plastic barrier to go up. You just can’t get good help these
days, but I guess that’s what happens when you pay people in shots of whiskey :-).

-- "Always cut *towards* a major artery... that way you'll be careful."

View Puff's profile


11 posts in 1715 days

04-06-2013 05:42 PM

Not a lot else has developed since then. I’ve been busy/distracted, and I’m still looking for a brilliant solution to some of the problems with this layout. So far, all I can figure is either very superficial changes, or drastically overhauling by knocking large amounts of wall out, relocating multiple bathrooms and kitchens, etc.

-- "Always cut *towards* a major artery... that way you'll be careful."

View loybrian's profile


2 posts in 1552 days

05-16-2013 10:54 AM

You have a quite nice kitchen space just need to utilize it effectively. I would recommend you to get a 3-D kitchen design, you can get it here for free. After you have done with the layout of your home you can start working on each section.

View jonnblaze's profile


1 post in 1073 days

06-22-2013 11:04 AM

Thanks for the post. add url again with updated pics

-- gHost rIdEr

View Puff's profile


11 posts in 1715 days

06-22-2013 06:44 PM

Not much worth updating, yet. Things got a bit complicated with the wiring permits in the garage, we can’t cover up the wall until we get the wiring done.

On the interior, still a lot up in the air. However, the local construction reuse place – http://www.constructionjunction.com – awesome place – had an antique oak staircase:


So I bought it, it’s in the garage waiting to be installed. It’s going to replace the staircase in the section labelled “Unit 1” in the diagram. The existing staircase starts on the ground floor at the back and goes up towards the front. The oak staircase will start on the ground floor near the front and go up towards the back. It’ll be something of a show-piece.

Other plans for “Unit 1” include:

a) hardwood flooring
b) exposing the brick wall between the two chimneys
c) kitchen island projecting out from the rear chimney in Unit 1.
d) new light fixtures
e) new doors

And two possibly-maybe-but-not-sure-yet options:

f) re-opening a door between the back-left corner of Unit 1 and the garage
g) replace the back window of Unit 1 with French Doors

The door to the garage used to be there but was walled up and a kitchen sink put in the alcove between the chimney and the corner. The sink and counter need to be replaced anyway, so I’m seriously leaning towards reopening that door, but haven’t made a final decision yet.

The french doors are something I’d love, but there’s a basement door under that window, that’s the only access for that basement (the house has two basements, divided by the breezeway) so I’d have to figure out some rube goldberg scheme for having a little porch that still provides access to the basement.

Also, if anybody has advice or recommendations on doors, I’d love to hear them. So far the only options seem to be a) big box store doors for $250-$350, depending or b) specialty door manufacturers for $1000.

-- "Always cut *towards* a major artery... that way you'll be careful."

View nadzdan's profile


9 posts in 817 days

03-05-2014 03:17 PM

Also consider the use of standard door for every room that correspond to your house motif design, head on to http://caldwells.com/exterior-doors from there, several idea that you possibly can get and apply on your woodworking needs.

View joecot's profile


41 posts in 791 days

03-31-2014 07:58 PM

Just wondering—how did that antique staircase work out? Did it fit? Any special problems installing it? How in the world did you move it? And if you don’t mind saying, how much did an antique oak staircase cost?

-- Joe Cottonwood -- 99 Jobs: Blood, Sweat, and Houses

View Puff's profile


11 posts in 1715 days

03-31-2014 08:42 PM

The staircase was put on hold because I removed the plaster ceiling in the garage and discovered that there used to be a load-bearing wall in the middle of it. I put about $1500 worth of LVL and another $500 worth of brackets, bolts and such into reinforcing the structure, and now the room above it has a nice, solid floor. Hopefully I’ll be able to get back to the staircase soon.

I’m still not really overjoyed with the layouts I’ve come up with, but I’m starting to conclude that there is really no great answer.

-- "Always cut *towards* a major artery... that way you'll be careful."

View Puff's profile


11 posts in 1715 days

03-31-2014 08:49 PM

If you check out the photos you can see that the staircase disassembles. We rented a 10’ truck, which was almost not big enough – the longest piece was 11’ long, we had to put it at an angle to make it fit.

The heaviest piece is the part composed of stringers, risers and treads, but my brother and I were able to lift that where necessary.

Also, in my life I have found that furniture dollies are a wonderful thing. As are ratchet straps. (Not to forget duct tapes, polytarps, contractor bags and bungee cords, but those didn’t come into play here).

The staircase cost about $2K. Bought it at a local construction reuse place, constructionjunction.org. There are places like this all over, you might have one in your town!

-- "Always cut *towards* a major artery... that way you'll be careful."

View joecot's profile


41 posts in 791 days

03-31-2014 11:54 PM

Makes my back hurt, just thinking about moving that thing. But so many projects make it hurt, just thinking. Probably why God gave us teenagers—to do this stuff for us.

-- Joe Cottonwood -- 99 Jobs: Blood, Sweat, and Houses

View eddisongray's profile


4 posts in 206 days

11-06-2015 10:26 AM

Try get ideas from here – www.javateakoutdoorfurniture.com/specials/ this is one of the resources.

-- -- check out our products @ http://www.javateakoutdoorfurniture.com/products/

View captainrandy's profile


1 post in 198 days

11-14-2015 09:27 PM

I think the layout of your kitchen space is pretty good. You just need to use it effectively. Today, many online rta kitchen cabinets companies offer free kitchen design and they will return you a design with 3-D rendering. If you can buy ready to assemble cabinets instead of pre made ones, you can save a lot money.

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