Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Bottom Floor Apartment Ideas

Some Ideas On What To Do With The Bottom Floor.

Oh man, have I mentioned recently how big a pain in the ass it is to do really, really accurate as-builts of a house? Not some boring square tract house but a crazy friggen Victorian with all sorts of weird features??? Walls are all sorts of weird thicknesses and everyone is a little bit different...no rhyme or reason to anything apparently....ugh.

To review, here is the existing basement floor plan.-Still not 100% right but its close.

Yep, we've got ~14" thick wall around most of the basement!

So, it turns out that we have a couple different sets of friends who are basically begging to live in our basement! Weird huh? They've got a couple small kids and would love to be in the Franklin school district this close to Franklin park. If I can get this apartment legalized we could help them out with hopefully a nice place to live and they could help us out with the mortgage, a win-win.

Here's my first try at reconfiguring the space to make what I think a family with two parents and a couple of kids would think would be an acceptable domicile.
I really wanted to figure out a way to make a 3-2 while using the existing locations for the bathrooms but just couldn't figure out how to get the far bath included...

Turning the 2 bedroom into a 3 bedroom with a good sized master bedroom.

One of the problems with the original layout is that the kitchen area is just too darn small. I think that it needs to be big enough to be eat in as there really is no where else to eat. To accomplish this I moved the two walls of the bedroom for the other apartment and moved the door and removed the stairs leading up to our unit.

The layout above works I think but the existing door to the one bathroom is just in a super awkward place in terms of the kitchen layout.

2nd Stab at a reasonable 3-1 with a workable eat-in kitchen
I moved the closet in the master bedroom to the other side and moved the door into the bathroom over. I think that this makes for a much more workable kitchen. One thing that I'm surprised about is just how much of the bottom floor this decent sized 3-1 takes up!
At this point I'm not even sure if its going to be possible to move the walls for the master bedroom...I've got to check and see what (if anything) they are supporting above.

Well, I think I've made a reasonable apartment what do y'all think?
One odd thing is that the kitchen and the bath is going to be windowless....not sure how  weird that's going to be...The plan does show a lot of lights in the kitchen but....also the family room and the one bedroom are kinda on the small side...

Egress Windows...dang this issue is going to be a tough one...all the windows from the bedroom need to be official egress which means they need a clear opening of at least 5.0 sq ft...and the minimum openings have to be 20"wide by 24" high...not a single window makes the height cut...the rule is supposed to be so a firefighter can get in through the window....but firefighters don't open windows the smash their axe's through the windows and yank em out so they have a nice BIG opening...to meet this egress rule I will probably have to switch out all the windows for casements that open fully...which won't look right for sure...

But, wait, there's more..on the interior the sill height can only be 44" from the finished floor...right now I'm at 45.5".....I'm going to have to lower the windows (which I don't know if possible cause there is going to be a bottom plate possibly in the way) or raise the floor or a little of both...


I've got someone coming over today from the city to take a look at my plans and weigh in...hopefully it will be good news...

After talking to some people I had this idea

I really, really, really, like this idea as I don't have to remove any walls!!

I will completely lose any storage space in the basement but the unit will now be a 3-2!!! With a Master Bedroom Suite!!!

One of the design considerations is that the laundry area and the utilities area need to be accessible from common space. I will need to gain access to the utility room where hopefully the 2 new house heaters and water heater for this unit will be kept. The laundry room is for both units so that needs to be not in private space.

From Breaktime Classic we have this idea.

And from Jessamyn we have this one.

Thanks so much everybody for the ideas.

Just got done meeting with the city's man and he didn't see any problem with my, 'take over the bottom floor' for a single apartment idea.

I'll have to work on refining the design and I'll need to bring in the plans for converting the two studio apartments into a single one bedroom at the same time...which, don't exist yet...

So, there is some hope!!!


Jim said...

I stared at your floor plans for a bit as I'm convinced you need a second bathroom for the apartment. But, it's hard to come up with anything good. The primary problem is that utility room; you probably need to have access to it without entering the apartment, and it is smack dab in the middle of everything. I suggest you keep the second bathroom and it be de-facto shared. Not the best for your renters, but if someone is in the main bathroom and a little kid has to go, they have to go. Also unfortunate the bathroom is off of the kitchen; much better if you could make that bathroom dedicated to the master bedroom.

If you have the ability to move the laundry room (say to just to the front of the utility room), I suggest putting the master bedroom near the front with the second bathroom and keeping your internal stairway to a storage and utility area located in the roughly where your planned master bedroom is. You could have two doors on the laundry room; one that enters your storage space and one that enters the apartment in the hallway.

As for egress, we just dealt with this in El Cerrito. Our windows were 2.5 sq in too small to meet egress as vertical sliders. So we had to do casement. I've been told that the requirement comes from a firefighter with an oxygen tank needing to fit through the smashed opening and assuming they are unable to pull out the framing.

Best of luck!

The MadScientist said...

Thanks for the well reasoned reply...
Unfortunately we have some constraints that I'm not sure we can work around...

The plumbing for both baths and both kitchens and the laundry room is set in the concrete slab...so I'm trying to figure out a way to use them in their existing spaces...

I am free to adjust the non load bearing walls but the main wall down the center can not be moved and a couple of the horizontal walls can not be moved either..

There's also a question of how big the unit can be before it triggers impossible to meet zoning rules...

But you've given me an idea hold on...

PerfessorEvil said...

Not to nit-pick or anything, but... it looks like the door is missing for the bedroom near the entry in the first 2 pictures.

Ragnar said...

You don't even need to keep the second bathroom a full - a half or water closet with tiny sink would help a lot.

I know that there are some areas in the US that won't accept bathrooms off the kitchen at all. Did you already check that?

I suppose the laundry/utility room don't have drains large enough for a second potty, do they?

Ah, the fun of trying to work with/around code...

Jessamyn said...

I don't know if this works in with your immovable walls, but I can't resist a challenge and came up with this plan:


Nothing fancy - thank you, White-Out!

This has a number of advantages. For one, this master bedroom is not huge, but I think that's a fair exchange for an en suite bathroom!

The kitchen is opened up to the living room for a nice big flowy space. The pantry/hallway gives some privacy to the bathroom and a wall to put appliances on, but if you needed to skip it for plumbing reasons you certainly could. (In that case, you could easily switch the bath door to the wall shared with the living room to create a longer kitchen wall.)

If you need more structural support in the kitchen where I "erased" the walls, you could always throw in a peninsula with an eating counter and a support post where the corner of the current bedroom is.

The former living room could be used to ease the dine-in pressure on the kitchen, or it could be an office or rumpus room, whatever the family needs most.

This makes a pretty nice apartment, I think, but if it's just taking too much of your storage space, there's another possibility. You could move the apartment entrance down to the end of the hall, and use the first bedroom as storage. Then you could extend the hallway wall, creating a slightly larger bedroom than the one you've taken over for storage, carving a closet out of the now-storage space. This would also require that you move the closet in the end bedroom so you could slide its entrance door up to what would now be the end of the hallway.

By doing this, the apartment loses the dining room/den, but the kitchen and living room are so much bigger it's probably still manageable to live in.

I hope this helps!

Jessamyn said...

Okay, I messed around in a basic paint program and here's the version with more storage for you, first bedroom moved down, and the kitchen wet wall staying as-is.