A HOTR Reader’s Revised Floor Plans To A 17,000 Square Foot Mansion | Homes of the Rich – The #1 Real Estate Blog


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  • Xavier

    Forgive me, but if you have money to buy/build a large estate, then you most definitely have money to own cars right? Where is the garage?

    • Xavier

      Nevermind, I just saw the part about the garage being detached. Sorry, It just sorta caught me off-guard while looking at the floorplan.

  • Teddi

    Can someone help me out with the name of a good and (extremely) user friendly floor plan software. Other than 1 semester of technical drawing, I have no experience and have resorted to freehanding some ideas I’d like to get down.

    Eric, when it comes to the pool smell and dampness/mold issues, this pool has a couple of good ways dealing with both problems: http://www.mcphersonmansion.us/McPherson_Mansion_US/Pool.html
    But you’d have to have a room for the equipment somewhere nearby.

    • Eric

      My idea was initially to have a “sub basement” below the one I put up for all sorts of various machinery, pumps and other equipment.

      The pool you linked, and much of the house as well, is quite lovely, that si really a wonderful way of having an indoor pool, although that would have it above ground.

      Redesigning this place was a huge headache, I am someone that loves symmetry, but a totally symmetrical house makes certain things a HUGE Bother. The double stair case was one of the largest annoyances, I have no idea why some people seem so fixed on having these double ‘horseshoe’ staircases. I don’t know how much you can tell but I basically ‘Split’ it, with one going down, and one going up, to try and make it less horrible.

      • Teddi

        Actually, I don’t really like the pool I showed you. Or maybe I would like it if it were located in a South Beach estate or in Vegas and not this estate that is pretty classic in every way until you get to the pool room. I really hate that room because I think it’s lunacy to spend $1M on a pool/pool room in a $4M estate. It’s a pool with at most 10% return on investment, I can’t get past that.

        But I mean in terms of the dehumidifier they use and the deionized water instead of chlorinated water, to prevent mold growth and have a pool with no typical chemical smell.

        I personally hate double staircases. I’m not really sure why they seem like a must have for all estate homes. I’ve never seen one I like, but I almost feel forced to have it because it’s expected. I feel like those people who don’t like SS appliances or granite countertops. It’s expected so suck it up.

        I’d suggest for a place this size for there to be a larger walk in pantry and to have a butler’s pantry. I’m assuming the office downstairs is where the house manager or butler does their work? If it’s for the owner, then they will need an office as well.

        I’d also put the music room closer to the ballroom, as flow between those two rooms would make sense; and some other room (perhaps the private study) to act as a buffer between the ballroom and the owner’s suite.

        But that’s a personal preference. For me, I like the master’s suite to be more removed and less accessible from any large gathering place and/or high traffic area.

        What software did you use. I’m looking for a user friendly, easy-to-use program. I’d like to stop trying to do my plans by hand, or via The Sims.

  • Grrrowler

    Good work Eric! I like a lot of what you’ve done. I do have a few suggestions. First, please get rid of the double staircase! The staircases were too close together in the original design and getting rid of one and moving the other to one side so that it sweeps up and over the entrance to the ball room would make the whole space more open and dramatic. It will also get you more usable floor space on all three floors; the space between the stairs and the foyer walls is wasted and pointless. And, it was rare for older estates to have double staircases like this.

    Is the Ball Room intended to be a formal living room? If so, I wouldn’t want there to be a door from the MBR into it. The owner can make a much more grand entrance to a party from the foyer. OK, even if it’s not to be used as a formal living room I wouldn’t want a door directly from the MBR into it. If that space is not a formal living area, what room are you intending for that purpose? How do the Library and Family Study differ in purpose?

    In the MBR, I’d swap the shower with one of the WCs, and then put a pocket door from it directly into the bedroom. I don’t understand why it’s considered OK for wealthy people to have to traverse a series of rooms and/or doors to have a wee during the night, but owners will thank you for not making them do that.

    I think it’s not great having the dining room so far from the kitchen without a butler’s pantry connecting the two. If you moved the back staircase to the left and swapped the dining room and music room, a butler’s pantry would fit perfectly. Plus, seeing the music room when first entering the house wouldn’t be a bad thing.

    The playroom on the first floor is a great idea when mom and/or dad are in the informal areas of the house, but when there’s formal entertaining going on, the kids will most likely be in the basement rec room. It’s great that the back stairs go directly from the rec room into the family room and kitchen, but doors blocking off that area from the gallery and more formal rooms would be a good addition.

    Bravo for making staff rooms that human beings can actually fit into, but I think it would work better to have a dedicated service wing. You’ll have staff, owners, and family all using the hallway that leads to the staff bedrooms and rec room, and anyone heading to the lower rooms will possibly encounter laundry being carted in and out. If you swap the guest room and office on that level with the two staff rooms, there could be a wall put up that creates a hallway in part of the foyer, which would also create the enclosed service areas. Since the staircase is being redone (in my imagination that is), the foyer will be plenty large to accommodate that layout. If you did that, I’d also suggest turning the office, of which there are already several in the house, into a wine storage/tasting room. That would allow you to remove the wine closet from the rec room and move the entrance doors closer to the foyer.

    In the basement I do like your idea of having the pool area completely closed off from the rest of the floor. It may already be done in some other houses, but I know it’s not done in some and a floor in a house smelling of pool chemicals is a bad thing.

    On the second floor, I think it’s great that every bedroom has its own en suite (as bedroom should in this size house). I would add a dumb waiter from the kitchen up to the 2nd floor living room.

    Of course, these are all my opinions and YMMV. Still, good job with the plans! Now, what can you do about the exterior of the house…?

  • Toto

    This is a foreclosure that sold last year for $1.25M after several years on the market in Fredericksburg, VA. Not sure who bought it in an action with lots of liens. Shall I understand that the current owner is changing completelly the interior of this house, or this is only an exercise in how the interior would look if changed done by a HOTR reader?

    • Teddi

      This is just a what if situation…a possibility of what the inside might look like if we (in this case Eric), were let loose on it. The exterior of the house is being used as a guide, the interior is a complete blank canvas.

  • Teddi

    LOL. Great minds, Grrrowler. I think we had some of the same ideas and one I forgot to mention. I too prefer to have a separate staff wing as well as a separate guest wing.

    I think once those kinds of wings are in place, then each area can have it’s own kitchenette/morning bar. Guests can grab juice or water or even a glass of wine in the middle of the night without having to go all the way downstairs to the kitchen if they’re thirsty or have the midnight munchies. That also allows you to have the main floor on complete security lockdown.

    If you have the money or space, I’d also consider having a mini-laundry area in those wings. I find it helps if guests have small children, medical conditions or if there are female guests (we’ve all been there). Being able to have access to a private laundry area nearby to quickly wash out spit ups or accidents without needing to notify anyone in the house to an issue is a luxury option few people realize.

    I saw plans to a semi-modern mansion once that had the great idea of having service corridors separate from the main corridors. No guests/visitors sees anyone carrying laundry or cleaning supplies. And before anyone jumps on me for that, I don’t feel it’s elitist. I find it practical. In the same way there are formal staircases and informal ones. If the lady of the house still has curlers in her hair or has a face mask not ready to come off, she can still get to other areas of the house without the risk of being seen by arriving guests.

    I’d move the playroom to where the mudroom is to keep that area more formal. Since I think a living room right off the kitchen is more informal…closer to a family room, having a children’s play area off an informal adult area without, is something I would prefer. They are there…but out of the way when the formal dining room is in use. Moving that room also means you get a space to put the butler’s pantry/food staging area.

    Last point: since the study is so big, I’d make the master closet larger and reduce the size of the library. Or keep the library the same size (though move it a bit) and decrease the size of the study since the main office work would be done in the downstairs office anyway. Either way, the master closet gets larger.

    That’s my 2 cents. I already know any estate by Eric will have additional pool/guest/security/staff houses and store rooms. So the wings suggestions might be mute. LMAO. Don’t forget Mak’s koi pond!

    • Grrrowler

      “I saw plans to a semi-modern mansion once that had the great idea of having service corridors separate from the main corridors.” This is a very common practice on large yachts. If it can be done on yachts with truly limited space, it can, and should, be done in a house. It is definitely an issue of practicality: the staff/crew can go about their jobs without having to worry about interrupting the family/owners/guests, and the family/owners/guests don’t have to worry about being disturbed by the staff/crew.

      The yacht “Tits” (Yes, that’s really the name, with tenders named “Nipple 1″ and Nipple 2”.) has a master stateroom with sliding panels that close off the center of the bedroom from the perimeter. The owners can be in the completely private bedroom and bathroom while the staff have access to the rest of the suite to bring in freshly pressed clothes, etc. When the owners are done with the central area of the room, the roles switch and the staff can straighten up the bedroom in private while the owners then have access to the sitting area, bathroom, study, and entrance to the suite. In “normal” mode the bedroom looks like a standard bedroom suite. The same thing can be done by simply making different rooms separated by doors, but this is completely different and allows the bedroom to be either a cocoon or wide open with large windows on both sides depending on the level of privacy the owners want. It’s a very practical, and surprisingly efficient, setup, albeit a very expensive one.

      • Teddi

        OMG, you’re ABSOLUTELY right. I don’t know why I didn’t remember the yachts. That’s exactly what they do. You never see the crew unless they are supposed to be seen.

        The thing that struck me about all those real yachts was that the staff had their own stairs, their own access doors to rooms, their own corridors. They work in almost complete invisibility. Guests don’t even know those stairs and corridors are there.

        I think you’ve made the best point of the day. If you can do that on a boat where space is much more limited and restricted, why can’t you do that in a mansion?

        It’s one of those features that I do not understand why they did away with it in the first place (that and linen rooms). Smaller homes, yes. It’s too much of an added expense, and most middle class homes don’t have full time or live in help so it isn’t worth it. But when you’re building a $5, $10, $20 million mansion, with a minimum of 10,000 sf, why omit that? Obviously money isn’t much of an issue, and there’s ample space, it needs to make a come back (that and linen rooms).

        I saw a (shall we say) ‘lady of the house’ on one of those elite home staffing sites, complaining about how noisy her home is because she can hear the staff walking, talking, doing everything. She got no peace and quiet at home. She’d built a mansion with a completely (and I mean completely) open floorplan and didn’t understand that unless her staff were X-men mutants, she was going to see and hear them as they walked and went about their duties.

        I keep saying people build these mansions to be large and impressive and don’t think about functionality and possible drawbacks.

        Which is why I applaud Eric for putting in staff rooms that don’t look like prison cells. The rooms are large with en suites (no sharing), WIC and windows! LOL. I’ve heard of butlers and nannies turning down jobs because of the tiny/shabby/dingy rooms the employers expected them to live in. They’d rather take less pay but have great accommodations than more pay and have a room outfitted by a Shawshank Redemption prison guard.

  • Eric

    So much feed back so soon! I am touched guys really 😀

    I htink my over all problem was keeping too much of the orginal lay out… Really when I got this “Dare” from my friend, I should have just deleted all interior walls and started from scratch 😛

    As far as the stairs go, well I TRIED to split them up, but I am using a pretty old image program and didn’t really do a good job of showing it. Basically I tried to “Split” the stairs, one the ground floor, one half would go up, and the other half would go down to the basement instead of having the silly “double” stairs that the original plans had.

    As far as that door in the MB, well I was going to take it out after first putting it in. My thinking originally was that the MB was so far from the Kitchen and living rooms. If you wanted a snack in the middle of the night, it is a long walk over to the kitchen, so I put in a second exit. Of course the thought becomes moot because, well, if you are in such a huge house and want a late night snack, you don’t go out yourself, you ring a bell and have it brought to you 😛

    On some of the other comments… I’ll be honest, some of the rooms I had trouble finding a “use” for. The Library and Study for instance, there was a part of me that was thinking of just blowing open the wall and making one big Library for instance. I tried to justify it but listing it as a “Family Office/Study” room, and then to differentiate it more from the “Business” office in the basement. A big part of my problem was just being so CONFINED to the area I was working with. The whole kitchen/living room/dining room were the biggest headache, trying to come up with something a bit better than what I originally was given.

    In the Basement area, I agree that there should be even more of a separation between the servant’s area and the second living/recreation area. Again I tried to fix this by changing the direction of the stairs. Going down you are facing into the hallway that leads to the gym area, and then goes into the rec room. The hallway behind the rec room where the servant’s quarters are should ‘In theory’ not really need to be used by the house residents. That said more separation would be good.

    I have to say it is amusing that most of the comments echo the same thing in terms of space use and such. I don’t know if anyone saw the orginal floor plans when they were posted way back, but I have links in a Imgu gallery, though I don’t know if I am allowed to post them or such…

    All in all I wanted to try and do SOMETHING to make what was really just another McMansion into something a bit more ‘dignified’.

    • Grrrowler

      That makes a lot of sense. Considering you were working within the confines of the original layout, I’m sure it was a challenge! I’d love to see the original layout; the listing has been taken down so I couldn’t see them there.

      I completely missed the fact that one staircase went up and one went down from the entry foyer. I see it now when I look closer. I have to disagree with Teddi and say that I refuse to suck it up when it comes to the double-staircase design. I hate them with a fiery passion hotter than a thousand suns, and getting rid of just one, even if only on “paper”, feels like a victory. 😉

      • Teddi

        LMFAO!!! Okay. I detest them, but I guess I don’t loathe them with the same fiery passion that would put a thousand suns to shame, so I’m willing to put up with them if I have to. Or maybe my issue has less to do with hating them and more to do with not getting the point of them. A single staircase can be plenty grand without needing a twin. So they’re pointless and unattractive.

        Eric, my comments about the owner’s midnight snack predicament and your library/office/study issues are awaiting moderation. Probably because I did a youtube link to show you a possible solution. Fingers crossed.

    • Teddi

      Eric!! Show us the original. I HAVE to see. (Can you tell I’m a mansion floorplan slut?) Floor plans for regular homes, eh, they’re nice and all, but they’re all pretty much the same. Mansion floorplans, however, get my juices flowing. There’s so much to consider, and so many possibilities.

      And speaking of possibilities, when you can afford a mansion, you don’t walk all the way to the kitchen or even ring a bell in the middle of the night (even though I kinda like the idea of that – but only if it is NOT one of those modern bells, but the old fashioned pulls that you don’t hear in the room, but 5 seconds later, there is Jeeves with your hot cocoa).

      But no, the master suite should have a morning bar. A little microwave, a mini-fridge, a tea service etc
      Go to points 1:13 and 1:14 here:
      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6c5tytsGSNk

      I like this one because it’s one of the few morning bars I can find that has real and attractive cabinetry and it’s in its own separate room. So tired of seeing master bedrooms with the morning bar in plain sight beside the tv/fireplace. The last thing I want to do while I’m in bed is to look across and see dirty glasses/cups/plates.
      But even worse, are the ones put in some corner of the bathroom *shudder*. This is a morning bar in its own room with its own door, even its own window over the mini-sink. You can do everything right there except cook. Love that. And lock it all out of sight when you’re done with your cocoa 😉

      It’s always those little details that make me really happy.

      As for your library/office/study conundrum, this is one of my faves http://homesoftherich.net/wp-content/uploads/2010/09/l1f71e342-m8o.jpg

      Not only does it remind me of an old English library, but notice how it’s sectioned off.
      It’s a huge space, not unlike the space in your plan. There’s a sitting area by the fireplace, the huge desk is there so you can actually get work done. A billiards table, because…well…every drawing room-cum-library should have one. I imagine (for myself only) that there’s a passageway to the right of the billiard’s table leading to another office for the butler/house manager/assistant’s use, or if not, perhaps a reading nook or a conference room.

      Just a thought.

  • Eric

    Oy as far as changes, I don’t know if I will go back and make further changes to these floorplans, I have already gone back and forth over them for what seems like months 😛 I used an old “Adobe Photoshop” program for the editing, simply erasing or drawing in the walls and other places.

    Some of the ideas I have heard I LOVE! The concept of much smaller “Servants walkways” for them to get around a massive estate almost un-noticed is awesome. Also the idea of adding a mini kitchen to some of the rooms is also interesting. Adding a dumbwaiter to bring food up the the second floor is also a great idea. Along those lines there should a laundry shoot as well, so servants can dump clothes straight from the 2nd floor to the laundry in the basement.

    SO as far as making modifications by all means I offer the current jpgs up for others to play with 😀

    You know,,, Reading the responses from both you Teddi and Grrrowler makes me think of something…

    We REALLY should get together and have a Joint “Design an Ideal Mansion” program or something. We could all get together, out in our concepts and thoughts on what a Huge Mansion SHOULD be 😀 lol

    • Mak

      Re: the laundry shoot. Rather then that, there should be a laundry room on the second floor instead. Then you don’t have staff continually walking up the stairs with laundry. There’s no reason, with todays appliances, that you can’t have laundry rooms on each floor of the house to serve the needs of that area.

    • Teddi

      First, I think that would be pretty awesome. The Ideal Mansion by 3 stubborn people who don’t like the same things. I can see me putting in a double staircase and mentioning Candy & Candy anytime Grrrowler pisses me off 😛 ROFL

      Since it seems my post wasn’t permitted because of the attachments, I wanted to tell you that instead of worrying about the kitchen being far away from the Master, any master suite in a mansion should have a morning bar in any case, so that isn’t an issue.
      Go to youtube and type in Estate of Grace Roswell Ga. Then go to the 1:13-1:14 point. Ignore that master bedroom, just focus on the morning bar/kitchenette in it’s own room in the corner. Real cabinets, an actual window over the mini-sink. Everything but a range included. It’s the only master bedroom morning bar I’ve seen that’s well thought out, very convenient yet still hidden.
      There is usually some dinky little cabinet thing with a microwave stuck beside a TV. As if anyone wants to be in bed staring at dirty glasses. The worst is when they stick them in some corner of the bathroom. Ick, ick, ick.

      No, this one is not only FAR away from the bathroom but it’s off to the side in its own room with a door to lock it all away when you’re done. But your hot chocolate or your glass of wine is only a few feet away. Win-win.

      The thing I saw for a while in mansions was a laundry room on every floor, so no one carts laundry up and down stairs unless they want to. I loved that idea originally, but now I think it’s a waste. I think not a laundry room, but as I mentioned before, a tiny laundry area, like those closet things you see in studio apartments, with the small stackable machines. Something like that in each wing (guest wing and staff wing) so that it is readily accessible if they need it. But then, somewhere in the house, there should be a laundry suite where all the main laundry is done.
      And that’s why I don’t really feel the need to have a full laundry room on each floor. Once you have a big enough main one you won’t need to. You’ve seen the kinds I”m talking about, with 2 to 4 pairs of machines, an ironing area, a drying area, a steaming area. Some even have a little sewing machine place to do mending (though I don’t know who does that any more, torn things are simply sent to a tailor)

      For the issue with your study/library, look up the house at 10 Beverly Park in Cali (it was also featured on this site in 2010) and check out that library. It’s very large and it’s semi-sectioned off into different areas. The office, the sitting area, reading nook, and billiards area. I think because you have such large spaces dedicated to study and library, that you could perhaps do something like that. Make it one huge room but divided to be less daunting and more purposeful.

      And I think I can speak for all of us when I say, please please please show us the original floor plans. I’m dying to view them.

  • Ramon

    Is there a website or forum around with real estate floorplans and photos..? Where they do discuss ect about new developings ect.

  • Eric

    Oh derp! Here is a link to the folder with the original plans http://crossroadsinc.imgur.com/megamansion

    As far as designing a Joint mega mansion. Sure we all have slightly different tastes in terms of decoration, but the nice thing about just doing a floorplan is we can each envision it in our own personal design style 😉 lol

    Personal I think we could get a list together of all the aspects a true mega mansion SHOULD have… Doesn’t this place have a forum or something for just chatting or discussing topics ?

    • Teddi

      I wish. That would be an awesome idea. Really. Definitely need a forum to work it out.

      I have in my head a list of everything I’d want my dream mansion to have. Wouldn’t it be something if it were all put on paper. I’ve often wondered what the square footage of it would be.

      I think between the 3 of us we could come up with the ideal mansion.

      And I know as long as there’s a fab koi pond, Mak will be happy with our finished product. 😉

      • Eric

        Well, until we do get a HOTR BBS forum up and running, I am going ot book mark this posting 😉 I Like the idea of collaborating together on a join “Super Mansion” that we all can agree upon in terms of what it should and shouldn’t have 😀

        I think we should first get a list of various features together before worrying about how big or what size or shape we should put together.

        So far I love the ideas of ‘servants passages’ in certain places for workers to move around unseen (for the most part). Some other things I like so far “Morning Bar” in master suite and other big bed rooms * A ‘mini laundry’ area on each floor with a ‘Prime’ laundry facility in the basement connected by a chute (Small laundry area for small jobs, or perhaps something a resident wants to wash, Big room for doing the whole family or weekly laundry.) * Butlers pantry between main kitchen and Dinning room.

        As far as various “things” in my own personal mansion…
        Well you have to have a Huge basement level rec-room + Gym + Spa and pool.
        Naturally a large “Sunroom/Solarium” . A Large front porch for lounging upon.
        Oh, and one of my personal likes, a “Observation room / office on a higher level (I always loved those in old victorian houses)

        • Teddi

          Since I can’t seem to post anything more than 3 lines without HOTR spitting it out, I’ll just say this for now: at least we can agree whatever we come up with won’t be a mock-Med monstrosity or a mock-Med anything.

  • rob

    I am afraid we will have to remove the Koi pond. It just doesn’t fit with the rest of the house. I think you turned this from a crappy mcmansion to a kind of imperial nest. I like it.

    • Teddi

      LOL. Mak won’t like that at all. She needs her koi pond the way I need a massive walk in closet

  • Teddi

    it seems the glitch is back. I’m having trouble posting

  • Eric

    Kepe trying 😀 also see if Kenny has passed along my E-mail to you 🙂

    • Teddi

      Nope. I got nothing. Hopefully this msg will get posted so you’ll know. Fingers crossed.

      • Eric

        Does Kenny have your E-mail?
        Try sending him a message just in case, he may not know who to send my e-mail to 🙂

        • Teddi

          Will do

  • JWET

    Still an ugly McMansion. Seriously, you wasted actual time on this?

  • Matt

    I like it. The plan is cohesive, well thought out and made good use of all the space available.
    The only criticism I have is that the opening in the wall directly connecting the kitchen and ballroom should be changed to match the door to the owner’s suite. The reasoning is is that the opening in the wall ruins the symmetry experienced from the veranda to the ballroom and would likely come off as an awkward feature after construction.
    Overall though, this plan is a huge step up from the original.

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