Floorplan Design Considerations

Old 12-08-05, 12:22 PM
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Floorplan Design Considerations

I've been tinkering with the idea of building a house soon. I am remodeling my current house rather extensively (modifications to HVAC, plumbing, electrical, some structural, moving walls, repoured a section of slab, yada yada etc.). I'll be finished in a few months, and I know I will get bored looking for another project. I don't want to do another remodeling project this big. It's so much easier to build from scratch.

My initial question is fairly specific: Say I have the principle house structure being approx 50'x30' with a hip roof about 7-12 pitch. What are the (general) interior load bearing requirements? I know there's an infinite number of ways to construct the trusses/framing. I can build it without any interior supports if I really wanted to and had the money (anything can be done with time and money...). But say there is no vaulting in the ceiling and I want to construct it with the least amount of cost (i.e. simple), where do I need to plan to put load bearing walls and/or beams and columns? Does a principle load bearing wall have to cut directly down the centerline of the roof structure, or can it be offset?

I'm just playing with room layouts on graph paper right now. I just don't want the need for a structural wall in a certain location to throw off my entire design.

Ideally I would like to design the entire house myself. Any recommendation for software that can produce buildable blueprints? Most packages I've seen are more for people more concerned with visualizing the house in 3D with the correct wallpaper pattern than precise elevations and schedules.

Part of my inspiration is a friend's house in Louisiana. It was one of the nicest, luxurious, modern houses I've seen. My friend told me the entire house was designed for cost considerations, everything from the open plan (kitchen, eating, and livings areas are one big room), to drywalling window casings instead of mouldings, and acid stained slab throughout instead of floor coverings.

Before anyone mentions it, there are no building permits or inspections required in my county. And hiring an architect is NOT an option. I simply will not pay for something I believe I can learn and do myself. I just need some guidance along the way.
Old 12-08-05, 01:23 PM
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depending on what type of construction you choose will determine the exact loads on the interior walls. We normally design our trusses as two point bearing which means we only normally bear on the outside walls. If you stick frame the roof you can still bear on just the outside walls but you would need to collar tie all rafters together. You also depending on construction can simply piost down point loads from the ridge through to the foundation. I would concern myself with the floorplans and elevations prior to getting into exact load issues.

When I develop a set of plans I am function over form which means I start with livability and practicality first then as I get into the elevations I slowly alter and metamorhisize my drawings to conform to my thoughts. I then draw from the roof down to figure out my bearing loads and point loads. It always wortk out so just have fun and design away.

I hope this helps.

Brian Garrison
Old 12-08-05, 01:52 PM
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Great advice! I'm trying to think outside the box. I am not fond of traditional floorplans... they are just too boring and contain elements that are not necessary.

I can only eat at one table at a time, so there is no need for seperate breakfast and dining areas.

I will not have a family in the near future, so I do not need more than one living area. I still don't know why houses had formal parlors. I was never allowed to go into ours as a kid. What point is a room you never use?

The front porch is there just to shelter the door and keep rain off people waiting at the door. It doesn't need to be 50' wide.

Why put walls around dining and living rooms and kitchens? When I have company we all congregate in the kitchen, so why close it off?

When I have company over in the wintertime, their coat never goes into the foyer coat closet. It goes on a guest bed or sofa. Why do I have to put a coat closet by the front door?

I'm just thinking function first and then design. My rough design is actually fairly traditional on the exterior, but I'm going for modern semi-loft-style on the interior.

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