Yesterday afternoon we met with the builders to discuss updates to the floor plans. Larry had drawn up some plans with the kitchen and bathrooms filled in, and had flipped the upstairs layout so the kids' bedrooms face the front. This lets the windows on the front be symmetrical. Otherwise we'd have a large master bedroom window on one side and a tiny (or nonexistent) bathroom window on the other. The front view would be lopsided. He also enlarged the kitchen/dining area by shrinking the mudroom a bit. He drew in a huge kitchen island. Even though these are still early plans, it's great to see the house taking shape. It's becoming easier and easier for me to visualize the house.
Blake built several 3D models of the house in SketchUp, including some that incorporated a specific roofline we had told him we liked. Then we picked the simplest one that didn't have that element. We're the best clients ever! He even imported the model into Google Earth and placed it on our lot. Sweet!
Right now Sarah and I are looking at the layout of the living room, especially as it relates to the stairs. My concern is that people will have to walk through the living room and in front of people (thereby briefly interrupting the view of the TV!!!) to go upstairs. So we talked about having the stairs form a U shape so that people could approach along the western wall of the room, without having to go in front of any seating. But that ends up shrinking the effective size of the living room because that wall space now has to be kept clear. It effectively becomes hallway. Discussing this at home with Sarah, she came up with a better idea. We'll leave the stairs in the L shape, and place a couch about 5 feet from the western wall (the couch would face east). Based on the size of our current living room, this would still provide plenty of space and, because of the open layout, actually allow an additional couch in the living room (against the south wall). The media center would be on the east wall. A chair or two near the middle of the great room could complete the living area.
So what about this giant, five-foot-wide space in the western part of the living room? This area would be reserved for a children's play area. Until the kids come along, we could put a table or something there (we already have a sofa/console table that would work great there - it holds our CD player right now). Then later we could convert it: maybe a low, kid-friendly table or toy boxes or kids' desks.