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Design Ideas for Large Family Homes

Posted on Nov 2, 2017
great room timber framing

The dream of owning a timber frame home almost always includes a vision of making memories with your family. If you have a large family living under the same roof, creating space that accommodates everyone is always important. And, while it would be nice to build an enormous home for your family, budget typically dictates the size of a home. If your square footage is limited, creativity in your approach to dedicated family spaces is in order. The following ideas may help you balance your dream and your family’s needs with your budget.

Common Areas

Timber frame homes lend themselves to large, open spaces that are ideal for big families. Open concept layouts where the kitchen, living room, and dining room all flow into each other allow everyone, no matter where they are, to be part of the moment.

While the kitchen and great room are essential to your home, you will almost always save square footage by eliminating a formal dining room. Lovely as they are, formal dining rooms tend to receive infrequent use by today’s busy families. They beautifully accommodate a handful of annual holiday meals, but are often empty the rest of the year. If this sounds like your family, you have options.

Informal dining spaces include breakfast bars and nooks

For example, retain the informal dining space(s), like your breakfast bar or dining nook, and use folding tables for the occasional, big family meals. Or, design a multipurpose room for your hobby that easily transforms into a formal dining room as needed. A thoughtfully designed, main level, sewing or craft room for instance, may perfectly suit (and seat!) your big Thanksgiving gathering.

If your large family, however, regularly uses the formal dining room, turn to your great room for space saving options. Easily, reduce the square footage of your great room by blending it with an outdoor living area. Why is this such a popular choice? It’s because outdoor spaces cost less than indoor ones. So, a covered patio, for example, gives you the additional useful space your large family needs while capitalizing on that same lower cost per square foot.

timber frame kitchen and dining space
A Kentucky kitchen and dining area beautifully flows into the home’s outdoor living space

Basements are also a frequent space in which to cleverly and painlessly reduce square footage. Basements, like outdoor living spaces, cost less per square foot than main level living. This is due, in large part, to using less timber in basement spaces. In fact, some Riverbend owners forego timber in their basements altogether, further lowering the cost per square foot.

Bedrooms and Bathrooms

How many bedrooms and bathrooms you need, of course depends on your family’s size. There is much more to consider, however, than simply the size of your family. Ask yourself: Does each person need their own bedroom? Will my family continue growing or will my older children move back home? Do I need a guest room? If so, how many? And then, there is the bathrooms…

No matter how many bedrooms you require, every one of them needs easy access to a bathroom. It doesn’t have to be a full, private bath. Even a simple, smaller bath with a shower will suffice. If you’re in doubt about how many bathrooms your home needs, err on the side of caution by adding one. Better yet, ask your design professional–or ours.

childrens bunk room bedroom with timber frame
Conserve square footage in childrens’ rooms by taking advantage of open spaces

If you have several younger children, conserving square footage in their bedrooms is easily accomplished, and you have several options. For example, design two large bedrooms, one for girls and one for boys, rather than individual rooms for each child. The vaulted ceilings in timber frame homes make these large kids’ rooms appear even larger. And, those same vaulted ceilings make bunk beds and vertical storage a snap.

Sometimes, older children, especially teens, need their own bedrooms. If this sounds like your family, simply opt for smaller bedrooms. Built-in desks for homework time and computers are easily incorporated elsewhere.

boys room in a timber frame home
Older children often need their own space, but it doesn’t have to be large

Square footage can also be reduced with specially designed bathrooms. For instance, a Jack-and-Jill bathroom is shared between two rooms, but offers a specific configuration that makes everyone happy. While the bath and toilet area are shared, separate sinks on both sides of this shared area keep siblings separated, provide individual counter and storage spaces, and (hopefully) lessen conflicts over who gets to brush their teeth first.

If more than two rooms need access to the same bathroom, partition it into three sections using pocket doors. Pocket doors add privacy. They also save space because they need zero clearance to open and close. Using pocket doors in this manner allows multiple people simultaneous use of the bath, toilet, and sink areas.

Incorporating Your Dream

While making sure your timber frame home fits your large family, remember to incorporate your dream spaces into the home.

Do you plan to work from home? Make sure you have a private and quiet office. Can’t stop thinking about having a space in which to watch your favorite show or team? Add that fabulous theater room you always wanted, complete with a wet bar.

home theater with timber
Remember to include your dream room in your home’s design

But what if the space simply doesn’t exist for your special room? Don’t despair. It’s likely that you will have an unused bedroom in the future. Plan to later transform that bedroom into the home gym you always wanted. You might even design this particular bedroom into your basement, with its own bathroom. By doing do now, you’ll have no need to remodel it later.

No matter what your large family needs, you and your designer will work together to make it perfect. And, whether you want to build a modern style timber frame home or a barn style one, your Riverbend home will accommodate your family and reflect your style.

Explore Riverbend’s Summerhill design, a spacious conceptual floor plan perfectly suited for big families. Or, browse our complete collection of timber frame home floor plans for large families. Keep in mind all of our plans can be modified to add square footage or fit your visual preferences.


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