While discussing the proposed floorplan with one SIL, she mentioned making the new DR table location open to the kitchen. This has always been our philosophy, because whenever you have a group of people over, they hang in/near the kitchen. The new flooplan did not allow for this, though.
Our original response was that this was not in the plans, but like many things, the idea percolated with me for a while. That concept has always been an important feature of any floorplan we developed, either when we were planning to build our own home, or making changes to this one.
'Way back when, I had originally thought to place the woodstove with its back to the wall between the open area and the master bedroom. I ruled that out for some reason, moving the woodstove across the room to the north wall. I think it had to do with my perception of how much space the chimney would take up on the second floor. So I got to thinking, if the woodstove goes with its back to our bedroom wall, we could build a masonry heat sink wall that would transfer heat to our bedroom, so long as the slab could stand the weight.
So, back to Sketchup. This is what the house looks like, as is:
Here is what was originally planned, showing the master and the main area:
(Sorry about the poor quality of this image. I can't figure out how to get SketchUp to give me better than this. I'll have to re-do it on HomeArchitect 3D)
Ultimately, the house will look pretty much like this. What's in the main entry area and kitchen may change somewhat, but the rest should pretty much end up like this:
The new arrangement addresses several shortcomings. There is more room for DS's desk, and several options of where to put it. The breakfast bar no longer sticks out into the space in front of the planned second doorway at the front of the house. We don't need a half wall to divide the space, and this combined with the new DR table placement achieves the goal of the table being open to the food prep area. It also moves the table back closer to the windows, to allow for viewing of birds and wildlife, as we can do now. It also places the woodstove more centrally in the floorplan, making for more even heat. Finally, it means we can prepare the area for the woodstove without having to futz around with the baseboard heating. In addition, it doesn't complicate life if we do eventually decide to put in a second-floor balcony on the north end of the house, overlooking the lake.
And, on Friday, I got very good news from the engineering firm. There had been a lot of back and forth discussion about providing them a copy of the survey, but I had found a to-scale print I had made of the section showing the house. I was no longer sure if he wanted me to send a better version, so I e-mailed them. I figured it wasn't a bad idea to mention timeframes, either, given the discrepant info we had been given.
The reply came quickly: yes, please, send a different version of the survey - done. And, more importantly, our report will be ready by the end of the first week of August, as they have prioritized it! They will fax a copy to the municipality. If we can get copies of it from the town office, then maybe we can get the two contractors to visit to provide estimates before we leave. If we can do that, we may still be able to get it installed at the end of August/beginning of September! That would be awesome.