Thanks everyone for your comments via this blog, email or facebook. We have sent some ideas back to the architect for her to incorporate into a second draft of the concept drawings.
Basically, we like the upstairs of Option 1 with the downstairs of Option 2. In particular, we like the architecturally interesting staggered design of the rear of the house in option 1, the kitchen at the heart of the home, the south facing aspect of the main living spaces that will be flooded with sunlight through all those windows, and great access to the terraces that will allow them to become outside rooms in summer. We also like the sequence of spaces in the main living area with an away room that can function as a play room while the kids are young, but can be converted to a library with a computer when the kids are older. Downstairs, we preferred option 2, with the bike storage off the garage, large play room and spacious office.
However, there were a few changes that we want to make. We prefer the foyer, mudroom and stairs of option 2 on the upstairs level. We are also willing to get rid of the powder room on the upstairs level in order to give the kids' bathroom more space. We also need to have a larger kitchen and slightly larger bedrooms for the kids. So, we have asked the architect to bump out the rear of the house by another three feet or so. This should give us enough room to create a more U-shaped kitchen with more counter space. Downstairs, we have asked the architect to increase the size of the mechanical room to allow for more storage and to combine the laundry and mudroom into a single room with lots of cabinets for storage, a sink, and enough space to open an ironing board. In the play room, we have asked to incorporate a wine fridge, cabinets, counters and a sink, which will come in handy for cleaning up after art projects and serving food during birthday parties in the back garden.
We hope to have a new set of drawings to look at by the end of this week, or perhaps next week, so check back then to see how our ideas have been rendered.
Thanks again for all your suggestions.