At the moment, I care a lot more about the bedroom than I do the basement. So let's talk about that.
The plan below shows the second floor as-is (old: 2 bedrooms) and as it will be (new: 3 bedrooms).
Generally, we're really happy with the house and it's location. It's big enough, too. It just needed some redistribution of space. If we could change the floor plan, get rid of some wonky things and thus make the house a little smarter for our family: additional bonus! I think the new plan does just that. Keeping the price down meant I didn't make changes to exterior walls, didn't make major moves to ductwork, and kept the plumbing in basically the same location.
The so-called loft space is really just a big, open space on the second floor. There's nothing about our "loft" to make you dream of being a childless city dweller the way the word "loft" is prone to do. This is just drywall and a regular height ceiling. It's been nice to have the space, but we really don't use it effectively and most of the time it's a TOTAL MESS. It's so big that it takes a solid hour or more to get it picked up and vacuumed/swept. Initially, we loved it. Now, I'm not going to miss it.
We're losing some closet space in the new plan. Closet space is nice, but I find I don't need so much for kid's bedrooms.
I can't wait to get rid of the stupid squirrelly hall into bedroom 2. That was a really wasteful feature of the original plan.
I'm excited about having a hook up for a stacked washer and dryer on the same floor as the bedrooms. Since it will be in the boy's bathroom, I have dreams of teenage sons doing their own stinking laundry. The actual washer and dryer will have to come later: it's not in the current budget, and I'd rather keep the existing washer and dryer in the basement.
I'm also looking forward to having a bathroom with a shower that is NOT ensuite. (Ensuite meaning that you walk through a bedroom to get to the bathroom.) I didn't think much about this when we bought this house, but it turns out ensuite bathrooms are not great with (my) little kids. The kids have a tendency to hide out in the bathroom playing boats in the tub/sink, or worse. For the same reason, I did not want a jack-and-jill bath. As an aside, I would actually choose to have fewer bathrooms in this house: I'm considering locking one bathroom door in the future and making all the kids use the same commonly accessible bathroom.
Did you notice the funny jog in the corner of the new bedroom? That was necessary for accessibility at the top of the stairs. I think it will look less awkward in 3 dimensions than it does in the plan. We shall see.
The office area and the sitting area are preserved in the new plan. Both of these spaces work really well for us already. Fritz and I love our facing office desks. And the sitting area has windows in four directions, which makes it a really lovely, light-filled space to hang out in.