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The Case for Looking Beyond An Open Floor Plan

In light of recent events, homeowners are rethinking the way they use their space after spending more time at home. When working, online schooling, socializing, eating, and relaxing happen at home, an open concept may no longer be the floor plan of choice.

While this time of togetherness is likely (hopefully) temporary, it is making people consider other options as they remodel or build a new home. Since the late 1970’s, open floors plans have been all the rage. A living room that is open to the kitchen and dining rooms were desired for optimal entertaining and casual living. Anyone who watches HGTV knows your demo day is not complete without ripping down an interior wall to enable an open concept.

The open floor plan has a lot of positive attributes such as more natural light, better traffic flow, and they easily allow modern families to complete tasks such as making dinner while keeping sight of children. In older homes, especially those pre-World War II, the kitchens were positioned in the back of the house, not centrally located like the newer homes of today. Having a home with separate spaces allows for more privacy, sound barrier, and the ability to control clutter - something we have all likely wanted more of during quarantine!

In the spring of 2020, just as our country entered into shut down, we moved from a newly built, open concept floor ranch, to a 2.5 story home built in 1906. Finding supplies for a move during the onset of a pandemic felt like the apocalypse. But, that is a story for another day! This new home, but very old home set us up for success as we transitioned our lives into the unknown territory of ‘all things at home’. Every room had a door. From the living room to the kitchen, from the kitchen to the dining room and then again back into the living room, into the office, even into the entryway. This helped us create space for specific functions which enable a routine for our family.

The more segmented floor plan that we were nervous about ending up being a blessing. Now, even as we begin to do more activities outside the home, we have grown to love our space. Here’s why:

  • A meal focused on conversation. A formal dining room meant dinners together in one place instead of at a kitchen countertop while the tv was playing in the background. It also allowed us a relaxed meal without the aftermath of preparing the meal within eyesight.

  • A multipurpose space. Our dining room also became a place of study outside of meal time. We have an antique buffet table, original to the house, that became storage for art and school supplies (instead of the porcelain china of the past) - a piece of furniture you would not normally see in an open floor concept. The dining room really became a multipurpose space.

  • A true master. Two story, divided floor plans allow for large master bedrooms and ours was no exception. We were able to place a dedicated vanity in our master (which ultimately became my work space as work-from-home became the norm). Master bedrooms of this scale truly do become a sanctuary as it provides a large open space with areas for reading, yoga, sleeping and more. Bonus - two of the four walls in ours is all windows making it feel even larger!

  • An acoustical dream. Who doesn’t like to sleep in? Okay maybe not everyone, but I will tell you, sleeping-in with a family is more difficult in an open floor plan house! Noise seems to travel more due to the openness and use of hard surface flooring. If you have a night owl or an early riser you will hear everything. That is not necessarily the case in a two story or a home that has separation. In fact, we don’t hear a thing when our teenagers make popcorn at 11 pm. And now, I can enjoy my favorite house flipping shows without banging pots or the ice maker behind my head.

If someone asked me five years ago whether or not I’d like a closed floor plan, I would have said no. Maybe timing was right, or maybe it is the phase of life we are in, but I do love my home with walls. All of it, the peacefulness and the togetherness it provides.


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