Years ago, just about every house was designed essentially the same. The floor plan had spaces that were separated by their singular purpose. The kitchen was for food preparation and perhaps casual dining. The dining room was for formal dining (does anyone do that anymore?) and the living room was a space kept pristine and untouched, in case special guests should drop by.
Perhaps this resembles your home. Unfortunately it probably does not match your lifestyle. Today’s home has evolved into more expansive multi-purpose zones. New homes are built with food/prep, dining, relaxing and entertaining areas all flowing into one great open plan.
OK, so you have that old house that does not fit with today, all is not lost. With proper planning, you can have the plan of your dreams without moving. In today’s economy, remodeling your home may make economic sense. But where do you begin? I have had many clients say that they did not know where to start. My answer is to just talk to your architect. That’s the best place to begin.
Look at your lifestyle
When designing your ultimate living space, think of how you will get the most use out of it.
Do you entertain? Try an expanded dining area flowing in from the kitchen, with wet bar and seating areas to draw guests in for an after-dinner entertaining space.
Do friends drop by to watch the big game? Consider making a large seating / viewing area with a small bar and conversation area nearby.
Do you have the under 12 crowd come to hang out? Make the space with nooks where children and adults can play separately, but still within view of one another.
Do you prefer quiet nights alone at home? Center your furniture on a focal point, such as a fireplace or large painting and build in quiet, cozy spaces around the room.
Your open floor plan is meant to be versatile, incorporating the function of several rooms into one. On one of my past projects, the clients both loved to cook, however their kitchen was less than desirable. They also had very limited entertaining area as the spaces were separate boxes with no flow between them. The fact that the main entrance came right into the living room made the room even smaller as the traffic pattern cut right down the center of the room. The client also worked from a home office, which was very cramped and had to do double duty as a guest bedroom.
Our solution was to open up the kitchen/ dining/ living rooms into one great room. We added a separate entrance foyer and re-routed the traffic pattern to enter into the center of the open space. The office was re-positioned to open up into the open area and then we created a new addition for the master bedroom.
If you have a home that does not fit your lifestyle, all is not lost. Remove some walls, re-arrange spaces and open it up.
DAVID H. WULFF, is a retired architect living in Lake Lure.