I thought I Wanted an Open Floor Plan…Until I Moved In
Open Floor Plans Are Not For Everyone
I came across a Boston Globe article recently & it made me think about many of my past clients who wanted open floor plans. Some are happy with that decision, while others may regret it (even though they may not confess to it).
For many years now I’ve had some clients say “I want an open floor plan” on the first floor, whether it be just an interior remodel, a small addition or a custom home. While many older homes had well defined rooms with small openings between them, most people these days prefer to open these spaces up to each other.
Taken to an extreme you can eliminate most interior walls entirely, which is another story. With walls gone, you’ll have to define spaces in other ways – with furniture or changes to the flooring material or ceiling heights, which is surely possible.
Living With An Open Floor Plan
Most homeowners who want open floor plans haven’t lived in them, but they surely WANT one! I try to caution them, but they want what they want. What do I know, I’ve only been doing this for 30 years… Often clients find that once they move in and start living in the house – it’s too open!
One person may be in the kitchen with the TV or music on, & the other is in the adjacent family room “trying” to watch TV. Then the volume levels go up, trying to drown out the other one…or someone is turning something off to appease the other.
Another scenario is a 2 story family room (or one with a cathedral ceiling) that’s open to the second floor. If you have little kids, they’re in bed by 7, 8, or 9…and then you’re sitting quietly, whispering with the TV volume way down because you don’t want to wake them up. Forget about having people over…just doesn’t work if the kids are sleeping.
Now reverse the roles…your teenage kids are up until 12 (or later), & you’ve gone to bed at 10. I highly doubt they’ll have the same respect for you that you had for them when they were little.
The Truth About Open Concept Homes
The bottom line is – if you really want an open floor plan house, spend some time in one first. Make SURE you know what you’re getting into before you commit; consider your lifestyle along with your family’s.
That said, adding walls inside a house after the fact is surely easier than removing them. What’s your experience with open floor plan houses?
DeMotte Architects – CT & NY Architect – Fairfield County CT & Westchester County NY
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