Open House Plans

Open house plans or open concept plans in residential architecture are a modern design feature that focuses on the joining of once traditional separate rooms into are large shared space, this area has more than one function within it.

Open house plans are one of the most desirable characteristics of the modern house plan. With the modern family facing the fast pace of life, wanting a home where flexibility in everyday living is key. Open house plans are the easiest way to achieve this flexibility. 

An open house plan becomes most relevant when it is seen from a floor plan perspective. It is here where the lack of adjoining internal walls can be seen the clearest, the subtraction of these walls is what leads to a natural interior flow. It is not meant refer to all of the rooms in a house are openly connected, just the spaces that are going to achieve the best end result for the user, these are generally the common areas of a home not spaces such as bathrooms or bedrooms.

Open floor plans becoming most popular at the turn of the century, leading to many of the modern renovations to homes to include open floor plan living. The initial trend of open house plans is thought to have begun due to peoples way of living and attitudes changing after the end of the World Wars, people becoming more relaxed and wanting to entertain more.

A practical element as to why open floor plans became so popular during this time is due to population increases, house area footprints decreasing and larger families becoming more common, having spaces to accommodate these people were becoming are greater need.

With open house plans being so popular in today’s times, many people are remolding their own homes to have this inclusion. However having an older, more traditionally focused and constructed house can lead to some major renovations needing to take place to achieve this desirable open plan. A way that this can be achieved and the house still retain its structural capability, is through new forms of technology. New forms of technology include concrete construction, varied building materials and light weight steel construction. Light weight steel construction for example is put in place to replace older construction methods that hold the walls roofing and flooring up, it allows for less materials to be used whilst retaining an open floor plan.

Open house plans are fantastic for homeowners who like to entertain, this leading to its current large popularity in modern house plans. The open plan entertaining space is commonly composed of the kitchen, living and dining room. It is these rooms that generally have the most in common in functionality thus creating the largest open space for the hosts.

Multitasking is much easier in a open plan concept home than that of a more traditionally designed home. Things like supervising children whilst cooking is something many take for granted in an open plan home. With the floor plan focusing on common spaces, smaller rooms like an office or study will still be enclosed so they can keep their functionality.Open floor plans are for those home owners who enjoy communicating with each other without walls and physical barriers.  

It’s a way for busy families to reconnect, no matter where they are in the home or what they are doing.  Parents in particular may prefer open floor plans because they allow a lot more freedom to multitask while supervising their children. Because open floor plans allow complete flexibility to designate areas in whatever way the home owner likes, these homes may bring in more money when sold. 

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Open house plans do have some downsides, such as they tend to be more difficult to heat and cool when put in comparison to a more traditional designed home. This is caused by the lack internal walls acting as a natural insulation barrier and also the shared open spaces tend to have more glass in the form of doors and windows. It is these doors and windows that can lead to great heat addition and loss, thus making the space difficult to keep at an ambient temperature. Sound control can also be a difficult aspect to control in a open house plan, reverberation can be a big problem especially when you have guests visiting.

Creating clear functions within an open floor plans can be difficult to achieve but are necessary to keep order. For example, having a clear connection between the living room and kitchen through the use of furniture or materials can help with the overall aesthetics and add ‘invisible barriers’ to keep one function in one space and allow for seamless over laps.

 

The lack of internal walls in these spaces can lead to a higher build cost, with different forms of technology and building materials required to keep the home structurally sound whilst retaining these specific wide open spaces, specialist engineers are often required to check off aspects of the build.

For example; Traditional timber posts and beams may need to be retrofitted with more expensive materials such as steel or a laminated timber that will provide the structural integrity required. Day to day problems such as keeping your home clean become much more relevant with an open floor plan, with commonly used spaces being so public, many find the need to be clean is a necessity.

 

Finally, when planning and designing your dream home, take into consideration the points raised above. Open floor plans can be a great addition to a fantastic home, just be sure that positives outweigh the negatives.

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