As a property developer, Shrewsbury Homes builds houses with a wide variety of layouts to suit the modern home-owner. We design many with open plan ground floors in mind. The Radley and the Malvern at The Farrs development in Dorrington are two such examples, combining kitchen & dining room and living room & dining room respectively.
Today it seems 54% of us would prefer an open plan home. (1) But what is it about open plan living that appeals to so many? If you are looking to buy a property, you might want to consider the advantages of combining kitchen and dining room, dining room and living room, or all three into one new space: the ‘great room’ or ‘family room’.
A stand against boxed living
Open plan living has been around for a while, although it’s only become truly popular in the last two decades. Before the 1990s, it was rare to see an open plan home. The philosophy behind closed-plan homes was that the more rooms a house had, the more compartmentalised and functional it was.
In fact, ‘open plan’ first surfaced around the turn of the 19th century, and was described by American architect Frank Lloyd Wright as the dawn of ‘interior spaciousness’. He claimed open plan was the solution to traditional interiors that had been ‘cut up’ and ‘consisted of boxes beside boxes or inside boxes, called rooms’. (2)
Instant space and light
Open floor plans allow you to make the most of your home’s square footage and create an instant feeling of space. This is especially important if your house is small or medium-sized – where there is a competitive housing market the optimisation of smaller spaces through open-plan remodelling often makes a lot of sense.
Removing walls also means more natural light from windows can permeate throughout the house. Darker rooms are replaced by a welcoming space filled with sunlight.
A social way of living
The layout of a house can have a large impact on the way you use it and interact with others. Open plan homes are widely acknowledged to encourage sociable living. Shut-off rooms can disconnect families, whereas many feel that open plan spaces help draw people together and promote a more communal lifestyle. The single space means despite being engaged in different activities such as cooking, doing homework or watching television, you are able to talk, interact, and generally spend more time with one another.
Open plan houses reflect our changing lifestyles. Today’s home must provide many different things to the home of a hundred, or even twenty years ago, because we have come to use them in different ways. An article from the Observer in 1953 wrote about open-plan living: ‘There are infinite possibilities, and we have hardly begun to explore them, but the alternative of poky little rooms has no appeal for many of us.’ (3)
Today we work from home, we cook for enjoyment, we watch box-sets. Rather than designating and limiting certain rooms to very functional uses; ‘cooking’, ‘eating’ and the very vague ‘living’, open plan houses allow you to use your home flexibly in the way that best suits you. From keeping an eye on the children while you work to entertaining guests while cooking, our modern lives require spaces to be multi-purpose and open plan living achieves just that.
The unique home
Although open plan homes aren’t for everyone, they are a great choice for those who want their house to reflect their individual lifestyle and tastes by creating a much more flexible space.
When you buy off-plan with Shrewsbury Homes, we custom design the house to your preference. It’s like building your dream home but without any of the hassle. As long as there are no structural implications we can move walls, take out walls and utterly personalise the layout of your living space.
Whether you long for open plan living or favour a more traditional home, Shrewsbury Homes can help. To visit to our show home or if you have any questions, please call Amanda on 07792 498927.
(1) Green, J. (2016) Open-plan living is over – bring back the closed kitchen! The Telegraph Available from: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/interiors/home/open-plan-living-is-over—bring-back-the-closed-kitchen/ [Accessed 6th September 2016]
(2) Wright, F. (1954) ‘Building the new house’ – taken from Housing and Dwelling: Perspectives on Modern Domestic Architecture ed. by Barbara Miller Lane.
(3) Atkinson, F. (1953) From the Observer archive, 5 July 1953: Why do we think open-plan homes are anti-British? Available from: https://www.theguardian.com/news/2012/jul/01/archive-1953-open-plan-living [Accessed 6th September 2016]