A current trend in custom home building and remodeling is open concept living. This may come in many shapes and sizes but generally focuses on the kitchen and flows out from this room. Especially popular for families, more and more clients of Custom Home Builders are asking for open concept kitchens, which allows for multitasking with preparing dinner, helping with homework, participating in family activities and entertaining guests. While more often the kitchen is the desired heart of the home and thus the center of the open concept living style, the focus can also be on the great room, perhaps centered on a masterful hearth or fireplace as the main gathering space and central design element.
Typically, the open concept starts with opening up the kitchen to dining and the great room or living room, making it ideal for everyday living and family togetherness as well as opening up entertaining options. Those working in the kitchen in either scenario are a part of the activities outside of the kitchen, and with multiple “zones” incorporated into one open space, everyone can be doing different things yet still be together. Spatially open concepts provide the felling of a larger space and bigger gathering areas for entertaining allows for flexibility and fluidity in movement and eliminates the need to direct guests to different parts of the home.
Windows and lighting are an important component of open concept living, as with the elimination of the separation of walls, light can flow in from several different directions, maximizing the shifts in natural light entering the house throughout the day. Narrow and small spaces in particular benefit by being “opened up” and accessing lighting from either end of the rooms. Vaulted ceilings also create more opportunities for natural light with ceiling height windows allowing for more light to flow through during daytime hours. Strategic lighting in vaulted ceiling elements may perpetuate the natural diffusion of light throughout the open living space.
Open concept designs allow for accessing outside elements, as open visuals with windows can blend exterior spaces, creating an extension of the interior. Taking advantage of the best viewpoints from the home site and the direction of light flow will maximize opportunities to tie in outdoor entertaining spaces and landscaping projects. In this case, doors are an important design consideration, as today there is an array of options for retractable doors, french doors and sliding doors.
Some design challenges may include integrating rooms designated for specific functions as well as separating spaces to designate different areas, while still achieving a fluid and cohesive look throughout the open living space. Typically, renovations of an existing space present more challenges. Continuous flooring and neutral background color palates help with achieving a cohesive look. Separate spaces may be created within an open plan custom home with area rugs, furniture layout, variations in ceiling heights or an accent color for designated spaces.
Some of the following open concept plans may provide some inspiration in planning an open concept home with your custom home builder.