Today we want to explore a conversation that’s often prompted within the first ten minutes of the first design meeting: Layout. The flow and organization of rooms within a home not only greatly influences how a family lives on a daily basis, but how each space is used long term as well. A big buzz phrase of the last twenty years has been “open concept” but the design world has recently begun to see a shift towards smaller, more individualized, and function-specific rooms again.  We’ve had clients go from a more compartmentalized layout to open concept, as well as vice-versa. In our two most recently posted projects, we see both options and how both can be beautiful as well as functional.  

An open concept design often means that there are no formal room designations, minimal interior walls, and flexible spaces.  Dining table in the great room? No worries! This layout allows for personalized space planning and more often than not is associated with a more casual daily routine.  We’ve had clients in the past lean towards this level of informal space for reasons ranging from wanting flexible party hosting space, to needing the home to be wheelchair accessible in the future. Oftentimes the dining, kitchen, and great room are all open to each other. Interestingly enough, in our experience, the clients that gravitate towards this have older children or are empty nesters.  They want space to entertain and host family in a low key setting.  We find that they’ve had the formal dining room with the chandelier, antique buffet, and fine china and now want something that can function as a dining space as well as a craft table when the grandkids come to town.

School of thought number two proposes smaller, more manageable spaces.  Rooms that you can shut the door and hide the 500,000 legos, and a proper butler’s pantry where the china and silver all have a designated home. What people often don’t realize with a layout like this, is that it does not automatically mean that you’re going to feel claustrophobic and live in a maze.  It simply means that the adjacencies of spaces has to be a little more thought out in the beginning. If you want a good reference point, our “Perfect Blue” project is a great example.  The clients here could have easily created a massive doubles story great room open to the kitchen, but their desire for more purposeful spaces created opportunities for us to really give each room it’s own personality and allows the client to make gatherings as formal or informal as they want. 

Both layouts can be equally as beautiful and both pose pros and cons for any homeowner.  So before you commit to one or the other, it’s important to think through your family’s needs and current lifestyle.  There’s no wrong answer when it comes to layout, just hundreds of opinions and schools of thought for you to sort through.  And as always, ESD is happy to help in anyway that we can.