ashleywhitworth

Closed Floor Plan... anyone else doing it?

a
9 months ago

My husband and I just started working with an architect to design our home on our farm in rural TN. We are building a “closed” floor plan in a Federal style house. Lots of walls. Four walls on the kitchen. Yes, I said it. It’s treated like a crime to have a full four walls around a kitchen. No large case openings even. The more people I talk to, the more I’m realizing how rare this is. Is there ANYONE out there building a new house now that doesn’t jumble three rooms into one big open space? I love having separate rooms, more options for paint colors, etc..
I was just curious how many of us closed floor plan people are building .. or if I’m the only one. ?

Comments (50)

  • jalarse
    9 months ago

    We built a few years back and choose a Cape Cod style house. Both of us decided we wanted a closed floor plan. Designed a kitchen that was not part of the rest of the house with a separate dining room. I think there are a few of us who still prefer the closed floor plan. I hope others will offer their two cents. Congratulations on your new home.

  • bpath
    9 months ago

    We are not building but rather live in a house with rooms, and love it. However, I also love that we have a breakfast nook in the kitchen. Not just and island, but a table and chairs. I highly recommend it, if your kitchen will not be open to a sitting room!

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    What is your purpose - more privacy, don't like the kitchen so noticeable, just prefer a less open look? I am not fond of open plan for myself - can see it for others and know some people love it, but not my style. You certainly can put a wall up between the kitchen and the great room. I would suggest a nice wide archway between the great room and dining, and you need to think about if it is OK to go around through the dining room to get to the kitchen, or if you want a second door into the kitchen from the great room. You will have a little harder time between the dining and kitchen because there needs to be enough room around the island. The island needs to be at least 42 inches from the counters and it would also be good for it to be 42 inches from a wall, but 36 would be OK. Again, I think a nice wide archway between the dining room and kitchen would be good. If you want even more privacy, french doors, sliding barn doors or the old fashion sliding pocket doors could be installed.
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  • Lindsey_CA
    9 months ago

    Ours is a (gasp!) tract home that we bought 30 years ago when it was just into the framing stage. It's not a completely closed floor plan, but it's not exactly what would be considered open concept, either. We like it. We like having a separate formal living room and formal dining room, as well as a family room and breakfast nook. It's just the two of us, so we don't have to worry about kids to keep an eye on, etc.

  • jimandanne_mi
    9 months ago

    We built in 2007, and didn't want everything open, but wanted good flow and a feeling of some openness and good natural light. The corner dining room/library has double pocket doors off the entry and into the living room. The straight-ahead corner living room also has a door from the entry and the breakfast room. These two rooms have windows on two walls.

    The breakfast room is open to the kitchen and has an entrance to it past the one-level peninsula that could have chairs but doesn't, and another door to the mudroom. There is a 3' x 4' island in the middle of the kitchen, and the work flow is great. The other kitchen entrances are to the entry and mudroom. The breakfast room and kitchen both have triple casements.

    I can't post the plan, but the layout is:

    back - living room/breakfast room/mudroom+ /master BR/master bath

    front - dining room/entry/kitchen/mudroom+ /laundry/garage

    It took some doing to get the doors positioned so seating arrangements would work well and people coming and going could easily access most parts of the rooms and would not cut across conversational groups. And to still keep the views on three sides of the house.

    I don't like dead-end rooms, so in addition to the strategically placed doors, there are three circulation areas: entry/DR/LR/entry, entry/LR/breakfast room/kitchen/entry, and kitchen/breakfast room/mudroom/kitchen (mudroom is a long one from back to front with breakfast room door, back door, MBR door, stairs up & down, garage entrance, laundry, kitchen door, powder room, and 3 closets).

    This house has many energy efficient features, so it has 9' ceilings, and nothing is open to the second floor.

    The lower level walkout has an open L, with family room, eating area, small kitchen, and TV/wood stove area, which worked well for my daughter when she and her 3 young pre-school/elementary aged children lived with us for several years.

    When they come back to visit us, I love being able to have one group playing board games in the living room, and the other group carrying on a discussion around the kitchen table (which seats up to 12 people). Both groups can get noisy, so it's great having the separation of the walls, but the openness of the doorways so we still know what's going on with the other group. Sometimes the youngest granddaughter will go into the dining room and do something by herself.

    When we have company, I love the separateness of eating in the dining room, separate from the kitchen, but with some openness given by the two sets of double pocket doors and two sets of triple casements. People don't gather around the peninsula; it's the island where some tend to congregate. Since I can't cook with distractions, I like being able to shoo people into the other rooms.

    Anne

  • One Devoted Dame
    9 months ago

    Open concept is driving me batty. :-/

    My husband and I currently have 6 kids + 1 due next month, and holy smoke, THE NOISE. Granted, we only have 1 girl, so I'm sure the volume has a lot to do with the number of mini-men I have running around here (my mom calls my place The Frat House), but still. Folks frequently cite monitoring children as an advantage of open concept, but maybe it's better for smaller families...?

    We have a 3-year-old tract/production home, and as near as I can tell, open concept was the only choice we had when selecting floor plans. It was bad enough trying to find bedrooms all on one side of the house and away from the street, as well as a window in the kitchen. Sigh. Clearances are so tight, with circulation spaces shared by different rooms, that I can't put up walls. Grrrr.

    For the custom house, though, we plan to have *at best* a semi-open house (where rooms can be closed off with French doors and/or interior shutters or whatever), if not a completely closed house (my husband has agreed to a more closed Atrium type house, since it'll feel open to the outside).

    Hooray for walls! ;-)

  • roccouple
    9 months ago

    Maybe a little off topic but I’ve felt that there need to be more words than just “open” vs “closed”. There is a wide spectrum. I like something in the middle.


    the most open have living kitchen and dining in 1 large Open rectangle. That’s the most open and I think generally in style


    one level down is those 3 rooms contiguous but arranged in an L or T, or maybe with partial obstructions like stairways separating them.


    still more closed are the separate shapes connnrcted by large open passages. These are the “large cases opening” type, or the plan posted by Lindsey_CA. Or like my house. Some of these also have pass throughs


    then finally you get to separate rooms with doors.


    when talking to the architect

    about designs at first it was hard to get on the same page about what open meant!

  • Martha Scott
    9 months ago

    If I would build, I would build a closed floor plan. To me cooking is not a group activity so the kitchen should be a room all to itself. I don't mind if there is some openness between living room and dining room but I do want some walls in a dining room -- like 3 walls -- not just the outside one. I thought I was an closed floorpan island in a sea of open concepts!

  • anj_p
    9 months ago
    last modified: 9 months ago

    We're designing what I call a "modular" floor plan. We added pocket doors to create separate rooms as needed. I absolutely love that I will be able to choose whether I want things open or closed. But even when everything is open, every room still has corners. Doors between the kitchen & dining will be for closing off the kitchen mess (no glass). Doors between the dining & sitting will be to close off sound (piano will be in there). Doors between the kitchen & family will be to close off sound (so I can cook and listen to music and run the hood while DH & DD are watching TV). Might do french sliding doors there instead. I tried to do the doors in the kitchen instead but that meant I had to make the kitchen smaller which was a non-starter :). I can't completely close off all rooms, but I think the walls we can close off will be enough. Anyway, we don't know if this will work for our budget yet, but right now I'm SO EXCITED about it. I really wanted a banquette in the kitchen (didn't want a table & chairs, but a booth or L shape) but I couldn't get it to work with our SF limitations so I abandoned it. I didn't want two similar dining spaces and I want to eat dinner in the dining room, so we stuck with island & dining room. If I had no budget limitations I probably would have done a center hall colonial style. LOVE semi-closed floorplans. Good luck with your design!


  • Raye Smith
    9 months ago

    Mine is truly a closed floor plan. Each room has a door separating it from the hallway. Sound deadening is wonderful, 12" thick walls are great also.

    Martha - I agree - cooking isn't a social activity!

  • nini804
    9 months ago

    My house is semi-open, with some rooms (separate formal dining room, separate study, etc) but the “guts“ of the house are all fairly open to each other (kitchen, family room, breakfast room,) so I see the benefits of both. Even in the areas that are “open” we have wide cased openings with panel jambs and trim to provide a sense of separate function.

    I will say that I only like closed (I’m picturing gorgeous historic homes I’ve visited) when the house and rooms are large. I have a bit of claustrophobia and sometimes I’ve been in small ranch houses built in the 60’s with the low ceilings and lots of walls and halls and really felt uncomfortable.

  • WestCoast Hopeful
    9 months ago

    I think bulls what you will love! We have open concept main floor of kitchen, dining and living. I do think cooking is social and I love it being with the rest of the main floor and accessible.

    I will say our home is large with lots of spaces to go. So we can go down to the rec room to watch tv and not be in living room, can go to office, bedrooms and covered porch. So it never feels too loud or too much as space to spread out.

  • artemis_ma
    9 months ago

    My kitchen is closed on 3 sides, open over the peninsula to the dining room

    I love this - separate from the living room, no need for a "rec room", and provides more wall space for kitchen cabinets, drawers and counter space. And the living room has more space to hang welcoming art.

    Given a dichotomy choice between open and closed, I'd err towards closed every time. But what I have here is the opportunity to talk to guests who are dining, while perhaps at the sink... which I've placed on that peninsula. (The main prep station gets to look out the window. )

  • WestCoast Hopeful
    9 months ago

    With three kids there is no way o would give up the rec room ever!

  • C W
    9 months ago

    I think you should build what works for you and don’t worry about the trends! With the caveat that if you plan to sell any time soon, it may be trickier with a less popular style of floor plan. But for a house that’s only for you? Build it the way you want.


    We like something in-between open and closed. I enjoy having the kitchen open to eating and living spaces, but not a great room. We’re using cased openings to separate spaces visually. But it’s also important to me to have little nooks where kids (and adults!) can hide with a book, so we’ve incorporated lots of those too. And husband and I insisted on an office and a sewing room with doors to keep kids out.

  • Emily Stanton
    9 months ago

    As a person who has four cats, rooms that close are essential for me. At night they are shut into the den (there's a pet door to the laundry room where litter boxes and food/drink are). This keeps them contained so they can't jump on me (I have fibromyalgia and couldn't bear the pain) OR get into the kitchen. (I don't want them on kitchen counters/table.) During the day the hall and kitchen doors are open so they can roam if they want. Sometimes I think it would be nice to have the kitchen open into the den, but overall it works better having walls!

  • Ig222
    9 months ago
    last modified: 9 months ago

    We all live differently and our houses should reflect that, not the latest trend, whether it is open or closed.

    This said, I want to know why these threads give the idea that an open plan house has no wall. My house has an open kitchen/living room, but we also have a guest room/office where we can isolate if we want to work, chill out, and a large rec room. So it is not one or the other.


    This said, no way I would cook in a closed 72 sqft kitchen (very practical to get something in a cabinet without moving, but I would feel claustrophobic), so it is open to the dining room and partially open to the living room.

    To each his/her own.

  • cd7733
    9 months ago

    I designed a semi-open plan for our new build to define area but leave the ability to interact between rooms. We love it. It's open, yet separated, not one huge room with everything in it. The kitchen and dining are open concept, being one room. (The dining room is an enlarged nook.) We have a pocket door from the entry to kitchen, a large pass-through kitchen to living, and wide walkway into the kitchen and dining. I really love the "dry bar" that the extra wall and pass through created.


    New Build · More Info


  • artemis_ma
    9 months ago

    C W, I've heard somewhere that with COVID and more people working from home... closed plans are getting a boost.

  • kellie_dyslin
    9 months ago

    Everyone should live in the kind of home that works for them and not bow to trends. That said, I could not WAIT to bust out the walls of our kitchen and open it up to the LR and DR when we did our remodel. I couldn’t stand being cooped up in there. But, it was a small kitchen and original to the house (1970-ish). It’s open now and I love, love, love it. Not so much because cooking is a social activity (for me that depends on who wants to join in...) but because I don’t feel so claustrophobic and completely closed off in that room anymore. To each their own :)

    We do have closed rooms - including an office where I am currently working. I would go nuts if I had to work at the kitchen island all day every day and DW and I would probably have divorced by now!

  • Shawna Hays
    9 months ago

    We are completely renovating a house and my new kitchen has 4 walls as well. I’m tired of open concept.

  • anj_p
    9 months ago

    I don't think many people consider open floor plans to mean completely open. There's usually always a den/office or some other room to go to. It's just the main rooms that are typically connected and open. We live in a totally open floorplan now (with a separate office) and I'm ready to be done. We even have a finished basement with a TV room, but I don't really like going down there for alone time. It's more of a movie room/watch TV after the kid goes to bed room. But of course, it's to each his/her own! To the OP's initial question, no you are not alone. Semi-closed/closed floorplans may not be the most popular thing these days but there will always be those who prefer them.

  • a
    Original Author
    9 months ago

    Thanks for the comments everyone! They made for an interesting read.

  • Louise Smith
    9 months ago

    I will always want a separate kitchen that is open to nothing but the window over the garden.

  • PRO
    Virgil Carter Fine Art
    9 months ago

    Does the term "away room" mean anything to anyone?

  • David Cary
    9 months ago
    last modified: 9 months ago

    Agree that open and closed is a bit binary.

    Curious to see age and preference. Obviously, older houses were generally closed and so people grew up with that and it may be their preference because that is what they are used to.

    We bought a 1982 house that was a 2.5 on a 1-10 scale with 1 being kitchen with 4 walls. We bought it because of location and price. It was meant to be temporary while building and then turned into a rental. Had some advantages and some disadvantages - like everything else.

    Our tenants (first showing) were from England and they preferred closed houses (and older houses) which is unusual in our area.

    If you do it, I think you should have a lot of windows in the kitchen because often times, kitchens were work dungeons. That rarely makes sense in a modern lifestyle. I think in general, a lot of windows would help a closed plan not feel claustrophobic. I think people over time have craved open spaces/areas. Look how big modern cars are. Windows can give the feel in a smaller space. But then any perceived energy savings by smaller rooms goes out the proverbial window....

  • jk atz
    9 months ago

    I’m planning on building a closed floor plan. I live in a century old house at the moment that someone “brilliantly” decided to “open up” the wall between the living room and the kitchen and I can not stand it. Not only do I have to stare at my mess in the kitchen when I’m sitting on my couch, but it just feels like this house was not intended to “flow” this way. Part of the reason I want to build custom is because we want newer construction and they’re all pretty much “open concept”. I’m ready to be treated like I’m crazy by the builders. Don’t care!

  • Lissa
    3 months ago

    Do you have any screenshots of your floor plan or drafts? I'm looking for the same thing - even tougher, I want all the bedrooms on the first floor!

  • PRO
    RES2
    3 months ago
    last modified: 3 months ago

    HH Richardson and other Shingle Style architects were the most notable early users of open plans and that style lends itself to modern open plans, Frank Lloyd Wright is probably the most famous early user of open plans but his kitchens were enclosed. Diner/tavern style kitchens separated from the other spaces by bar stools is more

    recent and has become a builder/developer/internet plan cliche.

    I like to create interesting sight lines between major spaces but the nearest I've come to an entirely open plan is separating a living room from a kitchen with a stairway and a kitchen from a family room with a low wall of shelving.

    I take care to not create a sight line from a seated person to someone on a barstool.

  • julie_c
    3 months ago

    We just moved from an open concept home with a big open to above ceiling in the living room, to a traditional colonial home and I LOVE it. We now have a den at the front of the house, a dining room with French doors that we can close, a family room that has about a 3 foot opening to the kitchen, and an office, mudroom and laundry room all behind the kitchen. With 3 kids learning from home, a dog, a husband working from home and me teaching from home, we now all have space to spread out!

  • julie_c
    3 months ago

    One more add...we had plans to take down the wall between the kitchen and family room and decided to hold off to see how we liked it being separate and I’m so glad we did. Someone can go curl up with a book by the fireplace and not be bothered by the busyness of the kitchen.

  • Kat
    3 months ago



    In our new build we will have two formal more closed in spaces off the front foyer, but the family room, every day dining and kitchen will all be open to each other.


    We had a completely closed in kitchen when we first moved in to our current house, but I didn't like not being able to talk to people in other rooms while in the kitchen, so we opened it up with a peninsula to the dining room and the space is much nicer, but t's a bit noisier if people are in the kitchen working and you're trying to watch a program.




  • PRO
    Mark Bischak, Architect
    3 months ago

    The first way I was taught to deign a house (many years ago) is to arrange the desired spaces so they function well together and are sized properly, then determine the degree of separation is needed between the spaces. Those degrees of separation could range from a full soundproof wall to a wall with a door to a wall with two doors to a wall with a small opening to a wall with a large opening to a half wall to a step to beads to totally open to an unlimited number of variations. I still look at house design the same way but with many more factors all at the same time.

    Bottom line is to design the house the way you wish to live over time.

    (I threw 'beads' in there just to date the experience)

  • Holly Stockley
    3 months ago

    Now I'm really curious as to how beads are represented on architectural diagrams.

  • PRO
    Mark Bischak, Architect
    3 months ago

    They are noted on the furniture plan under "Groovy".

  • E. T.
    3 months ago

    We are custom building a closed plan, and our strong desire to be 'closed' really pushed us towards building from scratch and engaging architects that have a background in historical restoration/additions instead of buying something already built or being tempted into using pre-fab plans. But to be honest, a lot of our preferences are counter to trends. We wanted small rooms, small total square footage, and other details which were more popular a hundred years ago. The closest we get to 'openness' is a breakfast nook that is open to the kitchen.

  • Lissa
    3 months ago

    @E. T. could you share the plan? I’d love to see it. sounds like what we’re looking for and why we are going full custom now

  • PRO
    Mark Bischak, Architect
    3 months ago

    If you are "going full custom" why do you want to look at other people's plans? Do the same process E. T. did, not what they came up with. Create something that is yours.

  • WestCoast Hopeful
    3 months ago

    @Mark Bischak, Architect nothing wrong with looking at plans. We have a "full custom" home but still looked at tons of plans before we started as we wanted to think about what we wanted and why. We also toured many homes in our area to get a sense for what was being done around us. Sometimes seeing stuff on paper helps you better understand wants/needs. In the end our plan is unlike any one we went and saw/view on paper. But because of the legwork we did before hand we were able to say what we clearly didn't want and a few things we absolutely did want more clearly.

  • E. T.
    3 months ago

    @Lissa I'm happy to share the pinterest board we used to inform our initial meeting with the architects, which has a some older closed plans I found, but since our plans are the intellectual property of our architects, I don't feel comfortable sharing them. For all I know, they may plan to sell them or a modified version of them down the road.

  • Marci
    3 months ago

    I live in an older homes, but I do prefer my closed floor plan. I like keeping smells and mess in the kitchen away from guests in the dining room during dinner parties. I like having upper cabinets instead of islands. I like being able to have a look for my kitchen without having to coordinate it with the design throughout the dining room and living room. Although I would prefer a larger kitchen, it does have a functional work triangle.

  • Kat
    3 months ago

    @Marci why can't you have upper cabinets on the perimeter? We have a true island that is surrounded by cabinets on all sides and 3 sides have upper cabinets. Could have had four sides, but we chose to have a peninsula between kitchen/dining space. I look at an island as a baking place. I've certainly done it without in our first couple of homes, but I wouldn't trade the island work space if I could help it, because it allows me to roll and cut out things as well as have baking ingredients/ pans etc. all out as needed.

  • Marci
    3 months ago

    @Kat It’s just how my kitchen layout is that it wouldn’t give me enough. I’d have to put the refrigerator and range on one wall with small cabinets above them, and there’s not too much more space than maybe one additional upper. There is a window on the other side, but I’ve been able to squeeze in two pantry cabinets on either side. Then the other two sides would be open, one to the hallway, the other to the dining area.

  • Emily L
    3 months ago

    @julie_c do you have a sketch of your colonial plan? I love colonials and I'm wondering how the mudroom laundry and office fit near the kitchen. I like the idea a lot. I love to see the way colonials can be done.

  • kevin9408
    3 months ago

    Open floor plans are primitive. The first original open floor plans were caves. then came huts and teepees but for some reason the nobles and the kings started building walls. The reason is obvious and everyone wanted walls, walls everywhere. So why are we going back in time?

    I don't think many of the rich and famous today have open floor plans, they have the room to separate the living spaces, OK I looked and most Don't have open floor plans, The sole purpose was to create an illusion of space to sell small houses and it worked like a charm. To each their own but I don't like them, I'd rather live like a king and not like a cave man.

  • PRO
    Mark Bischak, Architect
    3 months ago

    Virgil - The room you are sitting in is "away" from the room I am sitting in.

  • Lissa
    3 months ago

    ET I have a hard time tagging you in my responses but if you see this I would love if you could share a link to the Pinterest board.

  • julie_c
    3 months ago

    @Emily L - no I don’t have a floor plan but I can take some pics and post them for you

  • PRO
    SIDLER®
    3 months ago

    I agree with C W. I think its best to just build a floor plan that works best for you and your family. It all has to do with personal taste. My personal preference is partially open floor plan and closed depending on the rooms, but I don't have a large family so a partial open floor plan works for us and allows us to interact more between areas of the house.


    I think your closed floor plan sounds like a good plan that suits you!

  • Emily L
    3 months ago

    @julie_c thanks!