Open floor plans certainly are desirous. They encapsulate the perfect air of community with their lack of separating walls. But not all homes are created equal. Some come with a stark line between the more lively and entertaining living room and the kitchen closing off whatever poor soul is stuck doing all the work when family and friends are over. Then again, the only thing separating you working in the kitchen from the rest of the party is a measly old wall. Just get rid of it!
Woah, woah, woah, woah, woah! Before you get your heart set on something it can’t have you’ve gotta do your research. It isn’t just as simple as taking a trip to the home improvement store and picking up a 12 lb sledgehammer. In fact, take it back to the store. Now. Hear us out as there are some majorly important things you need to consider before making this groundbreaking change in your home.
The Pros And Cons
Everything has pros and cons. For the open plan they’re just as complicated as anything else. In an open plan, yes, you get the beautiful open, free-flowing space you desperately desire that would be perfect for entertaining. However, it then becomes one giant space. It’s a little harder to maintain temperatures and everyday messes seem to be more exaggerated in an open plan because it’s all one big room. If one area is dirty, it’s all dirty. But that just means you have to work harder at keeping it tidy. Not a deal breaker, just something to consider.
This is where you really need to spend a lot of time ruminating facts. What type of house do you have? The Victorian or Tudor style home is most likely closed off and structurally made to include those ugly walls. Meaning, if you start taking them out, it could not only compromise the style of your home, but the structural integrity of your house. If the wall you want to get rid of happens to be load bearing, then we’ve got some less than pleasant news for you… it ain’t likely going to happen the way you want.
It isn’t just weight these walls manage. Many of them also house electrics, HVAC, and plumbing. Opening up a portion of your closed off home might still be possible, but not without having to completely reimagine the foundation and flow of utilities within your home. At this point it gets really expensive and could end of not paying off in the end.
None of these factors mean you can’t realize your dream of an open floor plan. You can, it will just take some creativity and resourcefulness. Often time for load and utility bearing walls you can replace them with pillars or support beams. It’s not entirely open, but it’s better than it was before. Another option is to build out with an addition or bringing in more natural light. Sky-lights, french doors, sliding patio doors, all these options help increase the feeling of openness by bringing in more natural light. With an addition, you can expand out with a new structure that’s meant to be open.
Before you make any decisions, acquire any funds, or make any other moves towards this end goal, talk with a contractor and inspector. Determine whether your home is up to code to be able to support this plan as well as they work it would require and what it would cost to convert it. Open plans are alluring and definitely add value to a home, but they should be practical and more than just something nice to have.