One of the most common questions I’m asked by homeowners is how to create an open plan kitchen / dining / family space. The following are the key considerations I take into account when I’m planning a remodel or extension which includes creating an open plan space.
1. Keep one cosy living space
I always encourage clients to retain at least one downstairs reception room they can retreat to . Even a well insulated open plan space with underfloor heating will feel less cosy than a traditional room. In most types of property the obvious solution is to keep the front living space leaving the rear of the property free to be opened up.
2. Create a connection to outside
It’s good to consider your visual link to the garden. The rooms to the rear of a property tend to be deeper and more overshadowed than those at the front. Preserving a view counterbalances any lack of ambient light. If you’re planning large areas of glazing you’re also likely to need a straight rear building line. This may mean a side return or courtyard extension. Consider the complexity of removing any existing external walls as this is often one of the most costly aspects of a small project.
3. Plan in your practical areas
Think about whether you have enough storage and back of house areas to tidy things away. Clothes washing and food preparation are a necessary if sometimes messy part of family life. Plan your project so you’re not looking at these things whilst sitting at the dining table or relaxing on the sofa. You equally don’t want to spend well earned relaxation time listening to the washing machine’s spin cycle so it’s better to tuck it away as much as you can.
4. Budget for your finishes
Research the cost of that engineered wood block, porcelain tile or polished concrete early in the process. These things are surprisingly expensive and you don’t want to be forced to downgrade your finishes later in the project because of budget. I usually suggest that clients consider a slight reduction in the scale of their project rather than neglecting the finishes but it’s far easier to do this effectively if you plan it in early. Once you have invested time and money securing planning consent you’ll be far more reluctant to backtrack.