Some of the very best open floor plans for single level homes date back to Cliff May’s first 1930s California Ranch home layouts. Although the idea of a great room composed of a living room, kitchen, dining room and den all accessible to each other is attributed to California Cabinet designer Joseph Eichler, May first used this concept in his Ranch-style residences in San Diego and Los Angeles. Eichler’s multipurpose room concept populated his modernist designs of the 1950s and 1960s.
Common Living Area
Instead of separating the kitchen, family room, dining and living spaces into separate rooms, the best floor plans combine them to a single large room to create a frequent living space. This room frequently fits on a single side of the home, side to side and front to back, making it easy to add French doors or sliding doors to an outdoor patio or lanai area that may expand the frequent living space even more. How you design this depends upon the region of the country you live in and the kind of weather you get in the beach.
In May’s single-level floor plans, a very long hallway branched off the frequent area, and the bedrooms sprung it off on one side. The hallway frequently consisted of a bank of windows open to the patio or garden area, which became an extended outdoor living space during spring, summer and autumn. In California, this area could be used in the winter also, using a small bricked-in fire pit for chilly nights. An overhead view of this floor plan revealed an L-shape, U-shape or rectangle.
Besides the great room concept or Eichler’s multipurpose room, the best single-level floor plans have a taller, open-beam ceiling or open-beam shed-type roof to increase the feeling of space. Hanging from the ceiling, you will find long, multidirectional ceiling fans to circulate the air within the room and maintain the space warm or cool, depending on the season and also the direction of the buff.
Separate Sleeping Places
Bedrooms within an open floor plan home are usually to one side of the home or the other for quiet and privacy. In a U-shaped floor plan, 1 wing would be committed to the bedrooms, together with the middle and other wing specializing in the frequent area of the home. A U-shaped plan enables both wings to look onto an atrium, lanai or covered terrace that’s personal in each way: No one in the street can see into it. Garages should be neatly tucked against the face of the home, connected by a breezeway or mudroom that also doubles as a laundry room.
The other kind of open floor plans typically begin with renovating a attic area in an old warehouse, commercial or industrial building to turn it into residential area. These spaces typically do not have supporting walls, meaning that the sole closed off rooms are bathrooms. Huge armoires or bookcases may be used to create a feeling of privacy in a bedroom, but generally, the loft’s open floor plan allows for a free flow of distance between all the areas of the home.