Thursday, October 17, 2013

31 Days: Pros and Cons of Traditional Floor Plans

In yesterday's post, I shared the pros and cons of living with an open concept floor plan, which is something we did for five years.

When we began house hunting this spring, I knew I wanted something different.

For starters, I was looking for an older home in an established neighborhood. Older homes are not known for their open layouts. Typically, an older home will have a  floor plan with rooms that are either separated by a center hall, or rooms with strategically placed walls.

Why did I want a home with a traditional flow?

This quote from a writer of Midwest Living (Sept./Oct.2004) says it all:

"Regardless of an English home's scale, the kitchen is usually one of its largest rooms. Big enough to handle family meals and entertaining, it's also cozy enough for two friends to share a cup of tea. We replicated an older home layout by separating the kitchen and family room. Keeping noise, odors and views of dirty dishes out of the family's main living space is a part of stress-free comfort."

Stress-free comfort. Yes! That's the kind of house I want to live in! Hiding noise and odors and dirty dishes? That's what I'm talking about! A big kitchen, separate from the rest of the house, where I can congregate with family or have a cup of tea with a friend? Bliss!

Let's start with the pros of the traditional floor plan!

* More walls means more sound dampening quality.

* Cooking odors stay in the kitchen.

*Plenty of walls for artwork.

* Plenty of walls for positioning furniture.

*Kitchen tucked away at the back of the house.

*Quiet places to have a telephone conversation or read a book while someone is watching television in another room.

*Ability to decorate each room individually, without needing to coordinate with all other rooms on the same floor.

Of course, every pro list should have a con list. Here are a few of the cons:

*Difficult to watch small children while doing various household chores.

* May feel isolated in the kitchen while cooking or entertaining.

*Harder to entertain large groups.

*Flow may be awkward.

*Traditional floor plans could be darker inside, depending on the placement of windows and how the house is situated.

*Lots of walls means lots of need for artwork to fill those walls!

Our foyer is a perfect example. There was a big blank wall near the front doors that definitely needed some pizzazz. I started with this trestle table, figuring that it would be the perfect spot for dropping keys or setting out the mail. A Longaberger lantern, a basket and a few fall accessories quickly filled the table. But what about that wall?

Artwork can be pricey! That's when I had the brilliant idea...why not buy a chalkboard? I can change the artwork whenever I feel like it!

I found this beauty at Marshall's for only $30 dollars!

I cannot begin to tell you how much more comfortable I am in this traditional floor plan. For starters, it is super quiet. If my husband decides to unload the dishwasher at 6am (bless his heart!), I do not hear every spoon as it clanks into the silverware drawer. And if my son decides to watch a late night movie, he can view it in the family room, close the doors, and we do not hear a thing!

No strange cooking odors wafting upstairs to the bedrooms.

No need to hide in the master bathroom to have a phone conversation.

I have a big eat-in kitchen where the family can easily congregate.

We tend to host small groups of out-of-town family and friends, so the layout is always comfortable for us.

Hubby watches television in his family room (no basement man cave here), and I can read a book in the living room or help Sam with piano lessons.

I know I'm going to sound like some old geezer, but here's what I've found...they don't make houses like they used to! This fifty year old colonial is solid. Floors don't creak, windows don't rattle, and the plush carpets and thick walls make me feel cozy and snug.

I guess I'm just a traditionalist. It's good to know what you prefer when house hunting. Our realtor tried to show us a few "newer" homes, but none of them ever gave me the happy feeling that this home did the first time I walked through it.

As Obi-Wan Kenobi once said "Trust your feelings, Luke!"

Good advice for light-sabers and house-hunters, too.

1 comment:

  1. Mary Rose, nodding my head in agreement here. My current home is traditional, and I've been worried about selling it, thinking that everyone wants what they show on TV. But I agree with you, the advantages of separate rooms outweigh (for me) the advantages of an open floor plan.
    Blessings to you & yours!