NEW HOUSING TRENDS 2015: Where did the open floor plan originate?

Definition: Open Floor Plan

Open floor plans make use of large, open spaces to connect “separate” rooms by minimizing the use of walls and small, enclosed areas.

In 2015, open floor plans will be popular once again. But that wasn’t always so. After all, homeowner preferences can be a fickle, shifting thing. What works for one generation likely will be discarded by the next, and then “re-discovered” at some point in the future. As for open floor plans, they never really caught on until post-WWII. According to Don Gardner, CEO of Donald A. Gardner Architects, Inc.:

“Before the late ‘40s, families were building houses comprised of small, self-contained rooms. The kitchen was separate from the dining room, which was separate from the living room, and so on. At some point in the ‘50s, this shifted radically to a more open style as people decided to knock down walls and doors to integrate and connect these once shut-off rooms. What you end up with is a more contemporary, free-flowing, less-siloed design that invites interactivity amongst family members and friends.”

There have been specific variations of the open floor plan that date way back, the classic barn being a prime example. The revered architect Frank Lloyd Wright was also an early adopter of the open-floor space because of the creative options it gave him. The classic American Lodge also falls into this category, as it was generally constructed as a vast open area that centralized all the component parts of a house—kitchen, living area, and dining area.


The past informs the present

It was during the late ‘40s through the ‘50s that many one-story bungalow homes were built all over the country. They generally had a large front porch and were built straight back in a linear fashion, and tended to have very separate, distinct, smallish rooms. Today, those old homes are frequently being overhauled, gutted, and re-imagined by homeowners who desire a more open, fluid, socially inviting home. The same thing goes for the ranch-style houses of the ‘60s and ‘70s. Because of their one-story, narrow configurations, they lend themselves to open-floor designs that transform the functional living spaces into bright, more sweeping, contemporary areas that have a distinct modern-hipster vibe.

It’s wide open in 2015

Today of course, families, couples, and individuals are utilizing open floor plans from the get-go. This is in part due to the structural advances in the industry that have made this possible. Homeowners now have a number of options and choices that previously didn’t exist, thanks to new materials that are stronger, structurally sound, and more compact—like micro-laminated beams, for instance. Open floor plans are also ideal for young families with small children. Mom or Dad can cook dinner in the kitchen and still keep one eye on the little ones in den. Also, these designs create great environments for guests and encourage social interaction amongst a larger number of people without feeling cramped or claustrophobic.


Open floor plans are just the beginning

Because of the continued popularity with homeowners and designers, open floor plans are something Donald A. Gardner Architects, Inc. is excited be offering again in 2015, and beyond. As we often say: “No two customers are alike, but they all want options.” Regardless of home design or style, each customer likes to have choices in order to make their home unique to their particular living experience. At Donald A. Gardner Architects, Inc., that is something we are constantly striving for. We want to give customers the options that they seek by staying up-to-date with the latest trends, as well as offering more traditional options.


To learn more about the many possibilities and choices available for open floor home design, visit or call one of our professional DAG representatives to ask specific questions or discuss options: 800.388.7580.

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