Friday, December 4, 2009

Why We Chose an Open Floor Plan

Making my way (ever so slowly) down the “About Our Home” list, I’d like to highlight now why we decided on an open floor plan for our home.

Let there be light. As mentioned in an earlier post, we built our home with a passive solar design in mind to take advantage of the sun’s natural light and heating capabilities. Our open floor plan compliments this design as fewer interior walls means more light reaching rooms on the North side of the house. Minimizing walls will make our space bright and open—and will maximize every inch of space. A good thing, since those inches are limited in our small footprint!

Air it out. We won’t have a need for air conditioning—our super-insulated home will work wonders to keep cool air in during hot summer days. At night, and on cooler days, an open floor plan will allow wind currents to bring fresh air into our home via strategically-placed windows.

Heat it up. According to Wood Heat Organization Inc., houses with an open floor plan and fewer separations between rooms can be heated entirely with a wood stove (depending, of course, on their size and energy efficiency). To maximize our stove’s highest performance, it will be centrally located in the middle of the main floor with the flue pipe running up and out of the roof. Heat will easily flow to the main living area, kitchen and loft above with this set up. A warm house in a mountain town that boasts more than 200 inches of snow a year? Yes, please!

Some home magazines point out a few disadvantages to having an open floor plan, namely inefficient heating and lack of privacy. As mentioned earlier, we plan on using our wood stove quite a bit during winter months, and our open floor plan will actually increase the efficiency of our heating. Lack of privacy doesn’t concern us either. Bathrooms and bedrooms (excluding the Murphy bed on the second floor) all have doors.

It’ll just be up to us—and any visitors—to shut them!


  1. A lack of an open floor plan is our biggest complaint about our old farmhouse. I guess it wouldn't be much of a farmhouse with it. We wish for a more open layout for the sole purpose of being able to heat without having to use oil. Oh, how you will love your wood stove!!

  2. rooms are overated. they add cost and promote seclusion. private space is needed, but and open floor plan promotes community and better gathering experiences. lifestyles of the modern family are centered around 2 main areas: the kitchen and family room. everyone loves to eat and relax. much agreed with your decision.

    1. Are you located in the White Mtn of Arizona? I am planning to start a homestead in Vernon AZ.I want to build open floor plan and woodstove heat as well.-T LaBelle

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  4. Hi T LaBelle. We are located in New England. We love our open floor plan and wood heat. Good luck in your journey. :)