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Design from A to Z

Design from A to Z: O is for Open-Concept

by Lauren Chorpening

Open floor plans or open-concept homes are common place today. Open-concept is what it sounds like: A child can be doing homework at the dining room table while one parent is in the kitchen and the other is in the living room while they are all within earshot and eyesight. It’s a large layout free from the obstruction of interior walls in the main living space. While it seems like a fairly obvious and desirable spatial plan for modern living, it’s a fairly new one in the history of homes. Up until the late 1800s, most main rooms in homes were closed off and entirely separate from each other.

Each room had a singular function and helped staff and servants who were responsible for carrying that function out. Entertaining, for instance, was done with the illusion that every course of a meal simply “appeared” as if by magic. Sequestered in the parlor or dining room, work in the kitchen was done out of view, out of mind. The initial designs for open-concept floor plans came from Greene and Greene out of Pasadena, CA in the 1890s and early 1900s. Post-war modern life changed the family dynamic in America–the use of home staff became less prominent and the role of family members stepped up. Frank Lloyd Wright took the ideas of Greene and Greene and created homes built with an active and loving family in mind–the new layout allowed the household to engage with one another while hosting, working or relaxing.

Not every home built after 1940 has an open floor plan but it’s one of the most sought-after layouts homeowners request when house hunting or renovating. We love the way this layout reflects a shift in the view of the home in the last century. Houses may have been run more like businesses before–built for impressing others by never lifting a finger–but now homes are places to retreat, to spend time with others and to truly make one’s own. 10 of our favorite open-concept layouts in almost every style from Design*Sponge tours can be found below. Enjoy! –Lauren

Design from A to Z: O is for Open-Concept | Design*Sponge
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Chris and Julia’s home flows from kitchen to dining room to living room. Rugs and furniture separates the spaces while allowing them to stay connected and open.

Design from A to Z: O is for Open-Concept | Design*Sponge
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The family room forms an L-shape around the open kitchen in Ali and Jeremy’s home.

Design from A to Z: O is for Open-Concept | Design*Sponge
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Jeannine’s open loft is one big rectangular room divided into 4 distinct areas: Living room, office, kitchen and dining room.

Design from A to Z: O is for Open-Concept | Design*Sponge
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This Indianapolis home features vaulted ceilings, large windows and an open-concept living area that marries the family room, dining room and kitchen with a one room footprint.

Design from A to Z: O is for Open-Concept | Design*Sponge
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This mid-century home has an iconic open-concept design. The large space is a perfect area for dinner prep, entertaining and relaxing with family.

Design from A to Z: O is for Open-Concept | Design*Sponge
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Lillian and Raymond’s Florida condo proves that open floor plans aren’t just for large spaces.

Design from A to Z: O is for Open-Concept | Design*Sponge
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This open-concept loft had more space than Alissa and Jonah knew what to do with. An office, living room, dining room and kitchen fill the area with space to spare.

Design from A to Z: O is for Open-Concept | Design*Sponge
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Chris and Andre’s 1800s home has been everything from a church to a doctor’s office to public housing. The open floor plan is unusual to this age of home but is beautifully suited with the charming, historic character.

Design from A to Z: O is for Open-Concept | Design*Sponge
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This Victorian carriage house was renovated to create an open floor plan that this family of 4 loves.

Design from A to Z: O is for Open-Concept | Design*Sponge
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The 7 members of the Fink Family need the open space and flow their home provides.

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Comments

  • We are finding more and more homeowners in the San Jose area choosing the open floor plan. It is a great option, especially for smaller homes that tend to be darker and separated into multiple single use spaces.

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