Your Open-Plan Home is in the Past

Give me some space. Open-plan homes were a perfect choice in the 50’s when optimists thought everyone could live together in harmony and family should always be together. But the 50’s were sixty years ago. And oh boy, have times changed.


The shift from open plan to broken plan

Architects are trending more and more towards broken plan homes. But what exactly are broken plan home anyway?

Broken plan homes may be visually linked but are distinctly separate

Essentially the rooms look connected as they do in open plan homes but are separated by differences in levels or pseudo walls. Take for example this home from where the dining area separates onto the patio but is still connected to the kitchen and living space.


Why the change?

UK architect Mary Duggan was judging entries in the RIBA House of the Year awards when she realised many shortlisted entries had differences in levels. She believes this is due to a change in lifestyle:

“Greater iPad use is causing a demand for more private spaces around the home, and ‘grand lounges’ are becoming snugs. Home workers want studies, and older children want greater independence within the family home.”

In short, you can’t put different people in one living space and expect everything to run smoothly. Things move quickly now days and it’s simply inefficient for a parent in a study to be distracted by a kid at play. At the same time, parents don’t want to miss out on watching their children grow and develop.

Broken plans allow people to interact while having their space, combining the best of open plans and closed wall houses.

Together but apart


A typical design for a broken-plan home is having the living area lower and off to one side of the kitchen. Compare this to the typical open plan living area where the kitchen and living area are in one space with little distinction!

The living area being positioned like this provides an intimate cave-like space that is connected yet separated from the family area.


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