What an Open-Plan Addition Can Do for Your Old House
Don’t resort to demolition just yet. With a little imagination, older homes can easily be adapted for modern living.
It’s no secret that many of the original homes we see in older, established areas simply don’t cut it when it comes to meeting our 21st-century lifestyles. Many of these homes feature individual, boxed-in rooms instead of the open-plan layouts that support our contemporary life. Small, badly positioned windows are also common in these older homes, which means they don’t make the most of views, outdoor living connections or passive-solar design principles.
The good news is there’s often no need to knock down an older house and start again. An open-plan addition and a rethinking of how the original home’s rooms can be used can change everything.
Living in the now. Although we often love the character that comes with older homes, most of them don’t work well with our modern way of life. The typical new-house design has evolved over time to embrace a casual, open-plan layout befitting our relaxed lifestyles. There’s often a focus on free-flowing connections to outdoor spaces.
We also are seeing a move to smarter designs focused on minimizing our impact on the environment, while harnessing the natural elements and resources through passive solar design.
While reworking the existing layout entirely by removing all the interior walls to create a more functional layout might seem like the best idea, taking this route can be costly and wasteful, and defeat the purpose of utilizing the bones of a beautiful piece of architecture.
Leaving the existing house to serve as private zones allows you to use the new addition as the living area of the house. These living spaces, where most of the occupants’ time is spent, can then be designed around both the existing house and the individual site, providing a seamless connection to outdoor living spaces and making the most of the space and any surrounding views.
The freedom of design in the addition also means you can position the space and its openings to embrace passive-solar design principles, allowing you to capture the cooling summer breezes and the winter sun.