Open-Plan Living…the way to go



You will have surely noticed that most new homes today, in particular condos, are built with an open-plan configuration.  This trend is popular and will continue to be as our living spaces become smaller and more compact.  While older houses and condos most typically have compartmentalized spaces with narrow corridors and walled off designated rooms dedicated to a single purpose, it is often possible, even in older homes, to create the feel and convenience of integrated living. Instead, why not enjoy an open-plan living/dining great room with adjoining kitchen – taking advantage of the illusion of greater space and expanded sightlines?

When envisioning the process required to create an open-plan space, the obvious first step would be to order the removal of inter leading walls and perhaps even several overhead bulkheads.  While this is true, it is not as simple as merely pulling down a few walls.  This exercise will likely expose services such as electrical and plumbing.  Consequently, these will need to be rerouted accordingly by a licensed electrician and plumber respectively.  Furthermore, when removing walls (in particular, load-bearing walls in wood-framed homes) concerns over potential structural issues may arise.  In this case, engineered structural beams would be placed to span the removed wall.  Removing structural walls will require city permits and associated inspections.

In addition, when removing walls, gaps of between 4” and 6” in your flooring will most likely be incurred.  These may be addressed and the problem remedied with coordinated flooring placed throughout the newly opened area to create an integrated and streamlined visual. 


Several alternatives to consider incorporating into your new integrated open-plan living/dining area and adjoining kitchen:

  • New cabinets can offer improved accessibility and storage options with the use of drawer equipped units instead of traditional shelved cabinets.  Lazy Susans and pull-outs may further assist in maximizing storage and functionality in otherwise inaccessible spaces while value-added tall floor-to-ceiling pantries or built-in appliance cabinets may also be incorporated in a redesign to help improve practicality.
  • Expand your counter surface by adding an island or peninsula complete with additional storage, work surface, breakfast bar and even a serving buffet.  In smaller homes, this extra space may even double as a dining room table.
  • Fuss free, stain resistant quartz counters are an excellent addition to a kitchen rebuild.  Granite and marble alternatives are also available, but require additional care and maintenance.  Combine your upgraded counters with a crisp tiled backsplash in porcelain, glass/stone combinations or marble varieties available in countless colours, shapes and sizes for greater impact.  For an extra luxe and dramatic look continue your countertop material as a backsplash.  This approach creates a seamless and visually stellar alternative to traditional tiled backsplashes. 
  • Perimeter bulkheads to house LED recessed pot lights may be used to alleviate the problem of a lack of overhead lighting, while linear undercabinet LED lighting may be incorporated to offer an additional source of lighting.
  • Other advantages of a new kitchen include soft-closing door and drawer hardware and easy to clean undermount or farmhouse sinks.



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