One of the the most important factors in the comfort and livability of your new custom home is the floor layout. Effective use of space, arrangement of rooms and the general flow throughout your home, all affect how you'll feel about your home long into the future. It's critical to make sure you get your home’s floor plan right. At Copper Brook, we’ll take great care to consult with you to get the exact home you want, but here are some helpful ideas to think about as you are planning and designing your custom home.
A large home can feel smaller if the layout is closed in and space is not utilized effectively. In contrast, a smaller home can feel much larger if it's designed well and has more open areas. Older homes with many separated rooms and long hallways have given way to much more open floor plans. A more open home not only feels larger, but also makes it more functional and easy to walk from room to room.
Starting with your kitchen as the hub of your family activities, think carefully about how you are going to use the spaces in your home. A separating wall between your kitchen and living or family room will make your home seem closed and smaller. Open floor plans between your kitchen, family room, dining table, and outdoor patio with long, unobstructed sight lines will make your home feel much more spacious. In general, it's not a good idea to block sight lines with walls or doors unless you want the privacy and isolation in that part of your home.
When you are looking at printed floor plans and architectural blue prints in the planning stages, pay close attention to the sight lines from different locations in your house. When you enter through the front door, how far can you see? Is there a wall that blocks your view and access to the main room?
When you are are cooking in the kitchen, how far do your sight lines extend? Is the living room in clear view? Can you see outside to your patio and balcony? Can you see your fireplace? Can you see the view through your windows?
You want to connect with guests and your family when you are cooking in the kitchen, and not be separated by a wall. Breakfast bars on your kitchen island create an inviting space for friends or family to share the kitchen space with the chef.
Open spaces will have a big impact on the feel of your home, but another consideration is how your family will move through rooms. Long hallways, once a key component of older floor plans, are often minimized to make more effective use of space and open up your home. It’s more common to use rooms as passage to other rooms, rather than isolating a large portion of your home for hallways.
As you are designing your floor plan, it's important to consider the obstacles that you will encounter walking from room to room. You don’t want to have to circle around the sofa and cross in front of the TV every time you have to go to the bathroom from the kitchen. In fact, the kitchen should have multiple access points because of the amount of time your family will spend there. When you have many guests over, you don’t want bottlenecks blocking people away from the key rooms in your home.
When you wake up in the middle of the night, you don’t want to walk in front of your bay windows in your underwear just to have a little snack.
You want to make sure that there are clear and unobstructed traffic flows through your home that don’t diagonally cut across rooms. It’s also important, to think about where furniture will be located as you plan your layout. Your TV, sofa and dining room table will all take up a large amount of space and require clear passage around them.
Staircases can also cause layout problems. Do you want the stairs to your second floor bedrooms or basement family room to be in the front of your home, back or more centrally located? It's often a good idea to put highly accessed stairs near the kitchen and family room for convenience.
While you want the most used rooms of your home to be central and open, it’s also important to have privacy in other areas of your home. Your master bedroom will naturally be isolated from children’s rooms and the family room. It’s also a good idea to separate bathrooms for privacy and so you don’t see your toilets every time the door opens. This is a time when you want to close off sight lines as much as possible.
Another key consideration will be your family and entertainment rooms. It’s a good idea to enclose or separate noisy rooms that may interfere with others sleeping or talking in different areas of your home.
Consider creating a special family or game room off of your children’s bedrooms so that they have their own common area for TV, videos games, homework and when their friends come over. Giving the kids their own space, means you'll have your privacy as well.
The placement and size of windows will also contribute to the openness and spacious feeling of your home. The sight lines in your home can be extended off into the distance through windows to capture the exterior views. Window placement is particularly important for acreage homes, where the layout of your home will often centre on the natural views and topography of the land.
Consider how each room will be used when planning where windows will be placed. You’ll want nice large windows that let in light in the morning. However, you don’t want Calgary’s late summer sunsets interfering with watching an evening movie. Also, think about your neighbours, community walk ways and bicycle paths. When you have clear views of your neighbours enjoying the outdoors, your community will also have nice views of the interior of your home. Giant floor to ceiling windows are great on secluded properties, but much less appealing in inner-city homes.
There is a lot to consider when planning your perfect home, but the design experts and architects and Copper Brook will help you every step of the way. We’ll take the time to thoroughly consult with you to discover your family’s lifestyle needs now and into the future. We encourage you to explore home layouts and designs on your own, but trust that we’ll also be there to give you specific advice and feedback whenever you need it. We pride ourselves on the quality of our custom homes and renovations, but more importantly, we take the time to make sure you get the exact home you want at the budget right for you.