Small house plans, little house plans, anything to do with residential architecture seems to resonate with me. Perhaps that’s why I named my blog “Little House in the Valley.” However, recently our little rental house in the valley has been the bane of my existence. How’s that? I run into door ways while turning a corner, I trip over  the vacuum that someone’s left in the hallway, I have to leap over hall fans that are placed in our narrow hallways to generate some air flow; all of a sudden our little rental house seems just too little.

[dropshadowbox align=”none” effect=”lifted-both” width=”auto” height=”” background_color=”#ffffff” border_width=”1″ border_color=”#dddddd” ]Update 2017: We recently purchased our own manufactured home and went with a Golden West Limited Edition Beachfront floor plan that we modified that is almost 1,500 square feet and we had a garage built. If you’re interested in purchasing a manufactured home, this book has some good information. Or check out my manufactured home page that details our own journey AND tips about designing and buying a home.[/dropshadowbox]

Blu Homes Origin – just under $500K (for the home only)

But I’m not going to let a poorly designed, 1950’s ranch style house deter me from my dream of a little-not-so-mcmansion kind of house. There are a plethora of options out there, especially if you’re a DIY type of person. I’ve found plenty of prefab designs to drool over, yet one has recently struck a chord with my little house dream: Blu Homes. (Update 2016: BluHomes are no longer reasonably priced. Their smallest home starts just under $500K and that doesn’t include land! That’s the Bay area for ya.) Not only do their prefab homes start at a reasonable price, they are environmentally friendly, and have open floor plans. Their four initial designs range in size from 408 sq. ft. to over 1,500 sq. ft. (still somewhat small compared to modern-day homes.) The basic floor plan that all four designs include is an open design incorporating the living/dining/kitchen area. No need for walls separating out each room making it compartmentalized, Blu Homes opens up the “living” area for a more natural flow of traffic. A few reasons why an open floor plan appeals to me:

  • Increased air flow. This is important considering I own pets and my husband is a smoker. The dust, smoke, and pet smell is easily trapped in smaller rooms, but diluted in larger areas (not so sure this is any safer, but it’s less smelly!) BluHomes boast clean air flow by designing their homes to have maximum air filtration.
  • Furniture options are innumerable. Instead of worrying about wall placement, or too much wall space, furniture can be moved to the center of the living space giving each area it’s own function, while at the same time, keeping foot-traffic flowing.
  • No more running into doorways or tripping through narrow halls. The days of the long, narrow hall are disappearing in modern home plans. Yet, they still do exist. That wasted space isn’t needed in a living area, there’s no need to separate the living room from the dining room or kitchen. An open floor plan makes better use of available space without clouding it up with hallways.
Blu Homes Element two-bedroom floor plan
Blu Homes Element two-bedroom floor plan

Blu Homes smaller plan, the  two-bedroom Element, is one of my favorite plans. (2016 Update: Their home plans have changed and the Element is no longer listed on their website. It looks like the Lotus has taken its place, doubled in size and now starts at $725,000!) The only thing I’d add would be a kitchen bar or island for seating 2-4 people, an option available in two of their larger plans. The open floor plan in the living area allows endless possibilities for furniture arrangement and foot-traffic. No more running into doorways!

Does your home have an open floor plan? Are there drawbacks to an open floor plan?


  1. Budgeting in the Fun Stuff Reply

    We have a two-story that is 1750 sq.ft. The bottom floor has an open Great Room into the kitchen overlooking it. The half bath is in the 5 foot hallway leading there. The top floor has the bedrooms and 2 full baths. I love the openness of the bottom floor. We just push all our furniture to the sides to make room for 3-4 tables for our potluck parties. 🙂

    • @Budgeting in the Fun Stuff – That’s a terrific point, it’s much easier to host parties with an open plan. Thanks for sharing that info!

  2. @Jennifer Barry – That’s a good point, more foot traffic would be a little more distracting! However, the openness of the plan does give the illusion that the space is larger than it actually is!

  3. @eemusings – You may have a point, however if the space really isn’t that large say around 1,500 sq ft or less, it may not make much of a difference whether the space is open or closed. Although I guess I can see where one might argue that you could close off the air ducts to the rooms that aren’t in use, so maybe the goal would be to increase insulation and use fans during the summer!

  4. Funny about Money Reply

    Weirdly that floor plan has almost exactly the same layout as my late mother-in-sin’s 1970 double-wide. Except hers had a place for a washer & dryer…can’t make out the image well enough to see if there’s a w/d hookup.

    I suspect the open floor plan might actually be cheaper to air-condition, because you wouldn’t need as many vents and temperature control would be more even throughout the dwelling.
    .-= Funny about Money´s last blog ..Tiny Houses of Yesteryear =-.

  5. I am sitting in my living room right now, in our open floor plan, and I can barely hear myself think because we are currently running our dishwasher. Having the kitchen open to the living area is a huge drawback while at the same time being a selling point. All cooking and cleaning noises are a distraction in the living room, but it’s nice being able to keep a close eye on my son without him being in the kitchen with me.

    • @Jennifer -Thanks for adding your personal experiences of living within an open floor plan. I can see how the it could be noisy, but at the same time you can see the entire living area. Thanks for visiting!

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