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]
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 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?