Are You Thinking About Building An "Open Floor Plan" House? Here's What You Need To Know

My new-home clients sometimes talk about a home design with “good flow”; or more often, an “open” or “open concept” floor plan.

“Open concept” sounds like a new idea, but is it?  What is an open floor plan, anyway?

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The first American homes were built in the 18th century, when home design was restricted by technology and fashion.  Fashion, because the only building traditions the colonists had were the ones they brought with them from Europe.

Technology, because 18th century homes didn’t have central heating (it wasn’t widespread in America until the early 20th century).  Since each room in the house had to be heated individually, it made sense to keep rooms small, separated from each other with walls, and easy to heat.

This all-brick early 19th-Century Georgian house plan is very formal - notice how the rooms are arranged around massive fireplaces in the center of each wing

Are pantries and windows taking the place of upper cabinets in kitchens?

A great take on kitchen design from Jim Weiker, Home and Garden Editor at the Columbus Dispatch: http://www.dispatch.com/content/stories/home_and_garden/2015/05/17/01-kitchen-switch.html



Need expert Residential Architectural advice for your new home or remodeling project? Contact Richard Taylor, AIA at RTA Studio Architects to arrange a meeting or an online consultation.

Farmhouse Remodel Part II (Sneak Peek!)

A few years ago I was asked to redesign the interior of a farmhouse in Granville, Ohio (see photos here), knowing that there would eventually be an opportunity to redesign the outside.  Now the outside's nearly done, and I can't wait to get out there and photograph it later this summer.

Until then, here's a sneak peek at the before-during-and-after:





Need expert Residential Architectural advice for your new home or remodeling project? Contact Richard Taylor, AIA at RTA Studio Architects to arrange a meeting or an online consultation.

Easy Peasy Mid-Century Modern Ranch Kitchen Remodel

Some kitchens require a total makeover, but sometimes, working with what you've already got is all you need to do.

That was the case with this little Mid-Century Modern ranch kitchen, where taking down the top half of a wall between the kitchen and casual dining area made all the difference.

Most of the existing custom cabinets were kept; a few were moved; and a little bit of good carpentry filled in the gaps.


The half-wall in the foreground was once a full-height wall, with just a doorway separating it from the casual dining area. Taking the wall down to half-height was the biggest change we made to the kitchen.


From inside the original kitchen, you can see how the full-height wall on the right closed the kitchen off almost completely. The soffits didn't help either - they were all taken out.


Here's that same view - new tile matches the original, as does the new granite counter on top of the half wall.  But the dramatically improved view is what this remodeling is really all about.


From the casual dining area, the change is obvious!


Inside the old kitchen - all of the upper cabinets on the left side of the picture were relocated or removed; the refrigerator was replaced with one that is flush with the cabinets.


The same view after the remodeling!


Need expert Residential Architectural advice for your new home or remodeling project? Contact Richard Taylor, AIA at RTA Studio Architects to arrange a meeting or an online consultation.

What Is Quality Construction?

First published on Zillow Blog

A friend of mine put me on the spot a few years ago when she asked me over to take a look at the new home she’d just purchased.

“What do you think?” she asked, “It’s good quality construction, isn’t it?”

For what she paid, sure, it was decent quality; it wasn’t in danger of collapse, the doorknobs weren’t falling off, and water wasn’t dripping through a leaky roof – but it wasn’t a showcase of construction skill either.

Take A Seat On These Comfy Home Built-Ins

You probably have a special piece of furniture that you sit in at your house - a chair, couch, sofa, recliner, rocker, or bench - maybe it's a chair so comfortable that it moves with you from house to house, until it's worn to threads.

You might also have a special place to sit in your home - a chair by a sunny window, a recliner with a perfect view of the TV, or a front porch where you can chat with neighbors.

Or maybe your house combines both, like the built-in seating in these homes.



Here's a room full of built-ins - the thick walls create space for wine bottles, and the banquette seating on three walls is topped with a shelf that extends into the window sills. A perfect place for - you guessed it - wine tasting.