A popular trend for homes in Encinitas is the open floor plan. Instead of living in a home with niche rooms like a kitchen for cooking, dining room for eating, and living room for formal entertaining, you can create an open floor plan that adds flow and light throughout the home.
Basic Positives with Open Living:
- Increases the amount of natural light throughout your home
- Maximizes space with breaking the bank
- Improves foot traffic patterns
- Allows you to enjoy more of your home more of the time.
Here are 6 tips to help you with creating an open floor plan and overall open living for your home in Encinitas:
Tip 1: Remove Unnecessary Walls
Removing walls in your home is a basic concept. Taking down a wall can cost from $500 to $4000 when it’s professionally done. As long as the wall you are planning on removing is not a load-bearing wall and doesn’t hide plumbing pipes, it should be a relatively easy task for a contractor. Which would include the following:
- Demolishing drywall and studs
- Rerouting electrical lines
- Building a chase for an HVAC duct hidden in a wall
- Patching flooring
- Patching and painting the ceiling where the wall was attached
Taking down a load bearing wall is not a DIY (Do It Yourself) project and should be taken care of by a professional. You’ll also have to hire an architect/structural engineer to determine what type of support will replace the wall.
Remember, you don’t have to take down the entire wall to get more of an open feeling. You can receive just as much open space feeling from a half wall, which can pull double duty as breakfast bars, book cases, and extra storage.
Tip 2: Bring in More Light
Adding more daylight into your home can make rooms appear bigger and brighter. Here are some ways to bring in more light:
- Install Skylights: Adding a skylight can bring in lots of daylight – roughly 30% more than a similar-sized window.
- Widen Your Windows: Open up your home’s exterior by adding bigger, more energy-efficient windows.
- Add Sliding Patio Doors or French Doors: You can put these in where windows used to be or restructure your current doors. It would be best to let them open up to a deck, patio, pool, or other finished outdoor spaces.
- Change the Drapes: A low-cost way to bring in more light is to exchange heavy curtains for sheer drapes or fabric blinds.
Tip 3: Raise Your Ceilings
Have an older home? Your home may have a dropped ceiling beneath the original ceiling, which was considered a good way to save energy costs. Check to see if you can remove the dropped ceiling and gain six inches to a couple of feet in height.
You also can alter ceiling joists and rafters to create a vaulted, coffered, or tray ceiling. You’ll want to again consult with an architect/structural engineer because ceiling joists stabilize the walls of your house.
If your roof is framed with trusses, raising the ceiling height will be too expensive, problematic, and not really worth it in the long run.
Tip 4: Remodel Your Staircase
Staircases can be made more spacious by:
- Removing walls that the flank the stairs & adding freestanding rails
- Removing risers so the staircase is open and breezy
- Replace heavy wood banisters with steel or cable rails
This is a very pricy project and is not for DIYers. Make sure you hire an architect/structural engineer if there are any structural concerns about dismantling the stairway.
Tip 5: Install Built-Ins
Creating your home in Encinitas to be open living can be a major problem to your storage space. Because removing walls and widening windows can eliminate where hutches and cabinetry once stood.
“Those are things people don’t think about until they’re sitting with a box of books and wondering where they’re going to put them,” said Ginny Snook Scott, chief design officer for California Closets.
Some solutions to for more storage:
- Add more storage to your garage for the storage sacrificed for open living.
- If you have lost a bedroom, install a Murphy bed (a.k.a. wall bed – fold down bed – pull down bed) to provide and extra sleeping area when needed.
- Research for additional storage space you may have not known about
Tip 6: Basic Open Living
Make sure you can make the absolute most of scenic views when opening your floor plan. You want to orient new windows or doors to exploit your yards natural beauty and the sun’s free light.
Make sure to consult an HVAC specialist who’ll help relocate ducts and vents, as well as to evaluate whether your heating and cooling system can handle the increased volume that is created by a raised ceiling. You may have to upgrade your system.
Try to uniform the light colors on walls and floors to make open spaces look bigger and more cohesive. Also, install the same flooring throughout the open living space.
It is also important to take note of all of the inventory of art and furniture you must have on a wall, such as framed photos, art, and standing furniture like bookcases.
I truly hope that these tips will help brighten your home in Encinitas and add value to both your property and overall lifestyle.
Source: Lisa Kaplan Gordon, “Tips for Taking Down Walls and Creating an Open Floor Plan” http://www.houselogic.com/home-advice/home-improvement/how-to-remove-a-wall/#