Traditional Floor Plan Expands


Metamodern Designs for Living

“A new floor plan must be evaluated carefully to put the space where it’s needed. Equally important is to keep the rooms/spaces in the right proportions. Thirdly, the addition(s) should not be obviously an addition. It must appear to have been a part of the original  home – in style, materials and roof pitch.”


By Marcia Lyon
Example of an open floor plan (above). Image from

The Metamodern. Expanding Floor Plan: Designs for Living.PROBLEM

The rooms in this home (first floor plan) were not small, but they were all very separate. There was no connection between spaces.
The front entry (A) off a small porch, is an air-lock entry which helps to keep cold air outside.Great concept, but the space is small and two doors complicate entering. The foyer (B) features the beautiful woodwork of the stair. There is no coat closet.

The focal point of the traditional living room floor plan (C) is a wood burning fireplace. All living, relaxing and television watching took place here. Beyond that is the dining room (D), separated by tall wooden pocket doors. In the center of the home is the concealed brick flue (E).  It’s only function now it to vent the water heater.  We could gain some space if it was removed, but not enough to justify the cost. The kitchen (F) has lots of space, but the location of the refrigerator is wrong and there is only room for a table for two squished in the corner.

The backyard (G) is accessed through a door in the dining room onto a back porch (H).

The family parks in the driveway (I) and in the detached garage (J). Because of that, the door most used is the side door (K), which enters on the landing of the basement stair. Everyone comes up the three stairs and they go either into the kitchen or the foyer, negotiating two doors in a tiny space (L).  This not an ideal family entry.

This family of five lives an active life and they love to entertain. Different activities happen simultaneously in the three main rooms of the first floor.  The homeowners knew an ‘open concept’ floor plan would be inappropriate for this style of home but the wanted a more casual and spacious family room that was open to the kitchen.  They understood the need for a family entry, and wanted to enhance the dining room to make it a desirable place in which to spend time and entertain.

An addition toward the back was possible, but not out the sides.  I asked about the front, and even though they were surprised that I would contemplate a front addition, we determined that it would comply with the set-back requirement.

The Metamodern. Expanding Floor Plan: Creating Spaces.SOLUTION

To improve the front entry, and as a bonus, add a half bath, we needed to add about 7 feet toward the front.  This allowed us to add a more appropriately sized front porch (N) and a side entering front door. The position of the door helps with controlling cold air entering the house. Two front windows in the new, longer foyer bring in natural light. There is maneuvering room by the door to access the coat closet and or the half bath (P).

The side entry (K) was improved by eliminating one door. The end of the kitchen (F) provided the space needed for a real family entry (Q).  This space also has two windows, located above a “To Go” counter over cabinets. A sink is useful for clean up as you come in. There is a closet and a tall shoe shelving unit.

There is no door to the new kitchen (R) so people can go straight in and set the groceries on the island. A closet style pantry (S) adds storage. A modest addition is needed to create a spacious kitchen which is open to the new family room (U).

The dining room’s floor plan (D) is improved by moving a wall to the far side of the flue (E). This gives room for a china cabinet or a built in.  The access to the kitchen is without a door, and the view from the dining room is only of the pantry. Between the dining (D) and family room (U) are new frosted glass French doors that match the existing pocket doors in size and style.

The traditional living room (C) is left unchanged and will now be used as a conversation room or library, perfect for cozy nights in front of the fire.

Metamodern Designs. Creating Spaces by Marcia Lyon. Contributors Credit.Marcia Lyon is a professional architect, remodeling designer and freelance writer, producing metamodern designs locally and across the US and Canada.  Email: or phone 515-991-1300. Visit Marcia’s website at, for more information about consultations.

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