Brechtje Philipsen 

Your Ground Floor Layout 

Option One

 

If structurally you are able to open up the stairs, you maybe asked to have a fire door leading to the kitchen. If this is the case then option one offers a pocket door to minimise the use of space, this can then be kept open to give the open feeling you desire in the space. By adding a window it also allows even more of the light to transfer from back to front of the house whilst still being with in regulations. 

Pros 

  • Great light through the space whilst keeping fire door 

  • Added window gives wow factor and unique point

  • Added storage and feeling of space throughout

  • Stairs get plenty of light and feel more connected

  • No movement of plumbing for bathroom or kitchen 

  • Can use existing units for kitchen and bathroom 

  • Boiler and electrics can stay where they are saving on costs 

  • Large storage cupboards for coats etc 

  • Pocket door can be left open to give open plan vibe 

Cons

  • Kitchen smaller than before to allow for larger door 

  • Some people don't like front door opening into space. 

  • Where are the load baring walls? Pillars required? 

  • Kitchen may still not get as much light as some of the other options 

Option Two

 

If the two separate exit points at either end of the house allow for the fully opened stair case then option two opens up the space for full light but also maximise storage by adding a hall and storage cupboard as well as slightly increasing the size of the bathroom. The kitchen is given a more 'family' 'hub' presence in the space with the dining table being the center work space that the room works out from.  

Pros 

  • Very light throughout, including the stairwell - leading to other floors being lighter 

  • Kitchen area is transformed into a central hub - centered around the dining table 

  • Chair shown would be the one brought in from outside in the winter 

  • Separate entrance for privacy and heat loss considerations

  • Large storage cupboard created in office room (good for resale too) 

  • To change to plumbing for kitchen or bathroom (saving on costs) 

  • Light and space created with double aspect. 

  • Best flow of space and sight lines 

  • Still works if stair walls are structural and windows added instead (like option 1) 

Cons 

  • May not be allowed to fully open stairs to the kitchen area (depends on access) 

  • Some people wont like bathroom opening up to this area (no regulations against this as long as their is a basin provided). 

  • Dining table may feel cramped for more formal dining.

  • TV may not be required/desired in this room (personal preference) 

  • Light from the door is lost into hallway instead of the space.  

Option Three

 

To truly open up the space completely gives you a large contemporary space. This may require beams placed with in this space depending on the location of the load baring walls. Option three doesn't involve moving the bathroom or kitchen so keeping costs down. You can still apply the front entrance of option two to this design if you don't like entering into a large contemporary open plan area. 

Pro's 

  • Maximize full light from all doors and windows

  • Opens up the stairs to maximum 

  • Kitchen plumbing and bathroom - unchanged

  • Small 1 m island created for feature and more storage 

  • Electric and boiler doesn't need to move saving on costs

  • Lighting will transfer to other floors - great feature space  

 

Con's 

  • Some people don't like entering into a room 

  • There maybe structural walls that now require pillars or steels to remove

  • Less wall space means kitchen smaller and less storage throughout 

  • More open place to heat may cause larger heating bills and less privacy

  • Loss of usable space may not be worth it for the added light  

Option Four

 

For this option we have assumed that the stairs can not open onto the kitchen area but have aimed for the kitchen to the central part of the house, increasing it in size and giving a view full run of the house to increase light. This design gives you a  separate office (smaller) at the front of the house, taking the room for a WC which uses the wall of the stairs. This then allows us to open the rest as a kitchen/diner. The stair doors would need to open into the space so a booth style table and chairs would work better here. 

Pro's 

  • Larger kitchen than before - with an island 

  • Island provides more seating and great views 

  • The dining table is central (make this a booth for better use of space) 

  • Uses fire doors if stairs can't open into the kitchen area 

  • Toilet is accessible from all areas and uses space of stairs well.  

  • Smaller self contained office space for concentration - added storage too

  • Nice light family living area - pair with correct colours to enhance this  

  • Great flow through this floor

 

Con's 

  • Stairs may still be dark (added a feature window if budget allows) 

  • Plumbing of sinks and bathroom needs moving throughout  

  • Most expensive of the designs to implement (still requires knowing which walls are structural). Boiler and electrics would need moving

  • Bathroom opens onto the dining which some people may not like - could access this in the office space if desired. 

  • Lack of space for the entrance (this would need to be the unit created in the office space I would image). 

If one floor has correct access to open and the other needs a fire door - something like this may work well and be quirky. 

Option Five

 

The last option assumes you can open the stairs partly but that the walls to the sides are structural and can't be opened. The cost of this one then lies in switching the front

of the house around to enter on the stairs side. Planning would be required for this. This allows the right hand side of the house to be opened up into a much more usable

space with a feature kitchen providing additional seating.  

Pro's 

  • Kitchen is a larger more usable space with additional seating and feature wine cooler facing dining area for entertaining and wow factor

  • Lots of light provided in kitchen / dining from the double ended aspect 

  • Adding bathroom using the stair wall keeps it from the kitchen/diner and moves it to the entrance hall access 

  • Better flow from the entrance through the property

  • Dining area is central to the house keeping it warm and inviting (seating 6)

  • Added porch keeps bills down and gives somewhere for coats and shoes on entering 

  • Electric box can stay where it is - cupboard created for access and add storage - saving on costs. 

  • Less chance of needing steels or supporting columns. 

 

Con's 

  • Could be costly and lengthy process as changing front requires planning and may not be accepted. 

  • Kitchen doesn't have the same flow as option 4 so could change for that which still works 

  • Changing of all plumbing and the boiler (electric is fine to stay where it is) 

  • Dining table may feel cramped and be changed for a booth style to enhance the design further 

  • Stairs may still feel dark considering the cost of the changes made 

My Preference: 

With this one it is going to come down to what is possible in your area with your stairs. It varies from place to place and each property is unique depending on if they already meet regulations and what windows and access you have available on the other floors. 

For cost verses gain and the over all flow I would say option 1 is my preference for you. I like that it has a separate entrance and added storage which are always top of the lists. But it the same way it also open up the whole space and gives a great open plan area with feature 'homely' kitchen that I can see being a real hub of life all day. It also doesn't require any plumbing being moved (kitchen and bathroom areas stay in existing position), boiler stays were it is and the electrics would be in the new storage cupboard. 

Over all I think option 2 will get you everything you require from the space - maximising light in the usable spaces and enhancing the flow throughout. in order to pursue this layout you will next require a builder or structural engineer to come out and look at the possibility of opening the stairs as it shows and that the walls needing removal are non-structural.