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So Many Variables In Custom Design! Do You Want A Traditional or Open Floor Plan—Which Is Best For Your Beach House?

So Many Variables In Custom Design! Do You Want A Traditional or Open Floor Plan—Which Is Best For Your Beach House? 1080 717 White Sands Design/Build

The open floor plan has become extremely popular, but don’t underestimate the advantages of distinct rooms with real walls.

When designing your dream beach house in South Beach, LA, the choice between an open or traditional floor plan can be challenging. Both options have their merits, and the key lies in finding the perfect balance that suits your lifestyle and preferences. As professional designers catering to luxury South Beach, LA custom homes, we understand the nuances of this decision. In this guide, we’ll explore the advantages and compromises of open and traditional floor plans and offer insights on striking the ideal balance.

My husband and I just purchased a home, which we’re now remodeling. We took down a wall, and the living room transformed from a claustrophobic hole to a magical space flooded with light. Sometimes, less is more—and this can definitely be true when it comes to design.

An open floor plan makes a home feel larger and brighter. It’s a fantastic option for effectively using limited space. But you also lose privacy and the convenience of being able to hide your clutter behind a closed door.

Design is about balance. Functional homes need open spaces, as well as nooks and crannies. The key is to figure out the right mix for your family.

The Case For An Open Floor Plan

An Open Floor Plan in Venice Beach and Manhattan Beach

1. You get more livable square footage.

South Bay cities have specific zoning regulations that limit square footage. Because we work primarily in this area, the White Sands team knows all the loopholes and tricks to make the most of the square footage you’re allowed.

An open floor plan creates an illusion of space because there’s nothing breaking up your line of sight. But it also provides more actual living space because you’re sacrificing less square footage to walls and hallways.

2. You have a brighter, airier home.

Fewer walls mean light from windows and skylights fills a space because nothing is blocking or redirecting it. Uninterrupted spaces allow natural light to flood in, enhancing the brightness and creating breathtaking beach views. Open floor plans can make your luxury Venice Beach,  Manhattan Beach, and Redondo Beach home feel even more inviting and connected to its surroundings.

3. It’s easier to stay connected.

My family enjoys our open floor plan because it lets us do different things in the same space. The kids may be playing in the living room, but I can keep an eye on them while I make dinner in the kitchen. Open floor plans facilitate multitasking, enhanced connectivity, and socializing.

From an entertaining standpoint, an open floor plan keeps the host engaged in the party. When the living space becomes part of the food prep area, you don’t feel like you’re missing out on socializing.

Venice Beach: Creative Bohemian Vibes

Venice Beach is renowned for its eclectic and vibrant atmosphere, attracting artists, entrepreneurs, and free spirits alike. An open floor plan is often the preferred choice to harmonize with the area’s creative vibe. Open spaces can facilitate a seamless transition between indoor and outdoor living, allowing the beach’s natural beauty to flow into your home.

Redondo Beach: Family-Oriented and Versatile

Redondo Beach offers a more family-oriented lifestyle where comfort and functionality take precedence. A blend of open and traditional floor plans can be the perfect solution here. You can create private and quiet spaces within an open floor plan, ensuring family members have their retreats when needed.

Manhattan Beach: Luxury and Sophistication

Manhattan Beach is synonymous with upscale homes and an affluent community. Traditional floor plans with opulent touches may be the way for those seeking a luxury beach house. Here, you can explore incorporating high-end design elements, such as statement art pieces, custom-built features, or even unique architectural details.

While aesthetics are crucial, don’t forget the practical aspects. Each beach community has its own zoning regulations, light optimization requirements, and space utilization considerations. Researching and understanding these nuances is essential. The White Sands team ensures that your beach house complies with local regulations and makes the most of the stunning surroundings.

What You Compromise With An Open Floor Plan

However, there are compromises to consider:

  • Privacy: Open spaces may lack the privacy needed for focused work or quiet relaxation.
  • Noise and Smells: Sound and odors can freely travel in open spaces, potentially leading to disruptions or unwanted aromas during meal preparation.
  • Design Challenges: Designing an open space may require careful planning to define distinct areas and create focal points.

The people mix—and so do the sounds and smells. Things can get frustrating if you need silence to work and someone is listening to music or watching TV. Great rooms where the cooking, living, and dining spaces flow also allow the free flow of kitchen aromas (ahem, garlic and curry lovers!).

We can address sounds with rugs and furniture placement and the smells with fans and ventilation, but these things will never be as effective as having walls and doors that shut.

An open floor plan also presents some design challenges. You may crave a bold accent wall or whimsical wallpaper, but you don’t want an entire floor of metallic paint or tropical blooms. Open spaces have no “natural” place to end a wall covering or trim, so sometimes you have to choose between finishing the entire space or skipping a finish altogether.

Tackling The Challenges Of An Open Floor Plan

To maintain privacy and boundaries without walls, consider the following:

  • Floating Furniture: Use furniture arrangements to create virtual rooms within an open space.
  • Focal Points: Plan focal points carefully, incorporating elements like area rugs, furniture, light fixtures, and art to define different areas.
  • Architectural Features: Cased openings, glass walls, French doors, and interior windows can preserve openness while providing boundaries and wall space.
  • Pass-Through Windows: These offer convenience and flexibility in opening up spaces when needed.

Your home has different spaces to serve different needs. Each of these areas should have its own identity and boundaries. How do you create these boundaries without walls?

Floating furniture (furniture that’s not flush against a wall) can create a room within a room. A couch facing a few chairs, with end tables and lamps, can frame a living space within a great room. A chandelier over a table can denote a dining space.

Create boundaries in Venice Beach and Manhattan Beach.

All rooms need focal points. Area rugs, furniture, light fixtures, art, molding, and trim can serve as these points and anchor and define spaces. Focal points need to be planned out from the beginning before construction begins. This is why working with a designer who can visualize furniture and dimensions from a flat plan is so important.

Preserving Spaciousness and Boundaries

Cased openings, glass walls, French doors, and interior windows preserve openness and light while providing boundaries and wall space for furniture or art.

Floor-to-ceiling glass doors integrate your indoor and outdoor spaces, which lets your home be open and airy some of the time and more intimate at other times. The addition of drapes can instantly add an interior focus, an air of coziness and privacy.

Coziness and privacy in Venice Beach and Manhattan Beach.

Pass-through windows are a great way to open up your space only when it’s convenient. Right now, we are building a home with a pass-through window that bifurcates a dining space.

The original design called for a window in the kitchen overlooking the deck and ocean. We decided to make it a pass-through window, with an eating counter on both the interior and exterior sides. There’s a cheery, well-lit dining nook when the window is closed. When the window is open, there’s a larger table where some diners can sit indoors and others outdoors, with both sides facing each other.

Dramatic architectural elements in Redondo Beach and Manhattan Beach.

The Architectural Benefits Of Traditional Floor Plans

The walls are architecturally convenient. They provide a place to hang art and mount a TV. They provide a foundation for built-in storage, such as shelves and cabinetry. Walls and hallways create opportunities from dramatic architectural elements, such as transoms or interior windows, placed in a way that allows light but preserves privacy.

The Perfect Beach House Requires Balance

The Perfect Beach House in Venice Beach and Manhattan Beach

An artful designer is able to create an effective space that preserves both spaciousness and privacy and feels stylistically cohesive. Often, it’s about using an open plan in part of the home and a closed floor plan in another in order to maximize entertainment space, capitalize on views, and simplify day-to-day living. In the world of luxury South Beach, LA custom homes, the choice between an open or traditional floor plan isn’t black and white. It’s about finding the perfect balance that aligns with your family’s needs and preferences. If you’re ready to remodel or custom-build your beachfront haven, let us help you discover the ideal floor plan that complements your unique lifestyle and aspirations.

Ready to remodel or custom-build but not sure what kind of floor plan best suits your lifestyle? Let me help you find your family’s balance. Contact Us Today.

Thanks for reading,

Hawlie Ohe

Hawlie headshot for home air purifiers

Hawlie Ohe heads White Sands Interiors, and she and her husband are raising two boys along the South Bay coast. Hawlie brings the curiosity that fueled her first career, as a journalist, to her interior design approach: Who are you, who do want to be, and how can this space get you there? Great design makes you feel present and engaged, and Hawlie is here for it. Because she wants to help you be “here” (in this space, in this moment), too.