Six reasons why I’m loving our closed floor plan

We’ve always figured ourselves for “open floor plan people”. I mean, open floor plans are great for many reasons….  They’re open, airy, and offer increased visibility which is fantastic, especially if you have young children. Not to mention, they’re great for interacting with guests at parties.   Our first two houses had open floor plans and we loved them. In fact, I don’t know that I’ve ever NOT lived in an open floorplan. My parents house is open. All of my apartments were open. And Joey reports the same. He’s only ever lived in open floor plans.

So, when we bought our 1975 ranch-style house with a closed floor plan (which I’m defining as having a separate kitchen), we automatically figured that we’d be knocking down walls to recreate that openness. And although we still might open the kitchen more up to the dining space eventually, we’re looking at it a bit differently now. Because, the truth is, we’ve noticed some unexpected benefits to having a closed floor plan since living here.

When we moved in, I’d assumed that I’d have to “get used” to the closed floor plan. “Deal with it” until we had the funds for a full reno. But, I was completely taken aback when we moved in, and I actually kinda liked it. No, no… Not kinda. I DID like it. Granted, we’ve only lived here for a short time, but still… like is like.  And I figure, if I’m liking a layout with an independent kitchen this quickly, that’s a REALLY good sign. Why do I feel this way, you ask??? Well….

1. Family dinners are family dinners. This was one of the first things I noticed.   Meals automatically became about us and our food.   Not the TV.  Gone are the days of redirecting Lucas’s attention from the TV to his plate. Gone are the days of Joey getting irritated with annoying commercials and leaving his seat to mute the set. Gone are the days of meals with little conversation due to other distractions. We can’t see or hear the TV from the kitchen, so it’s pretty much out of sight, out of mind. Our new closed floorplan has opened our meals up to conversation, which is pretty much awesomesauce.

2. Speaking of TV, there’s been much less of it in general. With our open floorplan, the TV was always on. I mean, we could always see/hear it, so it was just second nature to wake up, turn on the set and then leave it on the majority of the day until bedtime. Even if we didn’t sit and watch it, it was always on. We started realizing that this maybe wasn’t such a good thing when instead of singing nursery rhymes, Lucas began singing State Farm commercials. Seriously. We would laugh and then wonder if it was funny or sad. But, we just.couldn’t.stop. The draw of the TV was just too much. We couldn’t not have it on and once it was on, it was hard to turn off.

Now, in our new house, there are days when we don’t turn on the TV at all for most of the day. If we’re doing stuff in the kitchen, bedrooms, whatever, the TV just stays off because there’s no point in having it on. We can’t see or hear it anyways. And, we’ve found that Lucas would rather hang out with us, rather than sit in front of the TV without us, so he’s exposed less TV as well. It’s very different, but good. And nothing that we intentionally strived for. Just a beneficial side-effect of our home’s layout.

3. In place of TV, is music. Before, unless I was in the car or on a jog, I rarely just turned on the tunes. Namely, because the TV was always on. Now, when I’m cooking or doing something in one of the bedrooms, I find myself busting out the Pandora. I’d forgotten how great it can be to just turn on some music. Lucas likes it, too. We’ve found spontaneous dance parties to be much more common around these parts.  Much moreso than in our previous homes.

4. Closed floorplans are ALSO great for having guests over. Just in different ways. We haven’t had a ton of people over yet, but in the few instances that we have, I’ve noticed several things.   With our open floor plans, I could see and talk to my guests at all times, but I’m so bad at multitasking that this would often result in burnt food, or me forgetting something major… Like putting all the food out, etc. Now, I can pre-plan and get most stuff done before guests arrive, then finish the last few things in the kitchen with focus, and have the rest of the night to chill with friends and family.  Thus, our guests actually GET all the food I’ve prepared.  And the food is relatively intact (relatively).  Also, the closed floor plan allows me to keep my mess contained to the kitchen, leaving a nice, neat dining and living space to entertain guests in. With our previous open floor plans, my cooking mess was out for all to see. It always made me feel scattered to have my countertops cluttered with stuff in front of guests.

5. I get my steps in. With an open floor plan, you can see everything, making things easier to find. With a closed floorplan, you must walk to find things. Some may see this as a downside, but as a lazy exerciser, I like it. Fitness is about overall movement and walking more contributes to that. At least that’s what I’m telling myself. 😉

6. I’m reminded of how much I enjoy cooking.  Sans distractions, I can actually focus on this task alone.  And I really love it.   I’ve found myself rediscovering creativity in the kitchen, which has been missing for quite some time.   I’m not sure if it’s the enclosed kitchen or the fact that I feel so at home in this house, but I’ve really noticed a difference in myself in this way since moving in.

Aside from that, I’m really finding our little, somewhat outdated kitchen to be quite charming.   Even the nose-cabinets are growing on me…

IMG_7221

(Flashback to moving day… I’ll have updated pics for you soon. 🙂 ) 

And I’m feeling more and more tempted to leave the cabinetry and layout original to maintain that charm (although, who knows… minds are changing daily around these parts).  It’s just so relaxing to sit in our kitchen in the mornings, sipping my coffee, as I gaze at our yard through the french doors.   Quietness.   No distractions.  I think it’s fair to say that I love our new home and feel so very fortunate to be here.  Especially since something (ie: closed floor plan) that we originally saw as a downside is proving to be much more enjoyable than we’d originally thought.  So, I guess the moral here is that you just don’t know until you give it a chance.    And I’m really glad that we did.

TDC Before and After
Advertisements

12 Tips for staging and showing a house

Hello all!   This is me.  Typing on my computer.  Eagerly awaiting the getting-of-the-keys for our new house.  The sellers will be out on Wednesday… they negotiated a 7 day lease-back after closing to allow them time to move.   It’s so weird to know that the house is ours, but we can’t visit it yet.  A deal is a deal, though… but, dang, is this torture (forme).  So, in the meantime, we wait.  And as I wait, I’ve thought about our lives over the past 6 weeks.  A large part of which was spent was prepping and staging our home to be sold.   After having our home on the market (and having seen many homes on the market), I definitely have a fresh appreciation for staging. We’ve gone through the process of listing a house twice at this point, and I’ve learned a ton each time. So, I thought I’d share my favorite tips. You may have heard a few of these before, but I can’t emphasize their importance enough.  Seriously, they’re worth the time and effort.  So, with that said, here we go…

1. Organize!!  You saw this process first-hand when I organized No Man’s Land, the craft closet, mud room and Lucas’s closet. I also organized our master closet, hall closets and drawers/cabinets as time allowed. I just didn’t write posts about them. I started this process WAY ahead of time. I knew that we were house-hunting, but I had no idea when we would actually find something. So, better safe than sorry. And I can’t even tell you how glad I was that all of that was done when we found our new house. It made staging our home so much quicker.  Plus, because our secondary closets are small, I’m especially glad that I staged both Lucas’s closest and the craft closet in different ways to demonstrate their usability.

2. Purge!! Get rid of anything that’s taking up precious space.  If your rooms are cluttered with extra furniture or tchotchkes, clear them out. You want your home to look put together and cozy, but not cluttered. With our first home, we actually rented a storage unit and moved any excess furniture, boxes, and extraneous stuff there.. It helped a lot. Especially with the closets. We only kept items in the closets that we used frequently to allow them to appear spacious and organized. All lesser-used items went into the storage unit.

3. Plants. Although you want an uncluttered space, you don’t want it to appear cold. Keep out some nicer accessories as well as house plants. Plants warm up spaces and make them appear loved. So, include them. Also, our first realtor told us to leave a bowl of green and red apples on the kitchen counter or table. She said it evokes a feeling of health and well-being, so I did that both times.  Whether or not it had an effect is beyond me, but I figured it was worth a shot.

4. Personal pictures. I know that most experts say to remove all personal pictures/accessories. I’m personally on the fence about this as I think it depends on how the pictures are displayed. Huge poster-sized wedding pic above the fireplace?? Yeah, I’d probably change that out. Something like our asymmetrical frame wall??

IMG_2667

I left it. Why?? Because I felt like the overall style and placement of the gallery wall was the star of the show here. Not the personal photos so much. Since the larger frames contained more neutral art, and only some of the smaller photos were of us (and theses pictures were artsier candid shots for the most part), I felt like the frame collage only enhanced the space and showed how this wall could be used. Now, I will clarify that this is the only place in the house that we have family pictures. If they were displayed in every room, I’d definitely consider changing some of them out so as not to overwhelm the buyers with our smiling faces.

5. Clean EVERYTHING. And keep it clean. I started this process several weeks prior to listing our home.  Begin with the less frequent tasks like cleaning your oven, windows, fridge, etc. Clean your fridge even if you’re taking it with you. Buyers look at everything and you don’t want anything to turn them off. Plus, it’s less for you to do later. Knock a few chores off your list each day until you’re left with your more frequent tasks. Then keep those up. Not much of a cleaner? Hire someone to do a deep-cleaning once, then simply maintain it.

6. Fix anything that’s partially done or needs maintenance. We had a water spigot and some drywall that needed repair in the exterior/garage. We knew that an inspector would flag that during the home inspection and that if the buyers requested for us to fix it, we would have to hire a licensed plumber to stay in compliance with our contract. This equals increased expense. It was a simple fix that Joey was more than capable of doing himself, so he knocked it out before the house was listed. Now, don’t get me wrong… A licensed plumber/electrician/HVAC person, etc., should be hired for more technical fixes, so I’m definitely not recommending attempting something beyond your skill set… But this was an easy item that Joey had done a number of times. So, he did it himself to save a buck.

7. Come up with a toy system if you have kids. Pack up any toys your kids don’t play with regularly to reduce clutter. Lucas sort of did this himself this time around when he decided to donate most of his toys, but with our first home, I simply put most of his seldom-used toys in storage.  And seriously, y’all… he didn’t miss them.  Since the living room was/is his most common play-spot and his toys usually end up here….

IMG_6393

I grabbed an extra basket that I had on hand and had him put his toys in there when he wasn’t playing with them. Having the basket available was super handy if we needed to get out of the house fast for a showing. I just scooped them all in there and placed it under his white table. I also emphasized that he was to only play with one thing at a time. That he needed to put away toys when he was done before pulling out something new. This took a good deal of reinforcement (AGOODDEAL), but worked out in the end and made last-minute showing prep so much less stressful.

8. On that note, keep things available for an easy escape. We kept all purses, shoes, wallets etc. right by the garage door so that we could just grab ’em and go if we got the call. No more, “Lucas, where did you put your shoes??!” “Mom, they’re not shoes, they’re sandals!” (Arg! Beside the point, man!). We’d asked for one hours notice for showings beforehand, but that time goes awfully quick in a pinch.

9. Remove any attached item that you don’t want to sell. If you have a certain lighting or plumbing fixture that you want to take with you, replace it before you list your house. Otherwise, you’ll likely have to leave it. Also, in many states, if you don’t specify otherwise, all window treatments are included with the sale of the house as well as any shelves attached to the walls. This came as a total surprise to me the first time we sold our house. I thought only the window blinds conveyed, so I removed all curtains and curtain rods and packed them. Imagine my annoyance when I found out that those stayed. I had to unpack and rehang them, which was the last thing I wanted to take time to do in the midst of packing. This time around, I made sure to specify in the listing that the blinds conveyed, but curtains, curtain rods, and the shelves in both the living room and Lucas’s room were not included in the sale of our home. I don’t get why the buyers would even want your curtains, especially if they don’t go with their stuff.

10. Tout any improvements from the rooftops. Bring the buyers attention to these things… It helps them equate these improvements to the amount of work they DON’T have to do upon buying your house. Create lists, frame them, and display them prominently in your home…

I did this with the sale of both of our houses and it worked great.  In fact, after 3 weeks of having our first house on the market, I finally displayed a list of improvements, and our house sold to the very next showing. Success in my book (even if it wasn’t the list that entirely did it)!  This time around, since we had our house built, I created two lists… One was a list of upgrades included during construction, the second was improvements added since construction. I didn’t include dates this time around since we’ve only lived in the house for a year and a half, but the first time I included the months/years that the improvements were made.

11. Make your house smell good. Bake cookies, heat up cinnamon on foil in the oven, use a Scentsy, whatever. Be sure your home smells welcoming. Nothing is a bigger turnoff than a musty, stinky house.  So, don’t go nose-blind.  Take action!

12. Don’t underestimate lighting. Put on fresh eyes. Pretend the house isn’t yours and walk through with the eyes of a buyer. Add lighting to any area that seems dark or unwelcoming. Move a lamp, or simply make sure the lights are on when you leave the house for a showing. It really makes a huge difference. You want the home to feel light and bright from the second a buyer walks in.  I literally turned on every light/lamp in the house for every showing this time around.  The one exception was the overhead light in the master bedroom.  I wanted the master to seem cozy and serene and the overhead light just seemed glaring (plus, the wall of windows allowed in plenty of natural light anyways).  I simply turned on our bedside lamps in that space and called it a day.

So, that’s pretty much what I’ve got.  I’m not gonna lie… keeping a house show-ready (especially with kids) is no joke.  But it can be done.  Hopefully getting a jump on a few things will help keep the process easier to manage.

And with that said, I must return to my original obsession:  I’m positively antsy to get access to the new place so that I can take some house tour pics to share with ya’ll.   Hopefully, if I play my cards right (ahem! If I can tear myself away from our new, currently-internetless house for long enough), I’ll have something up later this week.   So, with that, I say adieu for today.  I hope ya’ll have a great week!  Catch ya on the flip side! 🙂

Shared at:

TDC Before and After