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Watch That Layout! Avoid Dead Ends

Watch That Layout! Avoid Dead Ends
The circulation pattern of farmhouse plan 497-15 forms a loop.
I always look for the exit when I enter an enclosed public space. My wife will tell you it’s a little irritating. But more than one way in and out isn’t just important for safety, it also allows for balanced daylight, promotes air circulation, and helps avoid claustrophobia. The same principle applies at home. My mantra is “No dead-end-rooms!” Or at least no dead ends in the major living spaces. No one wants to be caught in a corner at a holiday party!

Plan 48-250, shown below, does the job very well, promoting a graceful flow between the foyer, great room, kitchen, dining room, and office. Note the passage between the study under the stair to the hall leading to the dining area. In other words, the main layout is a loop.

Guests can move from room to room without being trapped. Kids can chase and be chased by the family dog (a favorite game in our house, anyway) without hitting a wall. Here the exercise room is a dead-end but it would be easy to fix that by opening a door to the porch.

In Plan 901-1, shown here (exterior above, plan below) the circulation path runs from

porch to living area to the kitchen/dining area to the pantry and back to the foyer via the side entry hall, which also leads leads to the garage. Groceries go right to the kitchen from the garage and guests can move around easily. So the plan is efficient as well as comfortable.

A looping layout is even more important in smaller houses to promote a feeling of spaciousness, as shown in Plan 497-15, at the top of this post. If you are wary of too much openness or would like occasional privacy between rooms, think about whether pocket doors will work. They can close off a room effectively without needing extra swing space. Also, accessible porches can provide extra breathing space.

Looping circulation also works in plans with with great rooms that combine kitchen, dining,

and living in one space as shown n Plan 888-15. The well situated island provides two ways in and out of the kitchen and thus around the larger space. Flanking porches offer additional paths around and through the great room and the rest of the house.   

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