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4 Tips for Single-Level Living

Ideas to maximize your floor plan when you’ve only got one floor.

 Photo: Rustica Hardware

1. Install pocket/barn doors.

An open-concept design is standard fare in one-story homes, but sometimes you need a little separation. With pocket or barn-style doors, you can close off rooms, such as the dining area or kitchen when necessary, but keep it wide open when not. The doors are easy to operate and simply disappear into the walls.

2. Raise the roof.

The ranch homes of yore had low-slung rooflines and short ceilings, making them feel boxed in. To allow your floor plan to feel light and airy, use cathedral ceilings in key areas. A great room is an ideal spot for a vaulted roof — and may afford space for a loft — but raising the ceilings in bedrooms and baths will enable you to reduce their square footage without feeling shortchanged.

3. Position garages with care.

You won’t want a garage infiltrating your livable space; nor will you want it to be too close to where you’ll be eating (because of fumes) or sleeping (because of noise). Our favorite solution? A freestanding garage con-nected to the home by a charming breezeway.

4. Consider the laundry.

Where to place the washer/dryer is always a bit of conundrum in a single-story home. A mudroom near the garage or family entry is a clear winner, because it can serve as both wash area and storage. It’s also frequently situated off the kitchen to shorten plumbing runs and save money. But consider a laundry space built into a master bath or walk-in closet. It makes sense, since that’s where soiled clothes are removed and clean garments are stored. Stackable units will save space.

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