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Architectural Detail Experts | A Blog by Worthington Millwork

Ways on How to Give an Old House an Open Floor Plan with Columns

Posted by Worthington Millwork on 12/18/19 5:00 AM

Christy Widel HouseInterior walls define a space and consist of partition walls and load-bearing walls. Until the emergence of the open floor plan design in 1950, walls had always defined floorplans. The open floor plan was largely dictated by the need for a more functional space with fewer barriers.


The Interior Breakthrough

Several reasons caused architects to rethink and reorganize interior spaces in terms of how they could be more functional. First, technological advancement introduced central heating, meaning that rooms would no longer depend on fireplaces to maintain warmth.

This allowed for more space flexibility. Columns then made it easy to create load-bearing supports. Interior designs needed to be more adaptable and flexible, and homeowners needed to make better economic use of their space.

To date, the open floor plan has been known to turn tight floor plans into largely zoned interiors. Structurally, heavy-duty beams bear the weight of the above floor in an open floor plan. Aesthetically, most of these plans apply to areas such as the living room, kitchen, and the dining room.

Using Columns in Your Open Space Plan

From space, unobstructed view and light, the open concept of floor plans offers significant benefits over compartmentalized styles. While restructuring your old home, creative ways to strike the structural and aesthetic elements need to be addressed.

Columns are the elements that will support the weight of the roof and the upper floors. The good thing is; columns don't have to be covered. Several creative ways can be embraced to use them as design features.

First, Consider the Structure

Begin by discussing your design ideas with your structural engineer, in terms of creative ways you would like the columns addressed. Your designer or architect should help you space large columns to ensure they are not erected in the wrong places. Also, take note of the location of the electrical outlets and determine the function of each. The placement of the cable and internet connections may need to be relocated.

Workout the Furniture Layout

With proper planning, columns can become a focal point of your newly transformed space. You can create an exciting environment for your guests by arranging your furniture around the columns. If you plan to add scale to your interior, columns are your ultimate solution. Choose classic columns and make them elaborate with intricate leaves and eye-catching detailing.

These should create ample space and classical atmosphere. Depending on the style you choose, the type of material used should come into play. If you are more into the urban feel, you might want to choose the exposed steel columns which you can choose to paint. For the more traditional homeowners, drywall wraps can be used around the columns.

Use Faux Columns to Customize your Space

Columns were initially designed to be structural elements. Today, however, they can be used as non-structural elements to create an aesthetic feel. Faux columns are non-load bearing and can be erected in entryways. They can also be improvised to act as bookshelves, photo booth, or a display niche among others.

If you are looking for some grandeur with your open space plan, columns might be what you need. They can be built to stretch from the ceiling to the floor or simply meet the beams for a striking archway effect. The columns only need to be well spaced to preserve the flow.  One of the biggest challenges of giving an old house an open floor plan is load-bearing beams. If your wall is load-bearing, the weight of the level above will need to be supported. The project requires lifting of heavy materials, especially when supporting the beams in place. Because this project can be labor-intensive, hire a professional contractor.

Topics: Wood Columns, FRP columns, Fiberglass columns, wood look fiberglass columns, faux wood columns,, loadbearing columns

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