Monday, April 08, 2013

Simple Plan

My Cottage Floor Plan - part 2

I would like to thank each and every one of you who joined the discussion in the comments of part 1. You truly made the post ten times more interesting.

Merci tout d'abord à tout ceux qui ont apporté leur grain de sel dans la partie 1, rendant ainsi l'article plus passionnant que ce que j'avais écrit.

I was surprised how many people seem to like small cozy rooms.

Well, right now, if you're remodeling in France or building a house from scratch, the look people are going for is an open floor plan where the kitchen, dining-room and living-room have no separation.

J'ai été surprise par le nombre de personnes qui semblaient apprécier les petits espaces cozy, alors qu'il me semblait qu'en ce moment tout le monde souhaitait de grandes pièces à vivre décloisonnées. Beaucoup des maisons que j'avais visitées avaient été ainsi transformées.

When all of my walls were torn down in order to create the new slab of the house, I had a clean slate to create what I wanted. Both exciting and scary. I looked for some open floor plan inspiration to see if that's where I wanted the house to go.

Quand tous les murs du rez-de-chaussée ont dû être tombés pour couler la nouvelle dalle, je me suis retrouvée avec une ardoise blanche et des cloisons à redessiner (ou pas) où bon me semblait.

Given that my fisherman's cottage is tiny (downstairs is about 500 square feet), I was torn between recreating the former walls or seizing the chance to live in a completely different space organisation.

So I listed pros and cons:

J'ai donc fait une liste de pour et de contre:

  • giving the illusion of a larger living space;
  • being able to talk to your guests while cooking;
  • having a feeling of harmony downstairs;
  • going with the flow of fashion (might seem stupid, but who isn't influenced by what everybody else's does?)
Le Pour:
  • donner une illusion d'espace dans un lieu relativement petit;
  • pouvoir parler à mes invités tout en cuisinant;
  • donner une impression d'harmonie au rez-de-chaussée;
  • suivre la mode (ça a peut-être l'air ridicule comme critère, mais qui n'est pas influencé par ce qui se fait en ce moment?)

  • In such a small cottage, the kitchen is also the laundry room... which can be very noisy!
  • Old houses were not built with an open floor plan... Somehow old cottage and open-plan don't go together, though, I did find really great inspiration picture where the "cottage feel" is overflowing the open floor plan.
  • The tiniest the cottage is, the less wall surface you have and then if you get rid of all the inside walls, where do you put your furniture? I'm no minimalist, so I had to take that in consideration.
Le Contre:
  •  Dans une petite maison, la cuisine est aussi la buanderie et avoir son lave-linge dans son salon, c'est tout de suite moins glamour.
  • Les vieilles maisons étaient conçues de façon cloisonnée. N'était-ce pas trahir la maison que de lui supprimer tous ses murs?
  • Plus la maison est petite, plus la surface en mur devient restreinte, du coup, où placer les meubles si je n'ai plus de murs intérieurs. Dans la mesure où je ne suis pas une minimaliste du meuble, c'est quelque chose que j'ai dû prendre en considération.

This was when I learnt that remodeling a house is like being married: you need to compromise. You'll have to come back later to see what choices I made, if you don't mind. I've been gardening in the cold today (I got tired of waiting for real spring), so I'm really exausted and I'm off to bed.

C'est à peu près à cette époque que j'ai compris que rénover une maison, c'est comme être mariée. Il est indispensable de faire quelques compromis. Cela ne vous ennuie pas de revenir un peu plus tard pour découvrir quels compromis j'ai fait. Je suis trop fatiguée ce soir pour continuer cet article... Je me suis finalement décidée à faire du jardinage de printemps par ce temps hivernal et ça m'a épuisée!

Did you have to compromise with your house as well?

 Feel free to add to the pros and cons in the comments as it seems most of you have opinions on the subject!

Et vous, sur quoi avez-vous fait des compromis dans votre maison?

N'hésitez pas à compléter ma liste de pour et de contre dans les commentaires, car d'après ce que j'ai compris, tout le monde a une opinion sur la question!

See you soon,

PS: As for the previous post, the pictures have been in my inspiration file, way before blogging. I had planned to track down their source... But a cat crisis prevented me to. I will do that next weekend!

I'm joining:

      Join Me on Tuesday for            Vintage On A Dime                   
Lavender Garden Cottage                                       


  1. there are definitely lots of pros and cons. i've lived in both and although i love the look of open plan, i find with a family it's good to have some separate areas for peace and quiet sometimes.

  2. Je ne peux pas te donner d'idées... je suis nulle en plan sur la comète. Et puis, c'est toujours toi qui m'en donnes des idées et je te copie sans aucune honte !

  3. I personally prefer the separate areas as sometimes people want their own areas and space to breathe. I also think you have more options in decorating. x

  4. Unless you have unlimited resources I think you always have to compromise. Many times the house dictates how it should be decorated. When I decorate or help others I try to stick to the character of the home especially if the home is older and a specific style. Kind of like what you said about old houses were not built with an open concept plan. On the flip side you can update any home with the modern amenities that you want if you do it and keep the integrity of that home, like keeping some of the original character maybe the stone or exposed beams, trim work.. With a smaller cottage as long as you have a private personal space for each family member one larger open concept live/play area can work great. If your cottage is small an open concept room is not going to seem gaping. You can still give it that cozy warm feeling with the elements that you use like color, texture, furnishings, etc.... Your home is a reflection of you not trends, even though those do influence our decisions. That said there is no right or wrong in my opinion. I am sure whatever you decide it will look beautiful. enough babble from me. Have a great week!

    1. Your point of view is very interesting. I did try to get the house to reflect my way of life and to marry modern life with old cottage!

  5. I definitely went with a more open plan when I designed our new home. The house we live in now has a large kitchen, but there is definite separation from the kitchen to the living area, and I always felt closed off from that. In my new plan, I definitely used furniture placement to define the change in space from kitchen to living room. I like what Wanda (above) said about keeping some of the original character. You can definitely blend that with a more open plan and it will look awesome!


    1. Oh my goodness...could I have used the word "definitely" any more?!?

  6. Compromise was a word that I battled with originally when we were renovating the main floor of our home...which is 860 square feet. I have never regretted the open concept arrangement as we do have one wall separating the dining room from the living room which somehow gives that space a feeling of its own but I love the fact that while in the kitchen I can communicate with people in the living room and the TV sitting area.
    I think the trick is to think about how you live. We seem to get hung up on pre-determined spaces that we are supposed to have in our room, dining room etc. and maybe that throws us off. We have a large living room divided into two spaces, one to cuddle up with a book or chat next to the fireplace and at the other end another space with a small TV and stereo etc.
    I have seen really practical solutions of dining tables in living rooms that function for dining when needed. Perhaps we just need to break free of the formulas that seem to hold us down and cut off our creative possibilities.
    Number one rule for me is listen to the space, maintain its character if there is any and live true to your lifestyle.

  7. Qui!! I have always had to compromise. When we built our home almost 21 years ago, we had a daughter who played the piano and finding a quiet dishwasher for the kitchen was almost impossible. We loved our daughter's playing, but we wanted to be able to close off the room, where the piano was located. My husband did not want to listen to a noisy dishwasher, when watching television. Therefore, our house is built in the old fashioned way - no open floor plan. I do wish that I had a larger expanse to decorate, but I do like being able to shut myself away at times!!

  8. Yes, I have to compromise. We have an open floor plan in the living room and I always have an idea and husband has an entirely different one. He doesn't let me decorate like I want. So...compromise. Your photos are beautiful!

  9. Yes. We compromised. That blue and white room bookcase was one of my inspirations, but I could only partially remove the wall due to pipes and the budget limitations. The plumbing and electricity work took a lot of the budget for remodel. One knows how that goes... The layout ended up being more like the 5th room with no staircase so, open enough for conversation, but not completely. There is still sense of a room. I've never taken pictures of the little sitting area I have between the dining and the music area. It is accidental, but visitors always like to sit and talk in three particular chairs that make sort of a circle or triangle with each other. So we are using the space differently. I even have a desk.

    1. I really hope you'll share that cozy corner someday on your blog!

  10. I prefer the separate rooms although for entertaining the open floor plan would be nice! I definitely think you have more options in decorating with more separate spaces...:)

    Blessings, Vicky
    Life On Willie Mae Lane

  11. Magali... I am a new follower but wanted to add my thoughts. The great open area is wonderful, but you loose some intimacy with only outside walls. You have to be creative in placing furniture to form cozier areas. I really miss having wall space for hanging art and as backdrops for tables and such. My kitchen,dining room and living room are basically one large L-shaped room. At times wonderful...other times not so much!

    1. Thanks for sharing your thoughts. I'm off to check your blog and follow back of course!

  12. I guess we want flow, but maybe not the noise that flows with it? A lot of new builds have a very modern, minmalistic look without rugs or curtains. That tend to exaggerate the sound level. High ceilings ad to the problem. With smaller cottages i think it could work better soundwise but then you have the issue of combining patterns and materials so it doesnt look cluttered. I think it is a better option to get flow with light, colors and vistas. The same as in a garden :-)

  13. How nice to meet you on your visit to my blog. Having recently returned from living in Brittany for 12 years, I do know what you mean about 'le style Francais'. How it has change in the last few years!
    We started our life there in a farmhouse, moved to a huge mansion near Bordeaux, and finished up back in Brittany building our own house! I have never liked open plan designs. My kitchen always had a small table so I could chat to people but the dining room was separate as I dont like kitchen smells all over the place.
    I'll be very interested to see what you decide.

  14. Une maison avec de petites pièces, c'est cosy , intimiste .Je suis en location dans une longère et j'ai une grande pièce unique au rez de chaussée et je trouve ça pas mal aussi et très pratique mais je l'ai cloisonnée à ma façon avec des paravents et des meubles ainsi chaque endroits est bien distinct !
    Belle journée . Tinou

    1. Ma petite maison de pêcheur disposait de trois petites pièces cloisonnées quand j'ai acheté. J'ai gardé l'une des cloisons et supprimer une autre... Une histoire de compromis, encore... Merci de cette charmante visite et d'avoir apporté une contribution intéressante à la discussion.

  15. I never lived in a big house, only in small(-ish) apartments. I longed for big rooms where I can breathe all my life. My current apartment is a 2 bedroom in 770 sqft. with an open kitchen/ living room. So 5 years ago when I started remodeling I had to compromise: I kept the bedrooms cozy, but I tore down the walls in the living area. I am very happy that I have an open floor plan where I can finally breathe, but the downside is that there are no walls, and no corners. I miss cozy corners the most. And another problem is that it takes a long time in the winter to freshen up the living room after I cook.

  16. I love your house and it's pretty and cozy, and the area where your open space is, it's simply fabulous! You did a lovely job. Big hugs,

  17. Great inspiration, nice photos! Look forward to seeing what you decided on. Working in the garden sounds wonderful...I am waiting for our Gladiolus bulbs to spring up. Visiting from Lavender Garden Cottage~

  18. Oh yes I had to compromise when we downsized to our two bedroom and a loft home. The one reason I did go with this one is the kitchen is off from the living area that includes a tiny dining area. What did I give up? Location. I had to move down the road from our village. I miss living right in the village but I LOVE the quiet of this area and in our cozy home. All the smaller places in the village had the kitchens right there in the living room. It looks lovely when no one lives there. Also, when I do Spring cleaning its always the kitchen that takes the most work due to cooking. I don't like the idea of the natural accumulation of grease in my living room.

    I love your home!

  19. I don't know that compromise would be the word for what we did in our tiny cottage - more like "make do".

    I agree with An Anglo in Quebec - we don't necessarily use rooms in the traditional way:
    - our dining room window seat hides extra linens and the table becomes my desk at night
    - our entry way is a sitting room
    - our extra bedroom is also the office/ art gallery - when patrons are just looking or buying paintings, the sit on the sleeper sofa
    - a cabinet in the hallway holds my sweaters

    We love the house and its location on the beach so we are willing to make do and figure it out.

    Good luck!

  20. Oh my word, I think your house is fabulous and I love what you have done. I could live there in a heartbeat and be totally happy. Hugs, Marty

  21. We built our home a little more than 20 years ago with an open plan. The kitchen, dining room & living room are all open and all rooms look out onto our pond. I do not regret the open plan and would do it again in an even smaller room because we like to be able to interact with family & guests when we cook and entertain. And we do a lot of both.

    You are right about the laundry room being noisy, but a thick curtain or folding doors could be implemented when the clutter 7 noise of doing laundry is inconvenient. We have a door to close.

    All the pictures you posted are so I am wondering along with others, which plan you have settled on !

  22. LOVE the pictures that you shared! Good luck with making the "right" decision! Life to the full! Melissa

  23. I love the idea of an open floor plan. Because your house is tine, it will still be cozy without being claustrophobic. Enclosing the washer and dryer in a closet really helps with the noise problem.

  24. It’s always a little scary and exciting to make changes in the house. I did make some changes in my floor plan when we built this house but could have made more and I didn’t. I missed my chance to have the open floor plan I now would love. I can’t wait to see more of your changes. Have a great day, well the rest of your day there in France!!!

    The French Hutch

  25. Can't wait to see the next post Magali - I have to tell you that 4 th photo - with the bead board and blue and white - never mind - I can't publicly tell you what it did for me..................

  26. Our home is old and the kitchen is off the dining room - the rest of the downstairs is pretty open, so we've adjusted to the way this layout works - love it now. Great post! I do appreciate you sharing with Home and Garden Thursday,

  27. Although, like I commented on your previous post, I love cozy rooms, I am more of an open floor plan kinda girl. I can get by with a cozy corner. For me, it's mostly because I love to cook and when we have parties and gatherings, I might be cooking but I want to be part of the action. I do love that our house had that plan when my husband chose it so when I met him, we married and I moved in, there wasn't anything major to change as far as that goes. I do wish I could open up our dining room to the kitchen, but that would be just way too much work.

  28. I love cozy rooms and these are fantastic. I really enjoyed looking at the pictures. I looked at the first picture for quite a bit. I've never seen that design before how it wraps. I love it. Thanks for sharing.


It makes me so happy to read your comments! Let me know you stopped by!
J'adore lire vos commentaires. N'hésitez pas à vous joindre à cette discussion multi-lingue.