Forget open-plan living – ‘broken-plan’ is the new interiors trend


Forget open-plan living – 'broken-plan' is the new interiors trend

Old-school snugs and Victorian ‘best rooms’ are back in fashion, with lifestyle changes driving the need for ‘interconnected space’

If you want to open up a house, improve your living area, or just make your home look like it knows what decade it is, you need to knock down walls. Internal ones, mainly. For 15 years, this wisdom has been shared on TV’s Location, Location, Location, where the sight of Kirstie Allsopp stroking a partition wall with the words “First, you’d knock this through” has been synonymous with progress.

But not any more. “Broken-plan living” is the new open-plan living. Architect Mary Duggan, a judge of the RIBA House of the Year award (the winner of which is announced next week), used the phrase to describe a tendency she noted while examining the shortlist. She found herself “attracted to those schemes” that had changes of level. “Broken-plan living was a topic that came up during the tour.”

Duggan has noted lifestyle changes that have created a need for architectural changes. Greater iPad use is causing a demand for quiet spaces around the home, and “grand lounges are becoming snugs,” she says. Home workers want studies. Older children want greater independence within the family home. All that iPad use is making people want a real-life room to display their real-life artefacts.[…]