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December 12, 2013
Though open-plan spaces are the new norm, some—like the following 10 we hand-picked from our pages—clearly stand out from the rest.
white couch white loft dark wood floors

A 200-year-old factory in Umbria is transformed into an inviting home by designer Paola Navone. In the seating area, a trolley found at a flea market functions as the coffee table alongside an expansive Navone-designed sofa for Linteloo. Custom pendants by photographer Mark Eden Schooley hang above the dining table. Photo by Wichmann + Bendtsen.

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Originally appeared in A Converted Factory Building in Italy
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Australian living room

In the Sydney, Australia, neighborhood of Rozelle, architect Christopher Polly renovated a house with green design in mind. The open-plan, double-height kitchen/living/dining area makes the most of the house's 1,700 square feet. Photo by Brett Boardman. 

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Originally appeared in An Airy Renovation in Sydney
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The rear facade reveals a glimpse of the living room.

Architect Piers Taylor's renovation of an old gameskeeper's cottage, complete with a castellated roof and sweeping meadow below, is an exercise in dramatic modernization. From the outside, the open living area appears to be a continuation of its natural surroundings. Photo by Ben Anders. 

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Originally appeared in Taylor Made
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Miller House living room with Eames Compact couch

Eero Saarinen’s legendary Miller House in Columbus, Indiana, was built for open-plan living. Photo by Leslie Williamson. 

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Originally appeared in Miller House in Columbus, Indiana by Eero Saarinen
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tokyo, house, Takaharu and Yui Tezuka

When a Japanese couple asked architects Takaharu and Yui Tezuka to design a small home that would evoke the Italian love of food, informal gatherings, and natural settings, the result was la dolce vita in Tokyo. The entire interior wall opens, extending the house visually and socially into the small garden that lies between the multigenerational family’s two homes. The boys’ favorite feature is the soccer goalpost (which doubles as clothesline). Photo by Adam Friedberg. 

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Originally appeared in Family Style
5 / 10
The pitched-roof main living area, with generous banquette seating continuing around the perimeter. “My 23-year-old daughter has taken groups of university friends up for relaxing weekends,” says O’Sullivan. “And during school holidays I took my son Henry

Shane Blue of Bourne + Blue Architecture in Newcastle, New South Wales, Australia, created a beachside family compound in Diamond Beach for James and Sue O’Sullivan. With five children visitng at any given time, an open-plan living area was a must. “My 23-year-old daughter has taken groups of university friends up for relaxing weekends,” says O’Sullivan. “And during school holidays I took my son Henry and five of his 16-year-old friends for a week of surfing, fishing, card games and mischief.” Photo by Simon Whitbread. 

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Copyright Simon Whitbread
Originally appeared in Adventures in Oz
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The Walnut Residence is equipped to handle Monti’s tight-knit extended family. His parents—who often come to town every month or so—their grandchildren and Monti and his wife. When everyone gets together, it becomes a madhouse, but the home is built to ha

In this multigenerational Venice, California, home built by Modal Design principal Daniel Monti, the open-plan setup most definitely encourages running in the house. “The house plays two sides,” says Monti, “It becomes very formal, clean and cocktail party-ish, but at the same time when the grandchildren and my parents are in town, it’s toys everywhere and kids having fun, yelling at the top of their lungs.” Photo by Benny Chan. 

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Originally appeared in The Giving Tree
7 / 10
Metropolitan chairs by Jeffrey Bernett for B&B Italia

At the House of Earth + Light in Phoenix, one main space holds the living room, dining room, and office. In the office are Metropolitan chairs by Jeffrey Bernett for B&B Italia. Most artwork hung throughout the house comes from the resident’s art gallery. Photo by Daniel Hennessy. 

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Originally appeared in Love's Labors Found
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Casa Fluida featured an open layout of functionally flexible space inspired by the fluid city.

Massimo Iosa Ghini's Casa Fluida features an open layout of fluid space inspired by the "fluid city" of Memphis. Ghini, said to be the founder of Bolidism, traces an insightful line from the speed-obsessed movement's influence on Memphis design philosophy to the current culture. 

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Justin Reid
Originally appeared in Massimo Iosa Ghini: The Speed of Design
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Beanbag pouffes by Slacker Sack, Chair-One dining chairs by Konstantin Grcic for Magis.

On a Maui mountaintop home by Dekleva Gregorič Arhitekti, a few steps allow the large living-dining area to have discrete areas for lounging and entertaining while keeping an open flow. Photo by Cristóbal Palma. 

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Originally appeared in Clifftop House with Angled Roof in Maui
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white couch white loft dark wood floors

A 200-year-old factory in Umbria is transformed into an inviting home by designer Paola Navone. In the seating area, a trolley found at a flea market functions as the coffee table alongside an expansive Navone-designed sofa for Linteloo. Custom pendants by photographer Mark Eden Schooley hang above the dining table. Photo by Wichmann + Bendtsen.

Photo by Wichmann + Bendtsen.

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