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What is Main Level Living in Home Design?

September 27th, 2023

By Sofia Alonso

5 min read

articles.avarchitectsbuild.comhubfs4.14 main-Apr-22-2023-07-46-07-0243-PM

Are you tired of living in a home that feels like a maze of wasted spaces and impractical layouts? Do you find yourself navigating through cramped kitchens during social gatherings or staring at formal dining rooms that serve as little more than showpieces? You're not alone. 

The traditional "box" design of homes - uniform windows, equally sized rooms, and a predictable layout - has long been a source of frustration for homeowners who crave both aesthetic beauty and functionality. While this may seem orderly, it often leads to a host of functional issues. From cramped kitchens to unused formal dining rooms, the conventional home design is rife with inefficiencies.

At AV Architects + Builders, we don't just build homes; we revolutionize living spaces so they function for you. With over 20 years of experience in designing and constructing modern homes that prioritize health, wellness, and happiness, we've developed a game-changing approach: the Main Level Living Formula: 20-60-20. This isn't just another design trend; it's a researched and proven formula that addresses the inefficiencies of conventional home layouts.

In this article, we'll take you on a journey through the pitfalls of traditional home design and introduce you to the transformative power of main level living. We'll break down our 20-60-20 formula and show you how it can redefine your living experience, making your home not just a place to reside, but a space that adapts to your life. Ready to break out of the box? Let's dive in.

The Pitfalls of the 'Box' Design


Kitchens That Can't Keep Up

In a traditional home, kitchens are often too small for entertaining, making social gatherings a logistical nightmare. This limitation hampers your ability to host events, leading to cramped spaces where guests can't comfortably mingle. The lack of counter space also makes food preparation more challenging, adding stress to what should be a joyous occasion. Additionally, small kitchens often lack the necessary storage for utensils and appliances, causing clutter and inefficiency. In essence, the traditional kitchen design fails to meet the modern homeowner's needs for both functionality and social interaction.


Wasted Spaces

Master bedrooms frequently feature sitting areas that serve no real purpose, leading to wasted square footage that could be better utilized. These "museum rooms" like formal dining rooms look good on a floor plan but are rarely used in practice. They become spaces that are dusted and maintained, yet offer no real value to your daily life. This design flaw is not just an inefficient use of space; it's also an unnecessary expense during the construction phase. The result is a home filled with rooms that are more decorative than functional, which contradicts the very essence of a 'home.'


Garage and Storage Woes

Conventional garages in traditional homes are often too narrow to comfortably fit cars, leading them to become glorified storage units. This misuse of space forces homeowners to park their cars outside, exposing them to the elements and potential security risks. Similarly, mudrooms and laundry rooms in these designs are either non-existent or inconveniently located, often tucked away in the basement or far from the living spaces. This makes daily chores like laundry or organizing outdoor gear a cumbersome task, adding unnecessary steps to your daily routine.


What is the 20-60-20 Main Level Living Formula?


20% Upper Level

The upper level comprises 20% of the home's total square footage and is primarily dedicated to secondary bedroom suites. These rooms offer privacy and separation from the main living areas, making them ideal for children, guests, or even a secluded home office. This thoughtful allocation of space ensures that the upper level is neither underutilized nor overcrowded, striking a perfect balance between functionality and privacy.

60% Main Level

Here's where the magic happens. The main level accounts for 60% of the home's total square footage and is a marvel of efficient design. It houses the owner's suite, great room, kitchen, dining area, study, laundry, mudroom, storage, exercise area, and outdoor living spaces. By concentrating the most frequently used rooms on the main level, the design maximizes convenience and minimizes unnecessary movement. This layout is not just about spatial efficiency; it's about enhancing your quality of life.

20% Lower Level

The lower level makes up the remaining 20% of the home and is reserved for extra storage and mechanical rooms. This strategic use of space ensures that the main and upper levels remain free from clutter, providing a cleaner and more organized living environment. It also allows for future expansion, such as adding a home theater or recreation room, without disrupting the existing layout.


The Benefits of Main Level Living

Efficiency and Flow

Main level living eliminates wasted spaces, focusing on areas you actually use. The design allows for a natural flow between rooms, making your living experience seamless and efficient. This thoughtful layout reduces the time and effort spent moving from one area of the house to another, allowing you more time to enjoy your home. It's a design philosophy that respects both your time and your space, optimizing each to create a harmonious living environment.

Game-Changing Additions

The inclusion of a main level master suite or guest suite can be transformative. These additions provide convenience and accessibility, especially for those who may have mobility challenges. Home offices on the main level are becoming increasingly popular, particularly in the era of remote work. Having a dedicated workspace that is easily accessible yet separate from the main living areas can significantly enhance productivity. These aren't just rooms; they're lifestyle upgrades that adapt to your evolving needs.

The Kitchen as the Hub

In main level living, the kitchen acts as the centerpiece of the home. It serves as a connecting room, allowing for easy movement between different areas of the house. This central location makes the kitchen a natural gathering point, enhancing social interactions and family time. It also facilitates better workflow, as you can move effortlessly from cooking to dining to relaxing. The kitchen becomes more than just a place for meal preparation; it's the heart of the home where memories are made.

The Importance of a Centerpiece

When planning a main level living home, it's crucial to identify the core hub around which other rooms will revolve. In most cases, this is the kitchen. The kitchen is not just a place for cooking; it's a social and functional epicenter that ties the home together. By designing the home around this central point, you create a natural flow that enhances both functionality and social interaction. It's a design strategy that transforms the kitchen from a mere utility room into the soul of the house.

Square Footage is Just a Number

Remember, it's not about how much space you have; it's about how you use it. With the 20-60-20 formula, you can maximize utility while enjoying all your favorite spaces on one convenient level. This approach allows you to make the most of your square footage without compromising on your lifestyle needs. It's a design philosophy that values quality over quantity, focusing on creating spaces that you'll love to live in, rather than just exist in.

Solar Kitchen2

Why is Main Level Living Important?

By embracing the 20-60-20 Main Level Living Formula, you're not just building a house; you're crafting a home that's tailored to your lifestyle. It's a design approach that combines efficiency, functionality, and beauty to create spaces that you'll not only live in but will also enrich your life.

Navigating through a home that feels like a maze of wasted spaces and impractical layouts can be incredibly frustrating. Traditional home designs, with their box-like structures and uniform rooms, often leave homeowners yearning for a more efficient and functional living experience. 

That's where we come in. At AV Architects + Builders, we've spent over two decades perfecting a game-changing approach to home design: the Main Level Living Formula: 20-60-20. By adopting the Main Level Living Formula, you're not just building a house; you're creating a home that adapts to your life, not the other way around. It's smart design for smart-living.

So, what's the problem you're facing? Is it the cramped kitchen that turns every social gathering into a logistical nightmare? Or perhaps it's the formal dining room that serves as a "museum room," beautiful but utterly useless? With our 20-60-20 Main Level Living Formula, we tackle these issues head-on, transforming not just your home but your entire living experience.

Your next step? Imagine a home where every square foot serves a purpose, where the kitchen isn't just a cooking space but the functional and social epicenter of your home. Picture a living space that adapts to your life, not the other way around. 


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