Victorian Broken Plan

Victorian Broken Plan – The Kitchen

Open up all the spaces, knock down the walls, make everything open plan, has been the design mantra for years – but are times changing? When we saw our kitchen layout we knew we needed to make substantial changes but have now opted for a broken plan layout rather than open plan.

So what is broken plan? Broken plan is keeping in different levels, walls, and materials. It gives the positive side of open plan with long lines of sight and a feeling of space but without the down sides of feeling like an anonymous, cold and potentially messy hanger of a space.


Victorian houses, like ours (ground floor plan above, with the kitchen/dining area marked in pink) , were divided into a kitchen, scullery and pantry (we have the added bonus of a housemaid’s pantry too – attached to the scullery). The dining room would be at the other end of the house. The servants would prepare and clean away all the food away from where the family would eat. In these modern times, we have machines to do a lot of the hard work. We are responsible for preparing, cooking and cleaning our houses and we want to entertain in the same place as these activities rather than being cut off. So kitchen dining rooms have become the ideal solution, people preparing food, cooking and eating all in the same place with family and friends. So we were obviously going to do the same right? wrong.

There are drawbacks to open plan kitchen dining rooms. People complain that mess spreads between the rooms, it is sometimes useful to shut the door on the chaos of the kitchen at a dinner party. We also wanted to show respect for the building we were living in and keep the footprint of the original room layout (why have an old house if you remove all the original features and quirks?)

We produce our own 3D designs so we can trial different approaches – Initially we tried some more open plan layouts, e.g. taking the pantry walls to half height to make an island:


…and even getting rid of ALL the existing pantry walls:


But as we took more more walls out, the space became less distinctive, more bland and lacking in character and authenticity.  So we then decided to add the walls back in, but at the same to start taking sections out of the walls to create lines of sight through the space….and inadvertently created a broken plan design.

Here’s the final Victorian Broken Plan designs. We will keep the feeling of the three rooms but join them making the space feel larger and obviously lighter.

kitchen 2 3d

kitchen 3 3d

kitchen 3d

The pantry will become part of the kitchen but will be still divided from the dining room. The floor in the pantry will also be different (no choice of ours) as the red and black quarry tiles end and instead the pantry has floorboards. The wall in the pantry is also just painted brickwork, which we may also retain as the change in texture also adds to the demarcation of spaces. We will still have a food pantry as we are going to use the large walk in cupboard in the dining room. Photos soon but here is a link to our mood board 

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