If you own a ranch-style home, this article will help you choose the floor plan that works best as a Bed and Breakfast. An example layout provides the framework for an in-depth discussion of efficiency and function for a B&B use.

Things You Will Need

The floor plan changes discussed here are for experienced home renovators; if the reader chooses to carry them out personally, he or she will need a complete set of framing, drywalling and finishing tools, as well as some basic plumbing and electrical tools.

Step 1

I tried to pick a generic ranch style that emulates the characteristics of a broad range of single-story homes. This particular rancher has got B&B written all over it; just a few tweaks with the layout and it will work fine.
• The Plan
This home already has the all-important extra bathroom, and most importantly, a dedicated owner's bathroom. The kitchen is generous, and the recreational area available to guests is more than adequate. There are two bedrooms for rent, with windows on the front yard. Look at the relationship between the Master Bedroom and Driveway/Entrance area. They're at opposite corners of the house! This host will sleep better at night.

Initial Layout (38401)

Step 2

In the following diagrams we will make a series of beneficial changes to this house, by applying our rules of Optimization. Let's draw in the travel paths of the guests who come to this house. They are represented by the yellow arrows. The basic layout is good because just a few steps from the front door, the guest has all his options clearly in sight: bathroom, bedroom, kitchen, dining room, etc. Its also great for the host, who can easily where the guests are!

Guest Travel Paths

Step 3

• The Owner's Domain
Now, as we stated in the previous article, it is paramount that the B&B owner retains a private domain within the business he or she is operating. As a minimum, the pink areas in the diagram below should be off-limits to your guests. Having established that, we find that it leads to a couple of logistical problems. Host and guest share the same corridor for using the washroom and their bedrooms (pink and yellow arrows head-to-head). This can lead to unexpected bedroom-door vistas, and late-night hallway meetings. The other yellow arrow shows potential guest (or children of guest) intrusion into an open hallway in the no-fly zone.

Step 4

• An Easy Fix
Fortunately, both of these issues are easily dealt with. Let's provide alternate bedroom access for the host, and then install a door at the hallway. While it is true that the garage door and laundry-room door provide security, it is esthetically far better to "door off" the hallway at the front. If the Utility room relies on this opening as a heat source, it may not be feasible to do this. I have connected the Master Bedroom and Living Room through the walk-in closet, to provide a dedicated pathway for the host only. In all likelihood it would be possible to preserve half of the walk-in. This is a low-cost, simple renovation. Plumbing and/or wiring reroutes might slow things down a bit, though. The results are impressive. Now we have flow! Host and guest can go about their business without undue disturbance, and the utility hallway is host-only.

A Better Way

Step 5

• Some more Fixes
The three green arrows in the next diagram show some more trouble spots. Arrow 1 shows that the master bedroom wall may be under-insulated. Re-insulating an existing wall is not expensive, and protects both guest and host from unwanted nighttime noise. Think of your guests as well; hotel-style lodging means added insulation between their rooms, as shown by arrow 2. These are the little things you can do that go a long way toward providing a pleasurably quiet night for everyone. Arrow 3 notes that the hallway door to the master bedroom is now superfluous, and we would do well to remove it, for simplicity as well as quietness.

Little Fixes

Step 6

This rancher is now reasonably optimized. Now let's apply some "turbo-charged" optimization, and make it something that your guests will rave about. Let's turn Bedroom 1 into a bona fide suite, by isolating Bath 2 and joining it to the bedroom. Nice! The bedroom and lounge are now a Master Suite, with 3-piece bath. The master bedroom is sealed on the hallway and insulated to the nines. Both suites will earn an extra $40-$50 per night, because the owner is providing hotel-class accommodation. Consider this home optimized!

All Done

You may find elements of this example that are similar to the layout of your home. Use your imagination to find the optimum layout that works best for you!

Tips & Warnings

Renovations on this scale require municipal permits. Do not proceed until you have discussed your plans with your local government.