How to Bed and Breakfast: Optimizing a Ranch-Style House


For all you ranchers out there, we have a series of diagrams which attempt to show how a ranch-style home is prepared for duty as a bed and breakfast.


This is a fine house plan from www.freebiehouseplans.com. All of the drawings on this page are courtesy of freebiehouseplans. It no doubt has many of the features of your bungalow, at least in terms of basic layout. As a bed and breakfast designer, I like this house; I think that a small investment in renovations will produce a superb B&B..

  • The Plan

No need to worry about the owner having a dedicated bathroom with this setup; the Master Bedroom will do just fine. The kitchen/living area is huge, and the kitchen is not part of a guest travel path. Bedrooms one and two look out on the front yard. The host of this bed and breakfast will always get a good sleep; the entranceway/garage/parking lot are as far as possible from the master bedroom.

Let us apply the rules of optimization, as discussed in previous articles, to this house. The yellow arrows in the next picture represent the expected travel paths of your guests (wandering children excluded, of course!). Its a good layout to begin with because the central radiant between the kitchen and the living room is within sight of most of the house.


·         The Owner’s Domain

Let's employ one of our Sanity rules to make sure that the owner has some private areas in this home. As a minimum, areas that I have shaded pink in the diagram below should be a no-fly zone for guests. We need a couple of renovations to accomplish that goal, though. The central hallway is unfortunately shared by host and guest as they come and go from their bedrooms. We don't want this. Also, the utility hallway leading to the garage is an open invitation for children to explore.

·         An Easy Fix

 These are pretty minor issues. A new private door will be installed for the Master Bedroom, and a hallway head door. I will assume that the laundry room is separately heated i.e. its not getting its heat through the open hallway. Now here's the magic: let's connect the master bedroom and the living room through the walk-in closet. This won't hurt the wallet too much, and it separates the travel paths of host and guest. I like the results. Now we have flow! This bed and breakfast would be a pleasure to operate.


·         Some more Fixes

Some minor problems that might come up in any house are shown in the next diagram. Arrow 1 reminds us that the walls of your bedroom need to be very well insulated so you can sleep at night. Re-insulating walls is not a big deal, and protects both you and the customer from possible snoring issues. Arrow 2 reminds us that the same considerations need to be made in terms of the walls between guests. Sounds travel at night; keep those sound waves bouncing around within the room where they came from! Arrow 3 shows that it would be a good idea to seal off the hallway door of the master bedroom now, since we don't need iit.


    A few tweaks and we'll have this house completely ready. Why not create a suite out of bedroom one, by dedicating bathroom 2 to it? Nice! On top of that, add a bathroom to bedroom 2 and call it your master suite; go ahead and charge an extra $40-$50 a night for it. This home is truly providing hotel-class accommodation. Very attractive and functional!

The next article in this series, How to Bed and Breakfast: Optimize a 2-Storey House will deal, strangely enough, with the optimization of a 2-storey home.