Total Fluff - "Open Concept" Houses vs Traditional Houses

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Alissa_Sal's picture
Joined: 06/29/06
Posts: 6427
Total Fluff - "Open Concept" Houses vs Traditional Houses

Since we've been embroiled in the home selling and buying process, I've seen and thought about a lot of different floor plans and house styles. This article made me laugh a little:

Against open-concept kitchens: Don’t listen to HGTV, and keep your walls and doors. - Slate Magazine

My realtor is a huge fan of the contemporary "open style" houses, wherein the kitchen, dining room, and family room are all one large space. And indeed, our first house is exactly as described, the kitchen is separated from the dining area by a bar, and the dining area flows into the family room but for a built in shelving unit and fireplace. She was distressed that I actually have a great fondness for older homes that have separate rooms. Our "new" house is an older home that has a kitchen that is partially closed off from the family room, and is completely separate from either the dining room or the living room. I like it, although I have to admit that I don't throw the kind of dinner parties where I actually care if any of my guests are watching me cook. I typically only have close friends and family over for dinner, so if they have a problem with my messy kitchen they can get in there and help me clean it. LOL

So, do you prefer open floor plans or separate rooms?

AlyssaEimers's picture
Joined: 08/22/06
Posts: 6561

Right now in our house everything is separate. We are going to be removing the wall between the dining room and kitchen soon though and putting in a peninsula. It is not as much about the openness as it is about the additional seating space. I think they both can look nice.

Joined: 05/31/06
Posts: 4780

Our family room, eating area, kitchen and a sunroom type area that sticks off of the back are all open, then the dining room & living room are off the foyer and through a doorway from the kitchen. I like that. I usually put out appetizers for the adults on the island and for the kids on the kitchen table, and wine opposite the cooking space. It gives great flow. The men usually end up in the family room, the women around the island, the kids outside or in the basement. That way I can be doing last minute prep stuff but still be a part of conversation. The sunroom is big and used to be our playroom, but since we finished the basement its been empty. We have someone coming in next week to build workspaces in under the windows to turn it into a homework room for the kids and an additional seating area without a TV ~ somewhere I can sit and read while the kids are doing their homework or whatever.

I like the openness and my kitchen and whole back of our home has tons of light and great views of the field behind our house. Its ideal for entertaining and socializing and I wouldn't want to be closed off in the kitchen ~ even on days like Sunday when I'm making big batches of food and football is on I feel part of things, not shut away from everyone, which I prefer.

ClairesMommy's picture
Joined: 08/15/06
Posts: 2299

I like open concept. Our house has vaulted ceilings throughout, except for the bedrooms and bathroom on the main level, and our main living area is totally open. As I sit here I can see out the back windows, the side windows, the kitchen and living room, and the dining room which I am currently sitting in. Our house isn't huge - it's actually kind of small on the main level, but the open concept makes it feel large and airy. I think that new builds are going with a more open concept and it's a great layout when you have little kids. You don't really have to wonder what they're up to when you can see them right there. On the flip side, I do wish the kids had their own separate playroom to contain their toys and stuff, but they have the basement family room, which is huge and all kiddie friendly. I agree with Melis about entertaining - you can still be part of the conversation without being segregated and lonely in a more closed off kitchen. Older homes...like really old century homes - I really like the separate room thing. It fits with the age of the house. My parents have a sprawling 70's bungalow with a very open kitchen/eating area and totally renovated throughout. But they have a separate formal dining/living room that is closed off with French doors. They have this thing about having a formal dining room and living room. I get that. It's a nice place to host a large gathering or holiday meal. Plus, it's the only place their massive teak dining room table will fit! Teak....the wood of the 70's. Wink Still beautiful though.

Alissa_Sal's picture
Joined: 06/29/06
Posts: 6427

I can't wait to finish our basement in the new house so that we have a play room for the kids. Our current house is fairly small and doesn't have a separate living room or play room, just the family room/dining area/kitchen, so it feels like we are all on top of each other all of the time, and the family room is always a mess because of T's toys. Looking forward to confining T's mess (somewhat) to the playroom downstairs, and having the living room as a TV free sitting area. I'm not going to have a living room that no one is allowed to enter like many families I knew growing up (the furniture was too nice so no one was allowed to use it!) - I want it to be used, so maybe like Melissa said maybe a place where I can sit and read a book and relax.

ange84's picture
Joined: 12/28/09
Posts: 6564

My house is a little different in the kitchen/ dining/ living area was a whole house (and the bedrooms at the back of the house were another house once upon a time) once upon a time, but it has been renovated so is very open. I like the free flowiness of it all, but we have also used furniture to divide some of the space, so we have closed some of the open wall between dining room and lounge room with a book case and room divider. I've not seen too many house where all those rooms are closed off from each other, expecially not kitchens and dining rooms, they always seem to be together, but open plan is a very common style and has been for some time where I live due to the heat and the breeziness it allows. I do wonder that with more modern builds though and everyone going for completly air conditioned homes if this will phase out

ClairesMommy's picture
Joined: 08/15/06
Posts: 2299

What I love about open concept is the wicked cross breeze we get from front to back of the house. Smile