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Old 05-27-2014, 04:31 PM
 
Location: Great State of Texas
86,093 posts, read 72,469,891 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Umbria View Post
This is what I have now (my DR isn't a computer room) and it has served me well over the years. I guess I am wondering how the open plan might affect what I can and can't do.

This is the answer I think: if no separate LR & FR then you need a partially closed off K with a kitchenette so people can gather round a table and there can be separate activity groups in the house.

These wide open concepts are similar to lofts and work in major cities when you live in the actual city.
If you are building though many let you make changes to the floor plans. Walls and half walls added or removed (as long as not a structural wall).

A key to look for with less cabinets is a pantry.

I did that to a bathroom that had the toilet separated from sink/tub with a wall/door.
Had that wall/door removed so it was just one room instead. Those separate toilet rooms just feel so claustrophobic.
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Old 05-27-2014, 04:44 PM
 
Location: Tucson for awhile longer
8,872 posts, read 13,543,222 times
Reputation: 29032
I purchased a home with an open floor plan because I like it. But now that I have my disabled 88-year-old mother living with me, I don't know how we could be functioning had I not chosen it. She has to be able to maneuver a walker all over the place. She needs wide spaces. Any doors that she has to use (her bedroom and bath) are always a mess because she crashes into the door frames and baseboards all the time. Thank heavens the home is all on one level. No steps at all. Even a change of flooring (tile kitchen to carpeted great room ... the great room out to the patio) can be an issue for her. I love my laundry room that is close enough to the great room so I can keep an eye on her while I'm doing the laundry.

My kitchen is in the front of the house and that's a boon for me since it's only a few steps from the garage to carry in groceries. You might be able to tote grocery bags around now, but how about 10 years from now? It's also lucky there are no steps to the garage because when I drive my mother places we have to take her walker. Not to mention I need space to get that in and out of the car. The kitchen is a galley style which functions well for not having too many steps to take between tasks. My mother has difficulty maneuvering in my siblings' huge kitchens with islands but she also had trouble using the walker in her old closed kitchen. The open kitchen I have works best for her.

You might find you like the openness of a kitchen/dining room/great room combination. The cook can be more social not being shut off from others in the house. I've learned to like being able to see the TV from the kitchen. I can watch the news while I cook dinner. And how often in your older age will you be entertaining people who just can't look at your kitchen mess? If they see it they might actually help you clean up!

There are some other long threads on C-D in which people describe what they found helpful in a home to enjoy in their senior years. Try doing a search in both the retirement and house sections. If you have any doubts about how much you might need ADA compliance, borrow a wheelchair and see how much you are able to do in it in your current home. Even if it's hard to imagine being forced to rely on a walker or a wheelchair as we age, even those of us in our fifties or sixties often experience orthopedic issues causing us to rely on them temporarily. I lived in multiple story homes all my life until I broke my leg. Dealing with that is what predicated my choosing a single-story home the next time I moved. Having multiple stories and a big yard is also what drove my mother out of the family home she had lived in for more than 50 years. She didn't want to leave, but it was impossible for her to function there without full-time help.

It's surprising how quickly we can adjust to newer styles in our homes when they actually make our lives more functional.
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Old 05-27-2014, 04:50 PM
 
Location: middle tennessee
1,924 posts, read 987,556 times
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I want my kitchen separate with a service area and an exit to outdoor space. I don't think I would like it to be in the very front of the house.

For one thing, I don't like food smells throughout the house. When I see a truly open floor plan, I always think "These people must not cook cabbage".

And if I was sharing the space, I would definitely need to be able to be away from the tv. My husband, and many of our friends and family, have the tv on whether anyone is watching or not. I like peace. The picture on the tv is just as distracting to me as the sound.
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Old 05-27-2014, 04:58 PM
 
Location: Waterville
332 posts, read 427,973 times
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I like the open space. Here in NE the old house stock is chopped up little spaces and kitchens that are an abomination. I am not part of a 'we' and I don't format my space with consideration for others. I mostly like to keep people out of my space. Yeah, I'm a weirdo. And neurotic as hell about space. Even tho I have spent my entire life without a 'decent' kitchen, I still feel that the kitchen is the heart of the home and would prefer to have a very big eat-in kitchen. Dining rooms are for setting up the sewing machine, junk mail accumulation, etc. I have gotten used to dining rooms over the years, but I still think it's weird to eat in a room separate from the kitchen and one usually outfitted with a carpet so you have something to soak up the spilled gravy.
Even in that theoretical kitchen you are describing there is usually an adjacent area suitable for gathering the gals. And there are ways to create the feeling of separation by using freestanding cabinets, shelving, or other furniture to define a space. In one of my houses I separated an office space from the living room by using pairs of bookcases back to back to create a wall. The space between the two sets of paired bookcases formed an entry.

I am having the opposite of your problem. In my very tiny price range I cannot find the open space I need to set up a studio for my various activities. It has to be near the kitchen because I need water, microwave and stove accessibility for felting, dying, etc.

I think that the suggestion to use a bedroom as a media room is very practical and it can even do double duty as a guest room should you need that.
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Old 05-27-2014, 04:59 PM
 
Location: Northern IL
241 posts, read 226,686 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Umbria View Post
I am also thinking of a situation where you have friends over - the guys are watching the game and the ladies are - where? If they don't want to listen to the game and the cheers and gears - how do you get away from it? For you married people, you have some lady friends over and your SO is watching the game - he doesn't want to listen to the chatter of the ladies.


There are many reasons the separate rooms became a tradition. I do believe I am talking myself out of this design.
Finished basement.
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Old 05-27-2014, 05:03 PM
 
Location: Northern IL
241 posts, read 226,686 times
Reputation: 481
We are planning a house in WI right now and it will be totally open. Two bedrooms on one side, master on the other and one huge room in between. We don't like the chopped up feel a separate small rooms.

I know it's not for everyone but we can't wait.

Also we will have a walk in pantry. I cook a lot and want to be able to see guests as I cook.
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Old 05-27-2014, 05:03 PM
 
Location: Coastal Georgia
37,094 posts, read 45,594,679 times
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I understand how you feel, and I enjoy a closed off kitchen as my female alternative to the man cave concept. Since I actually cook in my kitchen, it is always in a state of use, so not pristine.
A young family wants an open concept so that Mom can see the children, and be in touch with the family while she cooks. While we old farts just want to get away from each other and have some space.
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Old 05-27-2014, 06:23 PM
 
Location: Edina, MN, USA
6,954 posts, read 7,388,974 times
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I believe we are going full circle - the "Olden" days where the settlers had 1 room. Many even had the separate BR.

I saw a house where the DR had columns around it giving the illusion of being closed off. This I liked. I would want that for the K as well - you can still see out but has the effect of being separate and not so "out there".

For those of you that have the open concept - does the cooling & heating seem even or are there hot/cold spots?
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Old 05-27-2014, 06:34 PM
 
Location: ☀️ SWFL ⛱ 🌴
2,427 posts, read 1,664,703 times
Reputation: 8643
Our house in FL is semi open; the kitchen isn't seen from the front door and it's on its own off of the family room. Master bedroom/bath on one side of the house with two bedrooms/bath on the opposite side and open space in between. There is natural light from three triple sliders that open onto a screened lanai from the living room, family room and our bedroom with vaulted ceilings adding to the openness. The house gets the most from its position to how the sun rises and sets. I love natural light.

So with that said, I'm back in NY for the summer in a typical old NE house; built to maximize the warmth in the winter with smaller windows and doors on almost every room. There are huge maples that keep the house cool and shady, but there isn't a ton of sunshine coming in. The thing I miss most here is having a window over my kitchen sink. I'm staring at that same wall I've looked at for thirty years, alone with my thoughts again instead of watching how big the lemons are getting on my tree in FL. One window and it's the thing I miss the most, house-wise.
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Old 05-27-2014, 06:38 PM
 
Location: Edina, MN, USA
6,954 posts, read 7,388,974 times
Reputation: 16278
Quote:
Originally Posted by jean_ji View Post
So with that said, I'm back in NY for the summer in a typical old NE house; built to maximize the warmth in the winter with smaller windows and doors on almost every room. There are huge maples that keep the house cool and shady, but there isn't a ton of sunshine coming in. The thing I miss most here is having a window over my kitchen sink. I'm staring at that same wall I've looked at for thirty years, alone with my thoughts again instead of watching how big the lemons are getting on my tree in FL. One window and it's the thing I miss the most.


I would definitely miss a window over my kitchen sink. I'm making a list of needs for the new spot and this is now on it. Little things you don't think about until they are gone.
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