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Old 05-27-2014, 02:18 PM
 
Location: Edina, MN, USA
6,954 posts, read 7,388,974 times
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I am putting this in the Retirement section because I want to hear how retirees feel about this open floor plan. Many of us are more familiar with the traditional floor plan where there are separate rooms for the kitchen, dining room, etc... Our lifestyles are different now (the the most part).

I was recently in NC looking at various communities and the homes we looked at all had this wide open plan. Since I was not on an actually home buying mission I didn't want anyone that was still living in a home to be disturbed so we looked at model homes and homes that were vacant.

Over the years there have been many degrees of "open" and what I saw was really open. The only interior walls were for the BRs and the BTHs. Obviously this saves the builders a tremendous amount of money (I would think). I really wonder what holds that house together - especially in an area where high winds from tropical storms and hurricanes are common.

My main concern is the kitchen. When you walk in the front door and see the kitchen right away - well, this just seems wrong. Not all bad when the house is mostly empty and everything is neat & tidy but what about when you are cooking - everyday cooking - occasional dinner party cooking or holiday cooking. I don't have a maid that cleans up behind me and even though attempting to keep things clean and orderly is a good idea - that just isn't always possible so I want to deal with reality.

There are also fewer cabinets because - there are no walls.

I imagine having a nice dinner party and everyone sits down to eat and there's the kitchen. I'm thinking a kitchen that is some what open but where you have the ability the shut it up.

Is it time for me to change my thinking - this will be a retirement coastal home. No kids in and out.

Thoughts???

Last edited by Umbria; 05-27-2014 at 02:36 PM..
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Old 05-27-2014, 02:25 PM
 
Location: Miraflores
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I think at this stage of the game, you should buy whatever you want!
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Old 05-27-2014, 02:29 PM
 
Location: Near a river
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Main thing in old(er) age is ease of interior navigation. Getting from one room to another without ww carpet. The open concept allows a smaller space to look big. It saves on a.c. and heating, as there are few walls shutting off individual rooms.

The location of the kitchen at the front would be OK to me if I were not walking directly into the kitchen on entrance. There must be another entrance door (?) Some kitchens, if big enough, can be welcoming rooms. I've seen comfy seating around an island that would be nice.

Also, furnishing an open concept can be a neat challenging experience, and bolder color can be used with creativity whereas in closed rooms it's somewhat limited.

So imagine yourself old and feeble and going through your daily task routine, and see how that feels within a particular home. Comfort and ease are key, imo.
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Old 05-27-2014, 02:31 PM
 
Location: Near a river
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Quote:
Originally Posted by alpineprince View Post
I think at this stage of the game, you should buy whatever you want!
Agree. I add to my post, above, that location of the home in old(er) age is super important, and would trump layout.
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Old 05-27-2014, 02:47 PM
 
Location: Edina, MN, USA
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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.
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Old 05-27-2014, 02:54 PM
 
Location: Great State of Texas
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I like eat in kitchens myself with bigger than doorway openings to the LR but not completely open to the LR.
I had a house with both eat in kitchen and dining room and that dining room turned into the computer room.

I grew up with eat in kitchens and I guess the thought of the pots/pans/cooking still left out while everyone eats never entered my mind.

I still like a separate living room though. Too open and it feels like you're living in a huge studio apt. almost.
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Old 05-27-2014, 03:07 PM
 
Location: Edina, MN, USA
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HappyTexan View Post
I like eat in kitchens myself with bigger than doorway openings to the LR but not completely open to the LR.
I had a house with both eat in kitchen and dining room and that dining room turned into the computer room.

I grew up with eat in kitchens and I guess the thought of the pots/pans/cooking still left out while everyone eats never entered my mind.

I still like a separate living room though. Too open and it feels like you're living in a huge studio apt. almost.
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.
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Old 05-27-2014, 03:10 PM
 
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With all the devices out there that enable a person to be watching TV while others in the area are engaged in conversation you'd think it wouldn't be a big problem to have open space as the majority of the house design. As for the strength of such designs, most newer homes are constructed to withstand all but the highest wind forces. Hurricanes and tornadoes are definitely a worry for ANY home but that has to be part of your locale decision more than the type of house you design.

Also, a TV room in a separate bedroom of the house works well for those who may want to be sequestered during a game. All in all, a house should fit the every day living style of it's occupants, those times of company being over can be dealt with on a "make do" basis..Open spaces add to the evenness of heat distribution, it also allows for more even distribution of light from windows, and it can make smaller spaces seem larger. Kitchens are considered to be a congregating place when cooking is part of the social gathering, so, it stands to reason that they will be visited by guests, AND that is a huge factor in allowing the spaces to overlap, to have the space for guests to gather during the making of a meal, as well as eating that meal is very important.
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Old 05-27-2014, 03:13 PM
 
Location: Edina, MN, USA
6,954 posts, read 7,388,974 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jertheber View Post
With all the devices out there that enable a person to be watching TV while others in the area are engaged in conversation you'd think it wouldn't be a big problem to have open space as the majority of the house design. As for the strength of such designs, most newer homes are constructed to withstand all but the highest wind forces. Hurricanes and tornadoes are definitely a worry for ANY home but that has to be part of your locale decision more than the type of house you design.

Also, a TV room in a separate bedroom of the house works well for those who may want to be sequestered during a game. All in all, a house should fit the every day living style of it's occupants, those times of company being over can be dealt with on a "make do" basis..Open spaces add to the evenness of heat distribution, it also allows for more even distribution of light from windows, and it can make smaller spaces seem larger. Kitchens are considered to be a congregating place when cooking is part of the social gathering, so, it stands to reason that they will be visited by guests, AND that is a huge factor in allowing the spaces to overlap, to have the space for guests to gather during the making of a meal, as well as eating that meal is very important.
Good points and definitely a perspective I need to think about.

Old dog - new tricks.
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Old 05-27-2014, 03:22 PM
 
5,392 posts, read 6,527,506 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.
we do a lot of outdoor living in the South some places year round. Perhaps sit on the patio or on the screen porch. Or a 'carolina room'. Go to the yard and sit and chat quietly over a cup of tea. Other option the ladies go to one house the men to another, although less of that nowadays.

And new homes built after Hurricane Andrew must be built to code to withstand wind conditions.

So I don't think the open floor plan is a problem. But given possible future limited mobility, I like having the 'swing around' space for a walker or wheelchair.

But good luck and enjoy whatever you do
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