Having an open floor plan is popular these days, as homeowners see the value of having sightlines from the kitchen to other living spaces on the first floor. If you watch home improvement shows, you'll find open floor plans are as in demand as granite countertops and stainless steel appliances among the TV buyers of all ages, but should you aim for an open floor plan in your kitchen when you are having your home remodeled? |
The idea behind an open concept kitchen is that you are never left out of action in the rest of the adjacent area. If you have a dinner party or are cooking dinner for your own family, you can still chat with guests and family members and even have more room to accommodate helpers. You can watch your babies playing as you work there. Even a smaller home or apartment can appear larger, lighter, and airier when walls between rooms come down.
Consideration When Selecting an Open Floor Plan
Even if this appeals to you, there are some considerations to keep in mind before knocking down walls. Your goal in remodeling is to increase the functionality of your home, and you must be satisfied that an open concept will do so for you.
Separate rooms have a purpose, as they offer privacy and segregate activities. There is a reason why open bedrooms and bathrooms have not caught on; some functions are not a group activity. While cooking and entertainment are suitable for sharing, privacy has its perks even with these rooms. A separate kitchen might make it more difficult to chat with others doing meal preparation, but it is also easier to keep the massive preparation and cleanup mess out of the view of guests as well. Cooking disasters can remain your secret.
The idea of engaging others in conversation or even watching children at play might be appealing, but cooks may need to concentrate on the meal rather than engaging in anything more than casual conversations. You also need to pay more attention to what children are doing then glancing out the corner of your eye; when children grow older, you may want some separation from bickering and noisy video games. Before going full open floor plan, you should consider whether you are comfortable with losing the separateness of rooms.
Engineering Challenges of Knocking Down Walls
Removing the walls necessary to create a more open space can present costly challenges. Electrical wiring, plumbing, and heating and air-conditioning vents may be hidden in walls, while the walls themselves may support the roof or upper stories. Rerouting mechanicals and putting in proper beams to support the load can add thousands of dollars onto a project and require the expertise of a structural engineer.
After assessing your own preferences and budget, you may conclude that you want the airiness and flow of an open floor plan without completely losing the advantages of separateness. By working with a good designer, you can find a happy medium where you enjoy a good balance of privacy and openness. As a result, you may have a kitchen that opens into the family room, while retaining a separate living room. Some walls between rooms may be reconfigured as pony walls or pass-throughs that allow openness while maintaining some privacy.
Is this kind of home design for you? A firm specializing in design and remodeling can present you options that will help to achieve privacy in an open floor plan just right for your home.
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