The only thing I learned about open story homes – after buying one
Robbie Caponetto; Style: Kendra Surface
I like a traditional layout, you know the kind with separate living and dining room, a kitchen that is both very functional and separate from the main living space, with perhaps an adjoining room one-size-fits-all pantry and wet bar (what a dream). At the stage of life in which my husband and I are now, a open floor plan is the ideal solution for our family. This allows me to cook dinner while keeping an eye on the kids. My husband can have an eye on the game while he helps out with a particularly tricky LEGO construction and, more importantly, we can all be together. I often hear people complain about the downside of an open floor plan being the noise factor. He is wearing. But, when you have a five year old and a two year old, silence is never a good thing. For me, the biggest problem with our open floor plan was defining each space. In my experience, it took patience, planning, and a lot of painter’s tape.
Creating individual moments, or pieces, in an open floor plan is a challenge. Our house created an added challenge in that there was no defining architectural aspect of the space that was supposed to be a living room, making it feel like just a big bonus space in outside the kitchen and the dining room. At first we thought about creating a center wall, perhaps with wainscoting, large built-in shelving, or even some farmhouse-favorite dashboards. In the end, we decided to really commit and have a large brick fireplace installed. It was madness, certainly, but one that gave me no renovator remorse. He brought charm, interest and a focal point that draws people in from the moment they walk through the front door.
The fireplace immediately gave weight and importance to the space. It became the central location around which the rest of the living room furniture would be based. Suddenly, filling the furniture to create a real living room, in what previously seemed to be a bare corner, began to come together. But before buying anything, we used duct tape to paint the whole thing, using precise dimensions. It was absolutely vital in the process of providing such a vast and abstract space without walls.
Once the living room took hold, the entrance, dining room and kitchen each began to shine in their own right. Giving each space its own focal point in an open floor plan is just as important as making sure there is cohesion between the spaces. When one area is out of balance, the whole house is disrupted, which we wouldn’t have to worry about as much in a more traditional floor plan.
So, for now, we’re enjoying the noisy chaos of our open floor plan, with three full spaces and plenty of room to build LEGOs, play tea, and watch the game, when it gets there, of course.