open-plan backlash?

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Over the weekend I met a woman who's building a vacation house. She told me her architect had suggested leaving the kitchen open to the living room, great room-style, but that she felt very uncomfortable with this idea. She said she wanted some separation between the kitchen and the living area, so she and the architect compromised on a partial wall that blocks off much of the food prep space.

This reminded me of another conversation I had just last week, with an architect who had designed a lovely house outside Minneapolis. Again, the kitchen is partially open to a family room, but not in that fully open, loft-like way you see more frequently. Visual and physical barriers create a sense of separation, and the kitchen feels very much like its own distinct space. "The clients liked the idea of a traditional house with rooms," the architect told me.

So I'm wondering--is this a trend? In my experience, homeowners have over the past decade expressed a consistent desire to have the kitchen and living/dining or family rooms completely integrated. Are people now moving back toward wanting a clearer division of spaces? I'd love to hear from other architects, builders, and clients who have thoughts on the matter. Please post your comment, or email me at --m.d.


Comments (2 Total)

  • Posted by: Anonymous | Time: 1:34 PM Friday, April 20, 2012

    I have never liked the look of the kitchen totally open to the living room. The home I live in now has a partially open plan where the kitchen, dining area and living room form an L shape so from the living room, one has only a partial view of the kitchen, but the dining area is open to both. I like this arrangement very much.

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  • Posted by: Anonymous | Time: 9:27 AM Thursday, April 19, 2012

    Yes. Over the last 18 months I have seen an increase in my clients requesting more "intimate" spaces and more walls. The polar opposite of the requests that I have heard for the prior 6 years...

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