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Thread: Penalized for being frugal?

  1. #21
    Senior Member catherine's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JaneV2.0 View Post
    I read a decorating article recently that opined that "open concept" was the biggest mistake ever (I couldn't agree more wholeheartedly), but I won't hold my breath waiting for that attitude to filter down to tract developers.
    Was that in The Atlantic? I just read it today. I gasped when I read about the firm that has designed a fairly middle-class (not Downton Abbey) home with TWO kitchens--one for that all-important beautiful society-ready and pristine kitchen "for entertaining" and then another kitchen behind it, where all the real live kitchen mess takes place. Kind of like one of those appliance garages, big enough to garage a whole kitchen.

    Or, like having a Food Network set as the "entertaining" kitchen. Just for the cameras.
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  2. #22
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    Before we recently reno'd the kitchen in our "retirement" house, there was a tiny doorway between the dining/living area and the kitchen. The contractors we spoke to wanted to completely remove the wall and put some sort of giant island betwixt the two areas. Instead, we did the work ourselves by opening it up but leaving a half wall with a counter. DH was adamant that he didn't want to walk in the front door and immediately see the mess in the kitchen. Makes sense to me.

  3. #23
    Senior Member JaneV2.0's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by catherine View Post
    Was that in The Atlantic? I just read it today. ...
    I think it was in Apartment life.

    DH was adamant that he didn't want to walk in the front door and immediately see the mess in the kitchen. Makes sense to me.
    My sentiments precisely.

  4. #24
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    Adding my agreement that the "open concept" is beautiful for a showroom but not practical for everyday living. I also agree that people underestimate the noise levels in a wide-open space with no curtains or carpeting. I'm curious to see examples of people who have reversed course on the open concept house.

  5. #25
    Senior Member JaneV2.0's Avatar
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    If you're a compulsive partier and like the idea of crowds milling around your kitchen, buy a house with a large one, say I--don't bring the whole messy business into your living room. I liked the family room concept from--was it the nineties?--that corralled the throngs and contained the chaos nicely.

  6. #26
    Senior Member SteveinMN's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lainey View Post
    I'm curious to see examples of people who have reversed course on the open concept house.
    Before my first wife and I divorced, we had built the "forever" house. Largely open floor plan -- with a few concessions, like a two-tiered kitchen island so that you could hide the meal-prep mess from the living and dining rooms. We loved the amount of space made possible by having the common living areas under one big vaulted roof. But that didn't wear so well in actual living. Wherever you were felt cavernous, never cozy. Even the master bedroom, a much smaller area but under the same vaulted roof, never felt all that inviting. When we split she stayed in the house.

    Now I live in a mid-70s rambler. I opened up the main living area considerably, to the point where it's kind of like a "shotgun shack" (allegedly so named because room openings were lined up similarly enough that you could fire a shotgun from the front of the house and the shot would go throughout the house never hitting a wall). The house is open and has a fair amount of natural light in it but it retains a human scale and it does not appear to be almost half a century old. Different ceiling treatments define rooms, too, so it's not all one big room.

    Molly is encountering a few issues. One is that most buyers indeed are interested in buying "turnkey". In my experience very few people can see past worn floors or bold paint colors or older-style cabinetry to the bones of a house, to make relatively cheap cosmetic changes. Most buyers also have no idea what it costs to make repairs to a house. My mom thinks that the cost of any renovation is only how much the basic raw mateiral costs at Menard's; prospective home buyers look at octopus furnaces and old windows and start subtracting multiples of $10,000 from the price of the house because they just don't know. The buying process is not conducive to that kind of research during the purchase, either. And while new(er) furnaces and floors and windows are nice, they're pretty much just the ante in selling a home. People expect not to have to repair or replace anything major for a while after they move in -- or they expect a steep discount in the price. But it sounds like Molly and her DH are in good shape to either take their time to sell or cut the price before the house lingers on the market (also not a good thing).
    If Americans expended even a fraction of the energy on civic engagement that we spend on consumer ideology, our democracy would be much healthier. Can you imagine people camping out to vote? -- Charles Roberts, Amherst, Mass., Nov. 25, 2006

  7. #27
    Senior Member catherine's Avatar
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    Both my sons--one has two small children and the other will have his first in a couple of weeks--have kind of reversed one of the raisons-d'etre for the open living/kitchen area, that being "I can watch the kids while I cook."

    While both their living areas and kitchens are kind of open, they have turned a den into an adjacent playroom that is shut off from the open areas. They can put a gate there, but the toy mess is contained. So it seems that some people realize that open is nice, but mess is not, and how much mess do you want visitors--and yourself--to be in the midst of all the time? The TV is also in the playroom, so they just go in there and hang with the kids and watch TV, leaving their living rooms nice and neat and looking like the parlors of yesteryear.
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  8. #28
    Senior Member JaneV2.0's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by catherine View Post
    ...
    While both their living areas and kitchens are kind of open, they have turned a den into an adjacent playroom that is shut off from the open areas. They can put a gate there, but the toy mess is contained. So it seems that some people realize that open is nice, but mess is not, and how much mess do you want visitors--and yourself--to be in the midst of all the time? The TV is also in the playroom, so they just go in there and hang with the kids and watch TV, leaving their living rooms nice and neat and looking like the parlors of yesteryear.
    That pretty much describes the family room concept. I looked at a well-designed house once that featured one, and I could imagine spending nearly all my waking hours in it.

  9. #29
    Senior Member Gardenarian's Avatar
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    I agree with razz about staging. You don't have to get a professional (though I've read the $$ are well worth it.)

    Are you living in the house? Tl;dr An empty house shows so much better.

    Then there's curb appeal - a couple of big pots or baskets of coloful annuals can help a lot.

    Check the description of your house on Zillow - as owner, you are allowed to edit it. They often leave out important things. They had our previous home listed as a 2 bedroom rather than 3, and didn't mention the large office, deck, or view. You can add thing like "new roof in 2016, new HVAC" etc. You could say "a perfect blank slate, ready for your decorating taste!"

    We bought my current house when it was in much the same condition as yours. Everything works and there is a great layout - so much more important to us than fancy tile. We haven't changed much either, except for lots of gardening/landscaping.

    Good luck!

  10. #30
    Senior Member catherine's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JaneV2.0 View Post
    That pretty much describes the family room concept. I looked at a well-designed house once that featured one, and I could imagine spending nearly all my waking hours in it.
    My kids' den is different from my NJ home 70s family room. In the 70s, the "family room" was like a second living room, somewhat connected to the flow of the house, but serving a different purpose (more casual). The den is a totally different room. Think home office turned playroom. The place where my DGS4 and I watched a Goosebumps marathon last night while DGS1 crawled around sucking on robot toys
    "Do any human beings ever realize life while they live it--every, every minute?" Emily Webb, Our Town
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