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Thread: Musings on Open Concept Design

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    Senior Member catherine's Avatar
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    Musings on Open Concept Design

    So, right now, DH is taking his morning nap (he gets up at about 4am every day, and then eats breakfast around 8 and takes a nap.). He naps on the living room couch. So I quietly move around when I have to leave my office but otherwise, I shut my door. Shutting a door could be interpreted as anti-social. In my case, I will be on an interview soon and I don't want to disturb him and so I consider it pro-social.

    Shutting the door can be a much m ore valid boundary when living in close quarters vs spread out quarters. No one argues with you if you feel compelled to have some alone time. I'm thinking of my DDIL who shut the door to my office yesterday when the rest of the family was here so she could practice her Japanese language course.

    So it struck me that in smaller homes, doors tend to be very important. OTOH, when you have a 3000+ square foot home, you don't need as many doors. I wonder if the trend to open concept is connected to the trend for larger homes. In a big space one might yearn for someone to pass through--someone they haven't seen all day because they've been far away in other section of the house--a basement or a wing over the garage.

    It's an interesting balance that a house has to accommodate between solitude and companionship. Any thoughts?
    "Do any human beings ever realize life while they live it--every, every minute?" Emily Webb, Our Town
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    Senior Member iris lilies's Avatar
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    Doors are important? I guess so!!!

    In our 1800 sq ft cottage bungalow our “public “ rooms are pretty open to each other—there are doorways with doors, but we don’t close them. The doorway from living room to kitchen/dining is double wide with
    feench doors.

    our realtor friend spoke of our house as being “open concept. “To me, this is not at all an open concept and I hate open concept lans for me but I thought it was interesting that he would tell his clients this is an open concept house.

    currently our television is in the basement because that’s where it’s been for the past several years of house construction. But it will eventually be on the first floor in a room with a door. The door will close. This is already what I am calling “the tv room.” This tv room is 1 of 4 little bedrooms here.

    I will not live with a TV blasting at night. we have never in our decades of marriage turned on the television during the day, but DH watches TV at night after 7 pm. now I’m not sure that there’s much difference between tv and other digital productions because I walk around with an iPad everywhere I I go listening to podcasts.

    I am planning to have a television up on the second floor as well, in the guest room. The second floor will operate as my “suite” but I suspect I will seldom watch that television.

    but circling back directly to the topic: You may be right that open concept living started with large 3000 square-foot houses, but they are building 1200 square-foot houses with living room/kitchen completely open to one another. The concept is not dead yet even though I hear rumblings that it is dying.

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    Senior Member iris lilies's Avatar
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    I’ve watched the open concept floorplan invade the wonderful Victorian houses of my former neighborhood. When somebody does a gut rehab any more, , they do it according to “open concept. “. They pull down separating walls on their first fllor.

    I put that in the same category as removing a floor that was popular in renovations 40 years ago. yeah, people removed the floor in one second story room so that they would have a double height first floor room. I thought it was stupid.

    So now decades later, people are busy putting back those floors.


    It’s funny that one of our friends, our age, who built a brand new house in our old neighborhood, made their living room two story. they liked what they had done to their old Victorian house when they made that one two-story living room.

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    Senior Member Rogar's Avatar
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    My home has what could be typical 50's. An airy open floor plan connecting the ample dining and living areas, but a walled tiny kitchen with a pocket door. I've speculated on the intention of the pocket door and have only used it in the summer when the kitchen is hot from cooking.
    "what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?" Mary Oliver

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    Senior Member jp1's Avatar
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    I wish we had a footed tv room. SO has the tv on virtually 100% of the time that he’s home.

    The downstairs of our 1575 sq foot home has no doors (except the bathroom of course). But the bathroom is between the kitchen and living room so there isnt a visual connection.

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    I love the door in our little house. 2pocket doors separating the dining room (computer/art/entertaining), from the living room and kitchen, kitchen door, a living room door 2 bedroom doors, one bathroom door, garage access door all in the 22 ft. long hallway!!!! The people we bought the house from in 1973 hated the doors! They had 2 kids and it made life difficult for them I guess. TV is in the living room so we close that door if I have need for the dining room space.

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    Senior Member catherine's Avatar
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    I love pocket doors! They are so practical and space saving! Who wouldn't love them?
    "Do any human beings ever realize life while they live it--every, every minute?" Emily Webb, Our Town
    www.silententry.wordpress.com

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    Also love pocket doors.
    We were at the hospital yesterday for husband's hip replacement, and I got to musing about the curtains on tracks in the recovery room area, and thinking that would be a good solution for loft living--tracks with curtains. Husband suggested instead of curtains, those accordion type folding doors like you see in churches. We were talking about lofts we had been in and how it would be hard to shut the door on a mess the way you can in a house with doors. The neat thing about the ceiling track accordion walls is that you could use them when needed and fold them up when not needed.

    Our Greek Revival 1830 house in upstate New York had them, put in by the older lady (96) who had lived there and remodeled in the 70's. I took them out, but in retrospect, they were kind of a cool idea.

    Like these:

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    We are in a tri-level so it is easy enough to escape to some other floor/room for private time. I have my office on the top floor and DH has his in the basement. The main floor is not really open concept but one can see all the way through - entry, living, kitchen, sunroom - so it feels open. When remodeling the kitchen, contractors kept suggesting a completely open one to the living area with a big island and I am so glad we didn't go that route. Just a half wall with a column. Laying my whole kitchen open for all to see doesn't work for me since there is often something cooking and messes galore.

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    Used to have the above type door between the kitchen and dining/living room at my old house. Generally I consider "open concept" to be between the kitchen and family/great/living room area. Dining may or may not be in that area, as a lot of people either have and don't use a separate dining space for much other then maybe formal occasions.

    Around here, during Covid, open concepts became somewhat maligned. People wanted to be able to have a separate and quiet office space, from the kids staying home, or doing school stuff, etc. Since then, the housing shortage, it seems to matter less.

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