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Stay open plan or not?

(10 Posts)
BadPoet Sat 11-Jun-11 16:49:21

We have an open plan living room/dining room/kitchen. We basically created this 5 years ago during a bigger renovation, although the kitchen was always open plan to living room (so living room became dining and we knocked through to what's now the living room). Although the kitchen is open to dining, we do have a breakfast bar to separate it.

Downstairs we also have a small study (we both do some work from home) and a conservatory which is used as a playroom.

The kitchen is tiny however, we managed to rejig units to give more space when we renovated so it went from miniscule to small. I'm getting fed up with it and it now looks like we won't move for some years so I want to make some changes. I'd like to make the kitchen a separate room, enlarge it by knocking through to adjacent bathroom (which we'd replace with as small a shower room as we could, accessed from hall. I realise this is hard to visualise).

I want to keep the open living/dining - love that space, and useful for parties. I feel we've outlived the usefulness of having an open plan kitchen though, it was very convenient when I had babies& toddlers, now I want a family kitchen were people can go in and out. Our kitchen currently feels uncomfortable with 2 people in it, dd's starting to make herself snacks etc so it's only going to get worse.

Am I crazy to contemplate giving up open plan? Any brilliant ideas for me?

coansha Sun 12-Jun-11 08:47:37

Keep the open plan, what about installing a set of sliding fold back doors?? really smart ones or even ones that fold into a wall cavity?? then you have a choice. I will say that open plan is much more user friendly than separate kitchen, the bathroom idea sounds spot on, a shower, a loo & small sink, if you made it a wet room you then save some more space as no shower screen required.

The ones below give privacy or ability to close off a room but keep the light which you would miss if it was solid door.

Rollmops Sun 12-Jun-11 14:02:31

I can't stand open plan living-dining-kitchen configuration, however, LOVE open living-dining area (perfect for entertaining and family life) and separate kitchen. Could you separate the kitchen and keep rest open? French doors and panels separating kitchen from the rest to have the light flowing through but giving definite separation of space, keeping the smells in the kitchen, most importantly.

CristinaTheAstonishing Sun 12-Jun-11 14:05:49

I wasn't sold on open plan everything until we rented a house in France with this layout. Maybe it was not doing any smelly curries on holiday, but I thought it perfect and will want this when we move.

CristinaTheAstonishing Sun 12-Jun-11 14:06:31

OP, apart from being a bit bored and in need of a new project, i don't understand why you think you need a separate kitchen now?

CarGirl Sun 12-Jun-11 19:27:15

I have a seperate kitchen and open dining/living room.

Asolutely detest it.

I'd go for large kitchen diner - you can be at the table and talk to however is cooking etc and a seperate living room - no cooking smells, no noise from the kettle/washing machine etc.

If you have a downstairs bathroom that is the place to put your washing machine like the rest of europe does!

BadPoet Sun 12-Jun-11 20:53:44

Sorry for disappearing - haven't been able to get online today! Thanks for all your responses. smile

Coansha, I'm quite keen on the idea of sliding doors- can't see myself how they could work, but I'm sure an architect/designer could! I like the third link in particular, thank you.

Rollmops - I agree, I love the open living/dining. It runs from the front to the back of the house and it's very versatile.

Cristina - I probably haven't explained it clearly. It's not really a kitchen, more of a kitchenette. The whole house is small. Firstly I want a bigger kitchen and am prepared to sacrifice the bathroom downstairs to get it, secondly after 5 years of living open plan kitchen/dining/living I've realised that I would prefer to have a sep. kitchen. It was brilliant when the kids were teeny, could see them whether they were at the table or playing/watching TV in the living area. Now they are older I think it would be good to separate it off and make it more user friendly for them as they grow more independent, as well as giving another place to be that isn't in the main area.

The downsides of open plan kitchens are - food smells, never being able to close the door on the mess. Perhaps unique to ours (because it is cramped), the way everyone can witness your harassment as you attempt to get 3 courses for 10 people on the table while they get in the way and muck up my systems helpfully pile up the worktops.

The last thing I need is a project. The thought exhausts me tbh but I genuinely think it would benefit my family.

CarGirl - I'm really keen to hang on to the open living/dining. Our washing machine wouldn't fit in the bathroom but is currently in our front porch, which sort of works - so it's not taking up kitchen space atm anyway. It's interesting to hear that your separate kitchen doesn't work for you. Maybe separating the living room off with sliding doors is worth serious consideration!

CarGirl Sun 12-Jun-11 21:18:30

We are moving our single kitchen door from the corner of the kitchen across so it is double width in the middle of the same wall so when they are open you get more of a kitchen diner feel - can speak/hear people at the dining table but still have doors that you can shut for smells, security etc.

DisparityCausesInstability Sun 12-Jun-11 21:21:50

Kitchen diner is my top priority - I hate not being able to eat in the kitchen - don't want to eat in the living room and don't want a formal dining room. Love the sociable nature of open plan living - although we will have another reception room to escape to....just in case all that socialising gets too much.wink So I would separate the living area from the kitchen diner - if I was going to separate anything.

BadPoet Mon 13-Jun-11 11:09:34

CarGirl & Disparity - thank you, you've just given me loads of inspiration. DH and I spent ages last night talking about what might work. We are now thinking of extending the side porch and fitting in a small shower room there - so having the whole of the current kitchen& bathroom as kitchen (a few of our neighbours have done this so we know it's a good size).

The current bathroom door could be the kitchen door and we could also have double sliding doors to dining area, that could go into the wall cavity - it'd be a new wall so no issue there. Kitchen trolley (have always wanted one) in front of sliding doors when they are shut, moved out of the way when they are open...

Over-excited ramble! Thanks all smile

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