According to HGTV, it is pretty much IMPOSSIBLE to live in a house without an open-concept kitchen. Open kitchens are everywhere, and everybody has to have one. In fact, HGTV is telling viewers open-concept kitchens are great for wooing guests while cooking. Open kitchens are every home owner’s dream! Are they?
The other day, I was chatting with a neighbor about home designs when he told me how much he hates his open floor plan. “Maybe it’s because I don’t entertain much, but I just don’t care for the open kitchen concept at all,” he said. I was very surprised to hear this. After all, open-concept kitchens are the rage these days. Is it possible an open kitchen concept isn’t as great as realtors and designers want us to believe?
My house, for example, has walls and doors, which I like. I am a person who desires some division in life. Besides, an open floor plan would remind me of our last apartment where we could see everything except the bedrooms. But isn’t buying a house supposed to be a step up from an apartment complex? And doesn’t an open floor plan turn a house into a super-sized apartment?
In addition to entertaining, open-kitchens are popular because moms can keep an eye on their children while cooking. But, as we all know, a kitchen isn’t always the safest place for toddlers. Sometimes, moms don’t want their little ones in there. My neighbor, who has a four and a two-year old, is very aware of this situation. “How on earth do you baby gate the open kitchen?” He just doesn’t understand the fixation on open floor plans… especially by parents of toddlers. And speaking of toddlers, they do grow up. There even comes a time where you don’t want to and don’t have to watch every move they make.
Like my neighbor, I don’t entertain. But even if I did, I’d want to keep the kitchen mess in that room so that guests are not sitting at a nicely set table, looking at piles of pots that I have cooked with, but haven’t yet cleaned and put away.
Also, when serving dinner to guests, shouldn’t most of the food already be prepped before the guests walk in the door? This is so that the host can talk, face to face. Guests shouldn’t have to wait for the food to be prepared or be ‘forced’ into helping. They shouldn’t feel badly while watching the cook work. Besides, cooking is messy and requires a lot of concentration. I don’t see myself entertaining my guests while handling a hot pan coming out of the oven.
With an open floor plan you can see the kitchen the second you enter the home. There is no door or wall to hide the mess. Therefore, the kitchen has to be spotless at all times.
Before you ask “Is this wall load-bearing?” consider this:
With an open floor plan, the family room becomes a very noisy place. Try to watch TV while the dishwasher is running. You can hear every conversation, even if you don’t want to. One kid wants to watch a movie while the other practices the piano. Let’s be honest, sometimes we all need division. With an open floor plan there is no place to go when guests are over. And sometimes we just need a minute. The kitchen would seem like a perfect place to “hide”, if it had walls.
Our kitchen is a busy place. Sometimes my kids are on their laptop at the kitchen table; sometimes they paint t-shirts and hats. Sometimes the girls and I listen to music while we cook and my son plays video games in the living room. Our dogs spend most of their time in the kitchen – it’s nice to be able to keep them out of the living room. With the wall intact, we can still be close together without being seen. I agree, an open floor plan creates a great feeling of space…but only when the place is immaculate. I think a big reason for this trend is how great it looks when you are showing the house. But how a house “shows” is different from what it’s like to live in it. An open floor plan is kind of like the high fashion you see supermodels wear. Not only does high fashion not look so good on regular people, but it might not feel so good when you have to wear it for more than the two minutes.
I wonder what they’ll come up next… An open bathroom concept?
I’d love to know your thoughts on open kitchens. Do you have one? Are you considering getting one? Do you love it? Do you hate it? Share your thoughts.