Am I the only one who doesn't like open floorplans?

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Posted 11/24/2012 by -Tara- in NSBR Board


PeaNut 158,177
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Posted: 11/24/2012 1:34:00 AM
We just moved into a rental house. All the rooms downstairs are open, the living room is open to the floor above, and our office is a loft area you have to walk through to get to two of the bedrooms.

We can hear everything from any area of the house. If our kids were little, this might be good.

If DH is cooking something or I am doing dishes, the whole house hears it. If DS or DD are watching a Youtube video in the office area, they have to use headphones or the whole house hears it. If someone is watching TV in the living room, you have to go in a bedroom and close the door if you don't want to watch/hear it.

It drives all four of us nuts!

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PeaNut 158,177
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Posted: 11/24/2012 1:40:05 AM
I've also realized that when we buy or build our own house, I don't want stainless steel.

I've been reading house threads a lot recently and noticed that a lot of people want open floorplans.

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PeaNut 172,235
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Posted: 11/24/2012 1:42:16 AM
I think they look lovely but I like to be able to shut doors, close areas off etc so I wouldn't chose it for my own home, no.

Today, I will be colouring outside the lines.


PeaNut 381,935
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Posted: 11/24/2012 1:45:57 AM
I very much dislike open floor plans. I like being able to go into another room to do my own thing, and I prefer not to have a bedroom as my only means of escape. I tend to like older homes that have hallways and rooms because of this. I also dislike stainless steel. Guess we think alike.



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Posted: 11/24/2012 1:59:00 AM
I'm with you Tara, I've never liked open plan designs for the reasons you mentioned, also the lack of real privacy, cost of heating and cooling, cooking smells going all over the house etc. I don't like stainless steel either.

ETA: I agree with you too Anita, I like a hallway and especially a seperate entrance hall\area. I realy hate the thought of walking in the front door straight into the living room like I see on so many TV shows. I know they do it on tele for ease of shooting, but I would hate a house like that, when everyone who came to the front door can see right into the house - no privacy at all.

Same goes for front doors with clear glass and windows with the curtains always open, even at night. Like living in a goldfish bowl.

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PeaNut 52,841
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Posted: 11/24/2012 2:14:48 AM
I love our open floor plan but our I do t want the office to be part of the open plan. Ours is open for the main living, kitchen and dinette areas. It also opens into a second living area. However, it is only dh and I living there. Our house's layout is wonderful for us but I wouldn't like it if others lived with us.

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PeaNut 151,913
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Posted: 11/24/2012 5:05:22 AM
I've never been able to see the appeal of them either.

Lack of privacy
Cost of heating (it gets cold here and I like to be able to have a lovely snug lounge without having to waste money heating up all the space we're not in)
Noise from tv, kids, washing machine, cooking etc and not being able to get away from it
Also I love having a porch/hallway as it allows the rest of the house to be private to callers such as delivery men.

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PeaNut 295,941
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Posted: 11/24/2012 7:12:25 AM
I dislike open floor plans.

We have stainless in our house, but that's because 3 of the 4 appliances that came with our house were brand new and stainless. We just bought a fridge to match. I don't hate it, but I might like something else better.


PeaNut 473,695
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Posted: 11/24/2012 7:30:46 AM
I've never been a fan of open floor plans either. I like the kitchen and family room to be open to one another but I like doors on the other rooms. When we have people over, I like to be able to have my mess contained and out of the way of visitors - I can't enjoy my meal if I can see a pile of cooking dishes and the mess of kitchen prep.

I also agree with the noise issue - it just travels throughout the house when there are no walls. I really struggle to hear conversations when I am at friend's homes with open floor plans - the sound just seems to get mixed in with everything else going on.

And I agree with the stainless steel appliances - I had them and won't go back. Maybe it's just me but I really struggled to keep them clean and shiny.

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PeaNut 164,125
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Posted: 11/24/2012 7:35:12 AM
I have an open floor and great room are open. (great room has 16 foot ceilings) however, I have a bedroom downstairs that has a door on it. Master bed and bath are upstairs off my loft. It suits me as I am single with no kids. I love my loft.

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PeaNut 40,642
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Posted: 11/24/2012 7:41:00 AM
I Don't like open floor plans. When we were looking for houses 2 yrs ago all new houses had open plans only We ened up buying an older home whihc is like 15yrs old.

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Posted: 11/24/2012 7:42:58 AM
I think they are beautiful to look at but not how I want to live.

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Posted: 11/24/2012 7:46:34 AM
We are in the process of opening up our floor plan , by taking out walls and making one large living area that the kitchen opens up to. However, we have a 1950's ranch home with 8' ceilings and it is very boxy and closed in. The bedrooms are in a separate wing, we have a nice foyer and halls. Also, my office is behind the laundry/mudroom and I am able to close it off. I am hoping it will be the best of both worlds, because what we have now isn't working!

I don't hate stainless, but don't like anything else out there better, so we'll be putting in stainless because that is what resells here.

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PeaNut 15,878
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Posted: 11/24/2012 7:57:42 AM
I don't like it either.

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PeaNut 221,236
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Posted: 11/24/2012 8:04:06 AM
We have an open floor plan downstairs but I nixed the one where the living area is also open to the upstairs because that was just too much. Part of me really likes it. My kids usually do their homework at the dining room table, which makes it easy for me to oversee as I'm cleaning up the kitchen after dinner because it's not a separate room. I also like that our dining room doesn't feel cramped as so many separated ones do. We have space for a large table, big china cabinet and a side table because it all just kind of blends into the living area. Conversely, we have space for two sofas and a big-ass coffee table (we call it the BACT) and TV console in the living area and it doesn't feel cramped, either. Removing the walls really opens up your decorating/furnishing choices.

But I finished decorating for Christmas last night and realized that the mess in the kitchen really detracted from the effect, so then I had to go finish cleaning up the kitchen, too. If we had a kitchen door to shut, I would have been able to put that off until this morning!

I think there are good and bad points about both. I've done and enjoyed two open plans; now I'd like our next house to be either a Craftsman or a 50s bungalow, updated but not renovated to the point that they've gutted it and made it an open floor plan. I think if we move while our kids are still tweens/teens we'll be glad of the extra privacy afforded by a less-open plan.


PeaNut 258,426
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Posted: 11/24/2012 8:20:54 AM
I see on HGTV that many families do seem to want the open floor plan. However, I agree with you. Seperation is nice, for noise, and other reasons. It is something I will actually look for.

Ancient Ancestor of Pea

PeaNut 12,875
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Posted: 11/24/2012 8:27:49 AM
When we built this house almost 13 years ago, all the models were open plans. I wasn't enamored of them and kept looking for something that caught my eye. We kept coming back to this model because it had most of what we wanted, but I hated the huge open great room and living room and dining room open to the foyer. One of the problems I had was that with the open space, there was no wall for our piano in the living room, or for the corner hutch in our dining room, etc. When I told the sale agent what I didn't like, she arranged for me to meet a woman in the neighborhood who had redone a lot of the floorplan. I loved her home! She had closed things off in a way that didn't make it choppy at all and explained why. We copied a lot of her ideas and our builder was great about moving and adding interior walls. Most of our friends thought we were crazy, but we just didn't like the all open concept for our family's needs.


PeaNut 198,489
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Posted: 11/24/2012 8:54:02 AM
We have an open floor plan and there are a few things that I really don't care for. My biggest pet peeve is that If I wanna repaint, I have to paint large rooms and all the same color. The interior is all builder cream and I need to paint but it's not something I want to do and it's not in the budget now.

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PeaNut 208,960
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Posted: 11/24/2012 8:56:14 AM
Raising hand.

I think they are difficult to decorate. I would want the same theme,color, etc. so everything flows, which is the point I guess. But I like individual "themes" so to speak, and you just can't do that with an open space.


PeaNut 82,273
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Posted: 11/24/2012 9:12:07 AM
I deliberately chose this floorplan because I couldnt see the kitchen from the front door. My living room is my calm spot in a storm. No matter how cluttered or messy the rest of the house gets it stays presentable.

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PeaNut 511,446
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Posted: 11/24/2012 9:14:51 AM

I'm with you Tara, I've never liked open plan designs for the reasons you mentioned, also the lack of real privacy, cost of heating and cooling, cooking smells going all over the house etc. I don't like stainless steel either.

ETA: I agree with you too Anita, I like a hallway and especially a seperate entrance hall\area. I realy hate the thought of walking in the front door straight into the living room like I see on so many TV shows. I know they do it on tele for ease of shooting, but I would hate a house like that, when everyone who came to the front door can see right into the house - no privacy at all.

Same goes for front doors with clear glass and windows with the curtains always open, even at night. Like living in a goldfish bowl.

ITA with all of the above.

I prefer older homes with separate rooms and hallways and doors and nooks and crannies. Open floor plan would be a deal breaker for buying a house for my tastes.

My neighbors have a big front window with no window covering so you can see into their whole living room every night.

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PeaNut 428,374
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Posted: 11/24/2012 9:15:12 AM
We are simply or tidy enough to live open plan like that!

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PeaNut 82,318
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Posted: 11/24/2012 9:19:23 AM
I don't like completely open -- and I hate super high ceilings. I like traditional layouts that have some warmth and structure to them - but I do like them to flow and some "openness" is good


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Posted: 11/24/2012 9:35:43 AM
I like my walls and doors. We sometimes have 4 instrumentalists practicing at the same time - it would be impossible with an open floor plan. I, too, like that guests can come in and see only part of the house!

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PeaNut 95,504
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Posted: 11/24/2012 9:45:57 AM
Three of my last homes have all been open floorplans. Unless you purchase a home built in the 60's, open floorplans are what you get in Southern California.

I am used to this kind of living but I agree with all the downsides already posted. Noise, no privacy except for closing yourself in a bedroom and cooking smells filtering all over the house. We also have very high vaulted ceilings which is just really wasted space. I cannot paint my living room and dining room unless I get scaffolding...UGH!!

Ancient Ancestor of Pea

PeaNut 87,597
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Posted: 11/24/2012 9:57:27 AM
We built a large house (over 6800 sq. ft including basement). The foyer was a large open foyer and the large family room/2 stories too. So upstairs we had a large "hallway" but it was open on both sides to the foyer and family room. No privacy. If you were in the family room, you can see the bedrooms upstairs, into the dining room, living room,m kitchen. The only room you couldn't see into was the study/library. If someone was eating breakfast you could hear the spoon hit the bowl from 3 of the bedrooms. You could hear the tv from the family room into the bedrooms even with the doors closed. It was all hardwood on the first floor except for the study and family room.That made it louder. It drove me crazy because even though the house was so large you had no privacy and could hear everything. The kids and I were so unhappy there, that after 2 yrs. we moved back to our former house! This house is 2000 sq. ft, but much more privacy and not so loud. So, my that is my experience with an open floor plan! I guess most people love it (according to House Hunters!) but not us.


PeaNut 65,877
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Posted: 11/24/2012 11:11:43 AM
I am not a fan either and yet every show on Home and Garden the people want open concept and they are tearing down walls like crazy LOL. I also couldn't live in a house where the curtains were open and people could see into my house. When we drive around at night to look at Christmas lights it always amazes me how many houses we can see right into. We can see what they are watching and if an open concept we can see all the way through their house and can see just what they are doing unless they are in a a bedroom. That would freak me out I don't want someone/anyone to be able to know exactly what I am doing all the time. We keep our front blinds closed most of the time - especially at night. I would so feel like I was living in a fishbowl otherwise.

ETA: I do like having the kitchen open to the family room but that is about it. I also like the look but I wouldn't want to live in one. When I see them on the shows I think they look nice but like others have said I want to be able to close rooms off if I want - for heating or cooling. I would love to be able to close off more rooms mostly from an energy standpoint. I also really hate really high vaulted ceilings. I like higher ceilings but when you have a couple of walls that are 25 feet high they just look so massive and boring and are a royal paint to paint.

ETA again: Oh yes they are very hard to decorate or put your existing furniture it. It is so hard to find a place to put normal furniture. I mean we bought a dining room set but there wasn't a wall in the dining room for the china cabinet so it is in the living room - which is open to the dining room but still (we bought it because we didn't plan on living here this long - thought 7 and here we are at 16+ LOL).


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Posted: 11/24/2012 11:14:26 AM
I have only about 1400 sq feet, and my front door opens from the porch straight into the living room. Most of one wall of the living room is open to the kitchen/ dining area. The laundry is of course a separate room with an entry door to the back yard. My home is small by most standards, but it's the perfect size and floor plan for us. I warmed it up by going with dark wood cabinetry and wood trim throughout, as well as warm paint colors (red, honey gold, light chocolate). So it's cozy yet open, and I have a nice view of the living area from the kitchen island/bar or the dining table. After several years of tiny, choppy rooms , I am enjoying a slightly more open layout, but I don't think I would be happy in a large house that was this open, no. I also only have eight foot ceilings, so that helps as well. My appliances are black. I find stainless steel cold.

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Posted: 11/24/2012 11:34:17 AM
We have an open floor and thought we would like it, but after living here for 6 years, we never want one again. You can hear everything and it's a major pain to heat/cool our house cost effectively.

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Posted: 11/24/2012 11:34:56 AM
I like stainless steel but ONLY in kitchen sinks, not the rest. And yes, I have had 3 stainless kitchen sinks and love them.

I don't like open floor plans and the house that we bought in late 1979 that was just in the beginning stages (slab, framework and roof), we had the living room blocked off more from the dining/kitchen area with the cabinet and counter continuing on out with a bar breakfast eating area. Not only did it separate the rooms more but gave me TONS more counter space but cabinets above and below to store things.

The only thing I'm not as crazy about in this house is the living, dining and kitchen are all one big room. The good thing is when someone remodeled, they added a wall to the foyer so you can only see part of the living room from the front door.

The good thing is that even though it is a small house and you walk THROUGH the laundry/freezer area to the 3rd and biggest bedroom, there is a door on each side of the laundry area so I can watch TV in the living room and DH can watch TV or listen to music back in the bedroom and we won't drown each other out! By necessity, the big bedroom is kind of a bedroom/family room for us, especially since it has a large sliding glass door leading to a covered patio.

The living room also has a smaller sliding glass door leading to the deck. It is just us and the dogs so a bedroom/family room works for us.

I like being able to close doors off to keep the part of the house I'm in either warmer or cooler. In the summertime, we keep the big bedroom door closed to keep it cooler since the living room faces the west sun. This is a mountain town were you don't need air conditioning that bad and only a few hours a day at that.

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Posted: 11/24/2012 12:20:45 PM
I like a certain amount of open floor plan but not other parts. Our house that we are in has a balcony thing on the upstairs and a cathedral ceiling for the room that the balcony is on. It really sucks for energy efficiency and noise control. Also I think it's kind of a waist of space. They could have put an additional bedroom in instead of the cathedral ceiling.

Now on the other hand the cathedral ceiling makes that room feel huge but lighting it is an issue because they didn't put any lights in the ceiling so we have to light it with floor lamps.

The other problem is that if there is something stinky in the kitchen, the whole house smells pretty quickly.

Ancient Ancestor of Pea

PeaNut 289,166
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Posted: 11/24/2012 12:39:50 PM
Our main room downstairs is open and I don't like it. We don't even both running our central heat since it would be pointless. All the heat would be upstairs. We just use space heaters in the rooms if necessary.

Also, the kitchen/dining/some other random area I haven't figured out yet all are one long room. The front door also opens up directly into the family room.

My mom is in a house she bought in 1975 and it has real rooms. The only room downstairs without a doorway is the large living room. I think I prefer that but I could see that would feel boxed in. She said she bought it because it didn't have the high ceilings.

Pea Who Should Be Cleaning!

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Posted: 11/24/2012 1:12:31 PM
Dh does floorplans for a builder. Five-ten years ago, it was all about the open floor plan. Now, it's traditional designs (box-on-box 2 stories, foyers with rooms opening off of it, pocket doors) on the majority of the new plans he sees.

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Posted: 11/24/2012 1:59:57 PM
I think open floor plans are over-rated, & that the house-hunters on the shows all want to sound as if they're savy to what's fashionable, so they all claim to want the flavor of the year style(s). Stainless appliances are the perfect example of that--& there was a thread about this not long ago, which also suggested they may be on the way out of style (I guess the "charm" of trying to keep the fingerprints wiped wears thin).

Our floorplan is "semi-open," in that the kitchen is open to the family room, and the living room & dining room are open to each other (they way they are in many apartment homes). The entry foyer runs the length of both, forming a circle. Took me a while to get used to the LR/DR combo, as I'd never had that before, but my raised-in-apts DH liked it. I didn't like the idea of having a table full of used dishes sitting there while we had coffee after dinner in the LR with our guests. The office & BR spaces are all private, down a sep. hall, with doors. Sixteen years here, it works out okay, especially for large-scale entertaining, where everybody wants to hang out in the kitchen.

Tara, your plan sounds open in the extreme! The noise alone would make me bonkers!

I've been a dilettante, but I'm thinking of dabbling in something else.

sunny 5

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Posted: 11/24/2012 2:00:04 PM
I have a 1927 house...we have a hallway, and when we bought it, we had 4 doors into the kitchen and a back wall in the kitchen so you could not see the 3 feet back into the yard. every room had separate walls. we remodeled the kitchen, reoriented it, put the back of the kitchen on the back of the house, closed the door to the formal dining room, took down the wall between the kitchen and breakfast nook.

so now, we have a bright kitchen with windows on two sides, open kitchen/breakfast room, french doors between living room and breakfast room...and our formal dining room turned into a study with a 3/4 bath off it. so we have a circle pattern..where stuff can be open, or closed works well.

all the bedrooms are upstairs...tiny...but there are three of them.

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Posted: 11/24/2012 2:18:55 PM
I am 100% with you.

I think it's because I grew up in a Victorian house that had pocket doors. I like the option to close off spaces and use them as individual rooms. When you wanted a more open space you could open the doors and people could move easily around the space.

Open space really gets on my nerves at family gatherings when the din and noise is overwhelming because everyone is effectively in the same big space.

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Ancient Ancestor of Pea

PeaNut 289,166
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Posted: 11/24/2012 2:25:44 PM
I loved my IL's last house. Their kitchen connected to their family room, but the kitchen still was a room by itself and had a doorway. Perfect since you didn't have to look at the kitchen mess while watching TV.


PeaNut 341,259
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Posted: 11/24/2012 2:34:39 PM
Raises hand to join you on not liking the open floorplans that seem to be the majority of new builds in my area. I like a traditional styled house.
I have a hallway and a living room with an adjoining dining room...all one long large room. The dining room holds a buffet and hutch, a table always set up for 8 and plenty of room to slide in the extra leaves and make it seat 12 without encroaching on the living room space. We have the 9th and 10th chair on eather side of the sindow on the back wall. Pleanty of room to walk around it all, even with the chairs puched out with peaople on them.
The other side of the dining room wall is the kitchen. I would never want that wall removed. I take great delight in setting my table nicely, chosing pretty tableclothes, placemats, napkins, etc. I do not want to sit down to eat, slide the napkin out of the napkin ring only to be staring at the sea of pots and pans, etc waiting to be washed. Just not my thing.

My kitchen has a morning room area and the family room adjoins that so I can visit with my family as I am cooking, prepping etc. i tend to prep etc at the island so I can see DH if he is watching a game etc. If i had kids doing their homework at the kitchen table, they would be only a few feet away from me in the open area Kithcn/eating area (morning room) family room.

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Posted: 11/24/2012 3:46:42 PM
I only have kitchen open to the family room and I hate it. I have to listen to the dishwasher when I'm trying to watch TV. It is also more expensive to heat and cool. i like separate rooms for my next house.

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Posted: 11/24/2012 4:53:50 PM

I think it's because I grew up in a Victorian house that had pocket doors. I like the option to close off spaces and use them as individual rooms. When you wanted a more open space you could open the doors and people could move easily around the space.

My kids are growing up in a house like this. French doors. Pocket doors. When young friends would visit we found they were fascinated with the doors.

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PeaNut 29,051
February 2002
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Posted: 11/24/2012 6:28:42 PM
I'm only envious of open floor plans when I'm at someone's house and they are having a big party. Just makes it easier to entertain.

With that said, for actual living in a home, I like a semi open floor plan. I want to be able to see the family room from my kitchen, but not necessarily have it all as one open room. Just from the kitchen table to the family room is fine with me. Doesn't have to be seeing the dirty dishes while sitting on my couch.

Some walls are good!

Many houses in my hood are really open. WE chose the semi open floor plan (with two story foyer) bc it feels open, but there are plenty of walls. I like walls for hanging pictures and putting corner cupboards. My neighbors literally can't hang up most of their family photos downstairs bc there are very few walls! Even the exterior walls are mostly windows.

I dont' mind two story foyers, but can't stand two story family rooms.



PeaNut 439,654
September 2009
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Posted: 11/24/2012 7:20:22 PM
NO, you are definitely not the only one. So glad to hear so many people like a little privacy in their living arrangements. I so wish I had built a more traditional design than having everything open.

Issues with open floor plans: noise, mess (you can see the kitchen from several rooms and I'm a messy cook), inability to change the decor without changing practically every room, inability to change the paint or flooring without changing all the rooms, not enough wall space for furniture to sit against.

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PeaNut 26,836
January 2002
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Posted: 11/24/2012 7:29:33 PM
No, you are not alone. I get the draw...they make the home look bigger and more open, and bigger is better for many people.

But I prefer smaller rooms with individual uses. I don't mind a room that can be a few different things, but I still want the option to be able to use the room in peace and quiet if I want to.

I want people cooking to be able to play music without disturbing the TV watching or video playing in the den or the book reading in the living room, kwim?

I spent my teen years in a home where the kitchen, dining area, entry, and living area all flowed right into each other, and it was a bit of a nightmare at times.

I much preferred the older home we lived in when I was small, which had a separate entry, living room, dining room, & kitchen.

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PeaNut 224,352
September 2005
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Posted: 11/24/2012 7:35:11 PM
I hate them!! We custom built a gorgeous home with an open downstairs and traditional upstairs. I lived there less than a week and knew it was a mistake. From the front door you could see over 2000 sq ft of our downtstairs with just a few pillars breaking up the view.

Made me crazy!

We sold that house less than 2 years later and moved to a traditional center hall Colonial and when we bought our second home, we told the Realtor we wanted a traditional ranch. SO in love with the segregation of rooms and privacy from room to room.

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PeaNut 378,405
June 2008
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Posted: 11/24/2012 7:36:24 PM
Our kitchen is open to the family room, and it was a requirement to me that we have a separate TV room, that's the only way the open plan works for us.
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PeaNut 51,257
October 2002
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Posted: 11/25/2012 8:38:59 PM
We've owned 4 homes, & only one was open plan. We didn't like open plan at all.

All of our houses that weren't open plan have had 3 adjoining rooms, with the kitchen/dining in the center. It's nice to have the walls because it breaks up the noise, & when you have guests it has good flow from room to room.


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