A kitchen-centric great room is perfect for today’s casual living. Those formal dining and living rooms just aren’t compatible with the modern family, and a kitchen great room is a great way to enjoy family and friends in a cozy, relaxed atmosphere.
Advantages Of A Kitchen-centric Great Room
• Social Time
The cook/cleanup crew can interact with family and friends before and after mealtime.
• Monitoring The Kids
Parents can take care of chores and household duties and keep an eye on the kids at the same time.
• Increased Natural Light and Views
By removing interior walls, sunlight filters throughout the house. Air circulation is increased and opens views that the walls obscured.
• Easier To Entertain
Guest naturally gravitate to the kitchen, and the cook can be part of the group before, during and after a meal.
It’s A Family Affair
A well-designed family room/kitchen combo incorporates many activities. A dining area, computer station for homework, TV and media center for entertainment and a well-planned kitchen that allows the chef to visit are just some of the ways a modern family can enjoy this open floor plan.
The space often opens onto a patio or deck to expand the fun to include both indoor and outdoor activities. A grill or outdoor kitchen setup in this area has easy access to the kitchen to make preparation and cleanup a snap. Shared indoor/outdoor spaces are becoming very popular. However, the climate of your region and your personal lifestyle may dictate how seamless theses spaces are.
Designing Your Timber Frame Great Room – Function And Organization
In a multipurpose room like this, define zones for specific activities your family requires. Decide what kind of things your family needs space for, and use that as a guide for designing your room.
Your kitchen great room will include things like:
• Dining area
• Food preparation, cooking and cleanup
• Storage area
• Media entertainment and socializing
• Family activities, hobbies and studying
Other things like music and a family library are other activity zones you may consider. Think about how your family spends time together and create your own list.
These activity zones are generally loosely defined. To tie the space together, unifying elements are incorporated to give a cohesive look to the room. Use similar cabinetry, floor coverings, light fixtures and complementary decorating elements to create an interrelated feel to the space. Fabrics, wall coverings and home décor items add a final layer of unity and personal style.
Expanding Your Kitchen – Conversation And Appeal
Knocking out a wall to incorporate a little-used dining room or pushing out a wall to increase the footprint of the area are two ways to create a multi-purpose great room. This is, of course, an expensive and labor intensive project, but for many families, it’s well worth the cost and inconvenience.
However, if you’re not able to go to such extremes, you still may be able to manipulate your existing kitchen into a more family-friendly gathering place.
Create A Cozy Space
Even if you can’t increase your kitchen’s square footage, you can still give it a cozy, den-like atmosphere. If you have an eat-in kitchen, perhaps changing out a large dining table and chairs for a comfy couch and occasional tables is just the thing to get your family together before and after meals.
Space for a computer needn’t take up much room with today’s laptops and tablets, and a media center with TV is a sure way to spark family activities in the kitchen.
Design Challenges To Keep In Mind
When designing your kitchen great room, there’s a few things to consider. It’s not enough to open up a large space. You need to plan how your great room will all be used and the best way to make it functional and efficient for your family’s needs.
• Ample Storage Space
With fewer walls, you automatically have less space to place cabinets, shelves and other storage options. Consider a separate closet or pantry for the kitchen and make sure there’s storage for toys, games, books and other items that you normally store away.
• Adequate Electrical Outlets
If you’re remodeling an existing space, you may need to add electrical outlets to your great room. Older homes didn’t require all the electric demands we have today, so your 1950s home may have a single outlet on each wall.
• Suitable Illumination
You need ambient lighting as well as task lighting throughout the space. Make sure you consider how each area of the room will be used and incorporate a lighting blueprint that addresses the needs of each zone.