Thursday, August 26, 2010

I hate open floor plans

I kind of hope that someday DH and I are able to design and build our own home.  I know that it will probably be cheaper for us to buy an existing home that is a fixer, but since we have looked at several homes it has occurred to me that there might be absolutely nothing that already exists that I would like (even after it was fixed up).  Every home we've looked at has had some aspect of the floor plan that we didn't like that couldn't be easily changed.  Too small, too big, too weird, ("too stupid", DH adds as I list adjectives), something inherent to the actual floor plan that can't be covered up with paint.

Sometimes I think DH and I are the only people left who dislike open floor plans.  I believe this after spending my days watching the real estate channel and everyone oohs and aahhs over "open floor plans".  I am not sure if they are brainwashed or perhaps they just like to say "open floor plan" but haven't really thought it through. 

Is it really so great to be able to walk in the front door and see every single room in the house, including the one that has the cat box?  I am actually describing the house I live in right now, where from the front entry way you could see into every single room except the baby's room, which is parallel with the front door, and the breakfast nook/laundry room/master bath, which is in a row behind the master bedroom.

Do people realize that with this kind of setup, that the entire house must be immaculate and uncluttered at all times if you want any one room to appear clean?  You can't have company over and say, well, at least the living room is clean, if the kitchen is a big ol' mess that you can clearly see from the living room.  This very topic is one that the real estate channel decorators are always trying to address.  How to neatly furnish and decorate the home that is really just one big giant room.  People do not realize until it is too late that children's space is the adult space, and vice versa.  That someone will be banging pots and pans in the kitchen while someone else wants to watch TV and somone else wants to read and someone else wants to listen to the stereo. That all your furniture will be visible and might look ridiculous all together.  Maybe you don't care, but maybe you will and the visual clutter will make you want to scream.

I first realized I didn't like open floor plans after living in a couple of rectangular apartments.  You know the kind.  It is literally a big long rectangle, containing the kitchen, then dining room, then living room, with no separation between rooms.  Visually I suppose it makes the place seem bigger, but also messier and less private.  I did not actually notice it until I went back to my parents' house for a visit.  "Hey, rooms!!  How novel!"  And ever since then I've increasingly despised open floor plans.

Did I say less private? I meant NO privacy.  Open floor plans are advertised as encouraging interaction and fostering family togetherness.  They "meet the demands of modern living" if that means that you are so busy you are unable to walk from the kitchen to the dining room and instead must hand your family food across the bar at the back of the cooktop.  Or turn around from the stove and be able to place food on the table without having to take a step at all, like on the TV show Friends.  Toss a dinner roll to someone on the sofa, while you're at it.  Who is buying this propaganda? A lot of people, apparently.

This floor plan wasn't always.  Recently on the real estate channel I watched them list an old Victorian home for sale.  It had a very interesting floor plan.  The front door opened into a little receiving room.  I know there are other names for this room but I forgot what they are.  Anyway, it was a fully enclosed room with another door in the corner opposite the front door, that led to...who knows? It's a mystery!  Which is what I think some areas in the house should be.  I think it would be fun to have receiving rooms back en vogue, except that a) no one would know how to use them, and b) no one ever goes to visit anyone at their homes anyway.


Cydney said...

I completely agree. My apartment(before we bought our first home)was a big rectangle like you described, and I hated it. It always looked messy, nothing seemed to coordinate, and no one can ever have peace and quiet. I love being able to prepare dinner while listening to nice music in the kitchen while my husband watches sports on TV, then escaping from the cooking mess into our separate, nicely set dining room. And having a foyer to welcome people is wonderful, rather than them just busting right into the living room.

Heather said...

Hi Cydney, nice to see your comment. Since I wrote this post, I bought a house. It's still more open than I'd like but at least the living area is kind of an "S" shape, so you can't actually see the dining room/kitchen from the living room. But no foyer...that part is a bummer. Busting right into the living room is right...not even a mudroom and we live in Oregon where it rains all the time.


Related Posts with Thumbnails