Gone are the days where the mother stayed home and tended to the house and greeted her husband and children when they came home at the end of the day. Gone are the days when the workday ended at 5:00pm. Today’s family members come and go at various times and into the late evening hours. Because of this it is not uncommon to have a staggered family meal, depending on what time everyone gets home. For those who do sit down and plan a family meal, this can take a great amount of coordination and effort and, does not often happen 7 days a week. What does this have to do with the dining room? A great deal!
Expanded spaces and open floor plans are very much in demand these days. Newer homes are built with this thought in mind, and older homes are being reconfigured and redeveloped so that they too can have this open feel. Even small Colonial and Cape style houses can have an open floor plan. As long as weight is redistributed properly, load-bearing walls can easily be removed. For many this is ideal. Not only does this open up the home, making it feel larger, but for those with young families, some feel it’s easier to keep tabs on everyone without having to be in the same room. Homes with open floor plans are hot commodities in the real estate market, in fact, Realtors often promote their listings as having an “open floor plan” to create interest among buyers. This isn’t, however, the case for every home.
Many Americans and most Europeans live in homes and apartments too small for separate dining areas. For those residing in apartments, lofts and smaller homes, the kitchen is, once again, the center of the home for entertaining as well as dining purposes. In lofts with open floor plans, large farm tables are often central to the space. Much in the same way a kitchen table has become multi-functional, these have as well, providing hours of family meals, and entertainment as well as a place for homework, crafts and board games.
Our lifestyles tend to be more casual today, and our homes are a direct reflection of this shift. Older homes, those built between 1920 and 1970s, with the smaller kitchen were outfitted with dining rooms just off the kitchen. Food was prepared in the kitchen and then transported into the dining room. Once a meal was finished, people would then relocate to another room… to the kitchen, perhaps, to clean and do the dishes, or to the common living area or to a bedroom.
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