Those who grew up with traditional dining rooms, with memories of great holiday meals, loud, boisterous and energetic family get togethers may want to continue with tradition and pass this down to future generations. While some view these rooms as a waste of valuable space, others prefer to hang tight to these rooms, even if they are only used a handful of times a year. It’s about preference, lifestyle and choice. In an informal poll, about half the people responded to preferring a separate, closed off dining room with the other half preferring a specified dining space, but not in a separate, closed off space.
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.
It’s a question that begs to be answered and worth delving into. In order to best answer this question we need to take a look at today’s modern families and their lifestyles. We are busier than ever before. Our days are longer than in the past. Today’s school children have longer days with more activities and more homework, perhaps, than those of previous generations. The greatest difference may be that today’s homes consist of, primarily, two working parents/partners.
Our kitchens see more traffic and more use, perhaps, than any other room in the house. This is especially the case with busy families. The kitchen has become central not only in our homes, but in our home life. We are spending more and more time in the kitchen. It is where we cook, congregate, work, entertain, discuss the day’s events, plan future engagements and pay bills. We also happen to eat in here. Our kitchens are outfitted with music and television sets and this space has become a true living room. Today’s kitchens are larger than those of years past and often have more than one seating area. It is not uncommon to see both an island surrounded with chairs and a separate space large enough to fit a table and several chairs. With two eating areas is there really a need for another?
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