It’s a home interior fad that really has staying power. “It” is the style of “open concept” where living spaces including the kitchen and dining room are open to all the others. The idea is to make a house more amenable to entertaining with wide open spaces, and for busy moms to be able to more easily keep an eye on the kids.
As an idea, it is not a bad one – and the first house this writer saw of this sort was reconfigured in the 1980s – however, there are downsides to simply designating space in the house by furnishings rather than with walls.
The first topic that pops up in articles from almost ten years ago is wanting to have a private conversation on a phone when the television is on and someone is watching it. This would go double for wanting to read or have time on a computer to do work. All of that in a single living space assures that not everyone is satisfied.
Another issue is residue from cooking that will land on every stick of furniture in the house. It happens in every kitchen. Not having walls between the kitchen and the living room is an invitation for trouble, especially for an expensive couch or antique furniture.
Also, with everyone living in all of the same space, and not having a separate formal parlor or “pretty room” closed off from the rest of the house, keeping the place in shape for all the company one wants to have in the open concept house is not an easy task.
This is not to say that some parts of the house being open is not a great thing. With family get-togethers, it is inevitable that at some point EVERYONE will end up in the kitchen all at the same time and cooking becomes a minefield as the cooks maneuver around bodies, but really, not many people want their office to be open to all and sundry.
Professionals in the field believe that open concept is a fad that will eventually fade. Until that time, each family seeking to remodel houses would do well to do their homework and consider all the pros and cons of this style of living before taking the plunge.