I love having a closed-concept home.
To me, a closed-concept home means that (in most cases) there isn’t a direct view from one main living space to the next. Rooms are separated by either a wall, a door, or an archway. In our home, while there is a view from the entryway to the dining room to the living room, most of our main living areas are separate from the others.
I am often asked about the downsides of living without the direct sight lines that tend to come with homes built in the past twenty years. In my experience, there are plenty more reasons to love living in a closed-concept home than there are to dislike it. Truly, the only times I would consider a slightly more open-concept layout is when I’m in the kitchen cooking dinner. When we’re hosting, I sometimes get FOMO and don’t want to miss anything with our guests. To counter this, I invite people to come chat with me while I cook.
A girlfriend recently reminded me what happened the first time I had her over for dinner. I let the dogs in the back door, covered in mud, and a mess quickly ensued. I closed the doors between the kitchen and the rest of the house to contain the mess, cleaned everything up, and then got back to the party pretty quickly. It was something I’d become so used to, I didn’t think twice about it! It wasn’t until she brought it up that I realized how useful the layout is for our family’s lifestyle.
When we have people over, it’s also easier to do last-minute cleaning and to maintain a general sense of order since things don’t spread out from room to room as much.
Now that the kids are getting a little older, we can let them play independently more often and Joe and I can have alone time in separate spaces. Having the rooms divided up helps facilitate this, and I treasure the alone time I can get in an otherwise busy life.
It should be noted that we do live in a bigger house than we did before. This means there’s naturally more space to spend time separately. However, we tend to use about half of the house most frequently when it’s just our immediate family, so the closed-concept floor plan definitely still helps provide some separation.
When you are designing within an open-concept floor plan, you’re first and foremost building the design around a cohesive scheme. It takes a bit of skill to figure out how to do that. With our closed-concept spaces, it’s felt like each room can have its own personality.
While I’ll consider the overall color palette of the home when I’m designing any given room, I don’t feel a need to be too closely tied to it. This made the process of experimenting with rooms in our main living areas especially fun. You can see the individual personality of different spaces in rooms like the blue library/office and the green family room.
I know from experience that when you have a big great room with a TV, it’s easier to get set in your routines. When it comes to downtime, this often includes the TV. In this home, with separate spaces without a TV, we’re drawn to do different activities. The kids will read when I’m working in the blue library/office, we’ll play games in the living room, and we’ll do crafts at the kitchen island.
BY Kate Arends - June 15, 2022
Thank you for being here. For being open to enjoying life’s simple pleasures and looking inward to understand yourself, your neighbors, and your fellow humans! I’m looking forward to chatting with you.