Post details: A Gathering Place - Part 3

02/19/05

Permalink 06:32:47 am, Categories: Articles, 413 words   English (US)

A Gathering Place - Part 3


Pros and Cons

The main floor of the Nances' Indiana home looks and lives like a large "keeping room." Common prior to the early 1800s, these forerunners of today's great-rooms served a multitude of purposes, from holding large social gatherings to small family dinners. As with every room arrangement, there are pros and cons to this layout, whose time has come again.

Pros:

- Cooks and kids can be together before, during, and after meals, making meal preparation a family affair. Including a television and/or stereo ensures popularity as a family gathering spot.
- When you're entertaining, an open layout provides guests and cooks with a place to mingle without interfering with the process of fixing dinner. -- Counters can be turned into snack stations or buffets.
- Combining the family room and dining area with the kitchen makes all three feel more spacious. Hallways are integrated into the total area, and furniture arrangement defines traffic patterns. This frees floor space for amenities such as beverage centers or snack bars, where kids and guests can serve themselves. Counters can also become secondary work areas during larger gatherings.
- Because a great room's area is large, furniture arrangement is flexible and can be changed to accommodate a particular day's activities. The dining room, for example, can serve as a home office, homework zone, or an early-morning retreat.
Each room benefits from the light filtering through windows in adjoining areas.

Cons:

- A keeping room can mean loss of quiet and privacy for the cook. If the television is on while Mom is trying to have a quiet conversation with - -- Dad, for example, the arrangements can become uncomfortable. Concentrating on a new or complicated recipe might be challenging, too.
- It can be more difficult to decorate open spaces. Adjoining rooms need to coordinate with one another, and, when walls flow together, there may not be a logical place to stop one paint color or wallpaper pattern and start another. Flooring requires added coordination between easy-to-clean surfaces in the kitchen and softer surfaces in adjacent rooms.
- Open views mean guests in any of the nearby seating areas can see the kitchen -- whether it's clean or dirty. You'll need to keep on top of kitchen cleanup or worry less about letting company see cooking messes.
A larger kitchen necessitates more steps during meal preparation and cleanup. To maintain efficiency, you'll need to pay special attention to the layout of the kitchen work areas.

Better Homes and Gardens

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