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Design Dilemma
Design Dilemma

Help! Not loving "open concept" after all!

lsnyderJanuary 9, 2013
Just completed a new house. We downsized and moved from a large 5,000 sf traditional but updated colonial with defined spaces (LR, DR, 2-story FR, etc.) to a 2800 sq basic house but with water views out the windows (can't see in these pics). Our main floor is now essentially one open space - long living/kitchen area which would typically have the DR table in the middle which I don't like, so we have the dining space off the end of the kitchen leaving us with a big open "ball room" in between.

Original plans called for a second island with columns in between with a wine bar, etc. but were afraid it would hamper the water view and we didn't have a good architect to help...now I think we should still do something like that (although we ended up doing another built-in for the wine/coffee bar in the dining alcove). I need help - I hate this open concept - it's not at all warm and inviting or comfortable.
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You need more furniture. You have a large space the small furniture is making it look larger. If you had a large farm-style dining table where the small round one is, that'd be a good start. I'd also put either a secretary right next the stairs or make a cozy nook for reading or having tea or something like that. For a cozier look, add pillows and throws to your existing couch and chairs. A few rugs would also be helpful in defining areas. Textures are what help make a place look "cozy."
    Bookmark   January 9, 2013 at 3:33PM
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Your space is beautiful! Don't despair. Open concept will be wonderful once you have figured out the best furniture arrangement. You should look through Houzz for large, open concept rooms, double-sized living rooms, etc, to see the different ways people have solved these problems. Then you can pick which solution fits your space and your lifestyle best. Just a couple of examples:
Home Farm 1 · More Info

Cortona Living · More Info

Tribeca penthouse · More Info
    Bookmark   January 9, 2013 at 3:47PM
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And here's a Houzz ideabook on laying out spaces in an open floor plan:
Ideabook: Good Spaces: Mastering the Open Floor Plan · See Ideabook
    Bookmark   January 9, 2013 at 3:49PM
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Scott Design, Inc.
Consider putting your dining table back in the center and put one or two upholstered, comfortable chairs, an ottoman style coffee table, reading floor lamps in the area next to the kitchen. I can't tell if the end of the island faces out into that space but you could mount a small TV there. This small area encourages comfortable, intimate gathering "around the hearth" (kitchen) for husband or wife or a couple of close friends while including the cook. Sitting on high stools around the counter is great for initial conversation but gets a little hard on the back and behind long term. Then after the meal and clean up, everyone can move to the fireplace area.
    Bookmark   January 9, 2013 at 5:12PM
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Just to clarify, we have a dining space off the side of the kitchen - with a large table - so I don't want a repeat of that in the middle of the open space - the small round table is just there as a catch-all right now
    Bookmark   January 9, 2013 at 5:15PM
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I have thought about putting a comfy seating area there instead - we had a similar space off our old kitchen but hate the idea of the dining table in the middle of the long space.
    Bookmark   January 9, 2013 at 5:21PM
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How about a large area rug with bold colors place the long table on it and make the cozy seating area where the table is now with matching colors ,so much white and wood. Beautiful room . Wish I had the space ..You did good just play with it and don't be afraid to chance it.
    Bookmark   January 9, 2013 at 5:43PM
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Scott Design, Inc.
Consider a 5' round or octogon game table with very comfortable upholstered chairs which can also be used for dining. It doesn't give you the initial impression of a typical dining layout. Instead it's fun and inviting, fills in the space nicely and allows for convenient access to the patio doors. With a pendant light over the table and an area rug, it will help to visually divide the long room into more intimate areas. Then you can still have a small sitting area just off the kitchen area.
    Bookmark   January 9, 2013 at 8:45PM
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Yes, I see your problem.
I personally like the idea of the round table. Could be a "library table stacked nicely with books and some flowers, or used as a game table. If you do seating, i would have tall chairs, to visually give the space a break, but not intrude your beautiful views.I would also use a rug, to define that space there and make it a little cozier as said before by others.
If you have a party, you could literally use the spot as a dance floor...but that is not the point here.
I have attached some photos for ideas. I would play with it a little before you do major changes or call a professional.
    Bookmark   January 9, 2013 at 9:27PM
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