Prior to the mid 1980’s, the design of single-family homes usually had several separate rooms dedicated to gathering or entertaining. We had a living room, which, when I was growing up, was rarely used unless ‘company’ was coming over.

Then we had a formal dining room, which often was used about the same amount of time as the living room. The den was the place the family carried out the daily routines of watching TV, sitting and reading; in general an informal space designed for everyday living.

Then of course there is the kitchen. Has always been, and I dare say will always be, the quintessential heart of the home. We ate there, did our homework, talked and gathered informally with friends.

Good times, and generally not the best use of space. Somewhere in the late 80’s and early 90’s, an old concept was resurrected and applied once again to the contemporary single-family home, the Great Room. The smaller and often unused spaces became one. The family room, living room, dining room and the heart of the home, the kitchen, all became one large open space.

We sometimes see the space used in a similar fashion when there were walls separating uses, but nonetheless, the openness has been embraced with both track and custom homes.

We like the light that is brought in. The natural lighting during the day can give cheeriness to the spaces. We like the ability to see what the kids are up to, and for them to see us. Talking to each other is easier, once we disengage from our personal electronic devices.

The relationship to outdoor living spaces becomes more prominent. Opening up between the great room and the back patio has become a real trend. No longer just the sliding door, but now a sliding wall. This innovation in spatial relationships has really been a beneficial addition to the ‘Open Room’ or ‘Great Room’ concept. Now our home has become even more livable, larger, and some might argue a healthier place to be a part of. Gone, for good I hope, is the plastic covered couch we couldn’t sit on and traded in for a more inclusive and useable home environment.

The advantages are pretty obvious. Most homes in our area are constructed in such a way that the walls that separate the individual rooms are not load bearing and can be removed. Call me and let’s look at ways to open up your home.