Monday, August 17, 2009

The problem with open plan living

It seems like open plan living has well and truly taken hold. And why not - it has so many benefits, the best one being that the cook is not stuck slaving over a hot stove on their own. With open plan, the cook doesn't miss out.

But - and this is a big but - open plan living does have its drawbacks! This I know - having lived in open plan spaces all my adult life. One major drawback is noise - it's very difficult to run a mixmaster or fry some food without someone complaining and turning the tv up several notches - which is my pet hate!

But even worse - there's no where to hide the mess! Have a few people over for dinner, and there's bound to be a few pots and pans lying about. Particularly with the current trend to put sinks out facing towards the dining area - you see this ALL the time in Australia now. Take this example below - where the sink is right out there on show. Beautiful now, while it's clean and clutter free, but not so much when the benchtop is full of dirty dishes! The clean freak in me cringes!





So this is why I love this kitchen below. It has a bench with a high return on it, which normally screams '80s naff. But here I think it looks stylish and it hides all the kitchen mess. I think the gorgeous stone helps.




Or if you don't like the high return style - here's a good idea below - leave the bench entirely free of sinks or stovetop and tuck the sink in an incongruous spot AND make the sink very wide and deep like this gorgeous butlers style sink, to hide as many dirty dishes in there until you get a chance to tidy up completely.



My poor little blog has been rather neglected lately. Life has been getting in the way. And I haven't been visiting all my favourite blogs either!

Hopefully I'll get back into the swing of things soon.

Best wishes,

40 comments:

My name is PJ. said...

I know where you're coming from, Catherine, because I am anally retentive about order and cleanliness -BUT (and this is a big 'but' - that's why I capitalized it. :) ) - the Chef runs the kitchen in our home and he's a man (big handicap)...a tidy man, but still a man...and over the past several decades I've had to learn to chill a bit. My philosophy has become this: "Excuse our home, but we LIVE here." When you get as old as I am, maybe you'll know what I mean. :P

j u s t i m a g i n e said...

I am patiently waiting for your return...looking forward to your next blog entry.

Melissa from the Blue House said...

Funny you should write about this, because I have an old home with a kitchen tucked away, far away at teh back of the house. I love that I can run the dishwasher any time of day and no one hears it. I can do dishes in the middle of the night and not wake my kids up. :) Maybe not the trendiest, but I love the separate kitchen!

sealaura said...

Hi Catherine!

I do like open floor plans but I know what you mean about the drawbacks. The mess can spill over everywhere. Looks brilliant in these pretty photos though. Hope everything is well with you. I think we are all getting surprised with the end of summer (for us!) but I sure love to visit your blog and think of you often. hope your little guy is doing well. xoxo

caroline @ patagonia gifts said...

I'm totally with you, Catherine! I looove open plan kitchens {I have one} but I do not like the mess to be seen. I love your idea of hiding the sink! hope you are having a beautiful Monday! xo

cottagesweet said...

I like open plans, too but, I like my kitchen tucked away better. You are so right. Open plans mean lots of noise and looking messy when people are over. Keeping a kitchen clean and neat is a must for me but, still, a tucked away kitchen is the best. I've learned to cook meals that can be prepared ahead of time so I don't spend all the time in the kitchen when the guests are here.

Heidi said...

I can see your point rather well. I am going to have a kitchen with plenty of room for people to sit and eat or visit. Then the open plan part will be in another room with living and dining. I hate how when I cook fish and my whole house is fishy smelling. This kitchen that I am talking about is of course in my dreams. You can see my kitchen on my blog and Lord have mercy, does it need a do over real bad. Heidi

home before dark said...

Love the way it looks, not the way it cooks. I switched my family room adjacent to my kitchen to the dining room. That move made a bigger living/lounge room. Sent the TV upstairs (do not entertain around a tv period). Lights go off in kitchen just like a stageset, all disappers...until the guests leave and I have to clean up. Unconventional perhaps (like having a fireplace in the dining room—love that), but it works for me.

vicki archer said...

Open plan living is certainly just that...no secret hideaways to conceal any home disasters. I have lived with both open plan and designated rooms and I have found that each space is unique, xv.

A-M said...

Hi Catherine! I have just recently built in an open plan style out in the family/kitchen area of my home. The sink is in the island bench but it is a biggie so if there are pots, they sit in the sink as it has a handy tray on the base also. If I do have a last minute visitor at any time, whatever is on the bench just gets popped in the sink. Works so well.... if you have to have an island sink... go big (Oliveri Titan sink)... love it! A-M xx

Janet said...

I agree with you about the open floor plan. Personally, I don't care for them at all. I WISH our house had a "separate" kitchen. When I'm cooking, I WANT to be left alone so I can concentrate on the meal I'm preparing, ESPECIALLY if I'm entertaining. The last thing I need is the distraction of all sorts of guests flitting in and around my kitchen. It isn't at all enjoyable for me to have to play host while I'm cooking--I need to focus on what I'm doing. And I agree with you about being able to hide the mess!

Queen B. said...

I am learning to live with an open living area as we downsized when we came to live at the beach.
LESS IS MORE....LESS IS MORE.
clean & simple.

Lee said...

I have an open plan kitchen with a large island bench (tho' my sink is on the far wall next to the window), and it is forever 'messy'. You're right, it's definitely one of the drawbacks of open plan living.

Struggler said...

The one with the high return looks good to me. But yes, you've highlighted the problems of open plan.
I do remember, when my parents had a dinner party (separate dining room and kitchen), my Mom wouldn't even seat the female guests facing the kitchen door, in case they caught a glimpse of the utter chaos within. But, she figured the men wouldn't notice!

Kath Lockett said...

I agree with you about sinks on display, Catherine. Our little house has the sink/bench as the divider between the cooking space and eating space, so it means we have to be super organised when we have guests over and do as much of the pots and pans before they arrive....

StrandviksVillan said...

I agree with you, it's not nice to see all the dirty dishes...
When I planned our kitchen I placed the sink in the corner you don't see until you stand next to it.
I like your blog very much! Thank you for inspiring pics!
Ann-Christine

Julie@beingRUBY said...

Hi Catherine
Hope you are well.. Life has to come first at times. Now about open plan. I usually prefer it.. I feel claustrophobic in enclosed rooms [but then it might depend on how big the rooms are!! haha]. All your image options are great, but the cooking fish thing is a problem [bbq!]. Julie

I'm Julia said...

I prefer open floor plans... they fill the space with light and somehow seem to breathe better. But the kitchen is a problem... I don't like looking at appliances from other rooms, no matter how pretty. The biggest problem for me? Lack of wall space. But I'll glady trade walls for light & air anyday.

Rachael said...

We are about to change to an open plan kitchen, and one of my issues is sink placement. Our kitchen currently is tucked away, so as much as I hate the dishes on show, I hate not being part of whats going on too....

Draffin Bears said...

Hi Catherine,

Lovely to have you back.
I have a separate kitchen which is great when it comes to being able to shut the door.
I love the stone bench with the high return, at least you can hide pots and pans.

Enjoy your week
Hugs
Carolyn

River said...

I'm not a fan of open plan kitchens either. For me the only advantages would be airy and light, and being able to keep an eye on small children playing in the family area. a huge drawback for me would be heating/cooling costs. These are so much higher when you have a large open space which needs heaing or cooling. Being able to close rooms currently not in use is a much better option, I think. Open plan kitchens in households which entertain a lot would have to follow the "Flylady" golden rule of stuffing all the mess in the cupboard under the sink. which is quite a silly idea to me.

Heather said...

I completely agree with you Catherine. I'm struggling with the layout of my dream kitchen as I want the prep next to the stove which I want facing out (ie on a bench), but I am wary of stove tops in the bench for its safety aspect. I imagine my kids sitting at the bench doing homework but I worry about them being splattered or burnt.

I don't agree with the kitchen work triangle theory and want a flow of pantry-prep-cook-serve-clean with only a step or so between each zone.

I desperately want a butlers sink big enough to hide the mess and fit my biggest pot that doesn't go in the dishwasher.

Ok enough ramble from me, but keep the kitchens coming!

Heather said...

Oh and one more thing - upstands in my experience, are just a place to collect clutter. They generally aren't wide enough to eat from or do anything on really.

Nancy Lynn said...

I just discovered your beautiful blog and I'm really looking forward to your next delightful entry!

Blair said...

Oh, what stunning kitchens but I agree that I do like to hide the mess! Sorry you have been so busy.

Beth said...

I have a very deep sink for this very reason! I love my open space but another drawback is lack of wall space. I find myself wanting another wall to decorate :).

lily-g said...

glad to be back, checking out my favourite blog xx

beauty comma said...

i agree 100% catherine! i'm living like this myself at the moment, facing the pots and pans issue every day. it forces you to clean up fast, though - thankfully, i have very cool friends.
hope life is treating you well, even if it gets in the way of blogging!
trudi (who used to be the deco detective)

beautifuliving said...

I'm right there with you. We have an open plan in our home and I am so over it. You can't run the dishwasher when you want, the TV is always getting turned up to and there is no place to hide your messes.

Honestly, I don't think I entertain enough to need an open kitchen that allows to be part of the action all the time. There is no action going on.. ha!

prashant said...

I am patiently waiting for your return...looking forward to your next blog entry.
Work From Home

Alister said...

I know it takes up floor space but we have a sepperate scullery/laundry off the open plan kitchen.Has the Dish washer,washing machine and the sinks for washing (we only have a small preperation sink on the open counter.we also have now put a hot plate in there for thing like frying so as not to smell out the living area , greet blog thanks AT

prashant said...

Maybe not the trendiest, but I love the separate kitchen!
Banner Advertising Network India

sealaura said...

still hoping you come back to the blogosphere :)

hxl said...

tn requin

chaussures tn

women's shoes

chaussure requin

air max

chaussures sport

air 90

air 95

chaussures pas cher

air bw

air max

air 90

air chaussures

discount handbags

timberland

timberland chaussures

bottes ugg

ugg classic

ugg

bottes ugg

Chaussures Femmes

ugg classic

ugg

moncler

Chaussures mode

doudoune moncler

健康365天天网秉承为大家带去健康365天为己任,联合各大国内外知名品牌,其中国外加拿大营养屋系列产品为主,健康药品大全几乎被加拿大营养屋产品所覆盖。国内知名品牌欣乐佳以高纯度提取技术为优势,给大家带来高纯度、高质量,健康365天优质生活。欣乐佳的高纯度提取技术堪称国内提取技术行业领头人。中食月太也是保健品行业的新生力量,肽产品是中食月太不可忽视的主推品牌力量,完全符合国家食源性低聚肽标准和行业标准。健康365天天网集国内外,知名三大品牌,成就保健品行业先锋。带给大家最新、最安全、纯度最高的,保健健康药品大全

Melissa @ A Simple Nest said...

I have lived in old houses and apartments for the past decade, none of which are open plan, and I really miss it. I hate having to walk into another room to sit at the table and eat, or not be able to watch my baby play while i cook/tidy (which is 75% in the kitchen, and her toys are in the living room.

I want an open plan, but my hearing is so bad. Every time I'm at a gathering of people in an open house plan I feel left out and depressed because I can't hear a thing over all the noise in the huge space

Janis said...

We have an open plan home with a kitchen like your first pic.......lovely yes..but also noisy and messy. But I guess you just have to resign yourself to it until the kids move out;-)

Lovely blog, off to check out your other posts

Joseph said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
richard said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
bharatbook said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
angelo h said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.