Today in my search for interesting architecture news, I came across a forum where the discussion was centered on home design, and the “open floor plan” idea. We are mostly led to believe that this is what everyone wants. New homes all feature them, remodeled homes are trending towards them, and even the majority of home repair/ remodel shows tell the consumer this is what we want. Well….. What happens when someone does not want an open concept floor plan? What can you do?
I don’t know about you, but I am a kid at heart. I don’t like to clean ALL THE TIME. In fact I really don’t like to clean at all. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t live in a pigsty, I like having my home clean and organized, but I hate doing the work to get to that point. Evidently my lack of desire to has transferred over to my children. Each one of them has their own method for cleaning (all of which I am sure I unknowingly taught them). Shoving toys and clothes under the bed, in the closet and stuffing the dresser so it’s bulging to the point of exploding.
I’m sure you are wondering why I am filling you all in on the cleaning tendencies of myself and my children, well with an open concept floor plan cleaning matters! Rooms are not separated from one another, they bleed into each other, and the definition of space is not as black and white as it used to be. The grey area of room separation causes us to clean more! Who really wants to be constantly washing dishes so they can’t be seen when a guest or visitor enters the front door? Do we really want to be constantly scolding the kids to pick up their toys, so that the living room looks presentable for the door to door vacuum salesman?
Now I am not advocating the demise of the open concept, I am simply stating that there may be unintended consequences in the way we live, simply because of the design and functionality of our homes. Traditionally homes, (picture those old farmhouses and colonial style homes we all love) had rooms separated by their use and function. The Kitchen contained the required space and items for cooking and eating. The Living Room had its required space and room for its required usage. That was done for multiple reasons, and rather than bore you to death about the details, that is simply what they did, when building way back when. In this day and age the definition of function and room usage has become blurred. Everybody lives differently than they did 100 years ago (however, if you do, I would love to sit down and have a good discussion over lunch). I see that, I understand that. But I do not think my ancestors turned out to be extremely weird or anything, simply based on the function and design of their homes. In fact they are very grounded and normal rational human beings.
Despite what the general consensus out there is, there are a number of people (myself included) who does not want to live within the “open concept” realm. Ask around, they are living all around you; they are lurking under your very nose. I think the answer will surprise you how many actually would prefer a return to the traditional dedication of spaces and rooms within their homes, exactly opposite of the “open concept” ideals.