By John Voket
In our last segment, I began exploring the idea of expanding your kitchen space into a "great room" configuration. In a search for top resources on the subject, we hit upon the Virginia and DC firm CASE Design Remodeling (casedesign.com) .
CASE offers a wealth of information for those considering a great room conversion in their own home, or having one built into a new home. According to its design team, the first things to consider when opening up a floor plan, are the advantages closed floor plans offer:
More privacy – Many households have people contending with different ages and schedules, from babies to teenagers and grandparents or nannies that all live in the same home. Enclosed spaces may work better in a house where everyone needs their space.
More walls for artwork – If you are an art enthusiast and need ample space to display your favorite works you will need wall space. Also, depending upon the delicacy of the work, direct sunlight may damage the art. In this case, walls are a good thing! Easier to clean/contain messes. You may prefer an enclosed playroom for kids or rooms with doors that can keep messes out of the main rooms, making you look and feel like a better housekeeper.
Noise doesn’t travel as far – Open floor plan designs have more acoustics and cause noise to travel further, while extra walls can help contain and limit noise. Specialty rooms. More rooms means more separate spaces dedicated to individual uses, such as home offices, art studios, craft rooms, workout rooms, and guest rooms.
The designers at CASE suggest you start planning for your great room conversion by making a prioritized list of the changes you’d like to make:
- Visit each room in your home individually, making notes about the room’s location, adjacent rooms, natural light, and current uses.
- Ask yourself, how can the room you’re standing in become a better room by combining it with the one next door?
- Remember, a lot of bathroom expansions begin with the realization that a current, cramped bathroom is right next to a small, seldomly used room or linen closet.
- Also, two adjacent bedrooms can be combined to create one larger bedroom or office.
- And a garage can be finished and turned into a master bedroom, family room, or entertainment room.