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NashvilleJune 24, 2015


Susan Roethemeyer

Open Concept Vs. Closed Concept

These days the buzzword in the building and renovation trade is “Open Concept.”

That means the living space, which includes the kitchen, dining space, and living room/family room, is all open.

Which means no walls separate the different areas.

Thick beams — sometimes hidden, sometimes exposed as part of the decor — are used to support the weight of the roof or upper floor.

The space created feels huge and open, as if you are outside but under shelter.

That concept of building is popular right now, but I see some drawbacks to that style.

Pictures: Where do you hang all your photos and paintings? Some may put pictures in albums, But I like to see many of my pictures every day. And I like to paint and draw. Where will my paintings go without walls?

Alone space: Everyone needs some alone time after a stressful day. Time to be alone with your thoughts, if only for a few minutes. When pets and kids can see you instantly, there goes your alone time.

Office privacy: When an office space is incorporated into a kitchen, all your projects are out in the open where anyone can get to them and mess them up. And you cannot concentrate on the work you are doing when everyone wants one thing or another.

And where do you put all your books? Lots of decorators use books for looks, but I use mine for reading. And I need a semi-private place to enjoy them.

Kitchen storage: Now where will you put all your dishes and once a year cookware (think Christmas and Thanksgiving) when they take away half of the cabinete space from the now – gone walls?

Safety: One serious drawback to the open concept is fire safety. A recent report on Channel 5 news pointed out a study that showed that fires today are spreading faster in a building — in a matter of about four minutes, as opposed to about ten minutes in the past. The study showed that a fire spreads faster when there are no walls to slow it down.

In the past, In the Seventies and Eighties, old factories were turned into living spaces.

That trend has not ended and is not about to.

It has just moved to new building and renovation.

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