I love great rooms! I design all my houses as open concept space with the kitchen, dining and living room as one great space. Formal dining rooms are a way of the past. To me, a great room reflects the more casual way we all live and entertain these days, plus it’s an excellent way to achieve square footage in a house which results in a more efficient house.
A well designed great room has spaces for kitchen, dining and lounging, along with enough room for people to mingle when the homeowner is entertaining. The fun part of a great room is these spaces can ‘borrow’ square footage from each other, depending on what the room is being used for on any given day. Furniture rearrangement is easy, as there is one large space, instead of several small rooms. Hard surface floors and felts on furniture is an excellent way to be able to manipulate your furniture to meet your current space needs. Of course we all know a great room is wonderful for a party, as everyone wants to party in the kitchen!
A great room doesn’t have to be a square room, or even a rectangle. Sometimes I design them in an L shape, with the kitchen tucked into the bottom right part of the L, so that it’s hidden from the living room. That way, clients don’t have to look at the mess in the kitchen if they don’t want to! This choice can be decided by site design.
A big trick to making a great room work for a family is to make sure there is an alternative quiet place for a family member to go, to be alone. If someone doesn’t want to be social, a quiet reading nook in a bedroom, or a den with a TV or bookshelves provides this option to the large open space. A screened porch or covered deck is also a wonderful alternative in the summer months.
Look at this lovely great room in a house we just built in Washago. The kitchen space is defined by the large overhead trellis. It's the first time we have built one of these. I love this trellis!