The Kitchen Designer

Thanks for stopping by! I'm Susan Serra, certified kitchen designer, and my mission is to take kitchen design style, function and analysis to a higher level. Here's why the kitchen has the most honored place in the home - all five senses reside in the kitchen.  Best...Susan  Contact: susan@susanserraassociates.com

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« Modern Kitchens - Euro Style | Main | White Kitchens - And Your Kids! »

Open Plan Kitchens - For Empty Nesters

My husband and I changed two rooms of furniture around yesterday, swapping furniture in each room. The dining room furniture was put into the smaller of our two family rooms. The family room furniture was put into the dining area (not the breakfast area), which is open to the kitchen.

We now have a great room floor plan, that I've been designing for my clients for the past, close to, 20 years!

Two of our three kids moved out about 3 years ago, the smaller family room just wasn't getting used, and at the same time, new lifestyle patterns were emerging for us. Our daughter and son in law visit from the city on occasional weekends, our other son, less so, and lots of time is spent in the kitchen along with a variety of activities such as preparing meals with great music playing, laptop use, sports tv with no sound on, hors d'oevres before dinner, relaxing, talking, dining, and any combination of same.

Being on the "other side" of raising children, I can tell you, at least for us, that it is, as, or more, important to have the home conducive to togetherness, since the kids do not come home that often. This floor plan achieves that goal very well. Yet, we still have the large family room, just beyond, with a pair of french doors installed, to "get away" from the kitchen/great room feeling, good to promote privacy and coziness.

So, to empty nesters, or soon to be: Being aware of how your parental role changes often has to do with how your home works for you. And, how it could work better for you in this next phase of life.
I know my kids will be delighted when they see this change in the house. They are 20 somethings adults now, all, and, although a few smarmy comments still sneak through,  they no longer see us as they once did:  a) stupid b) losers c) know nothings d) out of it e) the enemies! Oh man, I thought of five descriptive terms so quickly! Now, I look forward to welcoming them back home to a different experience.

As this configuration was never foreseen, I may tweak it a bit more, still. Change is fun! 

Please look at some additional images of my kitchen/family room. Tell me what you think of an open kitchen/family room concept. 



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Reader Comments (6)

What a great idea. Your new family room area looks like it was meant to be in that spot. And your kitchen is gorgeous - of course! I'm helping my newly empty nest brother and sis-in-law with their family room and kitchen remodel and they too are thinking about how they now want to live - without having to think about the kids. A cozy small table and chairs is going to go in the family room and the kitchen will have only a small built in banquette with table (much like you have). Changing up perspectives and expectations of what each room "should" have is a great way to make things fresh!

September 30, 2007 | Unregistered CommenterLinda from ::Surroundings::

Gorgeous! Can you tell us more about the family room vase and pillow fabrics? Looks wonderful -- nice job!

September 30, 2007 | Unregistered CommenterKara at Designtalk

Hi Susan!
We are in the midst of remodeling our kitchen to an open kitchen/family room plan as well. I am looking forward to having a kitchen back! I love your kitchen! The tile and skirted cabinet are wonderful.

September 30, 2007 | Unregistered Commenterkatiedid

Linda, thanks for the positive feedback, appreciated! Love the idea of tables and chairs in the family room, I have that too. I think they'll find that it's nice to have an alternative place to dine. Change is good.

Hi Kara! Thanks to you too. The pillows have what looks like a Joan Miro inspired pattern and I purchased them here: http://www.homenature.com/about/
The vase was purchased by me (online) at the Stockholm auction house in 2004. It's by Carl-Harry Stalhane, a famous Swedish ceramic artist, manufactured by Rörstrand 1973, Thanks for asking!

Katiedid...you sure did have a huge remodel. I'm anxiously awaiting the unveiling!

October 1, 2007 | Unregistered CommenterSusan Serra, CKD

for most modern living people the open family room/kitchen plan is becoming essential. it just makes sense to expand the energy and joys found in the kitchen into other spaces where your friends & family can linger near or take part. i absolutely adore your home ~ your sense of style is fantastic. thanks so much for giving us a peek into your world!

October 2, 2007 | Unregistered Commenterstudio wellspring

Thank you for that, I really appreciate the feedback, it's definitely validating!

October 3, 2007 | Unregistered CommenterSusan Serra, CKD

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