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.