We bought a new house a few years ago. It was built in 2006 as part of an enormous new urbanist development. The first floor has a large space at the back that includes the kitchen. Sliders open onto a lanai and the pool. This space was clearly intended to include a small kitchen dining table and the tv area - the wall opposite the kitchen area is wired for both cable and sound, with speaker lines running to mounts in the ceiling as builder standard, and there was a lamp hanging over the obvious dinette area beside the kitchen island. Taking our cues from the design, we dutifully purchased a new sofa, chairs and other furniture for the tv area, including a small desk. We placed a small farm table in the dinette area. In addition to the master bedroom at the back, the first floor has two other rooms. One is a space at the front of the house, just off the foyer, that is separated from the great room by the stairwell accessing the second floor, but otherwise open to the great room through a short hallway created by the stairwell This front room is partly visible from the kitchen island. The other first floor room is intended for a home office. It has solid double doors opening onto the other front room. We use the office as a play room for our son. Some of our neighbors with the same model put a little den in this room. Others have put glass French doors and use it as a dining room. The larger front room left us stumped. At first we covered an entire wall with bookcases and put our spinet piano in there. There was no real seating. Later we moved the bookcases to the master bedroom and added a small electric fireplace and a sofa. No matter what we put in that front room, we never used it. It was a way station from the front door, a place for the Cristmas tree. We lived most days in the great room, where the tv watching, cooking and eating all happened. We were relatively unhappy with the house. It is not small, but it felt cramped even with appropriately sized furniture. No surprise as we spent all of our time in one room. Then, just before thanksgiving, we had a brainstorm. We moved all of the sitting room and tv furniture to the front room, along with the small desk. It fit perfectly. We moved the bookcases, about 15 feet of them, to the long wall of the great room opposite the kitchen and bought a huge but simple dining table, along with more dining chairs. We put the piano and two modern lounge chairs also on that side of the great room, creating a small seating area next to the dining area. I moved the modern pendant to over the new table and replaced the dinette table with a counter height, butcher blocked topped storage unit, with a new halogen spot fixture above. This extended the small kitchen, a boon for my wife who cooks for a hobby (lucky me). Now we use our entire first floor. My wife can cook in a larger space. We listen to music much more often in the great room, sitting in one of the lounge chairs (where I am at this moment), and eat at a large table next to all of our books. Tv watching is done in a separate room, away from the cooking noise. Our son can now watch a move and I can listen to music at the same time. We had 14 people for thanksgiving the week after the redesign. It was night and day. Our feelings about the house have completely changed. We are no longer shopping for a replacement. So my advice is to look at how you live and try to arrange your house so that you get the most out of it. If the "dining room" is better suited to tv watching or sleeping guests, so be it.
How Rearranging Your Room Can Change Your Life
|1/28/12 4:05 PM|