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Do I really need an open kitchen?

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Do I really need an open kitchen?

Postby kathyd on Wed Jul 18, 2012 9:42 am

Just being lazy and watching HGTV. Some programs I enjoy, others just make me mad. Property Brothers is one. I am amazed at the horrendous prices that are being asked for homes that at times hardly qualify as shacks. But of course then they go in and every time rip out all the walls in the downstairs to make their open concept. Why would I want my kitchen open to the whole downstairs? That means I just have to be cleaning it all the time. But I feel that unless I start ripping out my pocket doors, wainscoting, no one would ever want to buy my home (if I was selling) and there must be something wrong with me. I just feel I should be picking up a sledge hammer.

Then there was just one one where they were remodeling the kitchen, picking from 3 different designs. There budget was $75000. I paid $32500 for my whole house in 1979. I feel like such a pauper. I'm looking to remodel my kitchen also, but am not independently wealthy. I am collecting vintage metal kitchen cabinets matching the ones in the basement and hope to move them back upstairs after I refinish them. I may remove a wall in the old butler's pantry which was added at some time, but will not be ripping the whole thing out (mainly because of the large drain pipe from the toilet upstairs). There are pipes coming through the ceiling from the bathroom upstairs. We had put in a drop ceiling a long time ago to hide them, but it needs to be replaced now, not sure what my alternative is. I don't think much can be done with the protruding pipes but to hide them. So I will be doing things a little at a time and using as much "old stuff" as I can.

Evidently most of the people on HGTV have never heard about restoration or conservation. I watched one the other day where a woman wanted an old house in St. Louis with lots of character. She was looking at a late 1800s home. However, she was insisting that she had to have "thermal" windows installed before she moved in. Thank heavens she ended up buying a new home that already had her thermal windows. Maybe the poor old place will find a more sympathetic buyer.
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Re: Do I really need an open kitchen?

Postby downtowndahlgren on Wed Jul 18, 2012 10:51 am

Kathy, there is nothing "wrong" with you and absolutely no reason you "should" want to destroy pocket doors and wainscoting to create an open kitchen. I presume you bought the house because you loved those original features? Well, others do too, or there would be no OHW, Old House Listings, old house tours, etc. HGTV caters to the younger yuppie masses, most of whom have no clue about old houses and living in them ("Oh, they're SO high maintenance!", "Oh, there's no man cave"). Let's face it, house buyers pretty much fall into two groups - old house lovers 8), and the rest. Oh, some of the rest may learn to appreciate old houses as they mature and their tastes develop (like fine wine), but most of us seem to have an ingrained attraction for houses and old things.
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Re: Do I really need an open kitchen?

Postby triguy128 on Wed Jul 18, 2012 11:41 am

I have an open kitchen. We leave the door open to it off the central hallway most of the time. :mrgreen: Its' closed if I shut it and lock the door. The door to the adjacent dinning room canbe propped open. :D

Haivng a formal dinner party wit han open concept is so...well... uncivilized. In a proper home, you have a side entrance into hte kitchen for the help and doors ot close off hte ktichen while your hired help or caterers make your meal. If you haven't doen it before, do it! Its' really cool having you meal served in your own home like it's a restaurant. The people we used even did the dishes. They could even park in the our hidden driveway and you'd never even know they were there from the street. A larger victorian home of course would even have a front "recieving room?" off the entry way where guests can sit and wait until they are properly announced and either told they can either wait, leave or may be seen and taken to a sitting room to wait. OF coruse the need for this went away when modern communication came and you could just call someone rather than being "called upon".
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Previous home - 1968 single story Ranch/Colonial, 1200sqft - 11 windows
Current home - 1925 2 story Beaux Arts Neo-classical overlooking the Mississippi River, 3200sqft - 48 Windows
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Re: Do I really need an open kitchen?

Postby nezwick on Wed Jul 18, 2012 1:01 pm

Yeah, I don't know where they find these whiny, spoiled, entitled twenty-somethings for these shows, but they sure are irritating! But I guess that's the point - wouldn't make for good TV without the outrageous wish lists and drama.

I'm 24, and I've never thought or acted like any of those people on the shows. Maybe it's just my humble rural upbringing and being taught to always live within my means and not be flashy. But when I see others of my generation act like that, it's embarrassing. Believe it or not, my "dream home" was either a 1940s tract house or mid-century ranch - but somehow I ended up back in the 1870s!

There was another HGTV show that comes to mind, House Hunters I believe, that took place somewhere in rural Pennsylvania. The potential buyer was specifically looking for an old farm house with "history and character". The couple looked at one built in the 1860s that had basically no "updates" and also an old stone foundation. Of course, there was a bit of dampness and water infiltration when it rained because the house was built into the side of a hill - and the female buyer absolutely refused to consider that house because of the basement that was "unfinishable". Well, DUH, it's an 1860s PA farmhouse! They ended up buying another old farmhouse which had already been made to be open-concept.

I have, what is probably the farthest from an open kitchen possible. The back porch was enclosed in the thirties, and the current kitchen is the 1955 renovation. There is a very narrow doorway into the separate dining room, and a doorway into the pantry which is part of the same enclosed porch. And I LOVE it. We are by no means "fancy" people, but some just don't realise how awesome it is to cook a meal in the kitchen, leave the mess "where it is" and serve the finished product at the table where we and our guests don't have to see the kitchen. It needs a few repairs here-and-there (ugly '70s flooring needs replaced and the ceiling/cabinets need painted white) but it's quite unique.

Image


I will forever be opposed to open-concept kitchens. Our apartment was laid out this way and it was a pain because it had to be kept spotless - was the first thing people saw when they opened the front (and only) door.
The McCullough/Simkins house, built 1872-1877:
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Re: Do I really need an open kitchen?

Postby PowerMuffin on Wed Jul 18, 2012 2:49 pm

I can understand the open concept idea because if you entertain a lot, it is sometimes easier to move people about in an open concept house. My kitchen is the last room before what was once the back porch. The dining room is before the kitchen. When we have larger parties (> 6 people) traffic between the kitchen and dining room is always a problem. My kitchen is small, and guests seem to want to be in the kitchen with me while I am cooking or getting ready to serve. A PO added a large family room to the back of the house, incoporating the old back porch into that space. So now there is a door way from the kitchen to the family room. We are planning to take out the wall between the kitchen and the family room addition to allow traffic to flow better and to give me more counter space. I am keeping everything original to the kitchen except the wall. I love having a separate dining room and would never change that, but I am hoping that opening up the kitchen to the family room will remove at least one traffic jam.
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Re: Do I really need an open kitchen?

Postby lisascenic on Thu Jul 19, 2012 9:28 am

"Set down the remote. Step away from the tv. And nobody will get hurt."
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Re: Do I really need an open kitchen?

Postby James on Sat Jul 21, 2012 12:11 pm

I could NOT be a realtor because 90% of the time when I watch those shows on HGTV I end up wanting to bash someone in the head with axe. Open concept makes me want to SCREAM, kitchens are meant to hidden in the back. I have a formal dining with with room for 10, twelve in a pinch, an 1840's sideboard, two early 19th century NC china presses and two Roanoke River basin drop leaf tables. We do not DO open concept here thank you. And for dinner parties I have a tin chandlier that burns candles(think the Buckets and their candlit suppers, for those of you into British TV).
And as for those who don't get it, @#$% em.
And by the way Nezwick, LOVE your kitchen, wish mine was that big. Just 9' by 9'2" here. And with a 6'11" ceiling at that.
Locust Quarter, circa 1770 Georgian Gambrel roofed cottage.
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Re: Do I really need an open kitchen?

Postby kathyd on Sat Jul 21, 2012 2:00 pm

Nezwick, love your kitchen also. I'm not sure why I need a kitchen the size of a ballroom. I am so tired of watching them go into old victorians and proceed to tear out all the walls. My living room is open to the dining room already, we have pocket doors. My kitchen is big enough for us to eat in and cook in, not to party in and that's fine.
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Re: Do I really need an open kitchen?

Postby triguy128 on Sat Jul 21, 2012 10:38 pm

PowerMuffin wrote:I can understand the open concept idea because if you entertain a lot, it is sometimes easier to move people about in an open concept house. My kitchen is the last room before what was once the back porch. The dining room is before the kitchen. When we have larger parties (> 6 people) traffic between the kitchen and dining room is always a problem. My kitchen is small, and guests seem to want to be in the kitchen with me while I am cooking or getting ready to serve. A PO added a large family room to the back of the house, incoporating the old back porch into that space. So now there is a door way from the kitchen to the family room. We are planning to take out the wall between the kitchen and the family room addition to allow traffic to flow better and to give me more counter space. I am keeping everything original to the kitchen except the wall. I love having a separate dining room and would never change that, but I am hoping that opening up the kitchen to the family room will remove at least one traffic jam.
Diane


You pointed out the problem. In modern times, guests have terrible manners... or we no longer follow or respect any type of formality.
1925 Neo-Classical

Previous home - 1968 single story Ranch/Colonial, 1200sqft - 11 windows
Current home - 1925 2 story Beaux Arts Neo-classical overlooking the Mississippi River, 3200sqft - 48 Windows
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Re: Do I really need an open kitchen?

Postby artfox on Sun Jul 22, 2012 12:52 am

Friends of mine recently built a house in a historic neighborhood. It's exterior design resembles a pleasant, early 20th C. foursquare. But once you step inside the front door, you're in a cavernous, L-shaped open space that's living room, dining room and kitchen all combined -- a real shock to the sensibilities of many old-house lovers. The only enclosed spaces on the first floor are a utility/mudroom and a powder room. Most people who saw it on the neighborhood home tour loved it.
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