Relaxed, open-plan kitchen diners and sitting areas have been incredibly popular for a few years now – and the desire by just about every homeowner we know to have one doesn’t look likely to abate anytime soon. In fact, we’re surprised it’s taken so long for these relaxed and casual spaces to be introduced in the first place.
Here at MB Masterbuilders Ltd, we have recently completed this natural light-filled and roomy area for a client in Hertfordshire. The kitchen island and units were designed, built and fitted by Mark Wilkinson. The shaker-style cabinetry and the built-in shelving were designed in a light off-white shade in order to reflect all that healthy natural light coming from the tall floor to ceiling sliding glass doors. The flooring too has been kept bright and airy with similarly light-coloured stone tiles, for the very same purpose of reflecting the light and to give the large open-plan area an impression of even more space. The island area helps zone off the kitchen from the sitting area but the area still gives the impression of one large space, with everything blending together as one.
Just off the large open-plan space sits the dining room. Even with a more formal air, it still has the same reflective stone tile flooring, giving the impression of a continuous walk-through area. The feeling of airiness remains thanks to a pale blue wall. This helps to zone the area and give it a distinguished feel from the kitchen/sitting area, as do the bright artwork accents and the red co-ordinating chair. The fun, contemporary hanging pendant light above the dining room focuses the attention on the dining table so that this room’s purpose is clear from the off – it’s for dining, not lounging (that’s for next door while you can have a chat with whoever is preparing the meal).
When viewed from the outside of the house, keeping the tiling inside the house similar to that of the patio area, it’s only the glass sliding wall panels that separate both indoors and outdoors – and even then, with the ‘walls’ being transparent, it’s not really much of a division, visually (if at all). This gives the impression of even more room, of course, so that on sunny days when the glass panels are slid open, there’s no distinction between outdoors and in so that the garden area becomes part of the open-plan living section, and vice versa.
Open-plan living areas such as that featured above, don’t just make a house appear larger, they definitely have other advantages too. One of these is the fact that the family tends to gravitate to such a bright, airy, open space – whether they need to be there or not. And, of course, the heart of the kitchen has always been a ‘gathering area’ especially when food is being cooked. In these busy and social media-filled times of ours, what open-plan living like this does is, in effect, bring the family together on a more regular basis and provide a communal feel to a home. And which family doesn’t want that?!