Years before we bought our lakehouse, I strong-armed a Realtor into taking me to see another house on our bay that was for sale. At the time, we had no plans to buy a lake house – and had no idea we’d end up on the exact same bay. I was just being nosy. Owning a house on Lake Superior seemed like such a dream and I wanted to peak behind the curtain.
It was such a cute house, with a tiny little open concept kitchen, dining and living space – all facing the lake. The second bedroom and sole bathroom were tucked behind the kitchen, off a tiny hallway, but the master bedroom was behind the living room. It could be closed off from the main living area with huge sliding barn doors that, when left open, provided a beautiful view of the lake from the bed. Dreamy, right? It was a cleverly designed home but it was so small – and I’m convinced that only having one bathroom is a leading cause of divorce (I’m kidding…mostly). Interestingly, the couple who ended up buying that house supposedly did get a divorce and the couple who own it now have actually built a massive addition which, if they’re wise, boasts another bathroom…
When we started thinking about our own dream house on the lake, I knew I wanted open concept – especially having experienced firsthand how much more spacious an impossibly tiny lake house could feel with an open floor plan. I wanted to be able to cook in the kitchen and still chat with guests in the dining room. I grew up in a small, post-war home with very distinct spaces and so many doors that they clanged against each other if we didn’t all move around the house in a coordinated manner. The townhouse offered a small taste of open concept living because the living and dining room were open to each other and the kitchen had a weird window that let in extra light, making it feel more connected to the rest of the home – despite having four solid walls. Despite its limitations, I was sold on the open concept floor plan because, to me, it made a small house feel more spacious and airy.
One of the reasons we pounced on our house the way we did was that the size and floor plan felt so perfect for us. I loved that the living, dining and kitchen were open to each other and faced the lake, but I appreciated that the bathrooms and laundry room were tucked away in the back of the house. The only alteration I would have made would have been to create a sliding wall between the living room and bedroom so that the bedroom could enjoy a lake view too – just like that little house I toured, all those years ago.
Nearly three years later, do I still love our open concept floor plan? That’s a question I’m asked quite often.
Short answer: SO MUCH!
But (there’s always a but!) – there are a lot of pros and cons of open concept living to consider. As trendy as an open concept floor plan is, I don’t think it’s the right choice for everyone. In an article for The Comfortable House, I’ve done my best to flesh out the pros and cons of open concept living for anyone who is on the fence, or just nosy (like me).
The points I’ve addressed are largely based on our lives, but it’s a really in depth read and I’ve done my best to explain how our lifestyle, family situation, and preferences impact how we use and enjoy the space. I’ve also tried to think about how other couples and families might benefit from – and be irritated by – an open living space. I’d love to hear your thoughts!
It was a really fun article to write because I got to reflect on our life here in the lakehouse and try to remember a time when living here seemed like something that would never happen. I can see that little lake house I toured so long ago from my dining room! I drink my tea and look at it, thinking about just how interesting life’s journey is sometimes.