Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Our Own Open Concept Cottage: First Floor

So here's the thing.  At one point in our lives, we threw formal dinner parties, with fancy place settings and multi course meals.  But nowadays, the idea of hauling the silverware out and polishing it seems like too much work.  We do much more casual entertaining and everyone likes to gather in the kitchen to chat with the chef (that would be Richard, not me!).  We just want to throw everything in the dishwasher at the end of the evening!  Is this just a phase of our lives?  Or does everyone entertain more casually now?

So for our own house, we wanted to have the ultimate open concept floor plan  - essentially one big room, including the staircase.  That give us the maximum space for living and entertaining.  And it really suits our lifestyle.  To be honest, I'm not really sure where the silver is anymore!!
So here are the photos of our house.  The living room, dining room and kitchen all blend seamlessly.  With no walls, we have lots of space for people and pets (ha, yes, that's Petey in the photo below!  And the rug at the bottom of the steps?  That's because he likes to fly down the stairs and come to a screeching halt with his nails!).

Petey really wanted to be in the picture!
We spent a lot of time designing the fireplace wall to get the proportions right between the mantle, bookcases and windows.  In the end, it was worth all the planning, because we love how it came out.   It's reminiscent of Arts and Crafts homes, with windows high up on the walls.  And it mimics the kitchen with the white woodwork and cherry tops, as well as the marble fireplace surround and hearth.

In fact, we used the same marble and glass tile from the kitchen backsplash - but in an elongated running bond pattern around the gas fireplace.  These tiles also have slightly different thicknesses, which adds a nice 3 dimensional aspect.

The dining room has lots of windows, to bring in light all day long.  We reused the original antique beams across the ceiling.  They are a nice design element, but they also clearly designate where the original structure was . We love that nod to the house's history!  For dining, we've used a simple trestle table with a mix of chairs.

The light fixture might look familiar - we used the same one in our Craftsman Bungalow that we did last year.  The compass rose on the ceiling medallion is the perfect nautical touch.  Oh, and I discovered that painting above your head is incredibly difficult!

We bought the linen chest years ago at an antique shop in Pennsylvania.  It's an American chest that dates back to the early 1800's and it's one of my favorite pieces.

Mike Stiler Fish
The only downside to an open floor plan?  There aren't a lot of walls for artwork.  And of course the artwork and colors really bring the space to life.  We tried to use pieces by local artists, to really give our home a local flavor.
Catherine Breer and Margaret Ford
Jeff Barrett
This little guy just makes me happy!

There are quite a few doors in the open space - to the basement, the bathroom, the closet and of course outside! We wanted the staircase to be an integral part of the space.  It drove a lot of design considerations up to the 2nd and 3rd floor, but it was worth it!  And I still love the big, chunky newel posts.  
This is an easy house tour.  Just one room!  So what do you think?  Are you an open concept fan?  Or do you prefer walls and clearly defined rooms?  

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  1. Absolutely gorgeous, love the ceiling medallion!

    1. Thanks Laura! Now you know why I couldn't resist that light fixture. The compass rose medallion is so perfect!

  2. Love it! You do need to be tidy to make an open plan work, but that can be good incentive to keep things picked up and not over-accumulate.

    1. Ha ha - my husband is tidy by nature. For me it's a bit harder, and I'm not sure manage to keep it picked up :-) But the open floor plan does encourage me.

  3. Love your house!! Can you let me know where you got the tile for your fireplace? Thanks!

    1. Thanks Janelle! It's a Walker Zanger tile called Waterfall. It comes in several colorways - they're all gorgeous!

  4. With an indoor cat, it's impossible to ensure that food prep or valuables left on the kitchen countertops won't get messed with. A young cat can jump up on counters, I'm still a new owner and learning; it's why I rely on my kitchen door staying shut if there is food still on the counter and I can't remain there long enough to put it away and/or supervise her. Good news is, owning this cat is keeping me tidier about clean-up after cooking or putting away groceries. Bad news is, an open floor plan is out of the question for me. I also own a dog and they fight sometimes, so there needs to be a way to separate them on occasion either with a shut door or a baby-gate in a doorway.
    I enjoy reading about your projects, which inspire some great ideas as I plan ahead!

  5. I have been looking through your blog for the last hour trying to find the kitchen that is pictured in the blog header. Success!

    You have a bright, cheerful, warm and welcoming home. Your style resonates very closely with mine. We are currently getting ready to start our last remodel on our home. I will be scouring your blog for ideas as I fine-tune our plans.

    You guys have done some impressive work! Not a single house that I wouldn't gladly move into!

    1. Thanks so much for the kind words Kim!! And have fun with the remodel on your place. Sounds like fun! Hope you're able to find some inspiration!


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