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Are you open to open concept?

Posted by Rona Fischman June 26, 2012 02:05 PM

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There is a trend in house renovation that tends towards the fewer walls the better. Some of my clients like it. Some of my clients hate it.

In the standard two-family house-turned-into-two-condos, flippers frequently do more than polish the floors and put in some granite counters. Many tear down the wall between the living room and dining room, or the wall between the dining room and kitchen, or both. Last year, I had a client who wanted a renovated place with all its walls. It took until this spring for her to get her place. The sellers boast of “open concept.” Are you into it?

In Cape Cod houses, the living room, dining room and kitchen become one big space, with a stairway in the middle. The more moderate version has the kitchen and dining room open to make one big eat-in kitchen.

I saw two houses in a row where the back wall of the living room was removed, so the kitchen was open to the living room and was seen entirely from the front door. The compliments I hear about this kind of layout is that there is cross-ventilation and light coming in on many sides. The negatives I hear are concerns about where to place furniture and how to keep clutter out of sight.

It is not uncommon to see houses where bearing walls have been ripped out without regard for the job they were doing. I am always pleased to see permits on places that have walls removed. I am leery when there are walls removed without permits. Town and city inspectors are aware of the need to maintain the framing structures.

Do you like open concept housing? Have you seen structural problems with them?

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Scott Van Voorhis is a freelance writer who specializes in real estate and business issues.

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