Comment of the Day: The Sound of an Open Kitchen

COMMENT OF THE DAY: THE SOUND OF AN OPEN KITCHEN “I really miss the days when kitchens had doors that you could close. Kitchens are noisy. The open kitchen thing just sends all that noise out into the living areas. As a result, people in the living areas turn up the TV or have to talk louder. Any attempt to communicate between the kitchen and living areas sound more like a shouting match. It is also nice to be able to put an actual physical barrier between pets, toddlers and other intruders and the kitchen. And where are you supposed to go mid-meal in order to have a heated argument with your spouse?” [Old School, commenting on Tiny and a Little Piney: A By-the-Bayou Idylwood Bungalow]

22 Comment

  • Not to mention the entire living area smells like what The Rock is cooking. I prefer the European style where the kitchen and a small eating area are closed off but buyers here will have a stroke if they see that.

  • Dinner parties. Watching TV from the kitchen. Staying involved with whatever is going on in the living room while cooking. For me personally, I prefer *zero* separation between the kitchen and living room. Of course, I’m not really familiar with the whole “children” thing.

  • Another benefit of the open kitchen is that all the heat from the oven and stove gets trapped and makes it unbearable.

  • You could do it like they do in sitcoms – simply walk several feet to another part of the kitchen to have that argument or private conversation.

  • Exactly. The open kitchens are for couples, or people who rarely use them, and when they do, it is for a party.

  • The ‘open concept’ fad will fade with time, as will the fetish for stainless steel counters and granite appliances (or whatever). I wish folks would be more concerned with the state of their landscaping.

  • I like my house’s open floor plan, but I will admit that I’ve filled it with smoke on several occasions when my cooking got out of hand. I’ve also seen houses that were just too “open”. They felt more like barns than houses. Unless you live in a true warehouse loft, you need some division between some of the living spaces.

  • My parents’ tract house in Lake Jackson, circa 1952, had

    A Kitchen. A Dining Room. A Living Room. A Hallway. All of those were separated by full size doors with doorknobs, and the kitchen and dining room were tiny. Lots of doors in that little house. When I was little, about 1967, my parents opened up the wall between the kitchen and dining room and a year or so later opened a large door between the dining room and living room. But the original intent was definitely to keep those functions separate. They could have saved a lot of money on walls and doors if that were not the case.

  • Yeah I miss the days where all kitchens were seperated by one of those swinging doors with kickplates that could swing either direction

  • Amen to the noise and tv effect!!

  • Agreed. In our current open plan we have to pause the TV if one of us is washing a dish because of the noise conflict. Mr. Kuningan is a constant TV watcher and I don’t enjoy having to watch while I cook. The place we move to in June has separate areas and I’m excited. Planning my own little music set up for the kitchen.

  • Unless you have servants and a house you only live in a few rooms of the house, closed off kitchens are terrible. Most people live in their whole house and want to be able to experience it. I figure Europeans have closed off kitchens because Rey really don’t live in their apt, its just where they sleep and occasionally eat or they live in houses with live in help. I’ve seen modern suburban homes in Europe and they’re even more open than US living. Open kitchens will be a long term trend, not flash in the pan trends.

  • I live in an old house with a formal dining room and a door separating it from the kitchen. The door’s always open because the kitchen is used so often but it’s a nice option to be able to close it, and other doors, when dining. It creates a special chamber for a quieter, more intimate experience. The food is prepared in one room, served and eaten in another. Dining becomes a ritual. One problem with so many doors is that their swing arc makes floor space unusable. More reason to have less stuff on the floor. So for the modern, hyperactive life, the open plan might be best. If people start trending towards minimalist, relaxed lives, then the kitchen door might return to popularity.

  • Open kitchen’s should have “windows” that can open for communication and close for sound proofing.

  • My double sprung kitchen swing door opens against the fridge – though not always so. Sure, it’s normally open (and out of the way), but it’s also a great amenity when I want it closed.

  • Our old country house had doors that opened/closed to every room. Likely, many of the homes in Houston’s older neighborhoods fit this bill too.

    It was mainly, at least in our area, so that the rooms could be heated as needed.

    Air didn’t matter so much because they could open all the windows and doors and be happy. Heat was a different matter.

    Gas jets (propane or less likely, butane) were in every room. Folks 60 or more years ago did not heat the entire home. My husband grew up sleeping in cold rooms warmed only with quilts and sometimes a real down covering. Those old folks did not leave the heat on all night.

  • Well, as always, Swamplot has its finger on the pulse of the cultural zeitgeist–
    today’s New York Times has an essay about how open layout kitchens are making us fat:

  • People who like open kitchens do not cook fish.

  • Or they cook fish that’s fresh and doesn’t smell fishy.

  • We cook a lot of Indian food and I love the open layout of our house. Indian cooking can be a time-consuming exercise and the closed off kitchen creates the impression of “slaving over the stove”. An open kitchen increases family participation and makes cooking a family activity rather than a chore for mom or dad (primarily mom)

  • I like my open kitchen. If I spend extra time cooking, I can still help my kid with homework at the dining table or have a conversation with my husband in the den. But we’re not ‘pin-drop’ quiet kinds of people, I guess, and I can see how that wouldn’t be a fun plan for some.

  • Open kitchens are great, but make sure to install a super turbo vent fan that vents through an outer wall of the house and into the great outdoors. No fishy (or other) smells here, thank you.