Like Renovation Design Group on Facebook

Become a Fan Today!
of Life-Centered DesignTM ...

Architect Ratings & Reviews

Client Satisfaction Reviews
see how we stack up...

Interior Home Remodeling Options

From Ordinary to Inspiring
see the possibilities...

Home Renovation Contact Info Page

Contact Info


824 South 400 West

Suite B123

Salt Lake City, Utah 84101

Tel. 801.533.5331

ABOUT US | EMPLOYMENT

Home Renovation Mailing Page

Join Mailing List




Home Renovation Architect License

Architects Licensed In


Based in Salt Lake City, Utah.
Also licensed in Colorado, Idaho, Nevada, Washington, and Wyoming.

Home Remodel Client Locations

Remodel Client Locations


Alpine, UT
American Fork, UT
Bicknell, UT
Bluffdale, UT
Boise, ID
Bountiful, UT
Brighton, UT
Cedar Hills, UT
Centerville, UT
Charleston, WV
Charlestown, MA
Contoocook, NH
Cottonwood Heights, UT
Danville, CA
Draper, UT
Elko, NV
Ely, NV
Evanston, WY
Farmington, UT
Fillmore, UT
Francis, UT
Fruit Heights, UT
Grantsville, UT
Hamblin, UT
Heber City, UT
Highland, UT
Holladay, UT
Huntsville, UT
Kaysville, UT
Kemmerer, WY
Lakeside, MT
Laketown, UT
Layton, UT
Lehi, UT
Logan, UT
Malad, ID
Mansfield, CT
Mapleton, UT
Maui, HI
Midvale, UT
Midway, UT
Morgan, UT
Morris, MN
Mount Pleasant, UT
Mt. Green, UT
Mt. Pleasant, UT
Murray, UT
New Canaan, CT
Newark, DE
North Salt Lake, UT
Oakland, CA
Ogden, UT
Orem, UT
Orlando, FL
Park City, UT
Pleasant View, UT
Providence, UT
Provo, UT
Riverton, UT
Riverton, WY
Salem, UT
Salt Lake City, UT
Sandy, UT
Smithfield, UT
South Jordan, UT
Springville, UT
St. George, UT
Stansbury Park, UT
Syracuse, UT
Taylorsville, UT
Tooele, UT
West Jordan, UT
Ann Architect, Renovation Design GroupAnnie Architect, Renovation Design Group

Renovation Solutions is weekly column on architectural home design by Ann Robinson and Annie Schwemmer, Principal Architects of Renovation Design Group, a Utah architectural firm focusing on home renovation design.

Friday, November 04, 2005

Great rooms are gathering places

By Ann Robinson and Annie Vernon


The addition of a great room off the kitchen (Image 1 \& 2) created the ideal gathering space for the family of seven living in this 1940s home. Every home needs space for gathering.

It's fall and just think of all the gatherings: college football in front of the big screen; Thanksgiving dinner with family and friends; the neighborhood Christmas party held at your house; pot roast and potatoes on a Sunday afternoon with the grandkids.

One of the most important and central functions of our homes is gathering. Every home needs space for the gathering that happens in everyday life and on special occasions.

Traditionally, homes have been built with a living room, dining room, and kitchen on the main floor. The trend in newer homes is to combine these spaces into a great room — a large, open room that includes the functions of a kitchen, dining room, and sitting area. This open space is also a natural draw for gathering as the kitchen is often the heart of today's home and the center of a family's activities.

The great room concept combines the functions of a kitchen, dining room and sitting area to create a natural gathering place as the kitchen is often the heart of today's home and the center of a family's activities.

Many owners of older homes are undertaking renovations to convert their homes from more traditional layouts to the newer great room concept. This involves removing walls to open up the different functions of each room to each other and may involve rearranging to create the right kind of space. (See last week's column.)

While great rooms do tend to fit well with a less formal, more interactive lifestyle, there are things to consider to ensure that your great room really will be great for the way your family lives. For instance, if you have young children, you have toys—which likely don't sit neatly on a shelf most of the time. If you have teenagers, they may not always want to "gather" with the family.

Even if you have an "empty nest," your spouse may want to blend up a smoothie while you are trying to talk on the phone. And your kitchen, no matter who you are, is not always immaculate with a vase of fresh flowers sitting on the gleaming granite island.

Good design can provide solutions to these issues. One answer may be to design the great room in such as way that the messiest areas, such as the kitchen sink or the toy box, are screened from the entry. Another possible solution is to maintain a smaller, enclosed area—like an office or study—on the same floor, where a family member can go if they need privacy or just relief from the bustle of the gathering place.

You may also want to consider having a secondary gathering area, such as a family room in the basement, where young children can make a mess or teenagers can hang out.

If you're considering a great room to increase your gathering space, begin by analyzing how your family functions and allocate and arrange the space accordingly. A renovation that enhances and supports your lifestyle will embrace those who live in the home, as well as family and friends who gather there. As always, we welcome your home architect design questions at ask@renovationdesigngroup.com.

© 2005 Renovation Design Group. All Rights Reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced in any form or by any means without the prior written permission of Renovation Design Group.

If you are considering a remodel project, please Request a Free Consultation with Ann or Annie.


Most Popular Related Articles