Fort Wayne Realty Blog

Open vs. Closed Kitchens — Which Style Works Best for You?

December 16th, 2014

For centuries the kitchen was strictly a work space. Often tucked in the back of the house, it had room for just the bare essentials. But a peek at many new kitchens today reveals a very different approach: the open-concept kitchen at the heart of the home.

“The kitchen was really a closed-off spot for a long time,” says John Petrie, president-elect of the National Kitchen & Bath Association. “Now people want the kitchen to be an active part of the family home.” Although open-concept kitchens are by far the more popular choice today, some homeowners are embracing elements of the past — namely a separate, more closed-off layout. Could we be shifting back to the kitchens of yesteryear?

How the Walls Came Down

Twenty years ago the term “cocooning” arose in the home design world. Home life shifted as people spent more time at home. “Home was a safe place, a refuge and where you wanted to be,” says Petrie.

The desire for a cocoon fueled the open-concept kitchen, allowing homeowners to spend more time with family and friends while cooking and cleaning. “It also showcased a shift to a more casual lifestyle,” says Andrea Dixon of Fiddlehead Design Group. “People weren’t afraid to expose reality — i.e., a messy kitchen.”

“When the walls came down, the kitchen became an integral part of the home,” says Petrie. Kitchens soon became the center of the house — the room that everything else revolved around.

Today this layout has become the go-to kitchen style, particularly for families. The combined layout allows for optimum multitasking — parents can prepare dinner, watch the news and help with homework at the same time. “I’m a huge open-concept-kitchen fan,” says Anthony Carrino of Brunelleschi Construction. “I find that the benefits far outweigh those of throwing the kitchen into another room. Ninety-nine percent of our clients ask for an open-concept kitchen.”

The Case for a Closed Kitchen

The kitchen is already the most expensive room in the house to remodel, and turning a closed kitchen into an open plan can add to the cost. Tearing down walls means dealing with plumbing, electrical and structural work on a huge scale. Sometimes the added expense means compromising in other areas.

For homeowners who’d rather invest in other parts of their kitchen — appliances, materials or cabinetry — reworking the layout may not be worth it. “You have to think about what’s best for you,” says Petrie. When it comes to allocating your kitchen budget, which is more important, he asks, “an efficient, functional kitchen with better appliances? Or an open layout that connects to the rest of your home?”

While most of Dixon’s clients ask for open-concept kitchens, some prefer a closed-off space. “There will always be some people who are uncomfortable with letting guests see their ‘unmentionables,’” she says. “It’s definitely a more formal layout, but it ultimately comes down to personal preference.”

If you want to leave your smells and mess behind when serving meals, a closed layout could be for you.

Cons of a Closed Layout

Of course, a closed-off kitchen’s isolation also can be its main downfall. This layout doesn’t allow for direct access from the kitchen to the dining table, or vice versa. And it’s difficult to interact with friends and family while whipping up meals, since most of the room is reserved for the work triangle.

Choosing What’s Right for You

There’s no set formula that can tell you which kitchen layout will work better in your home. Part of having a conversation with a designer is trying to figure out what’s best for you. Start with a list of needs and wants, and go from there. “You’ve got to consider the way you live in your home and the way you use your home,” says Carrino. “How do you use your kitchen? How do you foresee using your new kitchen?”

Everyone’s needs are different, so don’t let yourself sway with trends. “A family with kids that need supervision might decide to do an open-concept plan with a large multifunctional island,” says Dixon. “But a couple who loves to entertain might opt for a closed-concept space so they can prep courses ahead of time and not spoil the surprise. It totally depends on your lifestyle.”

At North Eastern Group Realty, we are prepared to assist our clients with their significant Fort Wayne real estate decisions. Our corporate commitment is to provide real knowledge, proven experience and professional, quality service. To search all Fort Wayne homes for sale or find a Fort Wayne REALTOR®, visit our website at NorthEasternGroup.com.

North Eastern Group Realty is Fort Wayne’s largest independent real estate company located at 10808 La Cabreah Lane, Fort Wayne, IN 46845.

8534 Fritz, Fort Wayne, IN VIDEO TOUR

December 16th, 2014

Lovely one story ranch, contact Matthew Suddarth for more information.

At North Eastern Group Realty, we are prepared to assist our clients with their significant Fort Wayne real estate decisions. Our corporate commitment is to provide real knowledge, proven experience and professional, quality service. To search all Fort Wayne homes for sale or find a Fort Wayne REALTOR®, visit our website at NorthEasternGroup.com.

North Eastern Group Realty is Fort Wayne’s largest independent real estate company located at 10808 La Cabreah Lane, Fort Wayne, IN 46845.

Home tip: Using Full-Scale Decor to Make a Small Space Feel Bigger

December 11th, 2014

In today’s furniture market, “condo size” (compact) furniture is a common solution for modern small-space living. But I believe you can often achieve the biggest impact, and the most satisfying results, with a less-is-more approach. Rather than choosing smaller furnishings, indulging in a few full-scale (or even oversize) pieces can create the look of a full-size space without compromising.

Pieces with impact. By choosing big-scale but more simply shaped items, you can create a sophisticated look that feels full size, but not overstuffed, even in a small space. Notice how this space is rich in texture and chunky, beautiful objects, but not busy patterns or large areas of overwhelming color.

Looking up. Filling unused vertical space is a great way to get major impact in a room without shrinking the usable floor area. One large, leafy plant like this fiddle-leaf fig in a corner of the room doesn’t interfere with traffic flow but makes the room feel sophisticated and lively (while helping the background visually float away).

Wall treatments. Simple wall treatments help dramatic furnishings look like big items in an open space by reducing the emphasis on how tight they are to the walls.

Low ceilings. The natural tendency in a space with a low ceiling can be to try to shrink everything to avoid drawing attention, but this can make the overall effect even more tight and claustrophobic. Instead, try balancing some squat pieces (like globe lights on the floor and a low-backed sofa) with some very tall items, like an overscale floor lamp, using every inch of the height that is available.

This is especially effective under a slanted ceiling, because putting a light a few feet from the wall can take advantage of the extra headroom and draw attention away from the point where the ceiling is at its lowest.

Narrow rooms. In a very tight tunnel-shaped room, rather than breaking the space into multiple microzones, embrace the length and fit in one full-size sofa. When you’re watching TV or reading a book, you won’t mind that the sofa faces a wall (while you stretch out and appreciate the extra lounging space), and when simply passing through, you will notice that the space looks extra long.

Cozy nooks. In a tight nook, rather than using a single chair, fit in a chaise, sofa or built-in bench that takes up as much width as possible and dress it with a few large pieces instead of busy clutter. This way the area will read as a large nook instead of a small room.

Dining nooks. Similarly, in a dining nook, a wide bench seat that fills the entire back wall will create the look of an ample private booth, whereas many individual chairs might create the look of a too-cramped dining room.

Seating areas. The same logic of dining seating applies to the living room as well: One large, continuous seat will give you a comfortable place to stretch out on every day. Several compact chairs (which can be pulled from the dining area when needed) or a plush ottoman can maximize seating when you have company.

Notice how in this room, space for end tables was traded for more seating space — worth it when you need that afternoon nap.

At North Eastern Group Realty, we are prepared to assist our clients with their significant Fort Wayne real estate decisions. Our corporate commitment is to provide real knowledge, proven experience and professional, quality service. To search all Fort Wayne homes for sale or find a Fort Wayne REALTOR®, visit our website at NorthEasternGroup.com.

North Eastern Group Realty is Fort Wayne’s largest independent real estate company located at 10808 La Cabreah Lane, Fort Wayne, IN 46845.

2542 Deerwood Drive, Fort Wayne, IN

December 11th, 2014

Very nice 3 bedroom Tri-level. Fresh paint and flooring throughout. Security cameras stay. New kitchen appliances and tons of living space. The lower level could be used as a large bedroom or a great recreation area. There is a huge fenced in back yard that backs up to the woods. Very well maintained and ready to move in. Make your appointment today.

At North Eastern Group Realty, we are prepared to assist our clients with their significant Fort Wayne real estate decisions. Our corporate commitment is to provide real knowledge, proven experience and professional, quality service. To search all Fort Wayne homes for sale or find a Fort Wayne REALTOR®, visit our website at NorthEasternGroup.com.

North Eastern Group Realty is Fort Wayne’s largest independent real estate company located at 10808 La Cabreah Lane, Fort Wayne, IN 46845.