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Thoughts on semi-open or open kitchen concept for remodel?

May Lee
5 days ago

Remodeling 50s house and am needing to decide on semi-open vs open kitchen concept.

Two designs so far - any other alternatives? thoughts?

Comments (27)

  • PRO

    Which do YOU prefer? I prefer my kitchen as a separate room but that’’s me!

  • jimandanne_mi

    How many people are living here? Do they all get up and go to bed at the same time? I, also, like the kitchen separate, especially when it's so close to the bedrooms. Both morning and evening my husband and I are in the kitchen when the other person is asleep.

    Is that a pass-thru window in the wall opposite the top of the stairs?


  • May Lee

    3 ppl. Good point on noise level - that hadn't popped into my mind. TBH, I also prefer semi but open is so popular and evangelized for every new modern remodel.

    It's just a large rectangular window.

    You think it'll be an issue w: only one opening to kitchen?

  • julieste

    Don't laugh, but I read an article recently that said one of the reasons open concept is so popular on HGTV is because they want to attract male viewers, and men like to see things torn down. You can take this with a grain of salt, but I don't always think what is proselytized is the best.

    We too are looking at doing a kitchen remodel (in a 2nd home we just purchased), and I am struggling with some of the same things you are as far as how much to open up a kitchen. I think I have come to the conclusion that I want some separation.By the way.

    By the way, we have lived with a one entrance kitchen for 35 years, and it is no problem at all.

    May Lee thanked julieste
  • mainenell

    We recently toured several modular home places and all they had was open concept great rooms. It honestly felt cold and unwelcoming. No intimacy. And if you look at the floor plans it is nearly all they have, too. That and the master bedroom separate from the other bedrooms and at the other end of the house.

    May Lee thanked mainenell
  • roccouple

    We did a semi open kitchen and are happy. the kitchen peninsula faces the dining room which is separated from the living room by a large cased opening. There is a second smaller cased opening connecting the kitchen to a different portion (walkway part) of the living room. So there are not direct lines of sight from kitchen to living but if you take a few steps you can see living room. The house is small overall so the kitchen isn’t too separate.

    anyway I like having the kitchen just a little tucked away. It makes the living space feel just a little more formal but not super formal. Also it is possible to have people conversing without being distracted by cooking

    . I think there should be more ways to describe floor plans as just “open “ or “closed”. Those are extremes and there are a lot of layouts in between. It would be nice to have language to describe what you want easily.

    May Lee thanked roccouple
  • jimandanne_mi

    Two openings is better, IMO, if you decide that will work. And with your first plan, I think I'd make it a double L to get that.

    Put a door where the interior window opening opposite the stairs is, and put the fridge to the left so the door opens against it. You could put a pocket door, but that won't block noise as well. Then make a backwards L with the peninsula across the bottom and a 2nd opening to its left. That leaves you with a large L from the dining room wall along the large window/sink wall and the range wall to the hall wall. See if you think this will work.

    And maybe mamagoose will come along and draw it for you and improve my suggestion.


    May Lee thanked jimandanne_mi
  • richfield95

    I like the first one as I’m not a fan of the practicality of a full open concept. It’s easier to keep the noise and smells of the kitchen in the kitchen when there are rooms.

    Also, you have more counter and cabinet space

    May Lee thanked richfield95
  • Tracey Woods

    I like the second option but the stairs are confusing me. What do they both lead to?

    May Lee thanked Tracey Woods
  • THOR, Son of ODIN

    Food for thought:
    "You can’t stand it any longer; living, eating, cooking, reading, watching TV, etc, ALL in ONE room.

    "No interior walls.
    "And, no delineation of spaces...
    "So, what I’ve done for today is this: I took three open concept floor plans and did my best to “fix” them."

    May Lee thanked THOR, Son of ODIN
  • Amber Webb

    if it was mine, I would want an L shape with an island that was completely open. It looks like you have the space.

    May Lee thanked Amber Webb
  • May Lee

    Thank YOU all so much for comments and thoughts on semi vs open. Very helpful.

    Leaning towards semi as my place is small and TBH not fan of stronger cooking smells, loud sounds, and the idea of separation is nice.

    Open kitchen L shape is something that I've considered but again it would be Open.

    One set of stairs leads to the main level and other set leads to ground level.

  • Kristin S

    If you go with the first plan, I would want to do a nice centered cased opening between the dining room and living room, rather than have the opening shifted toward the bottom as you show. You could even keep the opening the same size and just move it up.

  • May Lee

    What is a centered case opening?

  • J OBrien

    Plan 1 with an opening where you would come in from the stairway. You would eliminate the corner cabinet, and also be easier to unload groceries, etc.

  • Pam A

    I vote semi as well. My home is 24x34' cape, so the 1st floor is just 816 sq feet (excluding the mudroom that leads to the garage). We went with semi-open so that the kitchen and dining are connected. It helped everything feel less tight because you can share walking space, but there is still a lot of separation from the guest room and living room on the same floor (stairwell bisects the house so cooking/eating are on one side, lounging/living on the other).

    I do like the idea of all those windows in the second plan, could you add windows to the dining room on that wall?

    You have 3 inside corners on your plan, in your shoes I would spend a lot of time analyzing the best storage solution for those. I have a Le Mans unit in an inside corner and it operates nicely, but I can't say it maximizes utility of the space inside the cabinet. Good solution for storing oddly shaped items but not a way to use every square inch. Just my 2 cents.

  • Deb YH

    I prefer your first plan instead of the open plan; I don’t want to host at the dining room table and see a pile of dirty dishes in the kitchen! The trend of Open Plan is not appealing to me: no quiet areas, no private areas, lots of noise to be heard from everywhere!

  • PRO
    Patricia Colwell Consulting

    IMO the first one is semi open with the peninsula BTW I do not find the kitchen too close to the bedrooms the stairs and the closet off a very good buffer. If you decide to go more open you need a better layout IMO.I think that kitchen is quite small you might actually want to steal a bit of space from the DR. You don’t show the other measurement but right now it seems to be square and a bit tight. which was pretty typical of 50s ranches . I have a 1956 ranch and the DR was quite big so I actually swapped the spaces since I needed a much bigger kitchen. What is the dotted line indicating?

  • THOR, Son of ODIN

    To get light and views yet keep separation consider using walls with interior windows.

    There are examples in this post:

  • felizlady

    The first plan shown is not good because anyone going to the kitchen from the bedroom/hall area has to go through the living room and dining room to get to the kitchen.
    The second plan appears to have a door or opening to the kitchen from the corridor/stair area....much more logical.
    When I entertain and use our designated dining room for a sit-down dinner, I like to have the kitchen out of view. Neither of your plans offers that option.

  • J OBrien

    Plan 1 with an opening to hall/stairs would allow light to that area which could be dark. Could you add 1’ from hallway to widen it? Open area, although bright and spacious in appearance, does create privacy issues for TV, food prep, wall space for art, and possible supporting columns. Perhaps these aren’t issues for you.

  • motherwallace

    SEMI all the way! We remodeled our 1950's ranch 4 years ago and opened the kitchen up to the family room. UGH! Really wish we hadn't. Noise is an issue as others stated. Hubby can't hear the TV if cooking or he turns it up so loud you can't hear yourself think! I had never had an open concept before and really thought I'd want it...nope.

    I would, however, rethink the design you've posted for the semi-open concept. You will want 2 openings into the kitchen.

    May Lee thanked motherwallace
  • roccouple

    one simple solution is to use plan 2 and put a partial wall giving 2 cased openings to the right of the kitchen and dining

    The island then becomes sort of a floating peninsula.

    if I were to do this id move the island/ peninsula a bit farther from the range wall so you have a four feet aisle between.

    this will be controversial but if you wanted more separation between kitchen and dining you could do a partial bar height counter On the island. Not for everyone though! Depends on your style and if you like to eat up high.

    If you do a bar height, or even counter height, you could use a different countertop material for the seating part of the island that faces your dining room. For example butcher block If your counters are quartz or stone.

    May Lee thanked roccouple
  • dixiedream

    I like your open floor plan #2. It creates more of a spacious, light and airy feel. Your layout looks great! Guessing you will have upper cabinets on back wall with stove.

    If more storage is needed you can always have a long buffet or build-ins on left side dining room wall and have round or square dining table.

    Of course, in the end, it’s all about personal preference and what makes you feel happy in the space.

    May Lee thanked dixiedream
  • blfenton

    I would do Roccouple plan with the wall (cokoured blue) beside the island and I would also move the island down a bit as well.

    Actually you could also move the island to the window wall which allows anyone coming into the kitchen from the bedrooms to stop by the fridge or whatever and then wallk straight into the dining room without having to walk through the kitchen.

    May Lee thanked blfenton
  • live_wire_oak

    Between this and your other plans, there is not much of this house that isn’t touched. A teardown will be loads cheaper in the end. It just isn’t possible to do all the things you want at all cost effectively. Not in SF. That’s the highest cost renovations anywhere because there’s even more restrictions, plus seismic requirements, than NYC.

    None of this is doable without a real architect. Not a “home designer”. And a couple million dollar budget.

    May Lee thanked live_wire_oak
  • May Lee

    Greatly appreciate all additional feedback. Live in the Bay Area and this is huge investment for remodel. Your comments have helped immensely to make the right decision, which will be to go semi - open. It’s also more cost effective as open will require add’l construction costs. Thank You all!

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