Sunday, September 16, 2012

Do You HAVE to Have a Dining Room???

by Leann

The quest is on to find the right house plan so we can build the home on Lake Greenwood. We know what we want. Should be easy, right? WRONG. I am officially blurry-eyed  and frustrated after looking at, I swear, a thousand house plans on the Internet.

Simple to find a house without a formal dining room, right? Wrong again. Seems every plan has a formal dining area and for our wants and needs, that's a waste of space. Every house we've owned had a formal dining room and we hardly used it all. I want our kitchen, dining area and living area to flow together. Open concept without a space offset for eating. See, several years ago I bought a beautiful oak table made by the Amish. Guaranteed to last forever. It's beautiful and I want it be the divider between our kitchen and living area. We had an open concept in the house we just sold and I loved it--but we still had that formal dining area. This time, no. Do. Not. Want.

This is becoming a real stumbling block and finding an architect, meeting with her/him is a pretty intense, expensive and long process. Of course there are other stumbling blocks--like optimum view of the lake, the garage cannot face the street (per deed restrictions), and having the most lived in spaces with the best look at all the beauty that will surround us. We've found a few things we like that come close, but it looks like more compromises as to what we want are in store.

Next up might be figuring out how to use software to do the design. I've heard it's not easy to use that stuff. Anyone out there have any ideas on how to make this easier? What software is simple to use? How to get over frustrating afternoons without hitting the bottle? :-)




16 comments:

  1. does a house need a formal dining room? Well, no. I thought you had one and didn't know what to do with it so I'm thinking good lighting, comfy chairs and bookcases.

    Is there a university nearby? Could one of the students help?

    Do you want an architect or a draftsman?

    Good luck! Keep us posted

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  2. No, formal dining rooms are a waste of space unless you plan to use it all the time. I had a home for ten years with an open floor plan. Big kitchen with nice dining area, including room for a hutch, and dining table. Sliding doors leading out to the Patio at the back of the house The large living room was a step down. So the kitchen and dining area overlooked the living room, and the living room had high windows with a center fireplace, giving a nice view out. So cooking never took me away from the rest of the home activities, and the dining table could be used more formally whenever necessary, or used daily.

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  3. Funny, "open plan" used to be the thing to do.

    Now, you could just say, "I like this plan, except don't build these walls that are supposed to define the kitchen." If they don't want to do that, then you say, "Then I'll take my business elsewhere."

    Or you could turn the dining area into a library. That's what I'd do. ;-)

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  4. What you need is a design guru! Architects that go into the design area. After that finding the builder is a lot easier. Try JFeldman Design of Atlanta. GA. She does work in the Atlanta Augusta and South Carolina area. Awesome designs and print work, and plans and very reasonable. Contact email is info@jfeldmandesign.com.
    Good luck! Hope this helps. There is nothing worse than wanting your home to be built a certain way and being unable to get it done.

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  5. We got a reference last night for an architect with MEGA experience who also has interior design experience. But thanks for the reference. My husband ALWAYS wants more than one referral and you've helped us with that! Thanks!

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  6. No, a dining room is unnecessary, IMHO. Mine always get turned into a sewing room or library/office. After 35 years of marriage, I have never owned a dining room set. Also IMHO, men shouldn't be allowed to design houses since they really don't know how to "operate" a household.

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  7. Looking online, this site may be useful. You've probably already seen it, but if not, here it is.
    http://www.monsterhouseplans.com/monster_search.html

    Looks like you can put in whatever you want and it searches for the right plan.

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  8. Julie, I revisited Monster this morning and guess what? I found plan that really got me excited. It has all the features I want, but the garage is not right. Still, this is something we can take to the architect and say--THIS is mostly what we want! THANKS!!

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  9. My formal dining room is our den/computer room... A formal D.R. would be wasted space in my house. Good luck with the plans!

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  10. http://www.notsobighouse.com/plans/sshouse.asp
    Do you know about the "Not So Big House" books and plans?
    I read it years ago, but what stuck with me is that the dining and formal living rooms are eliminated for a large informal space just like you described.

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  11. Our house was built in 1960 and has no formal dining room. We have an awesome coffee table that lifts up like a big tv tray and we often eat dinner there. Even if we had a formal dining room, I doubt we would use it very often. Hope all works out for you Leann!

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  12. Good luck with the plans Leann, and I don't know anyone who has a formal dining room. If I had the space for it, it would be turned into a library in a heartbeat.

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  13. Leann, would love to see your house plans. We are currently looking for a plan with no formal rooms.

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  14. Michelle, all we have are plans on the BIG paper, but we did it and made it fit on our lot. Here's a link to a plan that is similar: http://spitzmillerandnorris.com/index.php/house-plans/mountain-house-plans/greenwood-hill.html

    BUT, when you walk in through the garage, the laundry room, bathroom and two bedrooms are off that hallway. You come into the kitchen and it's a lot like in this plan (probably smaller). The master is on the other side of the house--with 2 closets, no study. Does that give you an idea?

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  15. Would you mind sharing which designer/architect you used?

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  16. We ended up with a designer named George Psomas in Greenwood SC. He did a fantastic job!

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