What if the only path into your family room was

jenswrensSeptember 5, 2012

through your kitchen? Would that bother you?

Is a FR that is somewhat isolated from the rest of the house a good thing or a bad thing? This room would also be the largest room in the house and most likely where guests would gather and where the family would spend most of their time.

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My house is kind of like that (although there is another path to the family room). And I have been in many other houses like that. The advantage is that the family room is far from the bedrooms. People can sleep late without being disturbed by kids who get up early and want to watch tv or play legos. Or parents can stay up late watching tv without disturbing the kids who go to bed early.

At my house, everyone walks through the kitchen to get to the backyard or the family room. It doesn't bother me too much. I like that the kitchen (my favorite room) is the hub of the household. However we do have a u-shaped kitchen so the paths through the kitchen do not really interfere with the cooking/cleanup zone.

    Bookmark   September 5, 2012 at 1:06AM
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Yes. For immediate family it may or may not be a huge issue, but especially when you entertain, so you really want everyone coming through the kitchen while you try to prepare a meal? My family room is off the kitchen and breakfast room and at the back of the house, but the main entry come from the front hall through the living room and into the breakfast room -- right at the end of the kitchen, but leaving traffic out of the kitchen. That works okay, but I'm not an isolationist in the kitchen, but I'd have had some crazy fits or have given up cooking by now if the traffic all went through my kitchen.

    Bookmark   September 5, 2012 at 1:08AM
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I'd rather be able to reach the family room, without going through the kitchen. I love to cook and bake, which brings me a lot of joy and brings to my kitchen a lot of mess (LOL) so I'd rather guests could sit down and relax, without seeing my 'fun' with flour :)

    Bookmark   September 5, 2012 at 2:18AM
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In my last house, the only way to access the FR was through the kitchen (or backyard). The house had been a small saltbox or cape cod and the prior owners had blown it out and I guess felt the only way to do it was stick the FR in the back. It was a spectacular room - 2 story, huge windows but wound up "landlocking" the kitchen - it was the one thing about the house I didn't care for, but since the FR was so wonderful, I overlooked the kitchen layout. I really didn't like that people had to go through the kitchen to get there while I was working in it - they were always cutting me off in the middle of cooking and since it was small kitchen, it was very problematic.

    Bookmark   September 5, 2012 at 7:00AM
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It would depend on the kitchen. If there was a clear traffic path that avoided the main work area of the kitchen, fine. If people going to the FR would bump into the cook, not so good.

    Bookmark   September 5, 2012 at 7:19AM
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My family room and the back deck and yard are accessed only through the kitchen. But the route is down the entry hall into the kitchen by the peninsula and down a step into the family room. Since the family room is on the peninsula side of the kitchen it isn't in the work area. It's never been a problem for me.

    Bookmark   September 5, 2012 at 7:29AM
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As long as the path through the kitchen to the FR is wide enough not to cause congestion (e.g., if you have seating on that path, there's plenty of room behind someone sitting there) AND that path is NOT through the main working part of the kitchen (especially the Prep & Cooking Zones), I don't see the problem.

I actually have that. Other than the garage door and the deck door, the only way to get to our FR is through the kitchen, albeit a corner of the kitchen. In addition, because our dogs' "den" is in the very short "hall" b/w the Foyer and the LR, the only path to the DR, LR, and Library is through the kitchen.

In the case of the FR, the path is just through a corner of the kitchen and it was easy to direct traffic away from the main kitchen and protect the ovens that are in that path.

The DR/LR/Library path, however, cuts straight across the entire kitchen. We created a shall "U" that houses the Prep & Cooking Zones. These zones are protected by the short peninsulas on each end that direct people away from the interior of the "U".

The Cleanup Zone is on the counter opposite the base of the "U" but works b/c the aisle b/w the peninsula and counter on the one end is 47" so even if someone is working at the counter or if the DW is open people can still easily walk by. We do have a "pinch point" b/w the other peninsula and the refrigerator (due to the measuring fiasco of our KD)...the aisle there is only 32" (it was supposed to be 42") and when someone is in the refrigerator s/he blocks the path, but it's only a short span and hasn't been a continual problem, just a minor annoyance on rare occasions.

As to the FR being "isolated", ours is also that way and it has not been a problem...in fact, I've never even thought of it as either a good or bad thing. It works as it is...our garage door and the deck door open into the FR and the basement door opens in the same corner of the kitchen that leads to the FR. Hmmm...maybe it isn't "isolated" after all...

    Bookmark   September 5, 2012 at 9:12AM
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I agree with camlan, it depends on the pathway through your kitchen.

Our house flows mudroom to kitchen to the rest of the house. We have a front door that never gets used in our living room. We expect everyone to come through the kitchen.

It's not a problem since a peninsula separates the main flow from the work area. The small sink, dishdrawer dw, and fridge are along the main pathway, on the other side of the peninsula from my work area. It makes washing hands, grabbing a drink of water, getting items from the fridge easy for others without interrupting my work.

As long as people are not in my workspace, I welcome seeing others pass through. Hi and Bye works well for me since I can then keep concentrating on the task at hand.

I like having a kitchen that is separate from other rooms. The flow of others through the outskirts helps keep me from feeling isolated.

    Bookmark   September 5, 2012 at 10:25AM
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As others have stated, it depends on the route through the kitchen. In my house, the far end of my kitchen (technically a breakfast nook) is the main path to the family room. It does not bother me one bit. However, if the path ran through the cooking, prepping, or cleanup zone, that might be an issue.

    Bookmark   September 5, 2012 at 10:34AM
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So it sounds like a lot of people have this type of layout in the home. I'm kinda in the camp with Lav Lass and lascatx - for some reason, even if it's not thru the main work area, it bothers me.

I've been reluctant, but I suppose the next step is to to post a new thread with the plans we are considering, and see if I can get some basic layout feedback here. Thanks!

I think I might also attend some open houses this weekend to see what other FRs are like.

    Bookmark   September 7, 2012 at 12:17PM
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