The Shape of Great | Great Room Design Options

Big or small, your great room does some heavy lifting when it comes to living in your home. Try these two shapes on for size.

The Shape of Great

Whoever said you can't have your cake and eat it too probably wasn't referring to log home design. However, you can learn a lot from this maxim when divvying up space within your floorplan. One space in particular—the great room—can pose some specific challenges.
     "Unfortunately, due to budget or square-footage restrictions, nobody can have everything they want," says Bob Walker of Appalachian Log Homes in Knoxville, Tennessee. So you need to set your priorities and make compromises.

Lean and Mean
In this cozier arrangement, the kitchen, dining and living spaces are stitched closely together. While the goal is an open floorplan with no walls interfering, a raised peninsula between the living area and the kitchen provides the perfect visual divider. (A hearth, post or cross beam also will do the trick.) Arrange stools around the peninsula for snacking and casual meals, and set up a dining table off to the side or between the peninsula and couch for more formal, sit-down meals.

Large and in Charge
Cozy spaces in cabins are key, but sometimes your lifestyle—lots of kids, formal gatherings—dictates a broader approach to great-room design. This plan takes these criteria into account by stretching the space between the kitchen and living area, and tucking the dining room to the opposite corner of the kitchen so the distance itself between the three public areas becomes a room divider.
     If you're going gourmet-style so you can entertain often, a large kitchen is key not only for preparation and cooking, but to handle the guests who'll inevitably flock to where the food is. The living area has center stage with just as much room to stand and mingle as there is to sit and relax in front of the fire. Just like the smaller cousin, a peninsula is the main visual divider of space, though a cross beam and varied ceiling heights also are at play. (If you want more of a visual barrier instead of a completely open spatial relationship, try a solid wall with a pass-through.)

Read the full story in the Septebmer 2006 issue of Log Home Living.

Satterwhite Log Homes photo by Robert Langham