Working with the Pattern
Organize the main social spaces of the house — kitchen, dining, and living/family rooms — as a single, flowing common space, with one place as its clear heart. Make the heart a generous, attractive space, just off the main circulation crossroads of the house — protected from traffic, yet located so that everyone coming and going passes by it.
Give the commons a semiprivate edge, with places to sit and read or even just lean — places that allow people to take up a position away from the core but still be a part of it. In contrast to the common area at the heart, create a sequence of private spaces, some immediately adjacent to the heart, some relatively remote.
The private spaces, even at their most remote, should be conceived as edges that give definition to the commons by the fact of separating themselves from it. Create an intimacy gradient, with a variety of corresponding ceiling heights, across the house, from the largest and highest-ceilinged commons to the most intimate and lowest-ceilinged edge.
Patterns of Home
Discuss this article in our Home Design Forum...
Part of the ArchitectureWeek Patterns series. Text and images excerpted with permission from Patterns of Home: The Ten Essentials of Enduring Design by Max Jacobson, Murray Silverstein, and Barbara Winslow, copyright © 2002 The Taunton Press, Inc. The book is available from The Taunton Press and at Amazon.com.