Cook up the open layout of your dreams using these tips from a Canton designer
Where: Canton, Connecticut
In her own words: “A lot of people have older homes, such as Capes and Colonials, with smaller rooms that they want to incorporate into one big space.”A maze of parlors, formal dining rooms and isolated kitchens may have been popular in the 19th century, but today’s lifestyles call for homes with connection. “People want to take down the walls, get rid of the formal dining room and create a more easygoing dining area,” says Erica Caserta, who co-owns Showcase Kitchens in Canton. “They want to see the TV while they’re eating and be able to talk to guests from the kitchen while entertaining.”
A joyous journey. “I absolutely love the design phase of the project and seeing how my clients’ spaces can be transformed,” Caserta says. From creating a design on paper to placing the final finish, she enjoys watching a new room come together. “Every space is unique to the clients’ needs, and each one presents a special design challenge,” she says.
Ready to open up? Read Caserta’s tips below to get an airy layout that suits your tastes as well as your needs.
Open concept doesn’t have to mean taking out every interior wall; by doing so, “you may lose valuable space for extra storage, double ovens or a bar,” Caserta says. Instead, consider creating a larger opening between rooms, with cabinets on either side, or leaving a side wall up for a mail center.These West Hartford clients chose to open their kitchen to a once-formal dining room, leaving the wall between their kitchen and living room intact. That wall, seen here on the left, houses double ovens, a large refrigerator, a bar and plenty of storage. “You don’t have to take down every wall to achieve what you’re going for,” Caserta says.
Build an open-concept kitchen that will evolve with your lifestyle and family. “Think about your kids both as toddlers and as teens,” Caserta says. You may need to see them from the kitchen now but prefer a sound barrier later. You never know who’ll take up the drums, so consider French or barn doors for flexibility.The team designed this kitchen for a family, also in West Hartford, to be functional for the long run. “They can add more seating to the island and still have enough workspace,” Caserta says. An inset cabinet at the end provides space for a high chair or another stool. “The wood countertop also isn’t so expensive that they couldn’t replace it in 10 years,” she adds.
When creating an open-concept kitchen, “pay attention to the scale, age and architectural detail of your home,” Caserta says. “You want the style to be cohesive; you want it to flow.” Also make sure your home can structurally support your new design plans.This kitchen in Farmington’s Unionville area, for instance, required two columns to support the open-concept design. “We designed them to work with the space, color and style” of the Colonial home, Caserta says. The columns’ molding and color match those of the cabinetry, and their vertical lines complement the paneling on the island.