An open conversation about open plan living.

When it comes to our home interiors, on the North Shore they tend to favour French provincial, while in the Inner West it’s all about vintage, industrial and retro.

In the Shire they’re still mad for feature walls, in the West its tank sized couches and on the Northern Beaches they can’t help but artfully plonk a deconstructed surfboard on a wall.

 

Despite different decorating tastes, one design trend that has almost been universally embraced is the open plan combined kitchen/dining/living room or the ki-di-li as it has been wonderfully dubbed by Brisbane architect Tim Hill.

Overwhelmingly popular as it is, do we really want to spend the majority of our time in the one cavernous space that has all the intimacy of a church hall?

They may look fantastic, especially if you are the type who fantasises about Grand Design host Kevin McLeod bounding round the corner in a hounds tooth jacket and humping the bejesus out of your Cesar stone island bench, but do we truly want our living spaces not to be compartmentalised?

Why does every family meal have to be prepared out in the open like it’s a pressure test on Masterchef? Back in the day, dinner guests were oblivious to the panicked look on Mum’s face as she sweated over the electric stove.

All they saw was a composed hostess, effortlessly sliding out through the saloon style doors and into the dining room holding an earthenware platter of

saffron rice topped with apricot splattered chicken marylands.

Electric beaters may no longer interfere with the television reception like they used to but there is still merit in separating our living space.

Today, wide screen games of Rugby League, clash with laptops on kitchen tables, toys collide with Matt Blatt knock off furniture, all while Mum valiantly tries to smash another chapter of Fifty Shades of Grey.

 

Open plan’s not working for anyone if Dad comes out to get a glass of orange juice in his undies and walks straight into a teenage world X-box championship.

 

Unfortunately the delineation between our living spaces has become one of extremes.

Our lives are either totally on display in the ki-di-li or hidden away in bedrooms,

where 7 year old not only have their own rooms but many have the unnecessary luxury of their own en suites.

Surely important life lessons are learnt from having to wait for a brother or sister to get out of shower?

It’s an integral part of developing our emotional regulation.

In a time when everything we want is on demand, there is much to be learnt from lining up in a towel in a hallway.