Is open plan just a fad in residential design?

Having the kitchen open to the other major spaces of the house like living and dining helps a family feel connected. It’s hard to imagine why we ever designed them any other way. What’s interesting is that the kitchen, and indeed many other spaces in the home, have evolved over time as a reflection of how people lived and used their spaces.

For instance, the humble hallway emerged as a way for servants to shuffle from room to room without being seen. Before then, rooms were connected with direct openings into each other leading from one room to another. If you’ve ever visited Renaissance era homes in Europe, you will recognize it.

Kitchens of those eras were also places that were kept out of site to visitors. Kitchens were seen as messy business, and best kept out of view. They were usually small utilitarian rooms, with little light, a lot of heat from those ovens and stoves, and cramped spaces.