We watched tv during dinner. Not that my mother didn't try but my dad, my brother and myself were/are all tv junkies. If we were sitting at the table it meant it was a holiday. I always wanted to watch my show while stuffing my face with chicken fingers or fish sticks. My parents were not sticklers for sitting down at the table as a family for a meal and honestly I was glad. Spending the night at a friends house and having to all sit around the table and talk made me nervous. Not the talking part so much, I've always been a talker. I think I just wasn't used to it. As I grew up we ate less and less dinners together anyway, I was at play practice, a field hockey game, out with friends. When my parents knocked down a wall in the kitchen opening it up to the dining room and creating a bar to sit at was the first time I can remember sitting down on a normal tues night for dinner with my family. By this point my brother was off at college anyway so it was just the three of us. Now my parents eat at that bar almost every night and often when Silas and I are visiting thats where we sit even though there is a table less then three feet behind us. I'm sure some of this is because now there is a small tv in the kitchen so we can all still watch the sox game, bruins game or pats game on mute while we talk about life.
It's amazing how an open concept kitchen really created an open concept relationship with my family. We began talking more, we asked each other how their day was, we shared stories, ideas and goals. Even though we were not sitting down at the table every night just sitting together rather then on the couch in the living room created an easy conversation flow.
Since as far back as I remember wanting a house, I've always wanted an open concept kitchen area. I believe that the kitchen is the heart of the home. I love my current house, it's the perfect size for Silas, Coby and I and it's very cozy. Minus a few little things I'd like to change (like having a mud room or moving the laundry out of the basement) I do love it. We have a small Pottery Barn island that gives our kitchen a better flow but it's too small to sit at and 99% of the time is covered in mail, keys, grocery lists and other odds and ends. Our kitchen also has a good sized pass through to the dining room creating a very nice open feel, but it's not quite the same as a full open concept kitchen. In my next house I'll have a big island with space for at least four people to sit so that even if we don't have every dinner sitting as a family at the table we can at the very least all be together in a more casual atmosphere. I think it would be easier to get kids to sit at a bar in the kitchen to eat then around a formal dining room table, but maybe thats just been my experience.
Tonight my parents are coming over to our house for dinner, something we try to do once a week but it typically ends up being once a month due to busy schedules. I'm excited to have them join us for some wine, crackers and cheese and tonights menu: beef stew. We will all be sitting down to eat dinner around my great grandmother's table that I have in my dining room. It might not be an open concept, eat-in kitchen but I'm sure the conversation will be open and full of stories, laughs and dreams. I've learned that it really isn't about the kitchen, the dining room or the tv. Where you eat has nothing to do with your family dynamic and conversation but I have learned that making it easier to communicate with one another, by making that effort to sit down at the same time you can really find and re-establish those connections and relationships. It's amazing that learning all this may have started with a wall coming down in my childhood kitchen.
These are a few of my favorite kitchen's that I've recently pinned on pinterest. Can you tell I like big open kitchens with lots of light, and I might have a slight obsession with coffered ceilings.