Often, it's not possible to get rid of structural pillars,' says Scott Nicholson, ‘but sometimes you can move them, and even shifting by half a metre can have a huge impact in some rooms. You can usually convert something negative into a positive feature if you deal with it imaginatively – try building a pillar into an island to create an architectural feature, for example. L-shaped and t-shaped rooms can be effectively split into zones, dedicating one leg to dining or storage, and keeping the working kitchen in the other. If you buy a property with curved walls, such as an oast house, it's usually because you like its style – ‘so make the most of its quirkiness with cabinets that follow the curves,' Scott advises. Even if this means that you have to buy more expensive bespoke furniture, you may not need a large amount of it to create a dramatic effect.
Place an island ingeniously and it's possible to separate the food preparation zone from an intimate dining area, whilst also preserving that all important open-plan feel. In this fabulously modern space, the creamy cabinetry and luxe hi-gloss textures bring a sense of cohesion to a wonderfully spacious, light and airy kitchen-diner, with colour and design leading the eye past the confines of the interior to the outdoor space beyond. Look closely at this classy, understated kitchen island and you'll discover it serves a multitude of purposes – a place to wash, prep food, with a neat breakfast bar to eat at with tucked-under stools. It has integrated power points so you can plug in any kitchen appliances you need and even sports matching-wood alcove shelving for displaying pottery and books.
An important consideration in open-plan space is flow. Curves are great at subtly directing traffic, keeping children away from danger spots and stopping guests from getting under your feet. The curved end of the Shaker-style unit also ensures there are no sharp corners to knock into. Heating a large space can also be costly. The best solution is to install underfloor heating for all-round ambient warmth. Knocking down walls to produce one larger, open-plan area is an ideal way to transform a cramped, dark room. Just think of all the extra light and space you could potentially gain. Use glass screens or sliding doors to separate the cooking area from the living space and consider bar stools for a relaxed eating area. As with any structural changes to your home, always contact your local planning office. Find information on the government planning site.
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