Tricks for keeping connected spaces cozy, from HGTV’s Chip Wade

How to close the gap on the open concept

Photograph courtesy of Wade Works Creative

Keeping family together is the goal of most open-concept projects. However, maintaining style and warmth can be an unexpected challenge in cavernous, undefined spaces. Too often the tendency is to combine as many living spaces as possible without considering how they will interact. Here are a few tricks for keeping things cozy:

Look up
Localized ceiling treatments like the faux coffered skylights, pictured above, are one of the best ways to define a singular area within a larger open space.

Central island
An island or work surface full of functional features can help unite separate sections. For example, consider moving the kitchen island closer to the living room. A sofa can be placed directly against it (see above), eliminating an awkward walkway and allowing room for bar seating on the sides.

Work it
If you are building a new island, incorporate practical features that encourage daily use and create a hub of activity. The granite top above contains a motorized computer work station beneath a wooden panel that rises up and out of the counter with the press of a button.

Stylish details
Also in the renovation above, natural ash wood beams conceal necessary structural elements, while black cabinetry and brushed brass accents add sophistication. With darker cabinetry colors, it’s best to select lighter flooring to create a tailored, high-contrast sight line.

Chip Wade, an Emmy-winning television host/producer, Georgia Tech engineer, HGTV designer, and third-generation craftsman, helps people make educated home purchasing or improvement decisions. His firm, Wade Works Creative, offers services in residential and commercial design, architecture, realty, and creative construction.

This article originally appeared in the Fall 2016 issue of Atlanta Magazine’s HOME.