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Is open-concept living worth the renovation headache?


I just moved into an older home with many small rooms on the ground floor and was thinking of knocking down some walls to open it up. What are the advantages and disadvantages to doing this? Are you a fan of big, open spaces or small, intimate salons?"

As an architect, I love to feel the space of a building, meaning that I want to experience the full width, length and volume. I like small, intimate spaces for a library or an office, but, for the living space of a home, I crave that open, soaring feeling. If I were you, I would knock the walls down and make the archways as high as possible. Beware the cost and effort, though, of dealing with an older home's joist issues (they can be all over the map) and be prepared to invest in new structural support that is tucked out of sight so you can enjoy the airiness. Also, consider the potential lack of privacy, those resulting echoes and an extra need for tidiness. In other words, your pile of hopefully fabulous shoes should have a designated place in a well-located closet so your mess is kept hidden away.

Follow architect and interior designer Dee Dee Taylor Eustace, president of Taylor Hannah Architect Inc., on Twitter: @ddtaylordd. Have a design dilemma? E-mail

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