Exotic Livable Retreat

Kenneth Brown transforms this homeowners open floor plan into a relaxing retreat.

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Hide CaptionShow CaptionThe demolition is complete in this home leaving a blank slate for designer Kenneth Brown.
After recently purchasing his house, Mark realized that he didn't like the walls separating his dining room, kitchen, and living room, so he knocked them down. But now that the demo is complete, he has no idea how to proceed. Kenneth Brown presents a floor plan for this wide open space that is masculine, sleek and functional with a touch of Bali to represent Mark's love of traveling.

According to Kenneth, the key to creating a cohesive look in an open floor plan is to repeat materials throughout the entire space — in Mark's home, limestone, teak, leather and chrome are used to tie all three rooms together. Here are a few more of Kenneth's tips:

  • In the living room, put your biggest piece of furniture on the longest wall. This creates a sense of order and proportion.
  • Don't be afraid of dark colors — instead of closing up a room they can make walls appear to recede.
  • When remodeling a kitchen, save money by keeping the plumbing where it is.
  • Keep the kitchen triangle (the space between the sink, stove and refrigerator) in mind when deciding where to put your appliances. Kenneth says a rule of thumb is to make sure that no side of the triangle is less than four feet.
  • If your kitchen is down to the studs, use spray paint or masking tape to help you visualize your layout. As Kenneth says about kitchen floorplans, "You can spend all day looking at them on paper but that won't give you the vibe of the space — using spray paint or masking paint is like blowing up the design and stepping into it."