There is no place like home (Part 2)


As we continue to minimize our contact with large groups and the outside world during the COVID19 crisis, let’s continue to take a closer look at the spaces that create the heart of the home. Last month we focused on the kitchen; this month we will concentrate on the main living areas and the entry and garden.

Family Room/Living Room/Dining Room

During the past years, the use of these rooms has changed tremendously. With today’s open plans, these functions and these spaces are frequently right next to each other, and they are connected or defined rather vaguely by the ceiling heights or some detailing in the walls. These spaces can be quite formal, and lately it has become practical to combine the functions into one larger, more open space. This is fine, as, just like in the kitchen, there will be different uses of these spaces at different times of the day.

The most recent development is entertainment and media. The technology for entertainment and media has changed so quickly that our homes still are being adapted for them. As we try to take control of the wires and gadgets and the screens – and that “something new” we can’t live without – the need for space, flat surfaces and ways to run cables without leaving them unsightly has developed.

Remember you still will be at home years from now, even when everything still is changing.

There needs to be a place to sit and visit, to look outdoors, and to read, study, or contemplate your interests. The home must support you, and the range of activities of your life, throughout your life.

Entrance and Garden

Take a look at the connections to the out-of-doors. When the Stay in Place Order is in the past and guests once again come to your door, will they feel welcomed into your life and home? Some see the entrance as a compressed image of the home. There was a time when a popular holiday greeting included a photo taken with everybody outside at the front of the home.

The connection to the outdoors is vital to living our daily lives. Being able to see the weather, to hear the outdoor sounds, and to catch the different breezes at different times of the days and years is our way to connect with the world outside.

And then there are other connections to the outdoors, too. Does your home have more than one garden space? Is there a balcony leading to the garden? From different parts of the home, can you look out and see the outdoors in different ways?

We can’t all have a magnificent view, but we all can have some special view to the outdoors that tells us: we are home at last.

Alcorn & Benton Architects in La Jolla have been designing projects in San Diego and throughout Southern California for more than 30 years. To learn more visit or call (858) 459-0805.