Most people in HSV, being retired couples, only want one living area. But many houses will have a study or combination study/bedroom right off the living room.
People who have rooms down in the walk-out basement area below the main floor usually have a game room or work room downstairs.
We wanted all of our living space on one level (not counting the loft), and we (well, *I*) wanted space for a pool table, so we have both a living room and a den on the same level. (See our floor plan.)
|However, we put double doorways to the living room and den directly across the entry hall from each other, so we still have a fairly open plan despite having a separate den and living room. From the entry hall, you can see into the living room, dining room, kitchen, breakfast area, study, and even into the master bedroom and guest bathroom if those doors were left open. That's a pretty open plan!|
|In addition to the pool table in the den, we have sofas and chairs, TV and stereo, piano, and the dining bar that is open to the kitchen, so we will spend most of our time in the den. The living room will be primarily for watching movies on TV and for when we have company over.|
The den has a 20-foot ceiling. Since we raised the roof for the den, it cost very little to add a loft over the adjoining kitchen and breakfast area, adding an additional 300 square feet. We use the loft as additional sleeping space and a ping-pong game room.
The guest bedroom on the far side of the breakfast area doubles as our study. Although a hallway leads into that bedroom, we put a short-cut door from the breakfast area into the study. So someone at the desk in the study can see and communicate with someone who is in the kitchen or den.
Since we come home through the breakfast area door, it is easy for us to look into the study to check for phone messages, FAXs, and even email. This is much more convenient than if we had put the study on the other side of the living room as we had originally planned.
|The den has a "zero-clearance" fireplace which can burn wood, but we put gas logs in it. A pair of LP gas tanks under the deck fuel it. Zero-clearance means that the fireplace can be right up against the wood studs in the wall without setting them on fire.|
2008 Update: I have not been using the pool table much any more, so after the Great Repainting of 2007, I got rid of the pool table and we turned the den into the living room. Since guests tend to congregate around the kitchen bar and almost never go into what was the living room, this should work better for entertaining. The original living room still serves as a formal living room, a home theater, and a guest bedroom -- but mostly as a home theater.