Do you have an Away Room?

While at the cabin, Matt and I sipped coffee on the deck while talking about our house plans.

We decided not to give up a formal dining room. We like the coziness of sharing a meal in our home with friends, along with the feeling of formality a dining room brings.

So where else could we cut square footage? We turned our attention to our Away Room, which is separated from our main living space and closed off by French doors.

Sarah Susanka coined that term in her book, The Not So Big House.

“Because houses are filled with televisions, appliances, computers, and stereo equipment, they are filled with noise. In a more open floor plan, there needs to be a place that provides acoustical privacy.”

I feel a little silly designing a room where we can, well, get away from our home. Because I’ve always seen homes as functional.

But this home we’re building is about comfort. The ease in which we’ll live in it. How it will suit our lifestyle. With three, maybe more, children, I would like a quiet place where Matt and I can connect.

And because of its small dimensions, our Away Room will feel more like a cozy nook, bringing us closer together physically, as we look out on the quiet street below.

On a practical level, we can convert it into a main level bedroom should one of our parents need it, or if stairs challenge our bodies as we age.

What do you think: Is an Away Room excessive? Where do you go to catch your breath?

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06. September 2010 by Jennifer Jeanne Patterson
Categories: Home Building | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 15 comments

Comments (15)

  1. Okay, I re-read since I missed the idea of a getaway “from the kids” in it the first time. If it’s big enough for a spare bed plus a sitting area with a cozy loveseat & small coffee table with a view to the outside, the space could serve the dual purpose.

    I like to balance function with frequency of use when considering design/space planning, so if you think you’d use it every week, maybe it’s a good plan, otherwise I’d consider making it a combo spare bedroom & reading area where you two could enjoy conversation w/ a cup of coffee or tea and still have a great space for guests.

    I’m also not sure if that living space is more formal (since you mentioned the formal dining area) or if it would be your everyday family room when you all would normally hang out. Would the space really be far enough from the action to be a quiet space?

  2. When you have great room / kitchen combo, its seems like a living room never gets used. At least that’s the case in my house. The whole front half of the house is unused. (which is nice because its never messy or cluttered either) So we can just head to the living room for chance to get away. I like the idea of a main floor bedroom– as our guest room is up with the rest of the bedrooms– more separation would be nice for the guest. A main floor bedroom might be a nice place to be “away”-yourself. Catnap when needed… & have a chaise in there as well for a place to lay back & read.

  3. I love the idea of an away room. I would not get rid of it unless you have another space that will be little used and quiet enough to be able to function as an away room like Jilene is saying about her living room. We have nowhere in our that you can escape the noise of the TV and/or kids. If I need quiet, I send them outside to play or I leave the house. I could see ending each night with a book, fire and glass of wine in a toy-free, TV-free away room. ahhhhh

  4. I would love an away room…right now, I am lucky if I get time alone in the bathroom!! {haha}

  5. The idea of an away room seems great. Make it kind of like a sun room as you said it faces the street. Put in a few chairs, a nice window ledge to put herbs and flowers, paintings on the wall. Something where you could sit with a book and feel at peace.

  6. Having not read this book (yet, I’ve heard so many good things about it) I’d never heard of an Away Room but we have one in our home: we call it the library. When Todd & I moved in together last year we had so many books between us we decided to turn the small bedroom just off the entry/living room into a library. Lots of bookcases, 2 comfy chairs and a couple of reading lamps–it’s perfect for quiet time.

  7. I love the idea of a away room. A place free from all the “mess” kids do. I could say my living room is a away room. A place where i can read a book, listen to my favourite songs, invite friends to a tea. I would never get rid of this kind of room.

  8. Everyone is different. Do what feels right for you. It could be a room, a porch, a hot tub, or your master bedroom. We like the patio or master bedroom for private moments. But we don’t have three kids hunting us down either. One is easier to manage/distract!

  9. I don’t think it’s excessive if it’s something you want. We live on a lake year-round so our “away room” is the back porch looking out over the water. Love it!

  10. KEEP the Away room, you”ll want an extra room someday, especially when the kids come to visit with their own kids! In the mean time, have some fun and be honest about it, it’s the hanky-panky room! LOL!

  11. As a new home owner of a “fixer upper” I love your away room idea. Although, I think mine will be my back patio area. We live in FL so accessible all year round. Don’t give up your away room!

  12. Can I come hide out in your away room? :) That’s an awesome idea.

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  14. We live in a 1930s home and there is a kitchen, dining room, living room that are all fairly flowing and open with big entries. There is a hallway with three bedrooms, bathroom and stairs leading up to our master bedroom and bathroom.

    We have all hardwoods and three children, so there is rarely a place to escape. Our spare bedroom is a laundry and exercise room, but I am loving the “away” room idea! I vote to keep it.

    (Stopping by from FF on BlogFrog.)

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