Much like fashion, sometimes there are trends in architecture that, for better or worse, resurface. Lately, we’ve been seeing more and more discussions of sunken living rooms. They are showing up everywhere from period appropriate tv shows, like the very popular Mad Men, to more surprising places, such as contemporary design magazines like Dwell.
Mad Men Living Room
It has become apparent that this idea is no longer stuck in the past. There are several great, contemporary spaces that implement this 1960’s idea, such as this home in Los Angeles.
The space of the living room, while on a lower level than the kitchen and dining area, feels open and inviting, even with the hardness of exposed structure and concrete flooring. The open, sunken living area balances the coziness of the kitchen and dining rooms beautifully.
Perhaps that is one of the greatest advantages of this design concept – the feeling of openness.
Eero Saarinen’s Miller House
This feeling of openness can be achieved without raising the ceiling plane. Take, for example, Eero Sarrinen’s Miller House, built in 1957. The living area is truly sunken, surrounded by the higher flooring of the main living level on all sides. The flat plane of the ceiling appears at a modest height, yet the entire spaces feels more open than if the living area were not lowered. While there are few walls, which also add to the spacious feel, this openness is in large part due to the fact that the furniture does not chop up the space.