Great Room Expectations

With a little planning, research and the opportunity to start from scratch, the Collamores gave their home a great room that more than lives up to its name.

NOT ALL GREAT ROOMS ARE GREAT. Casie Collamore knows this because she’s lived with both kinds: a “great” great room and another that was … not so much.

Now living in Edmond, the Collamore family – rounded out by husband Frank and 3-year-old son Cy – loved their former home in Moore. It was centered on a great room concept. It was a high-ceilinged, airy space created for roomy family life and entertaining.

But Casie grew to realize it just didn’t work right.

The somewhat L-shaped great room exposed its shortcomings when it should have been shining – during parties and get-togethers.

“At our old house, people congregated around the island, or in the kitchen, or the dining table that was kind of close to the kitchen. People would kind of migrate in and out. We always felt crowded, and there was one door to the outside that when you opened it, it would hit the breakfast table.”

What a difference designing a new home from scratch can make. Based on her own experiences and creative research, Casie designed a great room that lives up to its promise: A “roomless” blending of kitchen, dining and leisure roles that functions equally well for a family of three or a party of 30. “I knew how I wanted that great room to work. Everything we do now works in one room. You don’t feel like you have to move into the breakfast room, or into the family room.”

Another advantage of a correctly designed great room is its transferability to diverse family situations. The Collamores’ builder, Sheryl Willingham of Willco Homes, has constructed similar rooms for a family with two older boys and another for a great-grandmother who lives alone, and received appreciative raves from both.

Excerpted from the fall 2013 edition of Design Oklahoma. To read the full article, click here to read our digital edition.