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7 Modern Multipurpose Rooms

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The great room—a combined living, dining, and cooking space—is one of architecture's great equalizers. People often want to be together without being sequestered into separate rooms for socializing and food preparation. This is particularly true of a cook who would rather chat with guests while he entertains than be hidden behind a closed door. Here, from Dwell's archives, are seven comfortable, modern great rooms that live up to the name.
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  The first-floor great room is where all the action takes place in Prentis Hale and Tracy Edmonds's hillside house in Seattle’s Mount Baker neighborhood. “It’s like Frank Lloyd Wright’s Usonian homes: everyone in one main space,” Hale says. Photo by Philip Newton.

    The first-floor great room is where all the action takes place in Prentis Hale and Tracy Edmonds's hillside house in Seattle’s Mount Baker neighborhood. “It’s like Frank Lloyd Wright’s Usonian homes: everyone in one main space,” Hale says. Photo by Philip Newton.

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  For their prefab Hamptons beach house, Tanya Wexler and Amy Zimmerman wanted both a large space where they could spend time with their four children, or entertain guests. Joseph Tanney and Robert Luntz of Resolution: 4 Architecture responded by giving the ground floor an open layout, with the kitchen island serving as a sort of command center looking out onto an expansive great room. Photo by João Canziani.

    For their prefab Hamptons beach house, Tanya Wexler and Amy Zimmerman wanted both a large space where they could spend time with their four children, or entertain guests. Joseph Tanney and Robert Luntz of Resolution: 4 Architecture responded by giving the ground floor an open layout, with the kitchen island serving as a sort of command center looking out onto an expansive great room. Photo by João Canziani.

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  Architect Corbett Lyon designed the Housemuseum in Melbourne, Australia, to serve both as a showcase for the art he has collected with is wife, Yueji, and a home that the couple share with their daughter. In the open-plan kitchen, dining, and living area, the family cohabitates comfortably with their art. Photo by Dianna Snape.

    Architect Corbett Lyon designed the Housemuseum in Melbourne, Australia, to serve both as a showcase for the art he has collected with is wife, Yueji, and a home that the couple share with their daughter. In the open-plan kitchen, dining, and living area, the family cohabitates comfortably with their art. Photo by Dianna Snape.

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  Sixteen-foot-high windows wrap the great room in the house that Stefan and Nicole Andrén built among the trees atop a forested ridge that snakes behind downtown Portland, Oregon. Photo by John Clark.

    Sixteen-foot-high windows wrap the great room in the house that Stefan and Nicole Andrén built among the trees atop a forested ridge that snakes behind downtown Portland, Oregon. Photo by John Clark.

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  Adrienne Webb and Stefan Dunlop wanted a warm and airy feel for the three-bedroom house that they commissioned for their growing family in Noosa, Australia. The centerpiece is a loft-like great room that combines the kitchen, dining room, and living room. Photo by Richard Powers.

    Adrienne Webb and Stefan Dunlop wanted a warm and airy feel for the three-bedroom house that they commissioned for their growing family in Noosa, Australia. The centerpiece is a loft-like great room that combines the kitchen, dining room, and living room. Photo by Richard Powers.

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  A mature avocado tree shades the patio outside the great room of the renovated house that Glee star Jayma Mays and the actor Adam Campbel share in the Los Feliz section of Los Angeles. Photo by Floto + Warner.

    A mature avocado tree shades the patio outside the great room of the renovated house that Glee star Jayma Mays and the actor Adam Campbel share in the Los Feliz section of Los Angeles. Photo by Floto + Warner.

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  The high, pitched roof and neutral walls in the great room of the house that Montrealers Yves Bériault and Diane Decoste renovated in Canada's Magdalen Islands give the space an open, tranquil feel— making it a desirable spot for the couple to pursue two of their passions: classical music and literature. Photo by Matthew Monteith.

    The high, pitched roof and neutral walls in the great room of the house that Montrealers Yves Bériault and Diane Decoste renovated in Canada's Magdalen Islands give the space an open, tranquil feel— making it a desirable spot for the couple to pursue two of their passions: classical music and literature. Photo by Matthew Monteith.

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