I am not seeing as many of these as I used to, but a Keeping Room is pretty standard in any home of 8,000 square feet or larger. The “keeping room” originated in colonial times, before homes were ginormous, or rather, when only a select few had ginormous homes, usually called castles. It was a multi-use room attached to the kitchen or open to it, complete with a fireplace for warmth. Remember, kitchens used to be the place where people cooked, unlike my house. So creating an extra little sitting area is really an old-time concept that adds depth, warmth and activity to modern kitchens.

Or cool: in July, we sip iced tea in the Keeping Room. Come August, mojitos.

“Kitchens are always evolving,” builder Carolyn Isler of Isler Custom Homes once told me. “I have created several keeping rooms for my clients, and they love them.”

The modern keeping room is also a cozy, more comfortable alternative to the bar peninsula with stools, which more homeowners are tiring of. It’s a place where the family can relax on a sofa and nosh, watch television, flip through the ipad or or gaze into the embers in January.

Another place for a Christmas tree come December, too.

Of course, the keeping room does not in any way replace the breakfast room or the family room.

“You’re really not supposed to eat in the family room,” Isler says.

Duh — why in the world do would we have the breakfast room, otherwise!

Which I have been telling my family for years. Now only my husband may eat in the family room for two reasons:

One, designer Michelle Nussbaumer taught me to buy and make a piece of fabric identical to the fabric on the sofa and keep it on the sofa to catch mess and crumbs — an elegant alternative to plastic slipcovers so many of my Chicago friends grew up with. Also great if you pets like to jump on.

Two: He messes the sofas, he pays to reupholster!

The latest must-have room in your large or even not so large home is the “Keeping Room”. The name for these rooms originated in colonial times, before homes were 5,000 plus square feet. They were a multi-use room attached to the kitchen or open to it, complete with a fireplace for coziness and warmth. Now, it’s either an old-time concept that adds depth and a place for more activity to modern kitchens, or a great excuse to extend the kitchen even more.

And another sofa to get crumbs on.

Carolyn Isler home (pictured left)

Builders tell me that kitchens are always evolving, and consumers love having this auxiliary room. It was Dominique Browning, editor of now defunct House Beautiful Magazine, who said that every kitchen really needs a place for a comfortable sofa. She’s got a point: most kitchens flow into the open family room, which becomes a keeping room of sorts. But some consumers now prefer the nooky keeping room to a peninsula bar with those high, not-so-comfy stools.

It’s a place where the family can relax on a sofa and snack, do homework, watch television, check ipads,  or gaze into the embers. Never fear: the keeping room does not in any way replace the breakfast room or the family room.

“You’re really not supposed to eat in the family room,” Dallas builder Carolyn Isler told me. Ha — I wish someone would get that message to MY family. Seems I’m not alone. My designer friends, like Ann Sutherland,  tell me they are selling outdoor fabrics for sofas way more than regular fabrics, because they are so very washable.

Because like it or not, everyone really does eat on the sofa.


First of all, gotta love Alan Nixon! I knew him way back when he was Breckenridge-Nixon, been in a million of his Preston Hollow homes, and now he’s building a fantabulous mega manse on my old homestead at 5511 Park Lane. But this, this is Stefani, that sweet spot location right south of Walnut Hill betwixt Preston and Hillcrest. For you Mediterranean lovers, this home will make you dizzy with delight. Dramatic entry, and a gourmet kitchen with a “Keeping Room”. The Keeping Room originated in colonial times, before homes were 5,000 square feet. It was a multi-use room attached to the kitchen or open to it, complete with a fireplace for warmth. It’s an old-time concept that adds depth, warmth and activity to modern kitchens.  But the keeping room does not in any way replace the breakfast room or the family room. It’s just that in here you can eat on the sofa!

There are also four interior fireplaces, a wonderful outdoor entertaining & cooking area also with fireplace, gorgeous hardwoods, groin vault ceilings, look at that handsome paneled study WITH ACTUAL BOOKSHELVES (I cannot stand these fake dens that have like two shelves for books — I know we are all using i-pads but dens need to have bookshelves and books!), a gameroom & media room, barrel-tile roof, plus an elevator! The home was built in 2008 on almost half an acre of land — those are large lots over there  — and a whopping 7253 square feet. I think Dartmouth man Stephen Collins has it priced quite nicely at $2, 249,000, or $310. per square foot. Do you?