The Living Kitchen – Multi-Purpose Kitchens Setting New Home Improvement & Family Life-Style Trends

As the kitchen’s role in family life has grown, so has its size. The kitchen has become the center of all household activity. It is where families cook and eat, entertain, watch television, use the computer and do homework. Homeowners are snubbing their formal living rooms, dining rooms and family rooms, and instead are focusing their remodeling efforts on creating a more comfortable and open floor plan for their busy family life in the kitchen.

Homeowners no longer use their kitchen solely for food preparation and cooking. Instead, new kitchen designs accommodate multiple day to day activities and functions, such as:

  • Daily food preparation, cooking and baking
  • Daily storage and cleaning
  • Informal family dining
  • Studying, projects and other family activities
  • Relaxing and entertaining

    The key to creating an open, flowing kitchen space is to expand the room, while combining elements from both the living room and dining room. Some of the latest open space renovation trends include both large and small home transformations.


    Homeowners are opting to knock down walls in order to design a “living kitchen” that really serves its purpose as the heart of the home. By expanding kitchen space and getting rid of unused rooms, such as the formal dining room and living room, the space becomes more efficient and accessible and it begins to serve as the hub of all family activity.

    Creating a Cohesive Look

    When creating a great kitchen, it is important to incorporate repeating elements throughout the span of the new space. Repeating elements create a clean and consistent kitchen look.

    Several homeowners create unity in their new kitchen design by incorporating new hardwood flooring, tiling, kitchen countertops and cabinetry throughout the large space. Creating a cohesive look throughout the extended room will help to identify your new multi-purpose space as a kitchen, and not a cluttered combination room.

    For more tips about creating a cohesive kitchen design and for a large selection of the latest remodeling products, visit

    Comfort & Convenience

    Incorporating comfortable furniture and a lounge section in the kitchen encourages greater family and house guest interaction and communication. By adding a lounge to the kitchen, family members and guests can relax after dinner, or comfortably snack, read the newspaper and talk while other family members prepare a meal.

    Bringing a computer and media equipment into the kitchen also assists in making the space more family friendly. Converting a section of the kitchen countertop into a family media center improves family interaction and increases the likelihood of more family activities taking place in the kitchen.

    Whether you decide to knock out walls and install new hardwood floors throughout your combined space, or add a plush couch for lounging, an open “living kitchen” yields endless benefits. It provides a room where the entire family can be together and participate in daily cooking, conversation and quality time.

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    401K and Real Estate Investing-An Overview

    Is it possible to combine your 401k and real estate investing? Wouldn’t it be great to invest in real estate with a maximum amount of pre-tax dollars, realize the huge gains possible only with real estate investing, and then re-invest those dollars in your tax-free 401k?

    Of course it would, and there are ways for the savvy investor to combine their 401k and real estate investing.

    First, you could borrow funds from your 401k. This is not necessarily the best way to combine your 401k and real estate investing, but it might be worth looking into if you have no other available funds for investing. Realize that there are limits on the amount you can borrow, and the interest you pay won’t be deductible, as it would with a typical mortgage. Choose this option only after doing your homework.

    The second method of combining your 401k and real estate investing is the IRA roll-over. If your 401k allows you the benefit of rolling over into an Individual Retirement Account, this may be the best way for you to go. Select a specific type of IRA- called a “Self-Directed IRA” to roll your funds into.

    The Self-Directed IRA is a very powerful investment vehicle that allows you to direct exactly how your money is invested, within certain limits. For instance, you could direct that the money be invested in a REIT (real estate investment trust), an apartment complex, or a strip mall. When you sell and realize a profit, the increase in the IRA is tax-deferred. This is a huge benefit, and you should really consider this method of combining your 401k and real estate investing.

    One downside to the roll-over – you would be giving up the employer contribution portion of your 401K deposits, if any. Another reason why you should weigh this option carefully before deciding to use it to combine your 401k and real estate investing.

    Finally, and the simplest method of combining your 401k and real estate investing, is to ask your 401k account manager if they allow the funds to be invested in REIT’s directly. Some do, and this is a low risk, high return strategy for a lot of investors.

    Whatever you do, don’t make a hasty decision to combine your 401k and real estate investing. Each of the above methods has a different risk/reward ratio, and you should familiarize yourself with them first, before risking your hard-earned money.