The Sunken Living Room

Oh no. Try not to die.

Can you believe that one of the greatest architectural elements ever invented has fallen out of style because people are too lazy to walk correctly in their house? It’s true. People view sunken living rooms as tripping hazards.

If you google “sunken living room” you’ll find a bunch of posts of people asking how to fill theirs in. WHAT?!

The sunken living room is gorgeous. It provides a grandiosity and verticality to a space without touching the height of the ceiling. If you want more headroom, you have two choices. Raise the roof, or dig a hole. I like to dig it.

The sunken living room was invented by Bruce Goff. The more I read about Bruce Goff the more I think he might actually be the patron saint of Bachelor Uncle. He was one of the few architects that Frank Lloyd Wright considered to be creative. He hated houses that were “little boxes with holes in them.”

Bruce Goff was fucking nuts. I love it. But really – can you imagine having a home like that and putting tacky “No Parking” signs you get from the hardware store on the house?

But – we’ll talk more about Bruce Goff at a future date. For right now I want to talk a little more about sunken living rooms. Look – if you have accessibility issues, like needing a wheelchair for example, I get why you wouldn’t want a sunken living room. But there are people out there filling in their sunken livings and completely robbing their homes of an amazing little architectural quirk that creates space and separation without walls.

The biggest problem with a sunken living room is it creates a space that you have to be creative with. It creates a space that becomes a focal point and by eliminating walls, that gives you less space for your precious “Live, Laugh, Love” signs.

Here’s how you do a sunken living room right.
This person is a lifeless husk devoid of creativity and passion. This is the living room of a woman in her 27th year of marriage to a bag of white bread. For the people who live here, toast is too spicy and needs to be cooled down.

There are many ways to create separation without full blown separate rooms. The sunken living room is just my favorite of those ways. There are other ways too – pony walls, glass walls, beaded curtains, room dividers, etageres. But the sunken living room has a beautiful history, was created by a certified madman, and looks amazing.

May all your living rooms be sunk. Go forth in funk.

More Goff. More to Loff.

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