Morning stylemeisters, I have a favour to ask - I need some unbiased and honest feedback from you! I have a little dilemma that I've been mulling over for quite a while now, and I think I've come up with a solution, but you guys have so many fabulous ideas I want to run it by you first.

On the back wall of my kitchen, the previous owners have left a cutout between it and the formal living area. Take a look:

It's actually shown best in this 'stunning' before shot :) For those of you not familiar my kitchen makeover, you can pop over here and here for all the deets.

So - my dilemma is this: the cutout is great for the following reasons:
  • It opens up the kitchen to the rest of the house
  • Keeping an eye on the goings on of the teenagers - v.important 
  • Excellent for looking over the shoulder of said teenagers while they chat on their laptops (but don't tell them) 
  • Air flow and ventilation, especially in summer
  • Keeping an eye on the tv while cooking dinner
The problem? Well, it does limit the options as far as separating the formal areas from the kitchen/family area, it's not great for heating in winter, as the warmth from the open fireplace is lost up into the cathedral ceilings. And from a purely aesthetic point of view, it makes the formal living room a horror to decorate! So what else is there to do when you need some inspiration but scour the net for stylish examples, and this is what I found:

Stunning right? This is the only image I've ever found of a cutout wall between the kitchen and formal living area - all the others have opened to either a dining or family room. But this ticks all the boxes as far as I'm concerned - the opening is now a stylish feature in itself, and doesn't detract from the design of the living room at all. Of course, it doesn't hurt that the living area is gorgeous in its own right, but you get my drift. Here are a couple of similar pics...

source unkown

and hey - Cam and Mitchell have one too! From one of the best tv shows ever, Modern Family. 

via here

So - over to you, what do you think? I'm thinking I'll add bifold plantation shutters, so I have the option of closing the room off in winter, when I'd like a little separation from the formal areas, but maybe you have another solution? Or you have a photo stashed away in your files of just the thing? All suggestions will be gratefully received, so fire away!