Unless your house is new construction, odds are that there’s a wall between where you prepare your meals and where you live your life. This is because older homes were designed to keep the hustle and bustle of domestic life out of public view. A housewife (or a maid!) preparing dinner didn’t want guests popping in with a glass of wine while she labored over a hot stove. But today, our lives have more fluidity and informality. We want to be able to prepare dinner and supervise the kids’ homework at the same time. And party guests are invited to hang out—and even help out!—so that nobody feels too isolated and out of the loop.