Loosely defined, a great room combines two or more spaces in a house. These days, it's not uncommon to see a newer home where the kitchen is open to the family room and often the dining area, too. In the case of the Port Jefferson home featured at right, the lower-level great room is one long expanse with a wet bar on one end and gathering area -- much like a family room -- on the other end.
Regardless of the configuration, these spacious rooms can appear even more grand when they have cathedral or vaulted ceilings. "A vaulted ceiling makes the great room look even more great," says Rick LeDoux of Coach Realtors at Port Jefferson, who is marketing the Port Jefferson house.
So what's so great about a great room? "It's wonderful for entertaining," says Deborah Berkman of Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage, who is marketing the Babylon house pictured at left.
"In the old days, you were stuck in the kitchen, and everything is happening in the other room," says Valerie Goode, owner of Colony Realty, who is marketing the Greenport house seen at the top of the story. "Company can drift over to the kitchen and be part of the culinary experience or just hang out nearby . . . It's a step out of formality," Goode adds.
Plus, buyers love "flow," says Berkman.
Here's a quick sample of great rooms with great flow that are on the market.
63875 Rte. 48
This 11-room home -- called The Garden House -- has an octagonal great room at its center. The great room comprises the kitchen, dining area and a couple of sitting areas. Natural light pours in through walls of windows, French doors and the cupola.
Lots of wood, ceiling beams and a Mediterranean tile radiant-heat floor lend style to the space. There's a snack bar by the working portion of the kitchen, which is outfitted with mosaic tile, a hanging glass rack and a Viking stove.
Two rectangular dining tables joined together can accommodate about 30 people, adds the agent. There are three separate bedroom wings, all of which emanate from the great room.
There's also a compass made of stone in the floor that points to each wing. Two wings have three bedrooms and two bathrooms, while the master wing has two bedrooms and a hot tub room. (There are a total of 6½ bathrooms).
The courtyard garden can be accessed from all eight bedrooms. Bordering parkland and water, the 2.71-acre lot offers 100 feet of private beach with a low bluff and a tennis court.
The landscape also features brick walkways and numerous gardens. The firepit and a concrete courtyard filled with pebbles and shells are visible from the great room. The detached three-car garage has a loft.
Valerie Goode, Colony Realty, 631-722-5800
1484 Laurel Hollow Rd.
Overlooking Cold Spring Harbor, this 7,800- square-foot traditional-style home comes with a great room. Offering views of the landscape and water, the great room comprises a media center and a food serving area, where there is a counter with stools.
This space is equipped with a sink, a stove, warming drawers, a microwave and a Nutone Food Center (a vintage appliance station). The spiral staircase leads up to a master bedroom and down to the area with an indoor current swimming pool, which has moving water to give swimmers a better workout.
Off the great room is an octagonal room with a fireplace. It serves as the game room. There are two more fireplaces: one in the living room and one in the library. The layout also includes a heated octagonal conservatory off the living room and a screened-in porch with a brick floor.
Of seven bedrooms, two are master suites on opposite ends of the house. There are six full baths. The 7.2-acre property includes a two-acre lot with a conservation easement.
The landscape includes a meandering path -- with koi ponds and two bridges -- that lead to the water.
Margaret Hargraves and Pamela Doyle, Daniel Gale Sotheby's International Realty, 631-549-4296
11 Winston Dr.
What's unique about the great room in this 11-room contemporary is that it is on the lower level, says the listing agent. The space -- 35 feet by 17 feet -- is used for entertaining, adds the agent.
The bar on one end has a granite countertop and bar stools, running water and a refrigerator. A round dining table separates the bar area from the living area, where there is a fireplace. From here, French doors open to a bedroom.
There are another three bedrooms, including the master, on the main level. Also on the main floor is a spacious entrance hall, a den with another fireplace, a living room, an eat-in kitchen and formal dining room.
There are three full bathrooms. Landscaped and wooded, the .83-acre property is in the Harbor Hills section of Port Jefferson.
Rick LeDoux, Coach Realtors at Port Jefferson, 631-767-6905
22 Salt Meadow Rd.
The great room in this two-story town house is decorated in a green palette, accented by white moldings. The kitchen, which opens to the living room, has granite countertops, a backsplash of river rock and stainless-steel appliances.
Features of the living area include wood floors and a gas fireplace, as well as French doors that open to a deck overlooking the Great South Bay. The dining area is next to the kitchen. A separate den is on this level, as is a half-bath.
All three bedrooms have their own bathroom. One is on the main level, while the other two, including the master suite, are on the second floor. A second deck with a water view is accessible from the master, which also boasts a fireplace and a walk-in closet. The master bath offers a Jacuzzi tub and a separate shower.
Amenities include radiant-heat floors, central air-conditioning and a central vacuum system. As part of Bridgeview, a homeowners community, the town house comes with a 30-foot deeded dock.
Deborah Berkman, Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage, 631-422-5511