My client had invited me to see her home, the one she wanted
to move from. We came in through the
garage – where most Americans enter their home – and walked into the laundry
She wanted me to see how she lived now, and get a better
idea of what she did and didn’t want in her new home.
She wanted me to see how it was the only place for her
family to enter the house, and how small the room was, and how she had to kick
laundry baskets out of the way to get in the house.
She probably didn’t
want me to see her family’s underwear, right there on top of the laundry basket
in the middle of the room.
Media headlines about house size are usually about how
American houses are getting bigger, or smaller, but they’re almost never about
whether space in houses is more useful.
And that’s a problem, because designers of new homes keep
putting space in the places where it looks good in photographs, instead of
where families really need it.
A “laundry room” might be just fine, if all it were ever
used for was doing laundry. But a
laundry room’s often used for much more than that – it’s a coat room, a craft
room, a back door, a sewing center, a home management room, a pantry, a dog
All those functions – and often many others – have to be
in your house. Usually they’re scattered about, in places
like the kitchen and breakfast room, the garage, and the basement. I’ve even seen formal dining rooms
repurposed as crafts and sewing rooms.
But mostly, all these other uses are crammed into one tiny
“laundry” room. What if we took some
space from other parts of the house to make that tiny room bigger, and lot more
That’s exactly what’s going on in the two sketches below.
This large family utility room has a place for everything
and everyone. An open locker for each
family member’s coat, boots, books, purses, briefcases and bags.
In the middle is a large island for folding laundry – or
working on craft projects, or fixing a torn soccer jersey.
There are tons
cabinets – cabinets that hold all the everyday stuff that families accumulate,
and double as pantry space. That means
the kitchen can be a little smaller, right?
Above the washer and dryer is a shelf and cabinets for
detergent, dryer sheets, and so forth.
In the corner, near the washer and dryer, in the corner, is
a drip-dry area – a shower base with a clothes rod above (and it’s next to the
sink, right where you need it). The
shower base has a faucet on the adjacent wall, so it doubles as a dog-washing
golf-shoe-washing plant-watering spot.
That computer desk by the window – the window that looks out
over the backyard, where the kids are – is where the family management stuff
happens, instead of on the kitchen table, or in an otherwise little-used den.
So we can probably delete a separate den from the house
design, saving a lot
Put all these things together in one place and you’ve got an
entire room that’s missing from a lot of home designs. The
is there, it’s just strewn all around the house instead of
consolidated into one useful room.
And that’s a big help to my client and her all-too-visible
laundry baskets. Which are going to be
neatly stored, right there across from the washer and dryer but otherwise out
Is there a “missing room” in your house?
Need expert Residential Architectural advice for your new home or remodeling project? Contact Richard Taylor, AIA at RTA Studio Architects to arrange a meeting or an online consultation.
Labels: Custom Home Design, Interior Decorating and Design