Living in Harmony with Your Home
The Classic Case of “Muddling Through”
There are many patterns that every home owner is a part of. As I toured a potential clients’ home for the first time, I recognized the classic 1990’s residential architecture entry pattern. Either I could chose the “friends entry,” use a direct route from the driveway, or hike to the front door on the other side of the yard. I was directed to the friendly approach, up six slightly listing risers of an uncovered stair, through a 24? wide door into a small laundry room/mudroom with backpacks, jackets and laundry covering most surfaces. Popping out of a seemingly hidden door to the kitchen, I surprised my client’s wife. Friends don’t let friends enter their house this way!
Picking up on Patterns
Nevertheless, people will adapt to any condition as they get busy, deal with pets, process kids, and then evolve to life without kids. Most people only have time to make small changes that help them muddle through. As a designer of places for life to happen, I love the challenge of recognizing inefficient patterns and presenting opportunities and solutions to customize the house.
Common symptoms of muddling through:
1. Excessive kitchen counter debris.
Open style kitchens require additional storage options, preferably in a large pantry or work room. These storage rooms create added opportunities for dual uses as a work space for multi-day projects or as a catering staging area for larger events.
2. Kids plastic stuff in public spaces.
The battle between possible brief moments of serenity and kid’s plastic stuff is tricky. Kids want to be with parents and, at certain ages, parents want to supervise play. One solution to keeping kid’s toys organized is a toy cave. A toy cave is a small cozy place, often a niche carved out of public space, featuring a small play area and plenty of toy storage. We find kids actually enjoy playing in the toy cave. Therefore, the cave can be adjacent and open to public space, yet closed off when entertaining. As a result, toys end up staying in the cave and are quickly straightened up.
3. Pets and their bowls.
We like to provide a support system on how to manage pets. A mud room with space for washing, feeding, and crating provides a systematic way to process pets as they enter the house. Sometimes these facilities double as a place to hose off muddy kids as they enter the house
4. Dusty unused dinning room table.
Modern lifestyles and open floor plans often make traditional dining rooms obsolete. If your dining room is rarely used, that space can be converted into a large pantry, project room, or a home office. Even more common is relocating the kitchen to the dining room, opening it up to the living room, and turning the old kitchen into a pantry.
5. Stacks or piles of laundry.
Is your laundry room near where the clothes are? We often find that clients enjoy a small convenience laundry in the pantry and a full laundry room on bedroom levels. We have even designed the laundry process into each bedroom via in-and-out cubbyholes to keep things separate and to encourage shared laundry processing.
6. Backpack stop-and-drop.
Does each person have a place for their bag, or do bags end up on the floor in the line of traffic? Consider large NFL-style lockers, with a bench, to accommodate backpacks, jackets and personal decoration. Designing lockers into, say, a mudroom can put an end to stop-and-drop and organize the flow of your life. The mud room is also another great place to process paperwork to avoid a permission slip crisis at 6:55 in the morning.
7. Unused outdoor furniture.
We find that porch spaces tend to become outdoor storage rooms and decks become something to maintain. A screened porch combined with a large opening into indoor public spaces creates one unified indoor/outdoor space and provides a larger area for entertaining.
8. Master bathroom tubs.
Do you really use your master bath tub? If so, you are among only 20% who do. Removing an unused tub will open up space in the bathroom. This space creates opportunities for a larger, nicer shower that you will enjoy every day.
9. Adult hobby equipment in living space.
Do you have a hobby or passion that is taking over your living space? If your hobby is an outdoor weekend thing, we can organize storage near your car to efficiently gear up. If you enjoy indoor hobbies, additional storage in the house would allow you to jump in and out of activities without taking over valuable living spaces.
So don’t muddle; be particular and design life!
|Bryan Jones is a principal at Jones Pierce Inc., an Atlanta based architectural firm specializing in creativity that works. www.jonespierce.com|