Livability at a Glance® Destressing
After a long and hectic day, find personal space to decompress is
as important as breathing. Everyone has their own way to de-stress.
Find a place in your home that works for you. What you like to do
while you unwind will help shape this space.
If reading or watching a little TV is how you like to unwind, a
sitting area in the master bedroom or a cozy hearthroom may be the
perfect answer. Enjoy nature? Then covered outdoor living spaces
will be high on your list. If you like to work off stress by working
out, an exercise room works for you!
As a nation, we’re cooking less, but
not eating less. Some grew up in homes where a hot cooked breakfast
was the daily norm.
Today, a bowl of cereal, Pop-Tarts or a granola bar might be more
common. That means an increasing need for storage for prepared
Do you need space for your bread maker, indoor
grill, food processor or mixer? Don’t let clutter on
your countertop stress you put them in the pantry. In addition
to making pantries bigger, there’s
an evolving industry helping to make pantries more organized, through
innovative storage solutions. With items organized and on display,
we can quickly scan the pantry before a restocking trip to the grocery
store˜saving both time and the aggravation of returning home only to find you forgot something.
Rear Entry Foyer
A funny thing happened
over the past couple decades. The door in from the garage became
our principal entry to the home. Sure, a formal
front entry to greet guests is important and is often a focal point
of the home’s design, but we’re becoming increasingly
comfortable with family and friends coming through the garage.
(read more about rear entry foyers)
An emerging trend is to think of the entry from the garage as a
rear foyer. And, just as you probably wouldn’t make your laundry
room a part of your front entryway, you probably don’t want
folks traipsing past piles of laundry on their way in from the garage.
Note – you may want to modify your homeplan if originally designed
with the laundry/mudroom, entry from the garage.
Our research revealed nothing is more stressful for Moms than getting
the family out the door on-time in the morning, with everything they
need. Rear foyers may offer solutions such as lockers for each of
the kids, and even walk-in closets. A bench for removing shoes, is
Mail, keys, cell phones, cameras – wouldn’t
it be great to have
convenient place to drop our stuff so it doesn’t end up as kitchen
clutter, or worse? Today’s hot new concept “the drop zone” is
the answer. Typically made to match kitchen cabinetry and 3 to 4 feet
in width, drop zones often incorporate a recharging center, mail sorting,
drop-off counter, plus cabinets and drawers for everything from flashlights
to sunglasses. Some drop zones are designed with doors behind which
everything is concealed. They may include one or more locking cabinet
doors or drawers
for expensive items such as a camcorder or notebook PC. They may also
double as a family message center when outfitted with cork board or
a white write-on board.
Stress-free living includes knowing you'll never lose your keys
again and where your fully charged cell phone is when you leave the
After a stressful day at work
retreat to the master suite which is separated from secondary bedrooms
for privacy. Designers typically
try to buffer the master bedroom from other bedrooms by careful
placement of closets, hallways and baths. As opposed to designing
a bedroom wing for the home, one-story designs in which the secondary
bedrooms are situated far from the master
bedroom are becoming more popular.
Shower Because they are used everyday in our time-starved
society, showers are becoming the focal point of many bathrooms.
are getting bigger in today’s homes, they are also getting
more luxurious. Multiple shower heads are commonplace, as are seats
in the shower. How long does it take for clear shower doors to
show white streaks? Low-maintenance showers are in demand, as well
as walk-in showers
which have no shower door to make cleaning easier. If your shower
does require a door, look at the frameless versions which are elegant
and easier to clean.
Women take more time in the morning in the
bathroom getting ready than men do. And, a fair amount of that
time is spent leaning over
the countertop. Split vanities provide handy storage solutions
for items each spouse uses daily, keeping your vanity neat and
And, if one partner likes things clean and orderly while the other
doesn’t even notice this type of thing, neither will be annoyed
at the condition of their vanity area.
Recognizing that men are on average several inches taller than women,
building the vanities to be different heights is another aspect of
a comfortable, distressing bath.
When asked about what they would
like to do to de-stress after a long day, many women envision
taking a relaxing bath. The experience
is both soothing and rejuvenating – especially when surrounded
by aromatic candles and pretty soaps.
Standard tubs have given way to soaking tubs and jetted (whirlpool)
tubs. Look at the height of the tub in terms of getting in and out.
A step up, or sinking the tub 7 or 8 inches lower than the surrounding
floor, both make it easier to get in and out of the tub. Another
aspect to consider is if there is a window over the tub. Privacy
is as important as natural light. How easy will it be to reach over
the tub and close the shades? You may want to opt for glass block
or for the new privacy glass windows which go from clear to opaque
at the flip of a switch.
How many times do you have a project spread out on the kitchen
or dining room table? An area out of public view would take the stress
out of constant picking up. Having room in the home to pursue these
and other hobbies can contribute to distressing, especially if works-in-progress
can be left undisturbed.
The primary considerations for such spaces are related to the type
of activity. Gardening is ideally suited for an area with a sink
in it and being close to an outside door. Sewing and needlework projects
are enhanced by high light levels. Woodworking fits well with concrete
floors for easy clean-up, plus plenty of electrical outlets for various
Most people long to spend time outdoors. This is good, as research
shows being outside is beneficial for both our physical and mental
Like many other product decisions, balancing cost, aesthetics, low
maintenance and durability are principal considerations for porches,
decks and patios. But these same aspects also apply to landscaping
and irrigation, exterior lighting, play structures and other backyard
Each of these three floor plans illustrate bathroom
options for the blended family.
GOOD - (Plan 43056)
a typical compartmented bath.
BETTER - (Plan 42000)
a bath with vanities in each bedroom.
BEST - (Plan 42003)
half-baths in each bedroom with a shared bathing area.
The Brady Bunch gave us a few laughs as well as insights
into issues families face as they try to unite two families
as one through re-marriage. Certainly, the Brady’s housekeeper,
Alice, helped smooth over some of the inevitable conflict.
While most of us do not enjoy the luxury of a live-in housekeeper,
there are steps which can be taken when building or remodeling
a home which can reduce parents, angst of bringing two families
together. Moms know their girls spend a lot of time in the
bathroom – which usually doubles as their dressing, hair
care and make-up center. Girls need space to keep these items,
as well as other feminine products. Boys generally don’t
give bathrooms much consideration (as evidenced by the toilet
seat being left up as well as dirty clothes and wet towels
strewn about.) Of course, separate baths for each of the kids,
bedrooms would be ideal, but the expense and space required
can make it impractical. Still, parents of blended families
have legitimate concerns, especially if boys and girls from
will be sharing the same bath area.
Compartmented baths are
a welcome solution! A traditional compartmented bath
places a door between
the sink/vanity and the toilet/tub area, allowing two family
members to use the bath area at the same time. As secondary
baths in some
designs have grown larger, two sinks reduces stress when
several people are getting ready at the same time.
is the emerging solution of having vanity/sink
areas private to each secondary bedroom, with private access
to a shared toilet/tub area. This is especially welcome
if one of the kids is a “cleanie” and the other a “messy”,
as they can have their sink/vanity area to their liking!
The occasional child presents different challenges. Imagine
having your 6-year old daughter, Mandy, who lives with you
only on weekends and for a month during the summer. First and
foremost is her emotional wellbeing. In this regard, stability
and familiarity are paramount.
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