at a Glance® Flexible Living Spaces
Combine Rooms for In-Laws/Guest Suite
With the aging of America and boom-a-rang children, a house plan
that can combine bedroom and a private bath makes a great suite.
If the situation changes, the rooms can be used for other needs.
Even more accommodating, some homeowners are utilizing a pair of
adjacent secondary bedrooms as an in-law suite. Such arrangements
offer considerable privacy, with the in-law suite offering both
a sleeping area and its own living space as well.
Bringing the outside in and views to the outside are important
to many people. Many of us work in an office all day, so we like
to incorporate outside living into our lives at home. Whether the
area is screened in, enclosed with windows or just an open patio,
it is an important element to daily living.
When asked “what is your favorite place in your home?” a
surprising number of people answer their porch or deck. If you
can identify with this group, consider adding (operable) windows
all around your outdoor living space along with supplemental baseboard
heating, enabling you to enjoy this space anytime!
Whether it is your own family, company
with children, or neighborhood kids, it is always important that
you find a place for a playroom.
It helps with everyone’s sanity to keep the noise and toys
away from adults.
Ironically, a kids playroom just might be one of your most prized
luxuries in your new home. By having most of their toys, games,
puzzles, etc. in this one room, keeping the rest of the house presentable
an achievable reality!
Home Schooling Room
popular, home schooling parents have a particular challenge with
today’s more open home designs–the need
for privacy so their kids can concentrate on their studies or
tests. When planning this space, consider storage, workspaces,
(especially natural light) and computer hook-ups.
Ideally, a room in the home can be dedicated to schooling. More
often, it will double as a school room and serve another purpose
at other times, so make sure the space is flexible. Pay particular
attention to floor coverings if school or other activities are
likely to include messy projects, crafts, etc.
When it comes to unwinding from
our hurried lives or pursuing something we really enjoy,
many people like to relax with a special
hobby or craft. 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. Therefore,
having room in the home to pursue these and other hobbies in
and of itself
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, for example, 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 power tools.
Whatever your favorite pursuit, what things could you do with
your home which would enhance the experience? How about special
task lighting? This is sometimes a hard area to identify, simply
because we learn to cope with the shortcomings inherent to our
present situation. The answers lie in things which frustrate you
when engaged in these activities.
Bedroom/Bath Arrangements for Blended Families
Blending families can be a difficult task but picking a home
plan that has been designed to address bedroom/bath needs makes
the task so much easier.
Especially when combining boys and girls from two families into
one new family, thought needs to be given regarding bedroom and
bathroom accommodations. Everyone needs a sense of privacy and
a sense of space which they can call their own. And when it comes
to sharing a bathroom, dual lavatories are a big plus, as is a
toilet/shower area separate from the lavs.
Home Offices (His and Her)
Kevin and Tina both work at home. Sharing an office is not working
so they found a plan that gives them his and her offices. They
can work in their own spaces but more than that; it makes for a
People who succeed in working from home attest to the importance
of having a dedicated home office space where they can focus on
their work. Today’s economy coupled with downsizing and early
retirement is giving birth to numerous cottage industries. The
type of work you do out of your home will dictate your space needs.
Pay careful attention to storage and any special wiring, as well
Candlelight, soft music, ample room for guests and great conversation
make dinner parties a delight. The formal dining room also makes
an excellent backdrop for a great dining room suite. Since entertaining
inevitably involves food. Look at how you home enhances the dining
experience. Be mindful of seating, which always becomes an issue.
Homes designed with an open floorplan, especially ones in which
the dining room flows uninterrupted into a great room, offer numerous
Room to Grow
An item no one wants to think about is outgrowing their home.
But the reality is that family situations change and our needs
and wants for space in the home change too. The solution? Unfinished
areas of the home, especially on a second level or over a garage
or in a basement.
You may not need this space when you first move into your home,
but it will give you room to add a bedroom, media room, playroom,
etc. Families can grow into these spaces and configure them as
the need arises, without having the initial cost of finishing the
space affecting their mortgage qualifications or mortgage payment.