Homes Talk to Women as it Relates to Her Story

Homes Talk to Women as it Relates to Her Story

Rear Foyer - Elise, MaggieWelcome to Part 2 of the ‘Homes Talk to Women’ series focusing on as it relates to her story. Homes Talk to Women through her life experiences. What has she experienced in her current home or apartment? What does she like; what would she change if she could? Having lived in a home with no garage, for Aimee, the idea of walking into her home from the garage directly into the kitchen without a rear foyer was simply not on her radar screen. Now, homes without a rear foyer say to her, “Thoughtless!”

Homes Talk to Women through her knowledge. That’s one reason for touring model homes, watching HGTV, and surfing the internet. She may love the idea of a door-less walk-in shower (no door to clean!), but she may not know that it can get really cold without that door to keep the heat in. Incorporating a radiant towel warmer is an easy addition!

Homes Talk to Women through her culture, as different backgrounds may have significant influences on her preferences. Cultures that emphasize academic success may have strong interest in the Family Lounge concept where parents are involved with their kids’ homework. Feng Shui has significant influence over home design. The lack of a formal entryway, a closet directly opposite the front door, stairs facing the front door, or a bathroom door facing the front door all say to her, “This is not the home for me!”

Homes Talk to Women through her lifestage, appreciating the shifting needs of how people live in the home at those particular lifestages. Priorities and needs differ among newlyweds, growing families, empty nesters, and multi-generational households. Big closets in all the bedrooms say – ‘A place for everything’, and tells her she won’t be hearing any more, “But mom, there’s no place to put it!” from the kiddos.

Everyone’s life experiences and living situations are different. What’s your story and how do you prefer your home’s design to fit your story?

Next week learn how ‘Homes Talk to Women’ through the home’s livability. 

If you missed the other segments of this four-part series, click the links below:

For more resources on thoughtful design: 

Forward Framing

Forward Framing

Your best framers may not be part of your construction crew; rather, they just might be found among your sales team. Known as forward framing, they employ the power of suggestion to influence prospective purchasers’ expectations regarding your homes. When visitors to your model home hear, “There are so many amenities you’ll find in our (model) home you just won’t see in other builders’ homes,” those hopeful buyers are primed to notice, appreciate, and remember those amenities.

In 7 Secrets of Persuasion, James Crimmins writes, “You can completely change the outcome of a test drive by leading the driver to anticipate the positive aspects of acceleration, braking, handling, and road feel. If you don’t set the expectation beforehand, there is a good chance the driver will miss key selling points. Some key selling features are obvious – the stone countertops, for example; others might be overlooked – the pull-out drawers in your base cabinets can’t be appreciated if visitors don’t open those cabinet doors. And then there are amenities that are hidden assets – such as high-performance insulation; it’s covered up with drywall.

Visitors arrive at your model home and start in your garage sales center. Since the weather’s lousy, they begin their model home tour by entering from the garage. Maybe not the optimal first impression; however, if they hear, “Did you know, 92% of the time we go in and out of our homes through the garage rather than via the front door? That’s why we focus just as much attention on the design of the rear foyer as we do the front entry foyer,” those visitors will notice the rear foyer design and its amenities.

While visitors pause in the rear foyer, your new home sales professional uses forward framing in pointing out that the drop zone keeps clutter out of the kitchen, the bench is handy for tying or removing shoes, and lockers or cubbies for organizing the kids’ school needs for the next day helps de-stress the morning rush, getting everyone out the door on time with everything. Beyond merely noticing those amenities, this helps people appreciate, and value, them.

Your model home was built from Design Basics’ Cedar Hill (#42435) home plan. In talking with your prospective buyers, you find out his parents, who live in Oregon, come to visit every fall so they can take in a couple of their grandson’s football games. Using forward framing, your salesperson helps the visitors envision and appreciate having two owner’s suites as well as a third main floor bedroom. Then she shares her own story of moving her mother-in-law in after a fall and broken hip, and how wonderful it would have been to have an actual second bedroom suite.

The persuasive power of personal experience, and the emotion that comes through such stories, implants that thought and makes the dual owner’s suite concept more memorable. The hopeful buyers consider the fact that one day, they too, may want to move aging parents in and how desirable that suite would be. Another benefit, being more memorable, such amenities are more likely to be talked about, jump-starting word-of-mouth on your behalf. 

As your salesperson leads the visitors into the kitchen, she talks about the importance of storage as she points to the oversized, work-in kitchen pantry. Again, forward framing makes certain design features more noticeable. She goes on to point out the electrical outlets in the pantry, suggesting that’s a great place for keeping small appliances plugged in and ready to use – an amenity that might have been underappreciated or perhaps missed entirely. Ultimately, visitors have a better model home experience due to your salesperson’s forward framing… and, your company sells more homes!

At Design Basics, we have the tools to help you stand out from other builders:

Contact us today to learn more: 800.947.7526

Organized Rear Foyers

Organized Rear Foyers

Organized Rear Foyers Providing Hassle-Free Take Offs

Her Home™ asked women what contributes stress to their daily lives at home. One of the most frequent replies was: “Getting my family out the door on time in the morning, with everything they need.” Another common response was simply: “Clutter.”

Thankfully, an organized rear foyer can de-stress take offs and provide pleasant landings by eliminating clutter that may otherwise accumulate in the kitchen or family room. Because efficient, practical service entries are emphasized in all of Design Basics’ new home plans, Her Home asked two of the company’s designers, Carl Cuozzo and Marshall Wallman, to share their thoughts on these important areas. “ In smaller homes with limited space available, a simple bench with some cubbies above and a few coat hooks between is very popular,” Cuozzo begins. “We also include a drop zone somewhere near the garage entrance. Typically, a base cabinet that’s 36 inches wide, a drop zone provides a convenient spot to drop your car keys, sort mail, park your briefcase and recharge cell phones and laptops. It may include one or more locking cabinet doors or drawers for expensive items.” “It’s a great place for emergency items, too – flashlights, batteries, and a battery-operated radio,” adds Wallman.

Extra space provides added options, such as including pet amenities. “I’ve designed several homes with "pet centers" in the rear entries,” notes Wallman. “They included a special space for a kennel under the cabinetry. In another home, I designed a built-in bench with an open space underneath for a kennel for a small Pekinese. It’s also nice to provide a hook for leashes, a drawer or tub for toys and a pullout in a cabinet for dog food.”

Marshall prefers not to include a pet shower in the rear foyer area. “If the shower is strictly for the pet, I like to put it in the garage where it doesn’t matter if the dog shakes off water, and a messy floor can be hosed down. A garage shower can be used as a boot wash as well. They now make sillcocks (outside water spigots) that mix hot and cold water. Of course, in colder climates, you may need to shut the water off in the winter.

“The rear foyer is also a good place for a message center of some kind,” Cuozzo adds. “Since everyone in the family will probably use this entry, it’s the best place to leave notes so they aren’t missed. Families with young children enjoy blackboards. They’re easier to wipe clean than dry-erase boards and chalk doesn’t stain clothes. Bulletin boards with push pins work well with older kids, allowing parents to post soccer schedules or appointment reminder cards.”“The rear foyer is also a good place for a message center of some kind,” Cuozzo adds. “Since everyone in the family will probably use this entry, it’s the best place to leave notes so they aren’t missed. Families with young children enjoy blackboards. They’re easier to wipe clean than dry-erase boards and chalk doesn’t stain clothes. Bulletin boards with push pins work well with older kids, allowing parents to post soccer schedules or appointment reminder cards.”


“Including recycling bins in the rear foyer frees up space in the kitchen and saves steps when it’s time to put the recyclables out,” remarks Wallman. “One of my clients also put a paper shredder near the drop zone – so she could sort her mail, shred all of the credit card offers and toss them in the recycling bin, without ever bringing the junk mail into the rest of the home.

“Where extra space is available, a closet for the broom and vacuum, or even a central vacuum’s hoses, is a nice addition,” continues Wallman. “Some families request a shoe tower; others leave shoes in individual member’s cubbies or lockers. Another possibility is to leave an open space under a bench with a metal tray so the family can sit down to remove their shoes and then leave them under the bench.

“When the sky’s the limit, a pantry in the rear entry is a convenient spot for homeowners who like to stock up on paper goods, greeting cards and wrapping paper.”“When the sky’s the limit, a pantry in the rear entry is a convenient spot for homeowners who like to stock up on paper goods, greeting cards and wrapping paper.”

Size restrictions aren’t the only things to consider while planning a rear entry. One important consideration is whether to make the storage closed or open. If the foyer is visible from the rest of the home or if guests will be using the entry, homeowners may prefe the formal look provided by a conventional closet or cabinet doors.

“I designed a home for a lady who wanted a dressy rear entry,” Wallman recalls. “She chose to have a coat closet for her and her husband’s wraps and, rather than a built-in drop zone and bench, she asked for enough open space for an antique bench and a chest of drawers with a mirror above it.”

“Families with children usually like to leave storage open because that’s more convenient,” Cuozzo observes. “A row of open lockers or a bench and coat hooks are more popular with these folks than a single coat closet. Anything to make it easier for children to put their backpack where it belongs and hang up their coat. Opening a door and putting something on a hanger can seem like too much effort to a child. I’ve done several plans where I’ve designed a bench with a chalkboard above the bench and several lockers on each side.”

Whenever possible, it’s wise to keep the design flexible so that the area can change with the family and appeal to future homebuyers. “It’s probably a good idea not to customize cabinetry too much,” Cuozzo advises. “For instance, some people include spice drawers in their cabinets to keep smaller items sorted. But it may be more practical in the long run to choose regular drawers and then add dividers that can be removed or switched later. And, of course, it’s important important to remember that children grow – so allow space to raise coat hooks, or make sure cubbies are tall enough to accommodate longer coats.”

For those who want to maximize the efficiency of an existing space without built-in cabinetry, Chris Kroll, an interior designer in Omaha, Nebraska, who specializes in organizing and space planning, shares several options: “ has an amazing array of organizational products, including message boards, recycling bins and mail sorting wall units. offers a bench with a built-in shoe cabinet, a message center with coat hooks, and countless attractive baskets and boxes. Pottery Barn also has some very attractive benches and cubbies, which are available in black or white finishes.”

Rear Foyer Lockers
Expanded rear foyer
Rear Foyer Cubbies

“Spending some extra time and money planning an efficient, well-organized rear foyer will save the entire family considerable stress for years to come,” concludes Cuozzo.

When Pets Rule!

When Pets Rule!

We have a retriever that loves to run around a nearby lake made by the U.S. Corps of Engineers. She especially loves to roll around in the bait and any dead fish left on the banks of the water. The smell…

When we get her home, it's bath time—no big deal if the temperature's above 40 degrees—but when it’s cold, we bathe her in one of the bathtubs or showers. Unfortunately, we have a two-story home and all of the tubs and showers are upstairs on the second floor with the bedrooms, which means picking up the stinky, wet, dirty dog and carrying her to an upstairs bathroom. The struggle and the mess!

Oh how I wish we had designed a rear foyer with a pet center, complete with storage for pet food and other supplies AND a doggie shower! What a convenience to have everything right there and not have to traipse through the house. When it comes to pet centers, there are many ways to design. The photo above shows a pet bath, while the photo at left shows a pet shower. With a larger pet, the shower may be more ideal than an elevated shower for getting her in and out. Also, think about storage needs - bathing, brushing, food, treats, leashes, etc.

Keep in mind, a pet center isn't just designed for a dog, a cat or other pet needs a place for their stuff, too. And, that shower is handy for rinsing off after working in the garage/yard or dirty kids or equipment/toys!

For more on designing with your pet in mind, visit our resources library for "Home Design Dogma, Creating a Pet-Friendly Home."

Rear Foyer Design

Rear foyer with white cubbies"Mudrooms” have transformed into “rear foyers,” reflecting buyer’s preferences and the reality that many of us use the entry from the garage much more often than the front door. Seats with shoe storage under, coat hooks above, and a shelf or cubbies for additional storage help organize the family and reduce stress when trying to get out the door on time.

In an effort to control clutter and focus on aesthetics, creative builders and designers are taking the rear foyer concept to new heights with discrete amenities such as hidden message centers, concealed key storage, and other examples of private storage!

Message Center

Where do you keep the family calendar with everybody’s schedules?  Where do you leave notes and pin up reminders (yes, some of us still do that offline!).

Planning for a message center is something you’re sure to appreciate after the remodel or once you’re moved in.  Many people integrate the message center into a planning center or other area where they’ve a desk or modest work space. We’ve also seen them on the back side of wide cabinet or pantry doors, and in rear foyers (remember we’ve eliminated the term mudroom from our vocabularies!).

Charging Station

Cell Phone…laptop…iPod…Kindle…our lives are run on batteries!

Fortunately, these are rechargeable batteries. That’s great for the environment and avoiding battery replacement costs, but there is the hassle of keeping all of those batteries charged.

Recharging center to the rescue! One convenient location for a multitude of devices. One place where recharging is a snap and there’s no spaghetti-tangle of power cords, adapters, etc. One place where you know you’ll find that item you’re looking for--no more “Honey, have you seen my_____?” If the recharging center is for your entire household, locating it in the rear foyer entry from the garage works well.

Learn more about rear foyer design here.

Pin It on Pinterest