Double/Duty Spaces | Colorado Builder
“Right-sized”, “smaller-smarter”, and “achievable” are the requirements we hear daily from today’s homebuyers, but that doesn’t mean that they just want less square footage. They may not want to pay for even one more square foot than they absolutely need, but they also don’t want to sacrifice one square inch of function! Our challenge is to offer a home that meets all the demands of today’s buyers, and we can do this by demanding MORE from the plan…by offer spaces the do DOUBLE DUTY.
Just like all of your buyers, the rooms in our homes often have to wear more than one hat. Let’s start at the stuffy old Study. Today’s version has to be a whole lot more than a place to retreat for brandy and cigars. It is no longer a Study, but a working OFFICE, and it often has to function for two people at the same time, with separate work stations. It also has to be wired with convenient access to data, communication and printers. Rather than optioning a closet only when it will be used as a bedroom, the smart builder will be offering a technology alcove within the office to hide the printers and store the supplies.
We often try to force the office to also function as a guest bedroom…and this can work for some people, but not everyone. If the office gets full time use, or the guests stay weeks at a time, this is a bad idea! If the guests are only occasional, for short periods, and the office can be spared for short periods, then a Murphy bed or seating that converts to a bed can be a great double duty option.
A dated plan will put a desk in the Breakfast nook for the woman of the home, and call that ‘double-duty’, but we know today that that this doesn’t really work. The desk in this location quickly becomes a ‘dump zone’ for letters, bills and permission slips…which are quickly stained with spaghetti sauce at dinner. A much better solution is a “Command Center” or “Pocket Office”. This is a smaller space than the working office above, is adjacent to the main living area in a home, but tucked away in an alcove. It allows for voice communication with other family members, but the mess is tucked away. The Command Center is a great option for the family where the office is used full time by one member of the household, but the other partner still needs a workspace. It is also a great option where the ‘right-sizing’ has eliminated an office altogether.
How about the Kitchen? Are there ways to make this space do double duty? In reality, it always has! The kitchen is the center of both meal creation AND entertaining! A careful design of the kitchen island can add dining to the list
of functions for this hard working space. Just adding a bar to one side of the island won’t cut it. Try a round dining extension, at table height, to part of the island. Make sure the family can face each other while they eat! A well designed island can provide a great serving bar for a party, a wonderful place to visit while the meal is being prepared, valuable preparation space, and a functional dining area. Now that is DOUBLE DUTY!
One of the greatest double duty spaces, that doesn’t add to the square footage tally, is a well designed outdoor living area. A well-designed outdoor living area adds incredibly useful and valuable space to a smaller home! It can double as an entertaining area, a dining area, a cooking area (think BBQ!) and a relaxing retreat!
The Laundry area, if well designed and large enough, can double as a hobby and craft studio. It will have to have adequate work space, natural light and usually a sink (depending on the hobby). Whatever you do, don’t try to make the laundry double as a mud room! A pile of dirty laundry is never the first thing you want to see when you arrive home! Remember that the laundry should always be placed on the same floor as the master bedroom.
Few buyers today can afford a designated space for exercise alone, but many will appreciate a design where this function can occur. A tucked away alcove, with storage for the exercise accessories, can work off of a loft, master bedroom or office.
What about the garage? This is a great double duty space! Design in zones for the different functions… workshop, storage, dog wash/pet grooming, gardening, exercise…man cave? You might even have a little room left for the car.
One of our favorite ‘DOUBLE DUTY DETAILS’ is the sleepover window seat in a child’s bedroom. This is a raised plywood platform that is large enough for a twin mattress. It is great when it has built in bookshelves adjacent. This space provides an extra bed for guests, but also easily stores 80 stuffed animals. The sleepover window seat is a great memory point for the family buyer!
One of the keys to making your spaces do double duty is proper storage. Well designed storage for the various activities to be performed in the space is critical for the space to function. Depending on the activity, don’t forget the shelves, the cabinets, the closets, and even the special built-ins that allow the double duty to WORK!
Taking it to a NEW LEVEL Are you ready to take DOUBLE DUTY to a whole new level? How about a room that is all about FLEXIBILITY? Some of our latest plans have a FLEX room as part of the design. What can you do in this space? For starters, it is a room to watch a movie or your favorite show, it may have an office workspace, and a game table, it may have also have a Murphy bed or sleeping alcove, and a series of sliding doors that can take an open room and turn it into a private retreat. Add a mini-kitchen or bar and it can function as a care-givers apartment, or a space for the boomerang child.
The well designed home that will appeal to today’s buyer is not the same home our parents bought…it is not even the same home that sold 5 years ago! The spaces within today’s home, just like the people who live there, have to wear a lot of hats! Consider all the different activities that make up a typical day for your buyers and then make your homes WORK! Spaces that are carefully designed for double duty, with consideration for the way we actually LIVE, will be the homes that SELL!