Design K-3 is a seriously pretty house. It is also a seriously big house, even by today's standards. With a finished basement, Design K-3 will be several times the size of a typical tract home of the 1950s.
Our homes are getting bigger. Yet, we rarely employ full-time help to keep things clean. In the 21st century, Americans still tend to clean their own homes, sometimes with help from a weekly cleaning service.
Design K-3 offers several design features that help thwart dirt. A mudroom with a half bath off the garage allows family to wash hands and slip off dirty shoes before coming into the kitchen. If you have a large, active family and several pets, ask your designer about enlarging the mudroom and adding a shower, a large coat closet or cubbies, and a pet washing station.
In Design K-3, most of the bedroom closets are close to bedroom doors. This reduces diagonal foot traffic and keeps carpeted areas cleaner. More efficient circulation means less dirt tracked around your home.
Because Design K-3 has a traditional (divided room) layout, visitors can be corralled conveniently in the formal living room where they won't see family clutter in the kitchen and other casual rooms. This creates the illusion of cleanliness. That's a start, I always say.
However, at $100 a square foot or so, a clean -- but rarely used -- formal living room can be pretty pricey.
Finally, a wraparound porch is both elegant and practical. In Design K-3, it provides a buffer between outdoors and the master bedroom, front hall and dinette areas. A deck or paved terrace serves the same purpose out back. Builders and homeowners on a tight budget often consider a deck or terrace to be an "extra." However, decks, terraces and porches are necessities if you want to keep your home cleaner.
There are two features you can add to Design K-3 -- or any two-story home -- that will make it even easier for you to keep things clean: a central vacuum system and a second floor laundry. These design features are appearing more and more often in new, larger homes. They will simplify chores like nothing else can, with the possible exception of having your own butler.
(What are your tips for designing a "cleanable" home? E-mail Emily at firstname.lastname@example.org or write to HPR Services, PO Box 1143, Reidsville NC 27323.)
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