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April 29, 2019

Don’t Cross the Streams!

Hopefully, my Bill Murray fans immediately recognized the Ghost Busters reference in the title. My family loves that movie and we’re always quoting stupid movie lines from it.

No ghosts in today’s blog. Instead, I want to talk about zoning and circulation, especially in family plans. In the home, there are a few streams that I don’t want to cross: The path Mom and Dad take to the master, and the path that the kids take to go their rooms. More importantly, the path the kids take from their rooms to the bathroom should never cross the path to the master bedroom.

Imagine a dark household, long after kids have gone to sleep. Dad gets up because he can’t sleep and starts toward the kitchen to get a snack. He’s even tip toeing so he doesn’t wake anyone up in the process (not that he’s sneaking the last piece of key lime pie that’s been calling to him all night). Suddenly, bam! He crashes into little Johnny who had gotten up to use the bathroom. Startled, Johnny starts screaming and crying, the dog starts barking and wakes the entire family.

“Right. That’s bad. Okay, important safety tip. Thanks Deryl.” Sure, it’s a little melodramatic, but the purpose of the story is to point out that the floorplan wasn’t well zoned and organized.

Buyers today prefer a split plan where the master bedroom for acoustical privacy is at the opposite end of the house from the kid’s bedroom. This arrangement has been made possible by the baby monitor. As a working mom, the last thing I wanted to do was walk past my kids’ bedrooms, their messy bathroom (inevitably with towels on the floor), or even the laundry room on my way to retire for the evening – oh who am I kidding with the formality? I was on my way to utterly collapse for the night.

Kids’ bedrooms should be organized around the bathroom that serves them. The shortest travel distance is preferred, and visual privacy is ideal! The proximity of the bathroom to the kids’ rooms need to be short not only for midnight trips to the bathroom but also to shorten the distance that the recently bathed, sometimes naked child has to go before they can put their clothes on. And you know they will do it at the absolute worst time – like when you have company. Or the oldest child has their awkward first date over and here comes their naked sibling.

Of course, the challenge is to apply this approach to plans with only one kids’ bathroom. It is often easy to gang two bedrooms around a bath – but factor in a third bedroom and you have to start getting creative – especially in a narrow, single story product. It can absolutely be done, and your sales agents will need to point that out that attention-to-detail to the buyer before the sale. And when they do, it can’t hurt to share this approach was born from another mom with kids.





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This post was written by Housing Design Matters