An architect and I sat down with a couple who were looking to extend their house. You’ve heard this one before.. they bought the house some time ago, they had originally intended to move on but they got settled in the area with neighbours, schools etc so it never happened.
Their children (totalling 4 in this case) have all grown that bit older and so they need to remodel and extend their house to accommodate this change in their day to day living.
As we talked though the issue with the existing house we unearthed the usual set of issues. As the conversation continued, the architect and I pondered on the parallel with this project and an array of similar projects we were involved with at varying stages of design/construction.
The common theme and the issue that drove all the re-design is the lack of an adequate utility room.
I suppose when the builders and auctioneers were originally pondering what will sell a house they focused on the aesthetic elements; the stairs, the master ensuite, the fireplace, the kitchen island. It’s hard to see a utility room driving up the sale price, its not the room you’d have front and centre on the glossy brochure after all. But an functioning utility room is vital in a house (particularly when there are children about), its the engine room.
A house with an inadequate utility room is like a sports car with a tiny boot. Great to look at but no good for day to day use.
A utility should be adequately or even oversized (who has ever complained of the utility room being too big??) plenty of cupboard space, coat hanging, open space for ironing and worktop space for laundry. We have begun to add enclosed showers and changing areas for children coming home from matches so they can get tog-off, shower and dry off before re-entering the house. In many cases separate doors are added to improve access to the garden for laundry and general outdoor use.
So, if you are house hunting or building your dream house, remember to start designing the most important room in the house first! It will save you a lot of remodelling later.