Of course, a harmonious existence cannot be achieved solely through technology. Enlightened homeowners will attest that a thoughtful floor plan can also work wonders—particularly when it comes to alleviating traffic congestion, minimizing trips up and down stairs, and aggregating utility space to facilitate multitasking.
Witness, for example, the InSync Home's kitchen layout. Configured as a T-shape, it splits off into a mudroom on one side and an expanded laundry/bulk storage room on the other—recognizing that grocery stashing, dinner preparation, cleaning, ironing, and folding are often orchestral maneuvers that occur simultaneously, or at least with some overlap.
With its massive, 13-foot-by-4-foot island and split-level wet bar, the kitchen further acknowledges the impossibility of preventing humans from congregating where there's food, and it provides ample elbow room for that phenomenon. Broad stretches of countertop space stand ready to accommodate tandem chefs, kids with homework, laptop-laden spouses, or friends stopping by for a glass of wine or cup of tea. But the careful orientation of this culinary hub in the floor plan—not quite at the heart, but rather slightly off center—also keeps it from becoming a cut-through, and thus limits the potential for bottlenecks. “You don't need to walk through the kitchen or family room to get to [almost] any other room in the house,” notes builder Goehring.
Still other functional efficiencies are achieved with the home's generous dispersal of appliances far and wide. The main laundry is near the garage on the first floor, but an additional washer and dryer upstairs offer an alternative to carrying baskets of dirty clothes downstairs each time you want to throw in a load.
And then there are the satellite kitchens—mini assemblages of convenient appliances installed in no fewer than six locations beyond the confines of the main kitchen. Among them: a second-floor snack bar, complete with microwave, drink fridge, icemaker, and sink. Don't want to pause that movie to run downstairs for a soda, beer, or popcorn? No need.
Click here for "That's Entertainment," the next article in this series.