Design Sketchbook: Resource Centers

Small area helps big time with organizing the household

By Larry Garnett, FAIBD | May 31, 2004


A resource center actually becomes the command center of the home, as shown in plan LWG-3075. Conveniently located near the kitchen, the area offers a place for managing the household, with desk space, computer and plenty of storage.
A functional resource center, as shown in plan plan LWG-1530, can be located at the second floor balcony. This secluded area offers a place to get away and work on a special project or just enjoy the magnificent views from the windows in the staircase.

The demands of managing a household, raising children and dealing with the requirements of our jobs create challenges. Probably the most stressful aspect of our busy lives relates directly to the lack of time available for organizing daily affairs. A dedicated area that offers a place to organize the obligations and tasks becomes a welcome addition to any home.

Such an area should provide enough room for a computer, telephone, fax machine and desk space. And with file drawers, storage space for craft materials, bookshelves and mail sorting, this really becomes a family resource center. If it's located near the kitchen, it can be a place where children complete their homework while parents keep a watchful eye on their Web surfing. However, some clients prefer a more secluded location where they can "get away" to work on a special project. Even though a larger home may include a study, the resource center provides a place for the second computer that many households now require.

Thoughtful design and innovative cabinetry can conceal most of the clutter related to these areas. If possible, adding a window for natural light and a view to the yard can certainly create a more pleasant space and prevent the area from appearing more like a closet with a desk.

File drawers should be designed to accommodate letter and legal size folders. Special drawers can conceal a printer and scanner, keeping them off the desktop. Several mail slots help organize mail. Don't forget room for a wastebasket for junk mail.

Although wireless technology seems to be rapidly replacing the need for wiring, allow for all the special telephone and cable lines. It's even a good idea to run an open electrical PVC line from the resource center to a mechanical room or attic just to allow for any future wiring requirements. Designate an area for several cell phones to be charged. If space allows, install a pantry-like cabinet for large poster boards and other arts and crafts supplies.

Finally, these spaces are just as essential in a 1,500 square foot home as they are in a higher priced luxury home. Virtually all homeowners in every segment of the market require a place to pay bills, sort mail and organize daily tasks. While luxury homebuyers may expect such an area, a resource center likely will be appreciated even more by clients who are pleasantly surprised to find such a useful area in a smaller home.


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