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The Family Launching Pad

In most houses, a family foyer (or mudroom off garage) serves as a primary staging area for coming and going. This post applies to both spaces although I'll reference only a foyer inside a front entrance. I don't have a good picture of an entire family foyer so I'm showing built-in lockers as part of an ideal transition area from inside to outside.

Custom Built-in Lockers

The foyer is your daily launching and landing pad, not to mention your home's first impression to most visitors. Does it resemble the dump? Here's a cure.

First, remove any tripping or slipping hazards, like loose rugs or mats. This holds true for the entire house. Remove or replace anything that could cause someone to lose balance.

Next, account for maneuverability once inside the door. Just as outside, you'll require no less than 60 square inches (5' X 5'), the turning radius for a wheelchair user or movers pivoting furniture, more the better.

Your family foyer will include an area to place or store stuff, likely a closet or at least a place to hang coats and jackets, like built-in cubicle lockers which feature room to sit. That space might include an area to put your keys, mail, shoes, purse, book or computer bags, mobile devices, pet care equipment, sporting goods, etc. (In some households, that's called a pile-ha). All in one area, the idea is make it organized and easily accessible coming and going, standing or seated (as much as possible). Everything has its place and it's not a mess, safety hazard or obstacle course.

What would that look like? Depends on the width of the area and other layout limitations like stairs, hallways and adjacent rooms; however, you must think in terms of storage area, turning radius and whether you can achieve many things seated and standing (e.g. hanging coats, sitting to put on boots or set down packages). As with most universal features and applications, avoid the frequency of stretching, bending or stooping to accomplish things.

Before continuing room-by-room, I describe some core, universally designed applications used throughout the whole house.

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President Todd Hawkins preaches building science and Universal Design (UD) to teach the benefits of an efficient, convenient, comfortable and flexible Lifetime Home. Also follow him on Twitter @BuilderFish for short tips about how kid-friendly UD makes home life easier and more secure for any person of any age or ability.

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