Video /
Aug 26, 2021

How to Reflect Daily Lifestyle Needs in Your Floor Plans


Architect Deryl Patterson, president of Housing Design Matters, says these eight daily lifestyle solutions improve homes and make life easier for occupants.

On HorizonTV, she dives into the functions, designs, and benefits that come from incorporating these solutions, including messy kitchens, welcome home valets, and power pantries.

Watch the full interview above or read part of the transcript below.


Denise Dersin: I’m Denise Dersin, executive editor with Pro Builder and I’d like to welcome Deryl Patterson, president of the architecture firm Housing Design Matters. The firm is located in Jacksonville, Florida, but its team members work with builders around the country. Deryl has been writing a blog, which I am an avid fan, since 2016 covering just about any topic on home design that you can imagine. 

Her subject today is one that we can all identify with, especially after being at home way more than usual for more than a year: what if our houses could make our lives easier? I think this topic is of great interest to most of us and you have some great ideas for making life at home easier and more enjoyable. Deryl, where would you like to start?

Deryl Patterson: Thank you first of all for that great introduction. I got eight ideas that we can kind of walk through that will make–I believe—our houses work better for us and hopefully our lives easier. 

The first is what I like to call the messy kitchen, or maybe not to be messy in our kitchen, followed by the power pantry, the beverage center, the welcome home valet, the connected laundry, the office alcove, pet palace, and last but not least, the parcel delivery vestibule.

So let's start by talking about the messy kitchen and really the goal of the messy kitchen is for our kitchen not to be a mess because our kitchens have become entertaining spaces. So for kitchens or entertaining spaces, where does all our stuff go? Where do the, what I call the counter clutter: the toaster, blender, juicer, coffee makers, whatever those small kitchen appliances you use on a daily basis. Where do they go? 

You don't want them left out in the open but you don't have to dig them out every time you use them. So that's kind of the thought between the messy kitchen, but it also could be maybe if you're entertaining that's where the food prep goes beforehand or perhaps if you don't want your company doing your dirty dishes, you throw the dishes there, but that wouldn't happen in my house.

The other thing I like in addition to the messy kitchen, and this happens to be right off of the messy kitchen, is what we call the power pantry. And this really recognizes how we shop today. We shop in bulk, whether it's in the store or having the deliveries, we get not just two paper towels but maybe 12. And it also recognizes that since we have those great big beautiful islands in our kitchen, we don't have as many upper cabinets. So this really kind of helps for that and I love it if the power pantry can be large enough for, say, a second refrigerator or a freezer. And speaking of refrigerators, Denise, did you know your kitchen has a drinking problem?

So let's think about it in our refrigerator. We might have some soft drinks, maybe diet and regular, maybe sports drinks, milk, god knows we need at least three kinds of milk, and maybe some of them are almond and soy and cow's milk just to start. Then beer could be craft beer, light beer, regular beer, water, wine, sparkling water, hard seltzer, orange juice, whatever so you get the idea that, wow where does the food go with all these different beverages that we want? And we want them cold, so a lot of folks have that second refrigerator in their garage or in their basement. Why not put it in the kitchen? 

The example on the left actually looks like you're seeing double ones in the kitchen. One's in the messy kitchen and the other example, they're both out in the open. That's the second refrigerator side, but you know beverages also could be coffee. In my house, I have a coffee maker, I have a coffee bean grinder, and then I have an espresso maker, so just kind of thinking about maybe it's a combination of the under counter refrigerator and a place for those beverages to be prepared.

Coming home should be a very special event. I know a lot of us during the pandemic, we're home a lot, but if you think about coming home from work or school, you've just been through traffic or you know, maybe away on deployment, coming home should be a special event. 

And most people come home from their garage into the house, so the welcome home valet is that garage entrance into the house. It is that transition from stress to, I’m at home, so it might be a great place to control what I call “the chaos.” Maybe that's where the mail goes, the kids’ backpacks, their shoes, the dog's leash, your purse—my son, bless his heart, could never find his keys, cell phone, and wallet, so boom you put them in the welcome home valet first thing when you walk in the door and that's great.