As a first time homebuyer or builder, it can be very easy to get whisked away in the euphoria of it all, and as a result, a few important details can be missed.. Including a big one; Functionality! That's why we bring you today's episode to discuss key components of a functional home, like adding USB plugs to your outlets or built-in spice racks in your kitchen cabinets. There are small upgrades that can be added to make life a whole lot easier as well as boost the resale value of your home, so listen in and take some notes to bring to your next design studio appointment.
S2_Ep22_Building with Functionality (Whitney Pryor & Chelsi Frazier).mp3
Intro: [00:00:03] Welcome Home, a podcast brought to you by John Houston Homes. Join hosts, Chelsi Frazier and Whitney Pryor, as they walk you through the exciting adventure of your home buying and building journey.
Whitney Pryor: [00:00:18] Thank you for joining us on today's episode of the Welcome Home podcast. I'm Whitney and I have Chelsi here with me. Hi, Chelsi!
Chelsi Frazier: [00:00:26] Hi!
Whitney Pryor: [00:00:28] Today it's just going to be the two of us, just the two of us. I will not even try to sing that whole song because I'm terrible singer.
Chelsi Frazier: [00:00:36] I was head bobbing for you.
Whitney Pryor: [00:00:38] Thank you. I appreciate the energy. We are going to talk about a fun topic that I think a lot of people, first time home buyers, for sure, might not always hit on these when they're building a home. But for sure, the more homes that you live in, the more you kind of realize functionality. It's the one thing that's super important. Chelsi, do you want to kind of give us a heads up on what we're going to be talking about?
Chelsi Frazier: [00:01:07] Yeah, for sure. I think also, if you've come from living in an older home like me, you have that whole list of things you would do differently or things you would place in other areas of your home that you just learn from living in a space. I was thinking about houses compared to cars, how every year or two years, new models of cars come out with new gadgets and how the housing market and design compares to that recently. I think it's just how houses have evolved with technology and availability. Building for functionality is what we're talking about today and living requirements in the 21st Century. You can probably imagine what we're going to talk about and have some things going on in your head. A lot of things that fall under one umbrella, are electrical requirements. We can jump on that one just to kick us off, then just kind of go through the list of things that we see and hear about.
Whitney Pryor: [00:02:08] For sure, going back to the car analogy, that reminds me, my mom had a BMW when we were younger. BMW's did not have cup holders. It was just a German engineering thing. They didn't think people needed cupholders. In this day and age, everyone is eating on the go and there's no way they could get away with that now vs. 20 years ago, when they just thought, well, you don't need a cup holder.
Chelsi Frazier: [00:02:37] Yeah, now we have them in the doors and the console.
Whitney Pryor: [00:02:40] How many can we fit and where?
Chelsi Frazier: [00:02:43] Yes! My daughter found this set up and she called it her "sauce spot". I've even noticed in cars that the little cubbies are just the right size for Chick-fil-A sauces. I don't know if that's on purpose, just coincidence or a little bit of both, but eating on the go is how everybody lives. If you don't have a change of clothes in your car, extra napkins and your Chick-fil-A cup..
Whitney Pryor: [00:03:14] Yea, everyone's on the go right now, all the time. It is crazy how that changes. The same thing really goes for homes because if you think, especially with smartphones, the invention of smartphones has really changed our home living experience. I would say the first thing on the electrical that we could even talk about would be USB plugs.
Chelsi Frazier: [00:03:40] Oh, for sure.
Whitney Pryor: [00:03:41] How many times have you had a cord, but you're missing a block, you have a block and you're missing a cord or this cord doesn't work? You've given it to your kid who hasn't figured out that it doesn't work yet.
Chelsi Frazier: [00:03:54] Right. or you have that whole drawer full of cords, but none of them have the right end for your phone.
Whitney Pryor: [00:04:01] Right! A USB plug is something that's pretty neat that I know we do offer as an upgrade. Whenever someone goes to the design studio, they meet with our electrical company who is In Charge. That's the name of the company, In Charge. They pull up your floor plan and they actually go over that in detail. They go over where you want all of these different plugs and things like that. Another thing you can do instead of getting a regular outlet, is to get an outlet that has two USB ports in it, on top of the two outlet plugs, as well. That saves you from having to constantly be looking for the blocks for your chargers. I know we have them in our home. By the bedroom, the where the night stands are, is super important. Also in the kitchen, is another one where we've got ours and it is just very functional to have right there.
Chelsi Frazier: [00:05:05] Right, that common space of the kitchen. Also, maybe entryways too, if that's where people drop bags, like a mud bench area.
Whitney Pryor: [00:05:16] We work together so long together. We just complete each other's sentences.
Chelsi Frazier: [00:05:22] Yes, literally said that at the same time. Yeah, definitely USB plugs. What about floor plugs?
Whitney Pryor: [00:05:31] Yeah. I think that's something that people might not realize they have to do pretty early on because it's involved with the foundation. Whenever you are decorating your living room, a lot of times if a living room is big enough, you don't want to drag an extension cord from a lamp that's on a little side table all the way to the wall. It looks tacky, it's a tripping hazard and it's just kind of weird. Definitely good to have floor plugs for those. Another kind of newer thing, is people getting recliners or couches that have USB ports in them.
Chelsi Frazier: [00:06:20] Okay, I have not seen this.
Whitney Pryor: [00:06:21] Oh my gosh!
Chelsi Frazier: [00:06:22] I know you just got a new recliner, so was that in it?
Whitney Pryor: [00:06:25] Mine does not, but there are some recliners, and I don't even know if they call them recliners.
Chelsi Frazier: [00:06:31] Is that an old term?
Whitney Pryor: [00:06:32] That's just for the regular ones. There's new recliner seating where it's all done by a button. it's electrical and it has a USB port for your phone. Also, it has a button that slowly lifts you out of the chair. You don't even have to use your leg muscles to get up or kick the the foot rest back. It all just does it for you and you just slowly get up.
Chelsi Frazier: [00:07:06] Wow, just when I finally perfected the right amount of sitting up and kicking my heels back in the chair, now I don't even need it!
Whitney Pryor: [00:07:17] Yeah, it's a dying skill!
Chelsi Frazier: [00:07:21] That combined with the amount of streaming services, you can plug your phone in and watch anything and everything at your fingertips. Yeah, no wonder nobody's getting outside, that's crazy but awesome.
Whitney Pryor: [00:07:38] Yes, but awesome. Now furniture is requiring a plug in because something has to power that stuff. Another reason to have or put a floor plug in, even if you're not the type that likes recliners or likes that look. I know it took me a long time to cave to getting a recliner because I just didn't think they were pretty. You might not be, but the next homeowner that owns that home, it might be something that becomes a thing with prettier designs. It might be a beautiful couch that has a USB in it. We don't know, but it would be helpful to have that floor plug in there for the future, as well.
Chelsi Frazier: [00:08:20] Yeah, I like that. So garages, we've talked about garages before and how people use them, especially in Texas, for more than just their their cars. What are some electrical things we're seeing in garages?
Whitney Pryor: [00:08:37] In Texas, there's a lot of people that go hunting. If you hunt, then you definitely need a deep freeze. Most people keep their deep freeze in the garage.
Chelsi Frazier: [00:08:50] That's where ours is.
Whitney Pryor: [00:08:52] Yeah, so you definitely want to think about outlets in the garage for the deep freeze. Make sure it's the right electrical requirements or in the right spot.
Chelsi Frazier: [00:09:03] It is a different type of plug, right?
Whitney Pryor: [00:09:06] Sometimes I think it is, for sure for electric cars. That's another thing to consider when you're thinking about garage or electrical requirements, is electric cars. I know there's a lot of people that don't drive them yet, but again, going back to thinking of future homeowners, we don't know what's going to happen in the future and how available, how affordable that's going to become. Just thinking future wise, it might be a good idea to have that plug in there for future homeowners.
Chelsi Frazier: [00:09:39] Yeah. Hot tubs?
Whitney Pryor: [00:09:40] I mean that's my favorite.
Chelsi Frazier: [00:09:43] I knew you made this list.
Whitney Pryor: [00:09:45] Yeah, right? If you've done any research or thought about getting a hot tub, which I think a lot of people did during the pandemic whenever they were stuck at home. They're like," man, if I can't go anywhere, then I want to do it big in my backyard." A lot of people started thinking about buying hot tubs. Hot tubs were a shortage for a while because so many people were buying them. Whenever you do that research, hot tubs require a different type of outlet and it's something that has to be hardwired. It's not like you can run an extension cord from just a regular outlet. It requires a whole different outlet or a different voltage. I don't know what the proper term is. An electrician is probably cringing right now, but it requires a higher voltage. That's something you want to consider when you're building your home because it can cost a lot of money to retrofit that after you've moved in. Maybe you're building a home and you don't have the funds to have a hot tub right away, but it's something that you definitely are thinking, an outdoor living space in the future, it would be really good to go ahead and have that outlet put in while you're building the home. You could save potentially thousands of dollars just by doing that.
Chelsi Frazier: [00:11:15] Yeah, for sure! Speaking of saving money, I know we have a Christmas light package or we work with the company that possibly does this?
Whitney Pryor: [00:11:25] Yes. This is something that In Charge actually does. It's an upgrade and sometimes people don't realize this.
Chelsi Frazier: [00:11:35] Yeah, we don't talk about it a whole lot.
Whitney Pryor: [00:11:35] We don't!
Chelsi Frazier: [00:11:36] It's like a hidden gem.
Whitney Pryor: [00:11:37] It is a hidden gem! It's called our Christmas Light Package. It's where we put the outlets up in the eaves of your roof line. That way, you can plug your Christmas lights in directly at the roof line instead of running extension cords.
Chelsi Frazier: [00:11:56] That's amazing.
Whitney Pryor: [00:11:57] Trying to find a place or make sure your outlet is close by. I mean, nothing's worse than getting to the side of your house where there's no outlets and you're like, "oh my gosh, I'm gonna have to buy five extension cords to run to the back of the house," you know?
Chelsi Frazier: [00:12:10] Yeah.
Whitney Pryor: [00:12:10] So, having those outlets placed every so many feet, they're hidden. You can't see them. I think they're up in the soffit or something, but super helpful whenever you're hanging Christmas lights.
Chelsi Frazier: [00:12:24] Oh, for sure. Gosh, can you imagine what Clark Griswold's house could have looked like if he had that?
Whitney Pryor: [00:12:30] If he had the Christmas light package, he would have done it 10x bigger!
Chelsi Frazier: [00:12:33] Yes, definitely!
Whitney Pryor: [00:12:35] Without any dead cats.
Chelsi Frazier: [00:12:35] No, and spilled things on the floor, everybody would have gotten out of that. It would be been a whole lot better.
Whitney Pryor: [00:12:41] Yeah.
Chelsi Frazier: [00:12:42] Oh, and then spotlights or up-lighting on the houses or in the trees, that Kind of stuff?
Whitney Pryor: [00:12:46] Yeah. I mean, that's stuff that's really hard to do after the fact. If you think of foundation floodlights or spotlights. Going back to your backyard space, thinking about where you're going to entertain in your backyard, it might be easier to just go ahead and have those spotlights or areas. Just think about where you're needing outlets for your backyard space and where you're needing lights for your backyard space. It is just super helpful to have that ahead of time while you're building, rather than adding after the fact.
Chelsi Frazier: [00:13:19] It is a whole lot easier, less expensive, wrap it all up in your mortgage, pay for it monthly and be ready to go.
Whitney Pryor: [00:13:28] Two cents more a month.
Chelsi Frazier: [00:13:30] Yes, that probably is what it amounts out to be. Okay, lots of good, good tips for electrical requirements. Things that you would want to do with in this day and age.
Whitney Pryor: [00:13:40] Yeah, definitely.
Chelsi Frazier: [00:13:42] One last item on our list, let's not forget dining lights.
Whitney Pryor: [00:13:45] Yes. Some people have specific furniture requirements. If you're moving into a new home and you're getting your typical new furniture, no problem, but maybe you have that special antique that grandma gave you that's really important. It's an heirloom piece. Don't forget to think about lighting requirements. It could be in your dining room. If we're not told otherwise, we're going to center that dining room light in the middle of the room, but maybe you have a special piece that belongs on the side of the room. Don't forget to consider those items whenever you're building your home. Maybe you have a huge entertainment armoire or something that goes in a specific place. Make sure you're thinking of where your spotlights are, if that's going to look weird, is it directly over it or shining close to it? Just keep furniture in mind if you have those specific furniture requirements.
Chelsi Frazier: [00:14:43] That's a great tip! That's definitely not something I ever even considered. I can tell you, living in a 37 year old house, that we've done work in adding lighting in and changing things with fixtures and placement. It is definitely something to think about. Let's move to another area of the house, like cabinets. I know there's a ton that we can do with cabinet-wise with spice racks and things that are in drawers. Just adding to that space to make it more functional and organized. I'm imagining right now our spice cabinet. You open it, then you have to pick things up and move them around to find what you're looking for. There's these things called spice rack cabinets that make it so much easier. Do you have one?
Whitney Pryor: [00:15:33] I don't. I don't have one in my home, but they are super handy because they slide out, so you can see all of the spices in there. They also make some that are different where they attach to the cabinet door. They're really neat because then you can see all of your spices and not have to go digging around. It's the same in my house. You open the cabinet door and it's like, where is that garlic? It should be right at the front, but it's always at the back. It's the last spice that you can find.
Chelsi Frazier: [00:16:07] Yes!
Whitney Pryor: [00:16:09] It's just a pain to just filter through all of the spices. Spice racks are a big one that are super helpful. It is something that you can upgrade in the design studio and they'll add it into your cabinet design. Another one is sheet pan holder. That's a tall, skinny cabinet for your cookie sheets.
Chelsi Frazier: [00:16:35] I have seen those. I love that.
Whitney Pryor: [00:16:36] Yeah. That way, you're not just stacking them up in a drawer or pots and pans drawers or cabinet. It's just much easier to have them. I like that.
Chelsi Frazier: [00:16:48] Since they're flat, they normally go at the bottom of the stack. I have to take three to four things off of them before I can get that out.
Whitney Pryor: [00:16:57] Yes! Also, if you've washed something and it's still a little bit wet, it's nice to have them individually placed because otherwise you're stacking wet dishes on each other unless you're drying it really good. There are all sorts of reasons to have it.
Chelsi Frazier: [00:17:17] Yeah. Okay, next on our list is head knockers, which sounds really funny. You're going to have to explain that one.
Whitney Pryor: [00:17:24] A head knocker is the cabinet that you place above the toilet. You usually have it for towels or something like that for storage, but we call it a head knocker, for obvious reasons. If you stand up, then you might knock your head on it.
Chelsi Frazier: [00:17:43] Is that really an industry term?
Whitney Pryor: [00:17:45] It really is.
Chelsi Frazier:[00:17:47] That's funny!
Whitney Pryor:[00:17:47] I don't know what else we could call it? Maybe above the toilet cabinet, which doesn't sound as great either.
Chelsi Frazier: [00:17:53] That's not nearly as fun.
Whitney Pryor: [00:17:54] Yeah, head knocker, everyone calls it that.
Chelsi Frazier: [00:17:57] That's so funny. Homes don't come standard with that always?
Whitney Pryor: [00:18:01] They do not. If you're looking for extra storage, which is something that I highly recommend homeowners do is, really look over their plans and think about functionality. Your floor plan, maybe you love it for other reasons, but the bathroom space doesn't have a very big linen closet. You might consider adding a head knocker cabinet above the toilet, so that way you have that storage space for for your towels, linens and things like that.
Chelsi Frazier: [00:18:33] Gotcha, very good. Okay, what about appliance garages?
Whitney Pryor: [00:18:38] Yes. This is a new term that I learned. I didn't even know this one until recently, but it is something that we offer for kitchen cabinets. I'm not like most people, I don't think, but I don't like appliances out on my countertop. I really like to have a clean countertop. I like space to work with. It's so easy, especially if you love cooking, for those appliances to just kind of start taking over your counter space. We have a cabinet called an appliance garage. It basically sits on top of the countertop, but in the back. It is a door that opens up and it has outlets in the back of it. It's to hide your all of your kitchen appliances.
Chelsi Frazier: [00:19:28] Wow!
Whitney Pryor: [00:19:28] You can just scoot them in there and then scoot them out as you need them. You can scoot your coffee maker out or scoot your blender out.
Chelsi Frazier: [00:19:35] And they are already plugged in?
Whitney Pryor: [00:19:35] Yeah, they're already plugged in. It just kind of hides it with a cabinet front. It's still on your countertop. It just doesn't look cluttered.
Chelsi Frazier: [00:19:42] Doesn't look junky or cluttered.
Whitney Pryor: [00:19:44] Yeah, it keeps dust off of it and just looks nice.
Chelsi Frazier: [00:19:49] Yeah, because I'm constantly taking out and putting up the toaster, then having to clean bread crumbs off.
Whitney Pryor: [00:19:55] Yes.
Chelsi Frazier: [00:19:56] That is so neat! Okay, cool.
Whitney Pryor: [00:19:58] It's called an appliance garage, which is kind of fitting and kind of cute. I mean, if your appliances looked like human things, like the toaster. What is that movie called, the Magic Toaster, when we were kids? I forget the name of it.
Chelsi Frazier: [00:20:12] I know what you're talking about, but I can't think of it.
Whitney Pryor: [00:20:14] Yeah, maybe someone will remind us.
Chelsi Frazier: [00:20:16] Yes, please let us know.
Whitney Pryor: [00:20:19] The Brave Little Toaster.
Chelsi Frazier: [00:20:21] Oh, I think that was a book.
Whitney Pryor: [00:20:24] I think it was a movie.
Chelsi Frazier: [00:20:26] All right, we'll move on. Water spigot placement, I think that's a really good one to think about for the outside of the house. Where are you putting that spigot and maybe having more than one even?
Whitney Pryor: [00:20:38] Yeah, definitely. You can add more than one, but you definitely want to think of placement. I know particularly at my house, if you don't mention anything about the placement, no one is going to bring that up and say," where would you like it?" That's something that you want to mention to your builder before they start building the home at your pre-construction meeting, if you have a specific requirement or specific preference to the location. If you think about water spigots, they could end up on the side where the garage is, but your flower beds are on the opposite side of the home where the front door is. Or it could end up that the fence company, maybe the spigot is placed a little bit further back on the home and then the fence company comes in and puts the fence in front of it. If you're needing that water spigot for the front yard, then you're having to constantly run the water hose under the fence line to access. Those are things you want to think about because it could end up behind the fence line it, it could end up in front of it or it could end up on the garage side instead of the flower bed side. If you're really big into outdoor gardening, maybe you're going to have a backyard garden or maybe you're going to have a raised bed garden that you do with your kiddos and plant carrots or whatever. You definitely want to make sure that you have one by the back door or wherever that garden is going to be to. Adding additional ones would also be helpful, as well.
Chelsi Frazier: [00:22:19] Yeah, that's smart, because you may not know going into it. "I don't know where I'm going to put flowers. I haven't lived there yet." Just thinking about additional ones, so you have flexibility, that's very smart. So, our TVs are getting larger and larger. Some people put them over the mantel or over the fireplace. Some people have huge entertainment or have built-ins.
Whitney Pryor: [00:22:47] Some people get projectors.
Chelsi Frazier: [00:22:48] Oh my gosh, yes, and media rooms. I mean, a lot of our homes now have the outlets above the fireplace for your TVs and all that. That's nothing new, but what should we consider?
Whitney Pryor: [00:23:03] Yeah, definitely want to consider TV size. If you plan on having a big TV for your living room, maybe you don't have a media room and you are wanting like a 75" TV. I mean, they're going up to like 75'/80'/90'wide now, for the biggest one. I mean inches, not feet. Although, you know, give it a couple of years.
Chelsi Frazier: [00:23:31] Yeah, we could be there easily, very soon.
Whitney Pryor: [00:23:34] Yeah, inches, so you want to consider your TV size. One, will it fit above your mantel if you want it there? If it doesn't, consider placement of your like HDMI cords elsewhere. Make sure you know that before you start building your home, if you're going to want the TV above the fireplace or not. If you do, not only can they add the outlet for the electrical requirements, but they can also add an HDMI port. Here is a fun industry term, it's called a Smurf Tube. The reason it's called a Smurf Tube is because it's a blue, flexible lining and the cords run up through it into like your outlet area. Since it's blue, they call it a Smurf Tube.
Chelsi Frazier: [00:24:33] That's fun! I like that.
Whitney Pryor: [00:24:35] That's where your HDMI will come in through. You can plug in there for surround sound or any sort of needs like that.
Chelsi Frazier: [00:24:45] Yeah, you can work with In Charge on that, as well, if you want to wrap that up in your build too, having all the wiring for your surround sound.
Whitney Pryor: [00:24:54] Correct, yes. They'll help you work with that. They even are able to source the speakers. It's not super common, but if you wanted whole home audio, if you really enjoy listening to music, you might think about just having those speakers in the ceiling. They're able to add something like that, where you could control music by the different rooms or elsewhere.
Chelsi Frazier: [00:25:19] Okay, do we do the vacuum thing in the wall?
Whitney Pryor: [00:25:25] You know, I'm not sure if we offer that. It is something that some suppliers do, the vacuum in the wall.
Chelsi Frazier: [00:25:34] I know there's a name for it besides vacuum in the wall.
Whitney Pryor: [00:25:36] Central vacuum system.
Chelsi Frazier: [00:25:40] Yes!
Whitney Pryor: [00:25:41] I know it's something that some companies still offer. I'm not sure if In Charge offers or if they're the company that does it. I know that some builders still offer a central vacuum system. If you are an outdoors person or you're planning on having a pool put in or the hot tub or whatever, definitely consider the audio for the back patio. They can go ahead and add those speakers. Their outdoor friendly and they can add the volume button on the outside. That way, you can just turn the volume up from where your light switch goes on your back patio. I believe those will connect to a phone app. They'll have that all for you and that is a super good one to have.
Chelsi Frazier: [00:26:31] We love our backyards and our patios in Texas, don't we?
Whitney Pryor: [00:26:34] Especially right now with the weather. Oh my gosh, Fall and Spring are just beautiful in Texas.
Chelsi Frazier: [00:26:38] Let's get that outdoor fireplace going. I love it. Okay, we're kind of jumping all over all areas of the house, but that's okay, we're going to hit them all. Door swings, should we consider, does it swing out or in and why?
Whitney Pryor: [00:26:56] Yeah. Door swings will be determined by the company that comes in installs the trim and the doors. Unless you state specifically the swing that you want, they're going to go off of what's on the plan. That's not something when you're looking at your floor plans, going over them in detail and signing off on them. It's not something that really catches your eye or that you might not think about whenever you're signing off on that, but definitely bring it up at the pre-construction meeting with your builder if you want a door to swing a specific way. There's all sorts of reasons you might want that. I know for me, for instance, my front door swings to the left when you open it up. I love that because on the left hand side of my home behind that doorway is where my mud room area is. We have backpacks, jackets, calendars and all of our stuff over there. I like that the front door kind of hides that as you walk in, You don't really even see it because the door swings left, design things like that. You might consider is this hiding something that I want hidden behind the doorway? Or is this an inconvenience? Is it going to bump into something else? Think about furniture, are you going to put a dresser right by the door? Make sure that it's not going to like bump into it.
Chelsi Frazier: [00:28:33] That's definitely something I would not have thought of.I like it.
Whitney Pryor: [00:28:36] Yeah, definitely helpful.
Chelsi Frazier: [00:28:39] In our laundry rooms, there's lots that we can do there, right? Just to make laundry better.
Whitney Pryor: [00:28:44] Can we ever make laundry better?
Chelsi Frazier: [00:28:47] I feel like you can you make it a little bit better or less overwhelming with some organization?
Whitney Pryor: [00:28:55] Yeah, for sure.
Chelsi Frazier: [00:28:56] We could do cabinets and we can do shelving. If you have the room, you could put a sink in there. That's good for like getting those stains out and kind of prepping your clothes. Or if you have to hand wash some. Most newer washers have that hand wash setting or delicate, so those days are kind of gone of having to hand wash stuff. You're actually literally hand washing it. If you needed to or maybe clean off some shoes or something, you kind of got that sink in your utility.
Whitney Pryor: [00:29:29] If you've got boys, you probably want a utility sink or if you're an artist. I know for me and not many people are, but if you're always dealing with paints and stuff, you really don't want to mess up your new beautiful porcelain kitchen sink. A utility sink where you don't mind getting paint splatters everywhere, stuff like that.
Chelsi Frazier: [00:29:51] That's good. You could even use those cabinets to store paint supplies and those extra linens, not just your laundry detergent.
Whitney Pryor: [00:30:00] Yes, exactly. If you have kids. With kids, there's always paint, so watercolors and finger paints.
Chelsi Frazier: [00:30:09] Oh my gosh, yes, all the things!
Whitney Pryor: [00:30:11] All the craft projects, so it would be nice to have a utility sink where you don't have to worry about stuff like that.
Chelsi Frazier: [00:30:16] Yeah. Well if you have a small enough pet, that could be your pet washing station too.
Whitney Pryor: [00:30:21] That's a great idea! Yeah, definitely.
Chelsi Frazier: [00:30:23] I know one of our coworkers, they kind of designed their utility room to work around their dog sizes. They knew exactly how big the kennels were and what they were going to do. They even added some extra windows so they'd have natural light. There's a lot you can do with the utility room, for sure.
Whitney Pryor: [00:30:42] Oh, that's such a great idea! That's another thing that you don't think about. In this day and age, our pets are our family. They are no longer just the farm dog that is there to serve a purpose, right? They live with us and they sleep with us. It makes sense to even consider your utility room like your pet's room. What would you need in there to make their lives or your lives more easy? A pet washing station is a great idea or a place for their kennels if they sleep at night in there.
Chelsi Frazier: [00:31:15] Yeah, at our Legacy Estates model years ago, they put a pocket doggie door in. It's kind of like the kitty gate, but it hides in the door, so it just folds down. It swings down and you could see through it so you could see your pet. Obviously not for big dogs, but for smaller dogs, you can have them in their room for the night or for the day. If you need to put them up when you have guests over.
Whitney Pryor: [00:31:42] That's such a great idea.
Chelsi Frazier: [00:31:43] Yeah, I thought that was really cool.
Whitney Pryor: [00:31:45] That is super cool. Another thing, with the utility rooms, they come with a shelf above the washer and dryer, but it can be hard to reach. I can barely reach up there and I'm pretty tall. I can't imagine shorter people reaching up there. It would be helpful too to consider, if you're going to have a front load washer and dryer, you could probably add a countertop above it and that could be a folding station. Also, you could get your washer and dryer without the stands, which is what I'm considering doing, taking the stands off the washer and dryer for the front load to make them shorter. That way, I can have a countertop above it where I can actually fold my clothes, so that my furniture doesn't become my designated laundry chair, which I know we all have in our house. We all have the designated laundry chair.
Chelsi Frazier: [00:32:42] Oh yea and it just gets higher and higher. That's a great idea. Plus, it just looks so nice to have that shelf above your your washer and dryer.
Whitney Pryor: [00:32:53] Yeah, for sure.
Chelsi Frazier: [00:32:54] Well, typically right next to the laundry or utility room, is the mud area or kind of that transition area from the garage hallway into the house. You can do stuff with that space too, like the mud bench. You were just talking about the backpacks, calendars and kind of just the Grand Central station of all the stuff that's not just out in the middle of everything.
Whitney Pryor: [00:33:18] Yeah, exactly. Otherwise, it ends up on the countertops, right, or the dining room table. Any clean space that we've been working hard on will become the clutter station. Mud benches have definitely been helpful and I feel like that's more of a recent thing. I feel like homes built before, I don't know what year, but they used to not have. The utility room was usually off the garage and then you were straight into the hallway or the living space. To have a special area outside of the laundry room or in between the garage and the laundry room is really neat because we just we have a lot of stuff. We've got backpacks, we've got jackets, we've got galoshes, we've got all of our calendars, bills, organization and things like that, that go kind of right there.
Chelsi Frazier: [00:34:12] Yeah, for sure. Everybody is just living busier lives. How many times a week are you at practice or games or trying to go to the gym yourself? Our homes have really adapted with our lifestyles, just like our cars have had more technology added because of our lifestyles and sauce areas for sauce cups.
Whitney Pryor: [00:34:36] Also, cupholders because apparently we're thirstier now!
Chelsi Frazier: [00:34:39] Yeah. They've gotten bigger for our bigger cups.
Whitney Pryor: [00:34:43] Yes! The Big Gulp fits now.
Chelsi Frazier: [00:34:46] Yeah, definitely. Also, there are just so many people doing school at home and working from home. For functionality, we've, I think touched on that in the past before too, but just home office space, desks and even that shared space. Sometimes on that second floor, you kind of got that landing where the rooms are upstairs or separated or it's kind of like that media or game room. Those have become really like classrooms for a lot of people.
Whitney Pryor: [00:35:11] Yeah, yeah, absolutely they have. There's other things to consider, too, like our pets. That's something that's newer and is kind of a newer trend. We just have more dogs, cats and things like that that live and love with us. Considering even a doggy door, that's something to think about too, just making sure your door will be able to accommodate that. All the things have changed.
Chelsi Frazier: [00:35:43] So much! This was a good place. I think those are great things to go over and share with our listeners on building for functionality in the 21st Century. Thank you Whitney for putting this list together and walking us through it.
Whitney Pryor: [00:35:55] Yeah, for sure. If you need more tips or have questions about other things that you could consider, you can definitely take a look at our show notes and we'd be happy to put some additional information there or reach out to us. Thank you for listening in today. If you would like design inspiration, you can definitely visit our website at jhoustonhomes.com. We have an awesome photo gallery and even 3D model tours that you can walk through to kind of get some of that inspiration and how your home can be more functional for you. Feel free to give us a call if you have any questions. Our phone number is 866.237.7803 or you can join us on social media. We're on Facebook and Instagram. Again, our website is jhoustonhomes.com. We look forward to having you on another episode of the Welcome Home podcast. Thank you!
Chelsi Frazier and Whitney Pryor: [00:36:55] Welcome Home.