30007712_sIn most homes, it is said that the kitchen is the heart of the house. But I’ve been with buyers who seem to place as much importance if not more on the laundry room.

Personally, I remember how surprised I was when I came across one of my first buyers who was definitely more interested in the laundry setup than any other feature in the homes we visited because, as she related, she washed clothes every single day of the week.

There’s a personal story I’m fond of telling about one of the ways my soon-to-be wife checked me out as a bachelor. She visited my apartment and when she opened a drawer in my bedroom chest and found that my underwear were less than bright white, she asked, “Don’t you use bleach when you wash them?” Very honestly, I was never big on household chores as a single person, especially doing laundry. In fact, I just brought them to a service that did the job for me.

From the time we married, needless to say, my wife never let me do a load of laundry. It isn’t that I’m an Italian prince or that I didn’t assume a lot of other chores around the house, but laundry and cooking were two of the big ones that my wife insisted upon taking on herself. So, I’ve never really cooked or dealt with a washer and dryer. Therefore, a laundry room wasn’t high on my list priorities when we looked for a house. In retrospect, it should have been.

When we found our dream home, a historic home, it featured a very large country kitchen with a washer/dryer alcove. Deciding that the washer/dryer space would better serve as her cookbook library and office, my wife banished the appliances to the dark recesses of the basement and chose for many years to make the two-story trip from the second floor to get her whites whiter than white.

Recently I came across a statistic I find hard to believe: that we as Americans spend more time in the laundry room than in the bathroom! Certainly this would not apply to me, but the findings claim that on average, Americans spend eight hours a week collectively doing some 35 billion loads of laundry a year.

In the past, laundry chores have been most frequently relegated to the basement, as in my family, but today, especially with new construction, the laundry room has evolved into an art of its own as consumers demand that it be as integrated into the life of a home as the kitchen.

It can even be in the bath or kitchen, but most often we find it in the upstairs hallway or doubling as a mudroom. A first-floor laundry room can serve as a command center of sorts near the family room where parents can keep track of kids while washing, drying or folding. On the second floor, stackable, quiet front-loaders can fit neatly into a hall closet, steps from the bedrooms and bath.

Because of its double or even triple duty potential, a laundry room remodel is a good investment in upgrading the value of a home. After the purchase of a washer and dryer, built-ins can be designed to accommodate cleaning suppliers, and shelving can be installed for other purposes.

To facilitate dealing with clothes right away, it’s smart to have a table nearby the dryer for folding, a pull-out drying rack for hanging and a hidden ironing board as well, making the laundry room a one-stop shop where all the laundry chores get done at once.

In smaller homes, utilizing the laundry room for multiple purposes is a great space-saving technique. If it also has a utility sink, it is a great place to feed and bathe pets as well. It also easily transitions into a mudroom on the way to the garage or the outdoors, where there can be storage for extra shoes, sports equipment and winter clothing.

When planning a laundry room from scratch, it’s always more cheerful to take advantage of natural light by converting a room with windows.

As for decoration, rather than all-white which seems to be the easiest no-think choice for most laundry rooms, a more natural “water” theme of light green and pale blue might be considered.

The favorite option I found, if I were to someday design a laundry room, is to incorporate entertainment equipment – radio and television – within the room, mainly as a diversionary, survival mechanism. But why attach a negative spin to it? As I write this on Mother’s Day, I remember fondly that my own mother loved keeping up with her laundry chores and especially liked doing her own ironing that kept her family looking so crisp and cared for.

Bill Primavera is a Realtor® associated with William Raveis Real Estate and Founder of Primavera Public Relations, Inc. (www.PrimaveraPR.com). His real estate site is www.PrimaveraRealEstate.com, and his blog is www.TheHomeGuru.com. To engage the services of The Home Guru to market your home for sale, call (914) 522-2076.

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