Thursday, March 3, 2011

Architectural Innovation

Take a look at the picture on the right and ask yourself this question: "Which of these things doesn't belong?"

If you're like me, you have a bedroom. I'm willing to bet that if we have that in common, then we probably also share the dilemma of keeping that bedroom clean. Now, unless you're below the age of 12, your mess probably doesn't entail a spilled box of Legos and the assorted guns and equipment for your action figures. I'm guessing that a substantial portion of your mess is comprised of various textiles you use to attire your person.

I submit to you, gentle reader, a futher question: What does the rainment with which one adorns oneself have to do with the quarters in which one seeks repose?

For reasons I shall not attempt to plumb in this space, our culture, and the architecture that it produces, assumes that we will each have a dresser, bureau, and/or closet in our bedroom. I for one fail to see the connection between clothes and sleep. If you think about it, this arrangement is nonsensical, and does not make it easy to keep a bedroom clean. You are forced into a "clothing life-cycle" that follows this sort of order:

  • Carry clean clothes to your bedroom.
  • Put clothes away. (Or more realistically, set them down to be put away later.)
  • Awake in the morning. Put night clothes in hamper or back in drawer (or most likely, on floor).
  • Dress.
  • Return to bedroom in the evening. Undress. Put clothes in the hamper, closet, or floor.
  • Put on night clothes.
  • Awake in the morning. Repeat process.
  • After several iterations of this, carry hamper to laundry room. (We'll pretend your clothes are in the hamper.)
  • In the laundry room, wash and dry clothes. (Unless you live in Hanover, don't pretend you have enough room in the laundry room to fold your clothes.)
  • Carry clean clothes to your bedroom.
  • This is silly. It's inefficient at best and messy at its worst. I have a better idea.

    Rather than toting our clothes around into rooms they don't belong, I propose we dispense with the outdated laundry room concept and instead construct a clothing room. The clothing room in your house will be the first and last stop for all of your clothing. It serves as your closet, your dressing room, and your laundry room all in one.

    Envision, if you will, an area behind closed doors in which the collective closets and bureaus of the family are all centrally located. A house can much more efficiently contain one large clothes-storage area for a family than it can smaller individual ones. This area will have large cubbies, shelves, racks, and other recepticles to store all manner of apparel.

    The family enters this room, each takes their individual clothes from the shelves, and steps into a small "fitting room" such as you would have in a store. Once dressed, the family member emerges, drops their dirty clothes directly into the hampers (one for colors, one for whites) and then goes about their business. When the time comes to do laundry, you will find that the clothes are already conveniently positioned next to the machines. Moreover, the folded clothing is very quickly and easily returned to the appropriate shelves that are right there in the room.

    For added convenience, I would position a full bathroom next to this clothing room. One could stop out of the bath, dry themselves, don a robe, and step into the clothing room to commence dressing.

    I've been doodling plans for my dream house. This is one innovation I want to include. Maybe someday.



    Anonymous said...

    The more intelligent and monied people of the world have their washer and dryer on the floor their bedrooms are on, which saves some of the steps you describe.
    For me, there is an additional 2 steps, that of taking the clothes from the basement to the laundry line outside, then getting them back in later one.
    Also much of my time is involved with moving piles of clean laundry from the bed to the chair in the living room and back again, since there isn't enough room in our one dresser for the both of us, especially in the winter. Doing all the laundry in one weekend is a bad thing. One has to stagger it so as not to overload the furniture. cc

    DebbieLynne said...

    Or you could put clothes in the hamper right when you undress in your bedroom. But I guess that's too easy....?

    John K said...

    What a delightful post. Your ideas are incredible. I think everybody who is able to really think out how they want their house and do it that way.

    At my parent's home, my Mom had the washing machine in the kitchen so she didn't have to lug clothes up and down, to and from the basement.

    She also had a clothesline right outside a window in the bathroom so she could hang clothes outside in the good weather without going outside.

    John K.

    Gleno said...

    CC, DebbieLynne:

    While certainly having the laundry near the bedroom and the discipline to ensure clothes reach the hamper, you seem to ignore the fact that the clothes in various states of clean need to be transpored about. Additionally, the idea of setting the clothes in the bedroom, while ingrained in us, is illogical. What does it really achieve? Privacy? Doubtful. Invariably, the moment I begin to undress my wife enters the room. (I think it has something to do with my sexy body.) One would find far more convenience and privacy in a dressing chamber such as I describe.

    Thank you for your thoughts and yore continued interest in Upham Manor.

    Gleno said...

    "Yore"? Where did that come from? Cure this miniature keyboard!

    Dan K said...

    After you have created your ultimate house and liberated the t-shirts and socks from the bedroom, what replaces them? Beside the bed, what other items will you have in the bedroom?

    Gleno said...


    That's a good question. I suppose that I hope that NOTHING will replace them. That I will have succeeded actually creating a fresh, clean space free of clutter. However, chances of that seem slim. Likely beside my bed there will be a glass of water, a book, and my accursed alarm clock.