The Workstation Laundry Room

Overseeing homework and Internet access is a must for most parents of school-age kids. Problem is, such supervision typically occurs in the kitchen where food is also being prepped and the dinner table set. When devising a solution to the multitasking mania in their old kitchen, Richard and Wendy Cohen decided that in their new Riverwood, Illinois, house they'd preserve the kitchen for eating, and move computing and project crafting to a combination home office and laundry center.

Located off the garage and shaped like a Popsicle (five mudroom lockers and a powder room are in the "stick"), the space contains a corner desk (Slide 2, #1) with a computer wired for high-speed Web access; wide file drawers for legal folders; open shelves for phone books and school directories (2); and a mail-sorting station (3) with a slot for every family member.

A roll-away craft table (Slide 3, #4) adjacent to the desk doubles as a clothes-folding surface and forms one axis of a laundry triangle between the front-loading Miele washer and dryer (5) and a utility sink (6). "Putting the sink there was an efficient use of a dead corner," says architect Mar Benner, of design/build firm Orren Pickell in Lincolnshire, Ill. Maple Brookhaven cabinet doors (7) hide what you don't want to see: detergent, pet supplies, and a laundry chute above the machines; and dirties for the dry cleaner, cleverly placed in a standard pull-out garbage bin fitted with a cloth liner (8).

A pullout ironing board (Slide 4, #9) is camouflaged behind a false drawer front.

Besides "bombproof" materials such as tile floors and Earthstone solid-surface countertops, the homeowners insisted on one other design feature: a bank of windows to enjoy the view.
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