Drop Zone Bench Lockers oct 09 Joe If your home has an attached garage, research by Recon Analytics suggests you go in and out of your home using the door between the home and the garage 92% of the time, rather than using the front entry door. Decades ago the popularity of attached garages coupled with buyer preferences for main floor laundry areas, as opposed to a basement laundry, ushered in the “laundry/mudroom” – a modest transition space between the garage and your living space which conveniently doubled as the laundry room.

But do you really want to arrive home after a long day to be greeted by piles of laundry waiting to be folded, or worse yet, need to be washed? That’ll make your blood pressure go up!

That laundry/mudroom has evolved into today’s welcoming rear foyer and receives at least as much design attention as the front entry foyer. It’s all about livability, including coat storage and perhaps a bench for removing shoes with storage underneath. Want to de-stress your mornings? Add lockers in the rear foyer for each of your children. That way, at 7:15 in the morning, you won’t hear, “Mom…Dad…have you seen my (gym clothes/science project/lunch money/backpack…)? Everything’s in their locker, on the way out.

Then there’s the drop zone, one of today’s hottest amenities. Coming home after a long day, you need a place for your keys, the mail, and your tablet or laptop. Same goes for your kiddos’ school books. The drop zone is the most important thing for liberating your kitchen island and counters from clutter! Your laundry room can be located elsewhere.

Pet Center Even the family dog is being accommodated in the rear foyer design. In households where pets rule, pet centers are being incorporated into rear foyer design complete with storage for pet foods and supplies, built-in kennels, and even wash stations! That pet shower actually addresses many issues, from doubling as a wheelchair wash-off station to potting and gardening. If you have small pets, consider raising the shower pan to counter height.

Pets get dirty and don’t ask permission before running through the house with muddy paws. And you probably don’t want to trek past the dirty laundry, being reminded of all that work every time you arrive home. Insist upon a rear foyer in your new home!

–Paul Foresman is Vice President for Design Basics, one of America’s largest residential design firms.