Functional Space

21 04 2012

I have a friend in the real estate industry and she describes living space as functional in her listing. The first time I read ‘functional’ as an adjective to describe space, I thought it unpleasant to the ear. People want a beautiful home, I thought, not a functional home. We function all day long, we don’t want to come home to more function, we want a home that will take our mind away from the harsh realities of life.

Functional sounds like warehouse space. But is utility so bad? Recently, I realized the importance of functional space. A home is not a bunch of walls keeping your stuff, a home is a place that needs to function properly. The design of the functional home carries out what it intended to do in the best possible manner: where one can cook, eat, rest, and live comfortably. For example, the living room shouldn’t have a hallway tracking through it, or the dishwasher too far away from the sink, or a bedroom used as a hallway (I have actually seen a place like this). For a person who just wants to lay down their hat, a layout may seem trivial, but inoperable space carries elements that alter lifestyle, even for someone transient. For example, the dishwasher that is far away means you have to clean water from the floor frequently, the hallway in the living room disrupts living (conversation you are having, a movie you are watching, etc.), and a bedroom that functions as a hallway loses privacy, even sleep. So, is functional important?  Yes indeed. It is the first feature to look for.

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