Friday, September 23, 2016

"An Entry Station Is Something Anyone Can Use - And Definitely Needs"

As we drive up to our home - especially when we park outside and not in the garage - often we have a challenge as we approach the front door. We are carrying something with us.

Depending on whether we are coming from the office, an appointment, the store, the mall, the gym, or elsewhere, we have a backpack, brief case, folders or envelopes from the office, gym bag or workout equipment, mail that we picked up at the street on the way in, fast food we picked up for the family, a soft drink or cup of coffee we are still drinking, a bottle of water, a cell phone, and possibly more.

Maybe we stopped to pick up the dry cleaning or made a quick trip to the grocery store to items for dinner (if it's at the and of the day). At other times of the day, we still may have groceries and supplies to carry in, or items we picked up running errands for the household.

It's not just either. Certainly this applies to our clients - also other members of our household. In fact, some people label this place where things are dropped off as the "drop zone" and typically locate it near the back or side door. Here, the kids can drop their backpacks, homework, and other materials.

Used in reverse, this a pace where delivery people can leave or retrieve a package that is coming or going. It's where a neighbor can leave something for us.

Many texts can this area an "entry shelf," but this is very limiting. Let's make it an "entry station" or "entrance station" instead to signify that it can be varied with have multiples looks and personalities and that it can be personalized to the occupants of the home. Now, it can be a lot more than just a shelf. It can be something hung on the wall - shelves, hooks, or racks - as a unit or detached and done separately.

The entry station can be a piece of furniture - a table, a bench, a chair, a cabinet, a desk, or anything else that can have a flat surface on it (among other surfaces or cubbies). We and others can sit on it, have a conversation there with a neighbor or visitor perhaps, take on the phone, read a email or check our emails, or just enjoy some outdoors quiet.

Recognizing the importance, function, and versatility of the entrance or entry station means that we should begin calling for these to be installed wherever we can. We can include them in a bid, note them on an assessment or evaluation, or just include them as a gift to the homeowner - whether we recapture any of the cost or not. We can go to a second-hand or thrift store or to an unfinished furniture outlet and purchase some inexpensive tables, desks, dressers, or cabinets. Then we paint or finish them to withstand an outdoor environment (whether they are shelter on a porch of not), and we have a huge value-added proposition that adds beauty and function to our clients' homes.

Embrace the entrance station - for all it offers. It's a great universal design and aging-in-place feature.

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Steve Hoffacker, CAPS, MCSP, MIRM, is a licensed Certified Aging-In-Place Specialist instructor. To learn about this and other programs for aging-in-place or universal design, visit my website at stevehoffacker.com or call 561-685-5555.