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Section: work

Dear Ann Landers,
When we retire, my husband and I plan to build a new house in the country. To date, I have bought 14 house-plan books and have concluded that most architects must be men. No woman would put the bedrooms and bathrooms at one end of the house and the laundry room at the other end, attached to the garage. If I may speak to all the architects out there, I suggest you consider these things when you draw up your next house plan: 1. The laundry room should be next to the bathrooms and near the bedrooms so we don't have to carry 40-pound loads 100 yards to and from the laundry. Don't put it next to the garage unless the bedrooms and baths are on the second floor and there is a laundry chute. 2. A kitchen is not a highway. Nobody should have to go through the kitchen to get anywhere except the pantry or the dining room. It is very inconvenient, and also unsafe, to have to dodge foot traffic while you cook. 3. We need in-the-house storage space for paper goods, books, vacuum cleaners, brooms, fans, serving platters, folding chairs and card tables, seasonal decorations, large roasting pans, exercise equipment, winter blankets, extra pillows and so on. 4. We need more one-story house plans. Many older people who can afford large, even luxurious, homes do not want to climb stairs. I know I can hire an architect to draw my house plans to specification, but maybe this will help other women down the line. -- Future Builder in Louisiana

Dear Louisiana,
I hope all the architects and folks out there who are considering building (or buying) a home someday will clip this column. You have made some splendid suggestions that are worth heeding.

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Reader Comment
This letter really gives great suggestions. I, too, have seen homes where it is obvious they were designed by a man. I especially liked the suggestions about not having a kitchen be a hallway for thru-traffic, and the need for more one story homes. A large number of baby boomers are looking for retirement homes and do not want to be running up and down (or falling) on stairs.
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"Don't accept your dog's admiration as conclusive evidence that you are wonderful."
-Ann Landers