The laundry areas of homes have traditionally been relegated to basements, utility rooms and mudrooms, and various other out-of-the-way spaces. But Whirlpool Corp. is attempting to bring the laundry room out of these cold and remote locations and into the center of family living. The appliance manufacturer has combined several of its laundry appliances with the idea of a "Family Studio" that allows more than just laundry care to be accomplished in the room dedicated to doing the wash.
"[Homeowners] are doing little tasks in different areas of their homes, and we have pulled a lot of them together," says Mara Villanueva, Family Studio brand manager for Whirlpool Corp. "We are marketing our products under the idea of this room because it is something the consumer wants. It's a place where many tasks come together and families can be together."
Appliances such as Whirlpool's Duet washer and dryer, the SinkSpa Jetted Sink, the Personal Valet, the ImPress Ironing Station, and the DryAire Drying Cabinet are offered as components in the Family Studio, and homeowners can choose the ones that suit their needs and build around them. The company says that its Family Studio will allow parents to get the laundry done while supervising their kids' homework, keep projects of their own set up until they are finished, watch television, work from home, do gardening tasks, and keep clutter away from living rooms, dining rooms, and kitchens.
Whirlpool is marketing the Family Studio to builders, distributors, and remodelers through seminars and advertising and offers resources for professionals to market the idea to clients, including CD-ROMs, brochures, and a set of specifications for each appliance to aid in designing cabinetry around them. The biggest challenge this concept presents to remodelers, according to Villanueva, will be working with existing spaces in a home.