The recent surge in outdoor hobbies such as walking and cycling, along with the huge increase in dog ownership, are just two of the factors that have contributed to the rise of the ‘bootility’ room – Lisa Hibberd explores how consumers are embracing this practical yet stylish space.
The bootility – a hybrid space that combines the best attributes of both a utility and a boot room area – is proving a popular trend that offers the ultimate in practicality. “The past 18 months have required us all to ‘stay local’ much more than usual and this has placed greater emphasis on both our homes and lifestyles,” says Simon Bodsworth, MD at Daval. “In fact, many of us have taken to the great outdoors, enjoying a dog walk or leisurely stroll each day and so the back door has changed its role in the home. The bootility room is able to support modern lifestyles, but taking a more considered approach, using durable materials that can withstand heavy use yet remain beautiful, is essential. I believe that bridging the gap between indoor and outdoor living will only continue to grow in popularity and fresh design concepts like the bootility room are helping to retain the social aspects of open-plan living by minimising noise from laundry appliances and preventing dirt coming into the main areas of the home.”
“Historically, a boot room was only seen as a necessity in houses where outdoor activities such as horse riding, gardening or walking were a hobby,” comments Martin Bepey, designer and showroom manager at the Burlanes Sevenoaks showroom. Now, however, it is beneficial even for the practicalities of everyday life – storing bulky coats, boots and dog paraphernalia, for example. “Usually, the bootility is located just off the kitchen or by the back door of the home. Deciding where appliances and the 'utility' aspect of the room will be will heavily depend on where the water and waste is, but you should also consider how the room will be used. If a client will be using the bench to pull off muddy boots etc, then ensure that is positioned as close to the back door as possible – they do not want to be stomping wet muddy boots past clean laundry in the utility area to reach the seating area.”
As well as looking beautiful, this sought-after space needs to be as hardworking as possible. According to Peter Humphrey, design director and founder of Humphrey Munson, storage is a huge driving force in good bootility design. “You want some open storage for hanging everyday coats and jackets, and then closed storage for things not needed so often. Shoe storage is key, particularly with children in the household as footwear multiplies exponentially year on year. Laundry appliances can be concealed behind doors, or open – stacking them is useful as it saves space. A large sink is essential, we love a butler design for a more relaxed feel, and always like to include a rinse tap for washing football boots or even small dogs. Countertop space for folding laundry is useful, and a housekeeper’s cupboard to store the ironing board, iron, cleaning kits, mop and vacuum – it all needs to go somewhere!”