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Developer Builds Working Woman’s Dream Home

October 20, 1987

VOORHEES TOWNSHIP, N.J. (AP) _ A home office, a revolving clothes rack, and lights that never need dusting all can be found in the Working Woman’s Dream Home, a $234,000 house designed from the suggestions of 15 women who juggle families and full-time jobs.

″Women are the ones that buy the house. Gentlemen have their input, but in 95 percent of the cases it’s the woman who says, ’This is my house,‴ said Gary Schaal, vice president of the house’s builder, the Scarborough Corp. of nearby Marlton.

A model of the two-story home recently opened to the public in The Beagle Club development in southern New Jersey.

It all began last year when 15 professional women associated with the Cherry Hill Chamber of Commerce were invited to discuss their ideas of a perfect house.

Suggestions included such things as storage, the need for natural light, flowing traffic patterns and as little dusting as possible.

Other suggestions were that the house clean itself and that the toilet seat not be cold.

″That we couldn’t do,″ Schaal said. ″But the majority of what they wanted we were able to incorporate.″

The women’s ideas were turned over to an architect who designed a 3,150- square-foot house with four bedrooms and 2 1/2 baths.

″They really did listen to us,″ said Susan Milstein, a computer consultant who participated in the planning sessions. ″It’s just so well- designed I think it would be attractive to a family where both people didn’t work.″

The house has a home office and overhead lights that never need dusting because they’re built into all the ceilings.

There’s a laundry room with a built-in ironing board, a walk-in pantry that doubles as a serving area for the formal dining room and a communications center with an indoor-outdoor intercom system and phone.

The two-room master bath sports a revolving clothes rack that zips around one of the two closets at the touch of a button.

That was on the wish list of Charlotte Guarino, a hotel administrative assistant who said it alleviates the need to store out-of-season clothes.

″That was on a whim. They did pick up on it, though. You push a button and the clothes come to you,″ said Ms. Guarino.

The women who participated in the discussion groups emphasized that a perfect house is one that allows them, in Ms. Guarino’s words, ″to go out to work and enjoy your house at the same time.″

Ms. Milstein said what makes the working woman’s home different is the extra attention to details.

″I like the office away from the bustle of the house,″ she said.

Ten of the Working Woman’s model have been purchased and the first is expected to be ready for occupancy by December, Schaal said.

Ironically, five of the first nine buyers were one-career couples, Schaal said. Two of the women planned to eventually return to work, he said.

So far, none of the women interviewed in the discussion group appear to be buying a dream home of their own, Schaal noted.

However, said Ms. Milstein: ″You would not have to twist my arm to get me to buy that house. I’m very happy where I am now, but if I were to move ...″