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Playroom becomes guest room with a slide of the wall.

Multifunctional rooms are the logical and often necessary result of shrinking the size of houses. To make the most of limited space, some rooms share uses (such as the country kitchen, which includes dining and family rooms), while others can switch from one function to another.

Artchitect Peter Rodi, of Designbook in San Diego, intended the guest room in Sandi and David Arkin's house to have a double use. Most of the time, it's a play area complete with a loft for the Arkins' two boys; it's just outside their bedrooms. But instead of having a narrow door, the room has a 15-foot-wide opening, so it hardly seems like a separate room.

A metal ceiling track bordered by wood strips is the only hint that the space can be closed off. The track runs from a hollow section of wall that houses an accordion-style wooden wall. Usually the folding wall stays out of sight, but when overnight guests arrive, the Arkins open a hinged panel and draw it into place.

A door this wide must be custom-ordered through a building supply store; cost will vary widely, depending on choice of vinyl, vinyl-and-steel, or wood slats.
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Date:Feb 1, 1984
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