Not all change is bad. Some change is helpful & excruciatingly necessary.
We’re already see how differently we use our homes today than at the end of Feb. 2020- a mere 5 months ago. Who knew how radically these changes would be forced upon us, how we’d embrace them (because we had no choice), or that we’d take them & run.
I gathered the most prominent home design trends I expect imminently in residential design to share in one neat list. Maybe you've already embraced some. Maybe you won't. There are lots of options. Pick & choose a few.
I broke them into 2 categories- Form & Function.
1. The Home Office is a necessity, not a luxury
At my house, we were fortunate & had 1, not 2 home offices. While this was helpful, it did not cure all. Now, everyone with a non-essential job forced to “WFH” needs one. The dining room or kitchen table won’t cut it anymore when someone walks through your client scratching their behind or begging you to address some critical (not really, but explain that to a 7YO) need *right now*. [sigh]
1A. A space to listen without interruption & without background noise
Regardless of where you live, dirt is a precious commodity. In Phoenix, AZ, where “traditional ranch” reigns king, This is more easily achieved than in Manhattan’s East Village or San Francisco, where the $/SF of real estate easily tops $750.
It’s necessary to have one or more, separate, contained, quiet spaces from which multiple people residing together can be productive- schoolwork, volunteerism, work-work. HELLO! This is NOT optional. To keep an income, you have to produce. To produce, you have to do something.
Builder and Developer Magazine’s recent newsletter said flat out: “Due to covid-19 less popular trends in home design will become more prominent: for instance, areas with more independent spaces will be favored over open concept layouts.”
FYI- this trend started reappearing a few years back. I still cringe just a little when a buyer says “I want an open floor plan…” I moved my 1st clients out of their buzzy “open-concept” home in 2016, after the challenge of silent weekend parties at home with friends became too weary. I’m not suggesting a wall around each room, but you need 1 place to shut the door & drown the outside, out!
1B. Intentionally, Extreme Organization
In the absence of a whole room, spaces with extreme organization (think vertical, as in floor-to-ceiling shelving or built-ins), will become the “must have”. As in “a cubby for…” everything. If we’re all going to be home, not tripping over each other or our crap is important.
I see this evolving potentially to the “micro-office”- innovative, multi-functional spaces that easily transform into working desk/stations that integrate into existing bedroom or shared spaces. It’s an alternative to fist fights over dedicated locations where “live camera meetings” are prioritized.
1C. Stationary Charging Hubs/Stations
Where would we be without our devices?!! Let that sink in. Can you think of anything more terrifying than your next Zoom meeting with your laptop/tablet/mobile device that’s dead or close to it? Enter the future of charging stations & hubs- spaces where devices can be charged, with the ensuing tangled web of cords stashed safely away to skip the mental clutter & loss of tactical counter/desk/table space. Think, places with built in surge protectors & power outlets with integrated USB/C ports all neatly tucked into obscure drawers, end cabinets or nooks.
1D. Enter “Zoom Rooms”
Sounds cheesy, but I don’t love how my curly hair fuzzes into my virtual background intended to hide my insanely messy office (mom gets everyone’s crap!). A “camera ready” spot to take meetings (or to banish others in them)
1A-C are super important. If you have multiple people in the same home with simultaneous meetings, unless you’ve invested in Bose stock (& their or comparable noice-cancelling headsets), it’s not easy to drown out the “loud talker”, elementary school: “show & tell” lesson, morning announcements, PE OR midnight global all-hands. Tokyo anyone??
You NEED a space that successfully obscures dirty laundry, toys & makes you look like a functional, organized-ish adult.
2. Drop Stations for home “re-entry”
Everyone has a different risk level to the COVID-19 virus. Some of us are healthy as an ox (WE HOPE!), some are compromised, have recovered from cancer, have an auto-immune, respiratory or other illness. Others are high-risk- battling acute symptoms from anything I just mentioned or age, gender, etc. are risk factors that we can’t mitigate no matter what.
Coming “home” & avoiding the introduction of new germs to clean spaces has its challenges. To keep shoes, packages & bags away from other “vulnerable” occupants, we could need a place to drop, stash or sanitize them.
We may need access to a bathroom to wash our hands, drop contaminated clothes (essential healthcare, law enforcement or other critical workers) or take a shower. It may be more cubbies to stash things, clean groceries or even a full on sanitizing station to thoroughly remove any potential remnants of the virus from our bodies. This space must be close to an interior entry point.
3. Dedicated, Reliable, Secure Internet/WiFI Network
How awesome is your MicrosoftTeams meeting when the speaker’s audio cuts out precisely at the moment they utter critical bit of info you suffered for an hour to hear??! Secure/Reliable WiFI Systems with multiple: electric, USB outlets & HDMI ports to support: monitors, TVs, streaming devices, etc. & hard-wired Internet Points for when said aforementioned WiFI fails is ultra-important.
Snaking your CAT-6 outside your home perimeter, inside, across the eaves & into the elements probably won’t work in AZ’s extreme heat, cold, monsoon season, etc… running low-voltage wiring through protected ceilings/walls & attic spaces is an investment, but worth it. Creating dedicated conduit “channels” for easy access later is even better.
4. More Tech. And Security.
Tech innovated the way we live. Smart phones, cars, homes, etc. With more people at home, automated home management will become more than a tool to make life easier, it will make it cost less & more pleasant too. I personally hated walking around turning off- lights, changing thermostats & attending the endless list of mundane tasks, easily remedied by Z-wave light switches, door locks & Wifi-enabled garage doors, security cameras, sprinklers etc. My wallet is happier too!
It’s important to note, each no innovation comes with its share of risk. This isn’t to scare you. It’s to make you aware. If you’re not familiar with wifi routers, VPN services & 2FA (two-factor-authentication), please google them immediately. The real estate, financial, healthcare, entertainment… industries ALL have vulnerabilities. Working from home adds another layer of complication (remember the 2016 presidential election & a certain candidate’s email woes). Your antiquated AOL account & the very 1st modem ever won’t cut it. Step up your game.
A. Outdoors Meets Indoors
Most of us are unaccustomed to working in Vegas-style spaces (no natural light). Having view to the outside- patios, vistas, courtyards, & green spaces, for your sanity or ability to escape if (when?) claustrophobia sets in is a welcome respite.
Architizer’s #2 (“6 Ways COVID-19 Will Change Home Design”) is “A universal need for private outdoor space. Think seamless transitions between functional outside & inside “rooms”. Having a quick escape for a breath of fresh air, a private conversation or space to think your own thoughts is a form of therapy for all of our… “togetherness”.
Absent access to the exterior, greenery is a great option. Hanging plants, a vertical wall planter, potted trees/cacti/succulents is an organic solution to the doldrums of being indoors. This may come in handy whether you’re trapped indoors escaping a heat wave or the eventual return of fall & winter.
Cluttered space, cluttered mind. In college, I couldn’t study until my room was clean. Procrastination? Maybe… effective, ABSOLUTELY! It’s hard to produce when you can’t find your stuff, literally. A place for everything, was already in play with design trending decidedly modern, contemporary & minimalist.
Scandinavian design (simple, lots of white, bright, open, clean lines), is a thing. NOT seeing perpetual reminders of everyone home with you, is necessary for sanity (MY sanity, anyway).
This is also a thing. Really. Think bursts of color, fun, inspiring & full of life. It’s not “organized hoarding”. Done well, it’s energizing. Not done well, is… eh, well. There is counseling for that.
OTHER TRENDS WE’RE FOLLOWING…
D. Killer Bathroom Decor
There are plenty of internet articles & memes outing moms hiding in the bathroom to escape “home”. If you do this, don’t be ashamed. Even Kim Kardashian is guilty. Having a bathroom space to hide out, read, blog or post makeup tutorials is necessary from time to time.
As such, bathrooms are getting a shot in the arm. Dirt named “Fun Funky Bathrooms” as the 1st of there “Eight Lockdown-Inspired Interior Design Trends”. A fresh coat of paint. Funky wallpaper. A new sconce. A little more… Zen. Before you scoff, my Pinterest Wallpaper board gets the bulk of traffic to my profile!
Sometimes, 10min of peace & a quick read on the throne may be the fast rejuvenation option we have. Don’t knock it till you’ve tried it…
E. Bold, Juiced-up Kitchens
Yes. I’m aware that many people don’t cook in scottsdale. I’ve seen some REALLY clean ovens in my 15 years as an agent. I think those days are over. Even if you’re not actually cooking, everyone is in the kitchen. It’s the “heart of the home”, the gathering place. It has the food…
Kitchens are making statements. Bold cabinets- black, punchy colors. Warm, gold-toned metals- brass, bronze, copper, which Queer Eye designer, Bobby Berk, claims are “naturally antimicrobial”. More storage- for your larger, more infrequent grocery runs & TP stash, duh. More room… Period. We’re all home, right? More sitting, prep & space. Better lighting, tools, appliances, etc. If we’re going to all be trapped here together, we may as well LOVE it!
F. An Homage to Earthy, Organic, Living
Green is life. Life is good. This is showing up as green- literally. Painted walls & cabinets. More plants. This ties to A above. If you can’t see nature outside, the next best thing is replicating it inside. And we are. Bohemian style has had a big hold on decor trends for the last several years. COVID-19 upped the ante. It feels so good, even if you kill every plant & haven’t had a vegetable since your mom made you eat them in 4th grade.
The end goal is to make the best of a downright awful period in life- depending on your perspective. Some people are LOVING LIFE. Others are counting the seconds, as they bang their heads against a wall… We all have a choice.
Why not make “Home” a place that feels really good, if you’re all going to be there awhile??
Yes, the goal is an eventual return to: schools, offices, shared recreational & other IRL places. For now “home” is not only our sanctuary, aside from outdoor recreation, it may be all we have…
How's #homelife working out for you? What did you & your family embrace so far? What will you refuse? Please drop me a line & share.
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