The pandemic is changing the way we live in our homes and how we use our space. As we work with some of our design clients, as well as some of our regular builders, we are seeing a quick pivot to address the new needs of our clients. In general, there is a greater emphasis on our home space these days since many of us now work, school, exercise, and just safely stay at home much more than usual.
What are the key things that we are being asked, as we work with our design clients?
● More, more and even more workspace
● Larger and well-appointed family spaces
● Larger dining spaces
● Learning space & project space for kids
● Room for activity and recreation
● Extra or specialized storage space for food and supplies
With many people still working from home, we are hearing that almost every family member needs their own workspace now. The space doesn’t have to be large but it must have a door, to allow for ongoing Zoom calls, conference calls, homework groups or remote dance practice. Consequently, we are fitting pocket offices into large mudroom areas or pantries and converting a lot of guest bedrooms into offices.
Family Rooms & Dining Spaces
Since we are all spending a lot more time at home and going out a lot less, the emphasis is on family time and family space, removed from our workspaces. What I find so interesting is that I hear much less concern over where the TV will go and how big it can be. My theory is that most households have one space that is the perfect spot to watch a movie together. Beyond that, everyone knows they can put a TV just about anywhere. Or they can watch something remotely. We are getting more requests for game rooms/tables, wet bars or “snack” kitchens and areas that everyone can collect after working/learning all day.
Increased Storage Space
We’re spending less time running errands, and we are buying in bulk and stockpiling key items. Pantries are not only a necessity now, but they must be larger. We have even heard of requests for a larger storage space on the main level for bulk purchased items like toilet paper, garbage bags, water bottles, laundry detergent or dry goods. One of our builders has been working on options for deliveries, from a separate outdoor closet to built-in storage bins to a “package slot” emptying into the garage. All these ideas were borne out of the desire to better manage the increased deliveries left at our doorsteps.
Recreation and Exercise Spaces
With gyms closed and sports cut back or cancelled, we are looking for a physical outlet. But where do we go and what do we do? Locally in Minneapolis/St. Paul, our sport court vendors, pool companies and hot tub dealers are booked out for a year and overwhelmed with orders. Landscaping companies are busy creating great outdoor spaces both for family time and for exercise. And flooring vendors are busy fulfilling flooring orders for indoor workout spaces.
How does this affect us, as we stage homes on the market for sale?
As stagers, one of our goals is to give a purpose to all spaces, so that buyers see the value and need for the space. And of course, we love to speak to the emotions of the buyer. We want to get them excited about their life in their new home.
Recently we staged a downtown Minneapolis warehouse style condo. It has an open, airy feel and a lot of character, but when showed vacant, it appears as one large open space. Our challenge, and it was a fun one, was to create distinct areas, yet still let the character of the space shine. The target buyer most likely will be a higher income professional or a dual income couple, working from home. Rather than tucking a desk in a corner as an after-thought, we decided to create a two-person office with large, back to back desks and ample shelving to separate the space from the main living areas.
In another builders’ model, the Set To Show team recently staged, we made sure to create spaces relevant to today’s lifestyle. Although there was a dedicated “flex” room that we showed as an office, we added a desk to their pantry area. We also used one of the 5 bedrooms in the house as a kids’ workspace, with two desks and colorful chairs and artwork. The builder added a sport court, to help address the need for physical activity. And we staged the entrance to the sport court with simple exercise items to imply that the space could be used as a more structured exercise room.
This “new now” requires us to be open to changes in our spaces. It’s important that we all enjoy our spaces more than ever, as we spend more time in them. I’m curious, what innovations have you/your family made to accommodate life during the time of Coronavirus? Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.