How the pandemic is changing home design

The pandemic has changed what Americans expect from their homes, and builders say they expect those changes to continue.

The big picture: A lot of pandemic-era customizations are becoming commonplace in new homes. The model homes that builders are showing off today are designed for working, living and studying, not just coming home and crashing at the end of the day.

Details: Big pre-pandemic trends — open plan plans with big kitchen islands — aren’t going anywhere. “My verdict is that people really like open floor plans, and they’re here to stay,” says Nancy K. Keenan, president of Dahlin Group Architecture and Planning, which helped conduct the America at Home study on taste of the consumer has contributed in the pandemic period Home design.

  • But the overall floor space is getting bigger as builders keep adding smaller spaces that need to function as offices, playrooms, gyms, or dens depending on the family.
  • Bathrooms are getting bigger, also because we use them more often when we are at home all day. And every room in the house is more wired — builders are adding outlets and USB ports to house the devices essential for working or going to school from home.
  • Some houses also have separate entrances for guests with easy access to a powder room for washing hands.

“Flexibility is likely the most important. People want to be able to adapt their homes to their way of life,” says Keenan.

Flashback: The “powder room” originally emerged from the 1918 flu pandemic — as did tile bathrooms, when people replaced curtains and carpets that harbored germs.

  • “The question we get asked all the time is, How much of that do you think is really going to stay in the future?” Keenan tells Axios.

Zoom in: Based on the results of the America at Home study, Garman Homes of Raleigh, North Carolina built a 2,600-square-foot concept home called “Barnaby” that reflects consumer desires, including more access to outdoor spaces and space to exercise.

  • The four-bedroom, three-and-a-half bath Barnaby was designed for “a hypothetical elderly millennial family with two working parents, one working from home and the other working outside the home,” according to Builder, a homebuilding news site. site.
  • It includes “separate homeowner and guest entrances, two dedicated office spaces, flexible spaces, a guest suite with outdoor access, a larger family bathroom, multiple covered outdoor areas, enhanced kitchen functionality, flexible storage, drop zones for package deliveries and more. “

Between the lines: “Houses are increasingly becoming offices,” says Amit Haller, CEO and co-founder of housing company Veev. “There’s the grand opening area with a very large counter island that allows people to eat together.”

  • From there, residents can carry their laptops to private rooms if needed.
  • “The bedroom will literally be like your conference room and your private space,” says Haller.

Using the numbers: The average size of a new family home has already grown by around 10% since 2009 and is expected to continue to grow.

  • More than a third of Millennials (36%) want bigger homes as a result of the pandemic, a survey by the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) found.
  • Millennials and Gen Xers want more bedrooms, workout rooms, and home offices.
  • “The housing industry expects home sizes to continue to increase due to a shift in consumer preferences as more indoor activity takes place in the post-pandemic environment,” Jerry Konter, NAHB chairman, said in a press release.

Yes but: Bigger houses are more expensive, and high interest rates make a mortgage even harder to pay.

What’s next: Special rooms are created for video games, golf simulators, zoom calls or relaxation – so-called “Zen rooms”.

  • “Metaverse spaces” could be on the horizon as some designers see the need for indoor spaces for people to roam around in virtual reality, according to The Wall Street Journal.


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