COVID has caused an actual boom in our business. It sounds terrible to say, but it’s true. We’ve never been busier. Because everyone is forced to stay home/ work from home/ learn from home, people are really seeing their homes, and the faults in their homes, in a new light. And I think that this year of misery will cause people to rethink how they want their homes to function. We all PRAY that this never happens again, but if it does, we all want to be better prepared to be able to have our houses not only provide extra comfort and happiness through design and decor, but most importantly through how it functions for us as well. And that means that some rooms that have gone out of fashion in recent years thanks to the HGTV “open concept” obsession, will be back in favor. Here are some that we anticipate designing more of in 2021:
Yes, an open kitchen/ family room is GREAT for everyday, but when you need to separate for different Zoom calls/meetings, homework, playtime, etc it can be a downright nightmare. Also, having your bedroom be the only retreat for privacy for working from home can mess up your sleep cycle (you know how they tell you your bed should only be for sleeping and…) Open concept means you can see everyone, which – as a mom – is great, but it also means you can see EVERYTHING – messes included. I think we’ll be seeing a little more division between spaces in homes being built.
Seldom found in any homes that aren’t borderline palatial, the office is going to make a HUGE comeback. A lot of businesses have figured out that employees can work from home almost as well as in the office, so I think we’ll be seeing more jobs with telecommuting options. Which means that you’ll need a room dedicated to work. Our new house has a small office and I’m pretty excited about it! It’s super important to be able to shut a door and close off “work” at the end of the day. And sitting on your bed working on your computer all day is so bad for your back.
I think playrooms will have more space sectioned off for desks and homework/study space. Wouldn’t you LOVE to have a space where all the kids papers, books, projects could live that WASN’T the dining room table??? It also helps kids stay focused and not easily distracted by what other members of the family are doing. There’s a landing nook at our new house I can see becoming something like this – it’s TINY, but you don’t need a lot of space, just well planned space.
A room just for YOU. If you have the luxury of an additional small room, making it a special space to escape to is IDEAL – a modern day “sitting room”, if you will. I know this is a dream for most, but in larger homes I think we’ll be seeing this kind of space pop back up again.
A few folding chairs in the driveway got us through “careful” socializing in 2020, so I think more thoughtful outdoor spaces will be big the next year. Also, swimming pools. SO MANY pools going in around here!
What’s the one thing about your home that COVID brought to your attention, good or bad?
Photography by Michael J. Lee and Sarah Winchester
The easiest way to learn more is to start a session of your own and take the tour. It takes less than three minutes it s that simple! Digital escape rooms are a lot of fun, and I thank you for sharing the details about these escape rooms here. I will ask my friends to take part in digital escape rooms with me now. We will have a lot of fun.
We did the backyard over the summer. New fence, deck and shed. We are going to start a few more renovations in early 2021 that will result with everyone in our home having their own space. Our 9 and 6 year old boys will have their own bedrooms. I will have a room for sewing and hobbies and my husband will have an office he doesn’t have to share with my sewing and hobbies! I will continue to wfh in my front room looking out the window because I don’t want work in my special place 🤣.
Our 1920 Colonial has actually worked well for our family of four. For the first time I feel like we’re truly using all the various spaces, including the carriage house studio apartment, which has morphed into hubby’s workspace. He prefers it over our small study as it has a comfy seating area, a table for computer work, kitchenette with Kuerig and snacks, and private bath. And no dogs underfoot! When we renovated that space a few years back we envisioned it as a guest space/occasional AirBNB rental (it has a Murphy bed) but it has worked really well as his office.
Really interesting post! Our home was custom built in 1965 for an executive and his family. I absolutely love the layout and think it’s pretty much perfect for how we want to live today. We have a separate office, a screened in porch, a den, a good sized kitchen with a small pass through to the living room (so you can see but it isn’t open concept), and beautiful outdoor spaces. The bedrooms and bathrooms are good sized by not palatial as people really used using them for sleeping and getting ready back then. And that’s how we use them as well. We have lots of entertaining space in our combination living/dining room and finished walkout basement for when Covid is over. And we have bifold doors between a bunch of the rooms so you can close them off when you want to. I was going to remove them but they come in really handy with pets sometimes. Our house is larger so we are able to have dedicated spaces but I never understood the appeal of open concept.
We feel…almost, unworthy…we hear of so many hardships & it breaks our heart & yet…we are happy, healthy (for our age) & have HOPE there can be lessons learned. Compliancy is overrated. AND, I luv spray paint to the moon & back!! 😄 franki
Erin, Great post! I’ve lived in several open concept homes but our current “forever” home has a separate den and living room which I prefer. We’re planning a new patio with fire pit for the spring to extend our outdoor
Iiving space. On Cape Cod, there is a 2 year wait for a pool.
The open concept looks nice but I don’t think it is practical on a day to day basis, at least not for me. Too much pressure to have your space looking perfect all the time!
Totally agree that this year will cause a major re-thinking about how we want our homes to work for us. We have been planning a major addition, and that has certainly been the case. We are retired, but we live in a lovely resort community that encourages lots of out-of-town guests. We bought our home here thinking it was the time to scale down, but actually, we need our home to accommodate our chosen life-style more than ever. While we are doing a bigger kitchen and adding to that an open dining room/great room area, we are also adding a studio and a more private master suite. We have realized how much pleasure we always got in being able to entertain at home. So we need to make room for that, But we also need places to retreat from the happy chaos of multi-generational guests. I am designing my studio space so that it could easily become someone else’s home office space. Our previous small living area will become an intimate “keeping room” adjoining the expanded kitchen. Finally, the multi-level deck will become one level that smoothly transitions from the new great room, and it will be built with low-maintenance composite materials. I hope this comment encourages younger families to plan ahead for what they might want as retirees.
We are empty nesters and live in a smaller, older home, so no open concept here! My husband traveled constantly, but has his own office (a bedroom). He has now been working from that office since Covid shut down most of his travel. So thankful that he has a designated spot. I wish I did! My stuff has been all over the place. Very thankful for our huge deck, attached bluestone terrace, firepit area and gardens. We spend a lot of time outside and it helps our smaller home liver larger.
Open concept isn’t for everyone. I don’t want all the kitchen sights and smells permeating other rooms. And I found out how lucky I was to have a home office/library with double doors that close it off when my child came home mid-semester. It has been used for zoom classes and as an escape from the rest of now-crowded domestic life. Having some outdoor space, though modest, took on new meaning when we uses it to see friends more safely: outdoors. Finally, my bonus space which I use as a sewing studio/atelier became so important as both a place to enjoy an at-home hobby, especially when it was to sew masks. My home has always been important to me but this pandemic has made it even more so.
We have an antique (1732) center chimney colonial, and I think they had floor plans pretty figured out back then. Formal entrance that leads to formal sitting rooms, an ‘everyday’ side door that led to the open keeping room where they cooked / really lived / hung out with bedrooms upstairs. Works great for us during Covid, too – though we’ve got a kitchen attached to the keeping room now that cooking over an open fire has gone out of style. Front formal rooms transitioned to playroom and office, keeping room is nice living / dining area, and since there’s an extra bedroom upstairs we’ve got a classroom set up for my first grader. Doors to all offices, school room and playrooms. Could not ask for a better setup… and a couple years ago I was whining about the number of “little rooms.” Live and learn!
We’re definitely on the pool bandwagon. But because of the popularity, we’re having to wait until March to get started on it with the contractor we want to use. I think we’ll be lucky if we’re swimming by June. But, whatever. We’re in our forever house so I’d rather wait and use who I want and make it exactly how I want it. Renovating our little guest cottage too and making it a poolhouse with an outdoor shower. I’m stoked. I’ve wanted to do this for years but it is certainly being stuck at home that made me get with it and finally pull the trigger. I’m also grateful to hear you stay that the open concept was more of a trend. I guessed it might be. I tried for years to think through how to open our kitchen to our den in our 1930s home, but just couldn’t make it work. Now that my kids are past toddler/little kid stage, we’re becoming more grateful for separate spaces.
I found that I wanted a good old fashioned living room. Something with a door and a couch that the dog could snuggle up with me while I read. No tv, no kids on cell phones (although earbuds would be okay), just a quiet space to be present.
I love our old house where each room has a purpose. I’m hoping to get some french doors installed for my sun room/study next year. Once those are in place, I’ll be a happy and productive person!
Thank you for not embracing “open concept”. I thought I was the only person in the world who didn’t want to see my kitchen sink from the front door.
As an empty- nester, I am SO grateful we did not sell our home, which we seriously considered doing in fall 2019. We had all three children plus a girlfriend back with us for a large part of 2020. We used every space of the house as three of us worked from home and one was in college online. We have a traditional center hall colonial, and we are fortunate to have a home office, but we needed many more work spaces. The living room and dining room worked well as daytime offices. We used desks again. I cleared off my grandmother’s desk- our makeshift bar for years and put her to good use. The screened porch was in heavy rotation too- a good spot for loud Zoom talkers. The only thing missing was a pool. I would love one!
I’m so thankful for our big covered porch overlooking a huge yard and pond. It’s where we went to EXHALE during this crazy pandemic, and we spent time organizing attractive plants and candles and comfortable seating there. My hat is off to anyone living in an apartment; wish I could have you over.
My husband’s job is based at home now (feeling lucky he didn’t buy a property just months before everything went boom!), and we have been able to adapt private space for him to work without driving me crazy. Counting many blessings here.
The other feature we have created is a proper larder, long-term pantry, or whatever you want to call it. It’s organized but not stylish, so we tucked it behind linen curtains on a ceiling-mounted rod. Happiness is 50 pounds of rice. Cheers!
I have an open concept kitchen that I thought I wanted after living in a house with 3 little kids and a separate kitchen. The problem is yes, you see everything – dirty dishes, prep tools, pots and pans. And washing dishes while others want to watch a movie or the football game is not ideal. Ditto if you want to run the dishwasher. Fast forward to having 4 teenagers, whose friends will frequently sleep over. It would be nice to have separate family room where they could all crash on a Friday night, and my husband and I could still come down early on Saturday morning, without waking anyone. I’m over the open concept; give me walls!
I need a space to do art and other messy projects. I live in a senior building and could often use the art studio for projects but Covid spikes shut that down. I used to live in a house with a basement craft/laundry room with cupboards and shelves and counter space! Sigh.
I miss having my own garden too.
We have a screened in porch and since we work in healthcare, its the only place I’ll see my parents (with masks on), since this started. I’ll probably never live WITHOUT a screened in porch again!
As an empty nester, Covid made no difference to the use of space in my home. However, my daughter and her husband are working from home with three kids online learning. Their home is open concept. You can imagine the noise and busyness in that household. Her husband set up an office in one of the guest bedrooms in the finished basement and she is working from the family room, directly off the dining area where the kids are doing school work and constantly snacking. Kids and zoom calls don’t mix well. I think a steel & glass wall would turn her space into an office that was quieter while she can still see the girls. I think open concept is great for retired couples but not families. I believe as the demographics are changing closed off spaces will become popular again in new builds.
PS would love a pool!
I think in the beginning of covid, people thought the working at home situation was pretty good. Now after almost a year I think people are ready to get back into the office. People maybe can work a day or two from home but everything is much more efficient when people are together working in an office situation. People need the connection of other people/ co-workers. I do think if you have space for a home office it works great for work/ school etc. Nice to keep it all organized that way.Just like if you have room for a bar— nice to keep all of that organized in the designated space. Same with mud room etc. Nice to have organized designated spaces.
I’ve loved wfh. It has made such a difference to me as I’m disabled and not having to deal with a commute and not constantly having to be ‘on’ in an office has been great. I was able to get back working more quickly from a flare up too, and can grab a short lie down when I need. I’m as productive as I am in the office. We have chosen our homes (rentals for the last 6 years) to have an office space (3rd bedroom) so it was pretty seamless for me. I dread being called back to the office, but my director doesn’t trust people if she can’t see them 😒, although thankfully my direct line managers do.
I’m late to the discussion, but I agree there will be more people working from home and craving a separate office space. I’m blessed to have a home office set up and didn’t miss a beat when we transitioned to WFH. Of course, I’m 57 and an empty nester.
I personally thrive in a work from home environment. My niece and sister, on the other hand, crave the community of in person work. I would love to be able to stay working from home forever for many reasons, but we’ll be recalled to the office when it’s safe.
Should’ve said 40* not 59…weird it autocorrected that!
Actually I don’t know if I agree with this. For certain professions this may hold true but my husband who works in marine insurance has actually enjoyed his wfh experience, but he does have a designated office here. The commute alone helps mentally (and fiscally). I can see a lot of companies forgoing large office spaces to save money too. I did read a study that the younger workers admitted to not being as productive while those over 59 find they are just as or more productive. It’s very interesting regardless.
Reply to Jo: Agreed, people need to connect with one another face-to face for better communication, to learn and grow. We are not meant to work in solitude everyday. It’s not healthy.
It absolutely made me think about adding a screened-in porch and also build my husband a little studio office waaaayyyy in the backyard:)
Glad to hear about the pools!! We have one and will be selling in a few years for retirement. Pools are much easier to take care of than some people think.
[…] Source backlink Erin Gates […]