We’ll probably never see our homes in the same light again.
As we spend more time sheltering in place, certain home features are likely going to come into sharper focus.
Interior designer Sarah Gallop notes that although these things aren’t new, they may be more desired in renovations and new construction because of our experience with the ongoing pandemic.
The founder and principal designer of the Delta-based Sarah Gallop Design Inc. cited mud rooms as an example.
Mud rooms are transition spaces between the outside and the inside of a home. Gallop noted that property owners may want more than just a mud room at their place.
“Perhaps there will be more desire for people to have their laundry rooms attached to those rooms again, so that things can just be cleaned right away;” she told the Georgia Straight in a phone interview.
According to Gallop, some homes have laundry upstairs, but that could change as owners may not want to have to carry things from outside through and up into the house.
She also anticipates more demand for additional bathrooms.
“A lot of bedrooms have their own bathroom, so if one person in the family got sick, they could quarantine at their own bedroom and bathroom, and then the rest of the home could still be used by the healthy people in the family,” Gallop said.
She stressed that even before the pandemic hit, there had been an increasing demand for multiple bathrooms.
Gallop also pointed out that pantries have always been in huge demand, and she doesn’t expect that to change.
“Pantries are a very common request in the homes that we do,” the interior designer said.
Then there’s home automation.
According to Gallop, advancements in voice-activated technology to control home functions, like Amazon’s Alexa-powered Echo devices, are already progressing.
“It’s very relevant to what’s happening today, with people not wanting to touch things, and controlling your faucet with your voice, controlling your lights with your voice…and all these different things that can be integrated into the system,” Gallop said.
She does not believe that concerns over the transmission of viruses will significantly impact the common preference for an open layout in homes.
She said people will still want a space where they can gather as a family to play and do different things.
Sarah Gallop Design Inc. gets requests from homeowners who want space for a small office, she noted, but some do not incorporate that in the design because they have never experienced working at home.
“I could definitely see that changing,” she said.
Gallop said that even when things return to a prepandemic normal, working at home may become “more regular than it did before”.
“I think that people are going to figure out how to use their spaces differently,” she said.
That includes areas that are conducive for study by children as schools shift to online learning during the pandemic.
As for her family, Gallop and her husband set up their daughter with a small table, chair, and a computer in the home gym.
Gallop said she has observed—while watching her daughter interact with her teacher and classmates—that those who were sitting in place and not walking around with their devices were “most focused and the most engaged”.
“I think that the tasks become quite challenging when you’re sitting on a couch and trying to, like, work on your knee or on a bed or something like that,” Gallop said.
So although we may appreciate spaces in our homes in a different way because of the pandemic now, we may value them more than ever in the future.