The times, they are a-changin’
How the pandemic will affect our homes
Being cooped up for an extended period has made us rethink the ideal interior, one that has the capacity to improve mental and physical health. What then will be the top must-haves for any pandemic-ready home in the future? Functional balconies, separate rooms, impeccable acoustics To be blunt, open-plan spaces make it more difficult to quarantine someone who has Covid-19 or protect the more vulnerable. Those who live within family homes and shared households might once again see the appeal of individual sitting rooms, kitchens and dining rooms as providing somewhere apart from their bedrooms for its inhabitants to spread out and spend time on their own.
This could be a boon for those of us working from home and needing a quiet place to work. It makes sense to search out moments of comfort during times of uncertainty. Some of us may start to feel a deeper connection to the objects within our homes that stir memories of people, places and events that hold personal significance. These items will be placed in prominent positions, becoming totems that are rich in meaning. Windows to the soul We have been looking at (or rather through) our windows a lot more than we did before; and through other people’s windows for that matter. When we are indoors, they are a portal through which we can be transported: large scale alternatives to the digital screens we are increasingly glued to. Expect much attention to be lavished on windows in the new normal. From creative curtains, to the happy little teddies that are lovingly placed to look out at the world, to painted rainbows tacked up to the panes of glass. These will be the breadcrumb trails left by children and their families to say “Wow, this sucks. But we’re here. It’s going to be OK.” Living balconies Balconies will increasingly be configured to let the outside in, especially for those of us without access to a private rooftop.
Significant thought will be given to how we can create a beautiful, functional office at home to support our remote working lifestyle. This will create challenges in small spaces, that will be overcome by applying clever design solutions. Embracing combined living spaces Zoom conference calls and virtual family meet-ups are fast becoming our new normal. These practices will continue to be our reality, post Covid-19. We will become more conscious of the aesthetics of these video interactions and spaces will be designed specifically with this in mind. Lighting, color, and acoustics will all be creatively utilized to design the optimum virtual space.
“Zoom rooms” – spaces conceived to provide picture-perfect backdrops for the now-ubiquitous video conferencing platform, will be the in thing. These include, for example, “a book-filled office”, or “a cozy hammock situation” or even “a modern man-cave bedroom”. The objective is to create an amenable space that conveys a sense of who you really are. Such attention to detail can go a long way in reassuring a client that they are in good hands. Expensive? Does one need to spend a lot for this? Hopefully not, as the economic crisis may see the end of the “oligarch aesthetic” – a desire to make a splash by conspicuously dropping cash. Instead, quiet, nuanced gestures and subtle surface textures are going to become increasingly important as people move away from “processed” finishes.