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Small: How will the coronavirus pandemic affect home design? | Business

As people adjust to life during the COVID-19 pandemic, some new trends in home design are likely to emerge. The pandemic has forced people to rethink their values and lifestyles. What we thought was important before the pandemic may become less so now, and what we didn’t value a great deal before is becoming much more important.

This review of our values is impacting everything from where we live, how we work, recreation and how we want our homes and living spaces to be designed. Whether you’re designing a new home, or renovating an existing structure, these emerging trends will likely impact your thinking. It’s likely these housing design trends will start to show themselves in the Aspen-Snowmass area.

Throughout history, homes have been designed to provide safety. In ancient times, a home would be a place to hide against bad weather and predatory animals. As time progressed through the Middle Ages, homes became fortresses built to prevent enemies from getting in. In the current time of a pandemic, a home has now become a retreat from infections and dangerous viruses while still providing an acceptable quality of life. In this time of pandemic, urbanism is giving way to suburbs, smaller communities, rural areas and resorts like Aspen and Snowmass. Leading home designers are now making predictions about how our living spaces may evolve in mountain communities.

The current pandemic and resulting economic disruption have homeowners and buyers rethinking how to stay safe. With an uncertain future presented by this pandemic, concerns are rising about whether the food supply or energy sources could be disrupted. As a result, expect to see new home designs to include oversized storage areas for storage of food and supplies, private water supplies and independent energy sources like solar and backup generators and battery storage.

Back in the 1960’s when nuclear war was an ever-present possibility, homes were often designed with bomb shelters. Fortunately, today those old bomb shelters have been converted to wine cellars and extra storage spaces.

With social distancing and stay-at-home orders becoming common, people want homes with safe outdoor spaces such as courtyards, balconies and terraces where you can have coffee in the morning and dinner at night. As a result, houses with private yards are likely to be in more demand than condos with shared spaces.

Remote working and Zoom meetings have quickly become the norm. Expect new home designs to incorporate private professional office spaces. With the mass closure of gyms and health clubs across the country, expect to also see more state-of-the-art workout rooms in new home designs. We may be witnessing the end of the health club era, and the beginning of the boom in private home gyms. Stocks of companies that make home workout equipment, such as Peloton, have seen massive value increases.

Although many large homes in the Aspen-Snowmass area already feature home movie theaters, expect to see such sophisticated entertainment areas become common in homes of all sizes. The current pandemic may be the death knell for movie theaters, and make watching sports in large stadiums less desirable. Home designers will likely make entertainment rooms in future homes as common as kitchens. Another home enhancement will likely be even larger and more elaborate kitchens as people reduce eating out and rely more on cooking and entertaining at home.

In older homes, you see remnants of what people valued at the time the home was built. Whether it was the 1960s bomb shelters, the pantry kitchens of earlier home designs or the energy-saving features that were common in home designs of the 1970s, it’s very likely that many of the pandemic design features added to new homes today will be reminders of this period of time in history, and will likely be converted to other uses when this pandemic is a distant memory.

Lori Small is a luxury real estate broker associate with Coldwell Banker Mason Morse; and William Small, CCIM is the Founder and CEO of Zenith Realty Advisors, LLC, a commercial-investment real estate advisory and investment firm. Lori can be reached at [email protected] and William can be reached at [email protected]­ZenithInvestment.com