SACRAMENTO, Calif. — Home designs are being re-imagined to integrate the new normal of an at-home work-study-life balance post coronavirus, according to architect Burke Bair.
“They won’t be what you’re used to seeing,” said Bair, who is a principal architect for BSB Design.
For Bair, the goal is to redefine what residents now describe as “home.” The changes to new home designs include more food storage space, smaller backyards, rooms specifically dedicated for video conference calls, and more touchless in-home technology, Burke said.
All the changes are meant to provide more work and study areas and help curb exposure to germs on surfaces around the homes.
“Instead of having all bedrooms and then just your common space, they want something that is flexible in that area,” he said.
That’s because the priority for most families is to accommodate the new lifestyle.
“The vision is that one can be at the kitchen table, one can be in this flex space, so it’s dividing and really having quiet spaces,” he added.
With these planned and predicted changes, the open floor plan trend could become a thing of the past, Bair said. Home designers project the need for separate space to block out sounds from other rooms while taking work calls will become even bigger.
That means home shoppers can expect rooms to be designed for Zoom, FaceTime, or Skype video calls, Bair said.
In the meantime, Bair says some homeowners are already investing in technology that helps minimize contact with surfaces. This helps protect residents from germs. That includes things like motion-sensor garbage cans, keyless entry-based systems, and automatic toilet flushers.
Bair says residents will also need more room to store cookware and canned food they have stocked up on during the coronavirus pandemic, “so they’re asking for more storage space,” he said.
BSB Design has now finalized 12 new floor plans for the homes of the future. The new designs include pocket offices, smaller common areas, lots of “flex” space that can be customized and used for a number of different things, and a garage designed to minimize the spread of germs.
“You can get out from wherever you’ve been, and you can clean, take off your shoes, wash your hands and then enter your home,” he said.
Bair says BSB will submit the designs to cities in the Central Valley next week. If things go as planned, construction will start next year. The homes will have an estimated price tag of $300,000.
He hopes to bring the new home designs to the Sacramento area soon. The entire process could take about a year and the prices will be a bit higher, he explained.
“Right now it’s this virus, but it can be any other disease and we need to be prepared for it so it won’t catch us off guard like it did this time,” he said.
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