4 Upgrades Homeowners Want Right Now

It’s been nearly a year since many people started working from home due to the pandemic. This period has given homeowners ample opportunity to see their houses in a whole new light and to reevaluate what works and what needs to improve.

We talked to established professionals about their most recent client requests and how they’ve changed in the past year. Read about four areas and features around the house that are getting lots of attention right now, then please let us know what your clients are asking for in the Comments.

Humphrey Munson

1. Storage Solutions

Coming up with ways to hide clutter and help her clients stay organized has been a top request, says designer Carmit Oron of Carmit Oron Interior Design in Sunnyvale, California. “A lot of people are at home all day now, and the last thing they want to do is stare at a mess,” she says. “More than ever before, my clients are requesting built-in cabinetry in every room of the house to store stuff.”

Storage solutions for home offices, kid spaces and kitchens are among the most common areas. “More parents are working from home, more children are learning from home and more people are cooking at home,” Oron says. “All those activities require stuff, and finding ways to store that stuff has kept me very busy.”

As you work with clients to come up with storage solutions, you can use Houzz Pro to share photos, send estimates and more. The 3D Floor Planner enables pros to create visualizations of their projects that give clients a realistic, easy-to-understand view of the designs.

Dwelling Designs

2. Flexible Spaces

The increased amount of time that many people are now spending in their homes has highlighted the need for spaces to be multifunctional or flexible, says Noree Henderson of JayMarc Homes in Seattle. “When it comes to building a new home, rooms are no longer being designated for just one purpose,” she says. “Spaces need to be flexible. A guest room is also the home office, a basement is also the home gym, and a family room is also the classroom.”

On average, her firm is building new houses a bit larger than before the pandemic, but the more noticeable change is how every space is used. Even family pets are getting more attention. “We’ve turned the space under the stairs into doggie dens in a few recent projects because clients are home with their dogs all day and want to give them their own hangout.”

Designer Julia Mack of Julia Mack Design in Brooklyn, New York, has also seen an increased focus on flexible spaces. She recently converted a sitting room off a master bedroom into a flexible space by adding sliding pocket doors, a wall of custom built-in storage and a sleeper sofa.

“This probably would’ve been a private space for the parents in the past, but now it functions as a home office, a classroom and a guest room,” she says. “I think the pandemic has changed people’s perspective on how they use every room in their house.”

Joy Street Design

3. Relaxing Escapes

The desire for a spa-like bathroom seems stronger than ever among homeowners, says kitchen and bathroom designer Sarah Dane-Brown of Sarah Dane-Brown Designs in Templeton, California.

“So many of my clients just want a nice and relaxing place in their house to escape for a while,” she says. “Vacations have been put on hold and lots of day spas are closed, so creating one in your own house is a great alternative. Soaking tubs, steam showers, heated floors — all the amenities of a spa are the types of things my clients are asking for now.”

Kitchen and bathroom designer Jena Bula of Delphinium Design in Charlotte, North Carolina, says her client requests for bathroom remodels have more than doubled in the past year. “I really do think it’s related to the pandemic,” she says. “People are spending so much time at home right now that they can’t help but focus on it.”

Bula recently designed her first ever wet room for clients. It features tiled walls, heated floors, linear drains, a rainfall shower, handheld showers and a teak bench. “I think people are craving that spa-like experience and a chance to escape for a little bit,” she says.

Tom Meaney Architect, AIA

4. Upgraded Outdoor Living

Recent client requests are not just focused on improving the inside of the house, but also on upgrading outdoor areas, says Jose Ares Abajo of Studio S Squared Architecture in San Jose, California.

“The pandemic has really made people look at their backyards as an extension of their home,” he says. “The amount of requests we have had for outdoor kitchens, custom pools, pergolas and built-in hot tubs has skyrocketed. We even added landscape designers to our staff to keep up with the demand.”

Andrew Zimmerman of Otis Creek Construction in Shepherd, Montana, has also seen an uptick in clients wanting upgraded outdoor living. “Montana is having a population boom right now, and lots of young families are moving here. They want backyards that their friends and family can use more months of the year,” he says. “Special features like built-in heaters and outdoor fireplaces are quite popular.”

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