The Remodeling Corner

Janet Cook

Building design and home remodeling has been influenced by epidemics over history. In the 1800s, cholera necessitated plumbing and sewer systems to provide clean drinking water and removal of waste. Tuberculosis was the world’s most infectious disease until it was discovered that sunshine and fresh air helped people recover. Building innovations included stronger walls and larger windows that could be opened. Hospitals and sanatoriums had outdoor patios and walkways so patients could spend time outdoors every day.

Early Modernist architecture was characterized with white surfaces, oversized windows, and indoor-outdoor living. Frank Lloyd Wright’s Taliesin West’s bedrooms are accessed through an outdoor courtyard, and his Lake House had a fountain and a bar of soap at the home’s entrance so everyone could wash up before coming inside. Somehow, these lessons have been forgotten.

With urban sprawl, no longer are the majority walking to work, to the store, to church, and hiking or picnicking or going to the beach on the weekends. They say we now spend 90% of our time indoors. Starting with the 1970s, homes became more airtight, making the indoor air two to five times more polluted than the outdoor air. More people are looking to nutrition for prevention, and more people have started gardens in the last two months than did in all of 2019. What are some changes in home remodeling that will likely come from COVID-19?

* Outdoor Living. Having a well-designed outdoor living area to encourage daily use during good weather to relax, eat, entertain, and even cook. Perhaps we will see a comeback of the front porch and porch swing!

* Dual Master Suites or Guest House. Having a parent or parents who need minimal care who were locked in isolation in a facility with COVID-19 has been distressing. Having an in-law suite or casita can give them some independence and give you some separation from family life. Having a second master bedroom can provide a private bathroom for someone who needs to isolate while they are sick.

* Home Garden. Considering the majority of food is imported or transported thousands of miles, that fruit is not picked ripe, and greens quickly lose their nutrition after harvest, it’s no wonder there is a surge in people starting home gardens. Growing one’s own food cuts down on the need to go to the store and provides the freshest and more flavorful food. An indoor garden system adds the bonus of fresh oxygen.

* Bidet. With the shortage of toilet paper, people are adopting the European standard of having a bidet. There are many bidet seats on the market that one can add to the existing toilet.

These are some elements you may want to include in your next home remodeling projects to make your home your safe place and more attractive to buyers when it is time to sell.

Happy Home Remodeling!

Due to space limitations here, you are invited to check out this article in full in the Cook Remodeling blog. Search for “Pandemics and Architectural Design Trends.”