Home renovation

Home renovation for the pandemic

“People want to be ready. We weren’t ready in March and now we’ve had summer and are able to reflect,” said Alessandra Wood, vice president of style for Modsy, an online interior design service. “I don’t know if it’s a fear or an expectation that in the fall we’re still going to live this life.”

Elizabeth Stuart, an interior designer in Charleston, South Carolina, says her business with residential customers has increased 50% as homeowners and new buyers rush to redesign their spaces for a new era. Customers are looking for ways to accommodate multiple workstations in a home, extend high-speed internet, and improve ventilation and soundproofing. Features such as changing rooms have taken on renewed importance as owners seek dedicated spaces to safely remove outdoor clothing and store packages.

“It’s crazy to think like that, but it’s the reality,” Ms Stuart said. “Necessity is the mother of invention. You are figuring out right now what you need and what you would like to have.

When the Meehans bought their home in 2018, they planned to eventually renovate it, but the pandemic pushed back the timeline and changed their priorities. As interest rates fell, they refinanced their home, drawing cash in the process to supplement their savings so they could start work immediately.

Before the pandemic, they thought they would renovate the kitchen, which is small, but in good shape. Their architect took them away from that idea, Ms Meehan said, suggesting that by making the dining room and living room bigger they could leave the kitchen intact, but it would still look bigger. By avoiding a kitchen remodel, most of the work can be done outside of the existing home footprint, allowing the family to continue living at home with minimal contact with the work crew.

“Obviously there’s a different level of concern with Covid, not wanting contractors in your house,” Ms Meehan said. “That convinced us to do the renovation.”

Some homeowners are looking to their backyards for more space, adding customizable sheds to use as offices, classrooms, or workout studios. Such structures, which can be assembled quickly on site, avoid the stress, time commitment and high cost of interior renovation. Sales in May 2020 were up 500% from May 2019 for Studio Shed, a Colorado-based company that sells customizable garden shed solutions ranging from simple storage spaces to elaborate tiny cabins with gable roofs , double glazed windows and sustainable wood. Most of the orders, said Studio Shed founder Mike Koenig, are for home office spaces. Men’s caves and “women’s shelters” are also popular, as are music studios and so-called flex spaces, which could serve as a guest bedroom, play space or home gym.