As of August 6, 17 of the 20 largest school districts in the country are pursuing remote learning only as their back-to-school instructional model, affecting over 4.0 million students (EdWeek¹). This means that homes which had been functioning as office spaces and summer camps for the past three months will also need to act as classrooms.
While the pandemic will subside and kids will return to school, most parents will never look at a new home in the same way. The previous focus on kitchens and master bedrooms will remain, but buyers will also be seeking functional spaces for their children and environments that let working parents coexist with their active kids. This week, we highlight some clever design elements to help make the experience more valuable for everyone.
Dedicated quiet spaces are not just for working professionals.
The National Education Association (NEA) stresses that students at home need to have spaces specifically devoted to conducting their schoolwork. We have been featuring design concepts that include quiet, work-from-home spaces with great natural light and access to high-speed Internet. The school-from-home phenomenon reinforces this need. In a recent Forbes² article, architects Marissa Mead and Julia McFadden (Svigals+Partners) assert that to be most effective academically, students at home should ideally have three types of spaces, including one for traditional studying, a softer space for reading or listening to music, and a larger space to spread out where school projects can be completed. We think the result in home design is going to be a greater emphasis on secondary and tertiary bedrooms for children and multifunctional loft spaces that can be used for education as needed.
Kids need their own spaces, and parents want them to have them!
Noise carries everywhere in open concept floor plans, and evolving designs are emphasizing more defined areas for work, school, and relaxation. Loft spaces where kids can go to school during the day and hang out in the evenings are gaining in popularity and can serve as places for “pandemic pods” for those who choose that option. Organized places for students are critical, and housing designs that incorporate built-in shelving and drop zones will be in higher demand. Interior designer Emily C. Butler recently commented³ that each child should have a special area, such as a shelf in a closet, for storing school materials and keeping them organized and accessible.
These concepts are not new: in JBREC’s pre-COVID survey of 20,000+ new home shoppers, more than half of young and growing families described bonus/multipurpose rooms and drop zones as important in their next home. We expect this trend’s popularity to increase.