Micro-desks, smart storage and pops of color


As we approach a third year of coronavirus, it’s clear that the pandemic that has changed the world has also changed the way we live – and work – in our homes.

People have had to adapt their living space as a classroom space for the children, a work space for themselves and perhaps a spousal space and recreation and leisure space when everything else is closed. Entertainment that once took place indoors or in restaurants has increasingly moved to the backyard.

With no immediate end in sight, the pandemic has already had an effect on architecture and interior design. So what’s in the design predictions for 2022? We spoke to several Bay Area and Sonoma architects and designers who highlighted some common themes: people increasingly want their homes to be flexible, with functional spaces for work, learning and play , while providing a quiet sanctuary.

Melanie Turner, Director of Residential Design for Perkins & Will’s residential studio with Pfau Long Architecture of San Francisco

The micro-office at home: As more employers transition to a work-from-home model, owners are looking for more permanent office space.

At the onset of the pandemic, people suddenly sent home to telecommute an adjoining space wherever they could find it, be it a guest bedroom or the kitchen table, thinking it was only temporary. But Turner said many people now want a more defined and permanent workspace, away from the typical open floor plan that offers no privacy.

She predicts greater demand for micro-home offices, small private workspaces hidden in a large room like a den or library. Think pivoting bookcases, hidden doors and sliding partitions.

“Separating work from home doesn’t have to be about physical distancing,” she said. It’s more about creating a “mental journey”. Turner, who works from home in the small San Francisco apartment she shares with her husband and son, has created her own work nook in a walk-in closet with a window for natural light.

Smart storage solutions: People living in small to medium sized homes seek to maximize their space for all the purposes a home needs to serve.

One way to find extra space is to condense your storage space, freeing up space for a micro-workspace in a closet (or mudroom or laundry room), Turner said. This may involve installing new shelves or cabinets. Use your wall for shelving and go high, even floor to ceiling, and/or go deep. Put things you rarely use in the back or on top.

Clean materials: The pandemic has put more emphasis on indoor air quality, health and wellness, Turner said. People are paying more attention to what they bring into their homes and to the safety or potential toxicity of paint finishes and cleaning products.

Turner said she was working with a client who was building a house near Occidental and was committed to using as much wood as possible from her own land for projects such as a dining room table and bedroom furniture. ‘outside.

Indoor/outdoor life: The pandemic has made many people more interested than ever in creating amazing outdoor spaces to safely relax, play and socialize and bridge the gap between indoors and outdoors.

Hidden TV: For decades, the television has been the centerpiece of family and entertainment rooms. No more, said Turner. In 2022 we will see a change from this, with hidden or camouflaged television screens.

Samuel Lowe, Director at SDL Residential Designs, Sonoma

ADU: There has been a surge in demand for so-called secondary suites, in part due to a relaxation of building requirements in Sonoma County, said Lowe, who has offices in Sonoma and other parts of the Bay. Area.

Additionally, the need for a place to isolate in the event of exposure to the coronavirus or to work from home during the pandemic has spurred interest in creating separate, self-catering studios and cottages.

“Just having another space on your property where you can isolate yourself has been so fun for me personally,” said Lowe, who does both architecture and interior design work.

“We designed an ADU for some friends in Sonoma County, and then just over Christmas when omicron started up, we stayed there in the ADU because we were spending Christmas with them and that allowed us to self-quarantine. until we get our test results.”

Outdoor rooms: The trend is landscaping for outdoor living. People want outdoor rooms with some cover, like a gazebo or pergola, where they can cook, dine, and talk with friends while easily accessing the house. These open-air rooms are equipped with permanent radiators under the eaves. Fire pits, outdoor kitchens and cozy living room furniture remain hugely popular during those long hours and days confined to the house.


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