Our Top 5 post Covid and Lockdown related design ideas that we think are here to stay

Journal – 02 June 2023
By Anna Dutton Lourie

Kate's House. Photo by Shannon McGrath.

We can all agree that we LOVE not  being trapped in lockdown anymore.  We have noticed that our clients have been drawing on their unique experiences of this time to share requests and new post Covid challenges that need architectural solutions. The design ideas that address these are here to stay.  These have changed our clients’ (and our own!) visons for their dream homes.

Our top 5 are as follows:

1. The balance of solitude and togetherness:

While spaces to come together and gather are always important, WOW how well we discovered that places and moments to be apart are sometimes even more significant!

Quiet, more personal spaces to experience peace and solitude, that are not our bedrooms, were an important part of our recent client’s briefs. Examples include a day bed or window seat somewhat separated from living areas for a quiet moment alone. Clever arrangement of the daily living areas can give opportunity to subtly separating the users and noise generated within these spaces. Vast open plan kitchen, living and meals areas are becoming less enticing for our clients.

Acoustic linings are also great way to enhance peace and quietness by dulling the noise around you or from an interconnected space.
Multiple garden and landscapes areas or outdoor ‘rooms’ are another lovely way we can be together or apart while enjoying fresh air, sunlight and a connection with nature.

2. Daylight. As in, sunshine coming inside and warming your bones on a cold day:

Sounds simple but so many homes are poorly oriented to actually capture direct light when it is wanted (our guess is about 70% of the year in Victoria, Australia). This lack of natural light that I personally experienced while living in London for a few years, can really impact your mental health. A good architect will let the sun shine in whatever the orientation of your block and consider this throughout the course of the day to harness as much natural light as possible

3. Diverse options for working from home:

Working from home is here to stay, which means well designed home offices, desks and quiet spaces are here to stay too.  Although it has brought us increased flexibility, in can also bring longer working hours and more time spent on the phone and screens. A little desk at the corner of the living room or bedroom just doesn’t cut it for a couple or family who work from home at the same time.

Optimal work spaces include a nice outlook, plenty of daylight, thoughtful task lighting with good acoustics and acoustic separation.. We also like to think about the working context of the space – Zoom backgrounds with the clothes horse filled with your family’s knickers on display are not so professional or funny anymore. We carefully consider our clients physical and mental separation from the home space, by getting to know our clients personal rituals to start the working day and how they like to interact with the rest of the house throughout the course of a work day. These are all ideas that we strive to factor into a design for a work space.

Bellbird House. Photo by Shannon McGrath.

4. Screens be gone:

The exhausting covid-related media coverage and anxiety that can be generated from screen time has encouraged a lot of people to consider the role and location of the TV in their home. For some, it means  the TV is no longer the focal point of a living space, requiring clever joinery to conceal the screen when not in use. For others it might mean having a small additional separated room for TV set up comfortably for movie nights. An ‘Art TV’ is also a great step forward to adapting the screen when not in use as a television.

5. Spaces for self care and exercise:

Our process at Bower goes deep to explore the rituals and favourite moments of our clients’ days so we can design to make these special. A beautiful location for a busy person to do home yoga (thank you Adriene), meditate, set up a stationary bike or have gym equipment ready to go whenever exercise can fit into a day is a frequent feature on the ‘must have’ list for our clients.

I hope you enjoy thinking about these in terms of your own experiences. Do you have any other design ideas that you would like to add to this list?

With love,