It’s safe to say that the coronavirus pandemic has impacted just about every industry, including the home space, to some extent. With many being forced to work from home, more and more people have shifted their focus towards nesting. Scroll through Instagram, for instance, and you’ll find hosts of images featuring decorating projects — refreshed home offices are just one example — proud organizing moments, unique craft ideas, and many other creative projects people have relied on to experience a moment of joy during this challenging time. Home has become more important now than ever.
Considering people’s increased connection to their living spaces, we can’t help but wonder about what’s on the horizon for home design post-COVID-19, when many assume their normal routines again. That’s why we invited Heide Hendricks of the award-winning design firm Hendricks Churchill, who’s currently putting the finishing touches on a country residence for Eva Chen, Instagram’s director of fashion partnerships, to explore what can be expected from the world of home design after the coronavirus has waned.
The Living Room as the Heart of the Home
“Suddenly, the living room has become grand central. We’ve been creating more spaces within the living room that are very much like Victorian parlors. There’s not just a coffee table and a drink table, but there might also be a game or snack table. The sofa can have lots of pillows for just being comfortable when watching a movie in the middle of the day. There’s a space where an adult can take a call while their child is on their laptop or iPad nearby with headphones, and another member of the house can be off to the side doing their own thing. Studio living is in one space now. The living room is finally taking center stage again.”
“People will still gravitate towards open layouts, because they love that big ‘aha’ room, but we are already seeing more requests for pocket doors. For instance, our house a couple years ago was an old farmhouse. It was that classic form with four rooms on the main floor, separated by a center hall staircase, so it was really a circular floor plan. You could walk from one room to the next and end up back at the staircase. The living room had a fireplace and there was a TV in the family room. When the kids were watching YouTube or TV shows, we could just close the pocket doors and still sit by the fire.”
Master Bedroom Seating
“All of the beautiful sitting areas we’ve created in master suites (for clients) are finally being used. I created a master suite with a sitting area for one client, who was a high-powered attorney. He had young children in the house, so he would sequester himself in the master suite. For this reason, it was ideal to have the office within his bedroom.
There’s something nice about hanging out in your bedroom. If there’s not enough space for a sitting area, you can try a small 50- or 60-inch sofa at the base of the bed instead of a bench.
“There was a long-time preference for cooler colors, but now there’s this gravitation towards warmer colors with pinkish undertones, which might be related to sheltering. That pinkish undertone is like a warm hug. I recommend Farrow & Ball Slipper Satin and Farrow & Ball Wimborne White.
More Thoughtful Purchasing Decisions
“Recycling, upcycling, and exploring local businesses that are selling secondhand items are at the core of our philosophy as a design practice. It’s a win-win because it supports local business, and it gives the homeowner the immediate gratification of having their furnishings (right away). Suddenly, their home can have a nice layer of patina. I love a space that feels like it’s been accumulated over time and not just impersonally thrown together. With a trip to a local antique shop or vintage store, depending on the person, they can curate some really great stuff and do that first round of edits for you. You go in there, and it’s almost like having design assistance.”
Comfortable Outdoor Spaces
“People are setting up living rooms in their backyard. Several clients have been asking us to source outdoor heaters, so people are trying to hold onto their outdoor living areas as long as possible. Smokeless fire pit inserts are big now, and they’re quite affordable (brands like Breeo and Solo Stove make them). They basically look like a tin can, but you can have a real fire inside of it. It’s incredible, since many people might have a small backyard, which means a fire pit isn’t practical.”