When the COVID-19 pandemic took hold in early 2020, three industry leaders – marketing expert Teri Slavik-Tsuyuki of tst ink, consumer strategist Belinda Sward of Strategic Solutions Alliance and the architect Nancy Keenan, President and CEO of Dahlin Group Architecture Planning – administered the America at Home study to thousands of homeowners and tenants. Their goal was simple: to gather immediate feedback from Americans on impending and permanent changes that could impact the design and construction of homes in the future.
A few months later, the team that initiated the study asked Raleigh, NC-based builder Garman Homes to help design and build an actual concept home that would reflect the changes Americans want. and are willing to pay, according to the data.
“We realized that the only way to really communicate the connection between data and design was to do as much as possible in one house,” says Keenan.
After numerous virtual design meetings and only 60 days of construction, the team unveiled The America at Home Study Concept Home: Barnaby in July 2021.
Located in Chatham Park in Pittsboro, North Carolina, Garman Homes named the Barnaby Concept Home in honor of Slavik-Tsuyuki’s Standard Blue Poodle, who died during the height of the pandemic last year. The house’s exterior gray color matches Barnaby’s coat, and the bright red front door reflects the color of her collar.
The 2,600 square foot two story home contains four bedrooms and three and a half bathrooms. It was designed for a hypothetical, millennial older family with two working parents, one working from home and one outside the home.
Design considerations were driven by how the home could promote safety, comfort and well-being. As a result, the house includes separate entrances for the owner and guests, two dedicated office spaces, flexible spaces, a guest suite with exterior access, a larger family bathroom, several covered outdoor spaces, a feature of improved kitchen, flexible storage, drop zones for parcel deliveries, and more.
Located on a 45 foot lot full of walkways, the garage is located at the back of the house. From the entrance to the garage, the team integrated an owner’s entrance, or a large drop zone with several functions. The space includes a cloakroom with lockers, bench, open shelving, laundry room with stacked washer / dryer and sink, secondary refrigerator and powder room.
“The family entrance is the space I dreamed of when my children were young,” says Alaina Money-Garman, CEO and co-founder of Garman Homes. “Having everything I need right where I need it when entering and leaving the house is the ultimate luxury for me.”
The guest entrance, located at the front of the house, leads into an oversized vestibule with a sliding glass door and access to an adjacent guest suite, all isolated from the rest of the house to contain and control the flow. people and germs if necessary.
“I like spaces that solve everyday consumer problems,” Money-Garman continues. “The vestibule is a really elegant element for me. It’s a subtle way to make the owner solid by giving them a way to address the person at the door while keeping the kids and dogs on the other side of that interaction.
The guest suite, which could serve as a quarantine room if required, has its own entrance from the front porch for fresh air and outdoor access and includes an en-suite full bathroom and mini bar.
Further down the floor plan, guests will find the heart of the home with the kitchen, living room, and dining room. The space looks and feels like many modern open floor plans today, but the design team gave more thought to the kitchen, as “a kitchen better equipped for cooking” was a priority area than 52% of all consumers wanted and were ready to pay in their next home.
A dedicated pantry, wall-mounted appliances, gas range with a sleek range hood, and ample storage begin the standard offerings, while the center island completes the space. From the sink, the island rotates perpendicularly and decreases in height to include an adjoining dining area with child-level lockers. The zone can work for many purposes, including homework or for children to take a more active role in preparing family meals.
The kitchen backsplash is made of a continuous, single-surface, germ-resistant quartz, desired by 55% of study respondents, and the fixtures are non-contact, desired by 48% of respondents.
About 58% of Millennials and 51% of Gen X respondents also cited ‘a better home office or studio’ as missing space in their current home, and 51% of Millennials and 43% of people Gen Xers said they wanted “home office spaces for more than one person.” Barnaby was designed with two dedicated home office spaces, one located on each of the two levels, and neither of which is a bedroom.
Across from the guest suite, a flexible room can act as an office if needed, but the team has arranged the room in the concept house as a school space and playroom, fitted with a Dutch door, of a rope and workspaces and reading.
Tucked away under the stairs, owners will find another dedicated workspace, or a small pocket desk with built-in shelves and a desk area. Keenan says the space could be used as a mini Zoom room or just a place to pay bills and store to-do lists.
“Each square foot has been thoughtfully discussed and optimized,” explains Money-Garman. “The floor plan is configured differently than anything we’ve ever done, and we want to make it realistic and achievable for buyers. “
Even with a product loaded with driveway, the team was able to carve out outdoor spaces for the home. Two sets of doors from the dining and living areas extend onto a covered outdoor terrace and a larger uncovered patio, which can also be accessed from the owner’s entrance. In addition, the porch gives the owners another opportunity to relax and meet outside.
Multipurpose pieces that can also change over time were cited by 66% of Millennials and 65% of Gen Xers as the behavior they expect to last. The design team responded to this statistic by eliminating strip closets in the two upstairs secondary bedrooms and demonstrating how built-in elements can be added or removed to create flexible and changing uses.
Another major design difference is the adjacent oversized family tub. With an oversized bathtub, walk-in shower, retro sink, child-height storage and a private toilet, kids and parents can comfortably occupy the space while the kids bathe, shower or brush their teeth. Plus, the addition avoids clutter in the master bathroom and allows parents to retreat to their own spa-like sanctuary.
“I would say the family bath was probably the most unique outcome,” says Keenan. “We started talking about what it’s really like in a house with a bunch of kids and how the master bathroom has always attracted all the attention. We really need something that works better for families who wash kids.
A laundry room can also be added on the second floor or the owners can allocate the space to another pocket office if needed.
Finally, the master suite has an en-suite bathroom with a walk-in shower, two sinks, and a generously sized walk-in closet, but the most unique attribute is behind a built-in shelving unit in the bedroom. A bonus secret room gives owners even more flexibility. The space could be used for a myriad of reasons, including another office, living room, storage, or workout area.
“The pandemic and the stay-at-home order have taught us that we can turn closets into home gyms, garages into movie theaters, and we can build a secret room where we can come in and cry if we want to,” Money-Garman concludes. “We can live inside every space with intention and purpose, and those don’t have to match someone else’s intentions and goals. “
Barnaby is open to the public and serves as a model home for visitors to visit both online and in person, but Garman Homes plans to put the property up for sale in conjunction with further development of the Chatham Park community in the coming months. to come.