House Renovation for the Pandemic

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Home Renovation for the Pandemic

“People want to be ready. We weren't done in March and now it was summer and we can think, ”said Alessandra Wood, vice president of style at Modsy, an online interior design service. "I don't know whether it is a fear or an expectation that we will still live this life in the fall."

Elizabeth Stuart, an interior designer in Charleston, S.C., says her retail business has increased 50 percent as homeowners and new buyers rush to redesign their spaces for a new era. Customers are looking for ways to house multiple workstations, expand high-speed internet, and improve ventilation and soundproofing. Features like mudrooms have become increasingly important as homeowners look for dedicated spaces to safely remove outerwear and store packages.

"It's crazy to think like that, but that's the reality," said Ms. Stuart. "Necessity is the mother of invention. You are just finding out what you need and what you want."

When the Meehans bought their home in 2018, they planned to eventually renovate it, but the pandemic postponed the schedule and changed their priorities. When interest rates fell, they refinanced their home, borrowing cash to add to their savings so they could get to work right away.

Before the pandemic, they thought they were renovating the kitchen, which is small but in good shape. Her architect stopped them from this idea, Ms. Meehan said, suggesting that adding the dining and living areas would allow them to keep the kitchen intact but make it feel bigger. By avoiding kitchen remodeling, most of the work can be done outside the footprint of the existing home, allowing the family to continue living at home with minimal contact with the work team.

"Obviously there is a different level of concern with Covid as it does not want contractors in your home," Ms. Meehan said. "That sold us during the renovation."

Some homeowners are looking for extra space in their backyards and adding customizable sheds that can be used as offices, classrooms, or training studios. Such structures, which can be quickly assembled on site, avoid the stress, time expenditure and high costs of interior renovation. In May 2020, sales of Studio Shed, a Colorado-based company that offers customizable backyard shed solutions that range from simple storage rooms to elaborate little cubicles with gable roofs, double-glazed windows, and sustainable wood, increased 500 percent from May 2019. According to Mike Koenig , the founder of Studio Shed, most orders are for home office spaces. Man Caves and “She Sheds” are just as popular as music studios and so-called flex spaces, which can be used as guest rooms, games rooms or fitness studios.

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