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The countdown is on and it’s goodbye 2020! Hello, 2021! This year has certainly been an extraordinary one, to say the least, and I’ve seen some noteworthy housing trends that have been a direct result of the pandemic. It has changed the way we live in our homes and even what we expect out of them. How we spend our renovation dollars, where we want to live, and refocusing our renovation efforts has all changed.
I’ve always been drawn to the country. I love the wide-open spaces, friendly small towns, and being close to nature. Interestingly, many Canadians are now opting to forgo the congestion and limited space of the city and are selling their home to move further into the suburbs or the country. Many of my Holmes Approved Homes builders are seeing an increase in the demand for new housing and according to RE/MAX, 32% of Canadians no longer want to live in urban centres.
Moving into the Suburbs or Country
Since many people are now working remotely from their home office, commuting to work is becoming less of a factor, so there is less need to be in an urban setting - now families have the opportunity to move to the suburbs or the country. Homeowners are finding that they can get much more house for their budget if they move away from the city.
I also think people are increasingly appreciating the benefits of being outdoors and enjoying nature much more than ever before. I myself love that I can open my backdoor and only be a few steps away from fields and forest. It’s so peaceful.
Opting to Renovate Instead of Moving
For those Canadians that didn’t feel the need to move, statistics show that they are deciding to stay in their homes as they opt to renovate instead of move. Home renovations and improvements have dramatically increased over the past 8 months. In fact, building permits in Ontario have increased by 7% over the last few months – equaling over 6 billion!
To me, this makes complete sense. Here’s why. We’re spending more time at home (even me!), so you start paying attention to the small repair jobs that have been left idle for too long, your needs have likely changed, or you’re thinking of repurposing a room.
Regardless of what the project might be, remember that while quick and simple room conversions should be fairly straightforward, if you are thinking of a major renovation it’s important to spend your money wisely on things that need to be fixed around the house first, like a leaky roof or drainage issues. I always encourage homeowners to work from the outside-in when it comes to home maintenance. Protect the outside first, and it will protect the inside.
With that said, as we continue to spend more time at home, the layout and design, and functionality of the home become more and more important. Here is a list of some design ideas we have seen come out of the pandemic and make their way into the new year.
#7 Creating a Zen Room, Spa, or Pool
Big or small space, Leisure Pools (Unit 405) can help you create your backyard oasis.
According to a report published by RE/MAX, 44% of Canadians desire a home with more space for personal amenities. This includes liveable backyard spaces, inground pools, and converting bathrooms into home spas.
If you don’t have the space for it, minor upgrades to your bathroom can help make it feel more luxurious, or make it more functional. Updating your sinks and fixtures can switch up the vibe of the bathroom to make it more spa-like.
For anyone with a big enough backyard, one way to transform it into a more livable space is to install a pool. A private pool is a place for kids and their friends to play outdoors, a nice setting to host family BBQs, and a healthy way to stay active – all within the safety of your home.
Big or small, I highly recommend talking to the pros at Leisure Pools at Improve Canada. They provide a lifetime warranty on all the fiberglass pools they install, and you can actually get the process started in a couple of days. Leisure Pools offer an exclusive proprietary gel coat that produces a shimmering and unique sparkle finish. Their pools will certainly put the “zen” into your space.
#6 Finding Creative Storage Solutions
We all rushed to stock up on toilet paper when the lockdown first happened. We stocked up on canned food, hand sanitizers, paper towels and more. It makes sense that homeowners are thinking about increasing storage spaces when they renovate or buy a home now. By adding custom closet organization homeowners can maximize any closet or pantry.
Check out the closet and space designers at Improve Canada to find space-saving and space maximizing solutions.
Custom shelving by Trendy Closets (Unit 200 & 201) lets you maximize storage space.
#5 Dedicated Home Office Space
Open concept living spaces have been popular for many years. I myself have knocked down a few walls on projects. But these days, homeowners aren’t rushing to bring down their walls. Why? Open spaces with no barriers are not good for working in privacy.
With so many people switching to permanently working from home, having a dedicated home office setup just makes sense. For me, my garage became my office when I wasn’t filming.
I expect to see more privacy nooks and closed-off spaces in home designs for the next few years. I also think the pocket doors or sliding barn doors will continue to be popular. They add a great design element as well as functionality to space.
Many homeowners are asking their builders about soundproofing. How many Zoom calls have you had interrupted with background noise? If your kids are attending school virtually, soundproofing should be a consideration.
For more ideas on home offices check out 13 Home Office Ideas.
A modern sliding barn door from Alum Complete (Unit 184) can tastefully section off a home office.
#4 Flex Rooms
This year made us all pay attention to how we use our home. Some of our dining rooms became homeschooling classrooms, or desks, the nook under the stairs became a creative storage area, and the guest room became a home gym (just like my daughter Sherry).
The pandemic has really increased the need for multi-purpose rooms that can serve as a play area, a TV room, and a home office. Flex rooms or multi-use rooms are being added with design features so that when people are on virtual calls, they have something built-in behind them showcasing their home.
Maybe a bookcase, a built-in wall unit with shelving, or a niche that they can decorate for the season or showcase all their awards and trophies in while on their Zoom meeting.
If you need help in reconfiguring a room or a basement or need to add some custom shelving, I suggest you consult with a designer or one of the home improvement specialists or renovators at Improve Canada.
For all your custom millwork needs contact Starwoodworking (Unit 136)
#3 Home Additions
For families with older members, a main floor bedroom is becoming popular. People also want to maximize their living spaces, especially if the whole family is going to be at home all day. Specifically, homeowners are requesting a room off the main living area that has glass doors for visibility (especially if you have kids around).
Glass doors, from Komandor (Unit 184) provide privacy but also allow visibility, needed when you have young children.
A main floor bedroom is a great addition to your home, especially if you plan to age in place. Not having to navigate staircases as often when we age is an important consideration for many. Most main floors have at least a powder room but if you do plan on aging in your home and you have space consider making the power room into a 3 piece with a stand-up shower. Making this upgrade will ensure that you can live comfortably all on one level if mobility becomes a concern.
#2 Expansive Outdoor Spaces
I am not used to being home for longer than a couple of days at a time. Between filming, travel and the office, I don’t get to spend a lot of time at home. This summer, when filming and travel was shut down, I had the opportunity to redo my deck – and turn it into a pretty awesome outdoor living space.
I see a lot of homeowners doing the same, converting their outdoor spaces into livable spaces. To get the most out of your outdoor space during the colder months consider adding a retractable pergola or awning system over your patio. Garden beds, planting herbs, fire pits, and practical furniture are just a few upgrades people have been making. Earlier this year, my son Michael and his wife Lisa Marie created a series of raised garden beds, planting herbs and vegetables and it was a true delight.
I think this trend will continue well into the new year and beyond.
Expand your outdoor patio space with a retractable pergola or awning system from Palmiye (Unit 341)
#1 Healthier Building Materials & Indoor Air Quality
Since homeowners are spending more time at home they are becoming more aware of their indoor air quality – summer is gone and the colder weather is upon us meaning more time spent indoors.
Having good indoor air quality is essential for a healthy home and a healthy family. You’ve heard me talk about changing the various filters (HVAC and range hood) throughout your home regularly and about the dangers of radon gas. I love that homeowners are listening and are taking the time to improve their indoor air quality.
If you are concerned about your indoor air quality I suggest getting an IAQ of your home. An indoor air quality test will provide a detailed report of what is in your air so you can take the necessary steps to improve your indoor air quality. Most IAQ tests provide details on airborne dust, allergens, mould spores, chemical, or formaldehyde issues.
The way we build and renovate is shifting – and I think that’s a good thing. We’re seeing our lifestyle impacted by a major shift in the way everyday life is functioning, so it only makes sense that our homes would follow suit.