Written by Neil Ginty, Architect
Creating an environment that is at once safe, healthy, productive, and relaxing will be a key driver in residential design for 2021.
Spending the past year cooped up has given homeowners the opportunity to think about how their living environment could better fulfill their needs, both practically and to nurture their physical and mental wellbeing.
With that in mind, our residential designers got together (virtually) with some of our favorite suppliers to chat about what luxury residential trends they are anticipating for 2021.
The home became a much more functional place in 2020, accommodating work, school, and most of all being a safe retreat. Those demands of daily life, typically accommodated in other places, forced us to creatively explore flexible solutions in our homes while needing to retain them as a place of quiet retreat.
“One thing we are seeing is a demand for security,” said Kevin Cook of Amplified Lifestyles, “that can be cameras or alarm systems, but it is also about network security.” Segregating home networks is one way to improve your cyber security, but it can also help with freeing up capacity for the other virtual activity.
“Segregating networks in the home allows for that to happen. If you need a certain amount of bandwidth for work, you do not want to lose the connection if one of the kids starts downloading something,” said Kevin.
“Some of the more intelligent companies have been asking if work-from-home can work,” added WDA Residential Project Manager, Dustin Foster. “All those companies now know it can and are thinking about how they can reduce their brick-and-mortar presence now that we have the technologies that make it work.”
Concepts to do with safety, in all its forms, are something more people are looking to while also using those measures to establish a healthy atmosphere. “What I hear from clients is that there was a luxury trend of having a safe room but that has been replaced with the concept of a safe environment,” continued Dustin.
Paul Scialla, CEO and Founder of Delos and Founder of the International WELL Building Institute has seen similar trends developing. “Even prior to the pandemic, air purification was of particular interest to consumers, especially those where outdoor air quality concerns are more frequent, such as in California’s wildfire zones,” he said.
“In the single-family home market many are increasingly aware of things like air purification and water quality on overall health and well-being, along with lighting on sleep quality and energy levels.”
Mindfulness has been a trend for some time, but we are now seeing how residential architecture can respond to that need. A home project that focuses on acoustics, not only with home theatres, but in shared spaces can help make rooms feel comfortable.
“When you walk into a properly designed theatre, it just feels comfortable—the sense of quiet,” added Kevin Cook. With current technology, you could even go so far as creating your own Zen garden with high-definition wraparound screens.
Delos’ DARWIN Home Wellness Intelligence Network can spread that sense of wellness throughout the home through the subtle use of technology by monitoring, calibrating and responding to changing indoor environmental conditions. Delos’ human centric lighting systems provides a much-needed antidote to the effects of blue light with a dynamic circadian lighting system that reacts over the course of a day to help improve sleep quality and improve energy levels.
“Anecdotally, I hear about people having trouble with sleep, and the rapid growth of LEDs and so much time in front of screens, the amount of blue light we are exposed to has got to be exponentially greater,” said Dustin Foster. “So, to have something that responds to that in a way that makes us healthier makes a lot of sense.”
The trend towards mindfulness is something echoed through an evolving application of materiality. “There is a trend of mixing textures to create something more calming with substantial earthy elements,” said Robin Merwin, Vice President of Business Development & Marketing at Da Vinci Marble in San Carlos. “Texture is one of the biggest trends we are seeing and also how interesting lighting can work with the texture.”
“There is more effort towards making things comfortable in a place you live and work rather than making it ostentatious,” added Joe Concilla, President of DaVinci Marble. “It is all about the exhale feeling rather than inhale. It’s the grounding feeling people get,” added Robin.
“Outdoor space is now as elevated as the indoor space. I hadn’t seen that before,” said Joe Concilla. “Beautiful living is not new but how it extends to the outside is new and how it is elevated is new.”
So called “Jewel-box” bathrooms with full-wall marble cladding are set to remain popular though there is a move towards a subtle use of texture and lighting on a more muted stone. The durability of quartzite is seeing it begin to rival marble in the kitchen as it provides the motion of marble with the resilience of granite.
A HEALTHY YEAR AHEAD
As we look forward and life gently begins to return to normal this year, we look forward to creating home experiences that continue to be flexible to the demands of modern life and building environments that will always feel safe whenever we need them to be.
Jim Westover, AIA, LEED AP; Dustin Foster; Sarah Mergy; Wendy Osaki; Brenna Daugherty