Many words come to mind when attempting to describe 2020. When it comes to home renovations and remodels, unusual sticks out.
Research shows that due to widespread lockdowns, homeowners have dramatically shifted how they perceive and prefer to live in their homes. This shift has been palpable for the home improvement trade.
My company BEYREP played matchmaker for homeowners and contractors during the pandemic, facilitating remodeling requests of all shapes and sizes. Some of them appeared unusual on the surface, yet they might foretell trends we’ll see in years to come.
Here are some of the top unusual home remodeling requests of 2020:
1. Garage junior accessory dwelling unit (ADU)
One homeowner wanted to convert their garage into a JADU (junior accessory dwelling unit) for their elderly parents who were moving out of senior housing during the pandemic. The separate living space allowed for safe physical distancing while offering the parents a comfortable home close to family and away from coronavirus hotspots.
Homeowners typically want JADUs as a guest house or rental. In this case, multi-generational living is the focus. Family members are spending 2020 isolated from each other, but JADUs offer a simple way to bring loved ones together. Expect to see more multi-generational remodeling requests, with garage JADUs being an efficient way to accommodate the trend.
2. Staycation Conversions
A married couple with a private hillside home asked for an innovative change of scenery. They expanded their bedroom balcony and added tracks to the bottom of their bed, creating an on-demand outdoor bedroom. Just open the balcony doors, glide the bed outside, and voilà.
Vacations aren’t as plausible during the pandemic, and homeowners want to soothe their wanderlust. We predict an increase in vacation-inspired renovations to pop up in the future. Whether it’s an outdoor bungalow or movable furniture that instantly creates a whole new space, homeowners want a getaway, even if they can’t go anywhere at all.
3. Custom spaces for Pet Living
Iguanas deserve to live comfortably, too. That was the belief of one homeowner who requested iguana catwalks throughout their home. Now, their reptilian pets can walk around freely from room to room without fear of being accidentally stepped on.
That’s a specific example, but it’s a testimony to the larger trend of dedicated living spaces for pets. With remote work in full force, humans are crowding the pet’s usual home territory during the day. Remodelers may see more pet-centric requests as homeowners strive to make space that they (and their pets) will collectively (or separately) enjoy.
4. Extra Private Spaces
In one homeowner’s two-story condo, there is a room inside a room. A floating loft. Sitting on a “floor” of its own above the living room, accessible via a spiral staircase, the loft provided the homeowner with an extra private nook to be used for work and the children’s schooling.
Anyone in a crowded home in 2020 knows the value of private space. Beyond the bedroom, homeowners are maximizing their square footage by installing hideaways like she-sheds, basement dens, spaces with collapsible walls, and yes, floating lofts.
5. Youth Fitness Areas
One homeowner had a permanent steel RV shelter, but no RV. The pandemic inspired them to convert the RV shelter into an indoor gym for their active children.
Unused RV shelters are ripe for remodels, true, but the trend here is about youth fitness spaces. Gyms are closed and classes are online, so parents are bound to start dreaming up new ways of helping their kids participate in physical education from home.
6. Hobbies and Leisure
Having a golf course on your property is no longer a millionaire’s perk. One couple installed a putting green in their backyard, helping them stay practiced by bringing a favorite hobby home.
Golf, movie theatres, arcades, water parks. Beloved activities and pastimes may be closed down, but remodeling professionals are keeping homeowners engaged. Depending on the homeowner, it could be an in-home movie theatre, a room for gaming, in-ground pool, art studio in the attic, or a batting cage in the backyard. After disengaging from life’s usual pleasures, people are ready to revive their favorite activities.
The pandemic spurred unusual home renovation requests, highlighting larger trends that may be coming. Ultimately, trends come and go, but one thing is clear: The home improvement industry will play a pivotal role, turning unusual ideas into flourishing realities that improve peoples’ lives and homes.
About the Author
Grace Tsao Mase is the CEO and Founder of BEYREP, an emotionally intelligent home remodeling solution that matches homeowners with compatible contractors. Facilitating home renovation projects from beginning to end, Grace created BEYREP to empower homeowners in their renovations and provide remodeling professionals with a new way to increase profits and grow business more efficiently. Grace is trained architect, software designer and developer, author of the book “Revivify Your Home,” and host of the podcast “Revivify.”