Constructing a New Normal

Constructing a New Normal: 
Design, Planning, & Work-life Balance

Has sheltering in place finally allowed us the time to make our spaces feel like home? Or have we lost that loving feeling?

One thing that 2020 taught us is the value of our home and outdoor spaces. Shifts in the way we teach and work, allowing many employees to carry out their jobs remotely, has also led us to rethink the places in which we live, work, learn, and play – especially when those places are now one in the same.

“Necessity is the mother of invention.”
2020 has created new “needs” that our homes and workspaces must meet in 2021 and beyond.

During the summer of 2020, CNBC reported kitchen and bath remodeling saw a 40% jump in demand in June compared with the previous year. Home extensions and additions jumped 52%, and security and privacy also saw much greater demand with interest in fence installation and repairs up 166%. It was no wonder that construction materials, namely lumber, were not only difficult to find, but prices rose dramatically.

The construction market wasn’t the only sector impacted. In an effort to avoid crowded public spaces, and with vacation travel postponed, many looked for new ways to enjoy the outdoors safely. With the reduction in commuting, employees have not only saved on fuel and reduced emissions, but have more time to explore their local parks and natural resources. Sports equipment retail sales saw a huge increase, with cycling, paddling, golf, and camping gear at the top of shoppers’ lists (source). Kayaks and fitness equipment were even selling out at major retailers.

W Residential Addition

Now that we have entered the second month of 2021 and are approaching the one-year anniversary of the COVID-19 pandemic, many are settling into their remote lifestyle. Some employees prefer to work from home and are achieving a better work-life balance and more sustainable footprint. 

After spending much more time at home, we have decluttered, deep cleaned, and finally finished the honey-do list. Homeowners now find themselves looking to enhance their own outdoor spaces, while also searching for more room to store their newly purchased gear. The focus on expanding and refining our living spaces continues.

Planning Your Next Project

As home prices remain steady and finance rates remain low, the real estate market remains busy despite the pandemic. Is now the time to invest? Increase in home equity allows for financing of additional improvements and long-term gain.

Now may be the time to make our homes places that we love to be – both indoors and out. If the next item on your wish list is too big to DIY, now may be the time to start planning to bring in a professional. Use the winter and spring to plan for the upcoming construction season:

  • This winter: Create a wish list and collect inspiration for your project.
  • Winter into Spring: Work with a professional to create concepts and document existing conditions. Check in with your municipality for an initial evaluation of permit requirements or necessary approvals. If needed, obtain a survey of your property.
  • Spring: Finalize project drawings and plans and obtain any needed permits.
  • Early Summer: Your project should be ready to bid for construction or installation.

Is it time to love your home again?

Your home should still be a place you love and can’t wait to get back to at the end of the day. But, after being surrounded by unfinished projects or remoting in from your kitchen table, it’s no wonder we’ve tried to escape. However, with some simple planning strategies, interior renovations, exterior additions, and landscaping improvements, you may find that home is exactly where you want to be. 

If Saratoga Associates’ professional and technical services can be of assistance with the preparation of concept plans or budgets, please don’t hesitate to contact us!

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