Bill Ramsey – Podcast: Design Changes for Life Changes

John Burns Real Estate Consulting, LLC

June 4, 2020

Bill Ramsey, a Denver-based architect at KTGY, shares how COVID-19 is changing what we want from our homes and which of these changes might outlast the pandemic.

Work from Home

While the majority of employees who can work from home will ultimately return to the office, many will not, and even more will split time between the office and home. Working from home requires quiet, privacy, light, and cutting-edge technology. Smart builders will build flexible spaces that can accommodate the home office. Smart employers will give their home-officing employees things like dual monitors (which increase tech worker productivity by 20%+) and the communication technology they need to excel.

Changes in Kitchen Design

Fewer people are going to want the great big open rooms that include the kitchen, with more now wanting the kitchen to return to having some separation to hide the smells, mess, and noise. Kitchen storage has always been a priority, and the accelerating trend will be multiple pantries—one for everyday use and the other for bulk storage items.

Garage Configurations

Many families will now be able to have fewer cars per person, opening up the garage to multiple configurations. Garage space for various forms of interaction may evolve. Storage and drop zones will be part of the solution as well.

Front Entry

The public entry will still need great street appeal and will allow for secure package drop-off. The vestibule will also need better drop zone areas for shoes, packages, leashes, etc. “Mud rooms” will migrate from cooler climates to provide a buffer between the outside and inside.

Home Management Center

Where is all the technology going to be stored? Some say the laundry room. In any case, home management technology should be hidden and easy to access.

Bedroom Options

For space efficiency, the guest bedroom and the home office will likely be the same space for many families. For other families, they would prefer a small bedroom for sleeping only, with the square footage devoted to other spaces. Still others will want a larger bedroom that will accommodate even more uses, including TV watching.


A common theme in these home design changes is flexibility. More home space solves most things, but home prices and densities will usually make simply bulking up homes impractical. Builders and their buyers will have to figure out the trade-offs they are willing to live with and room flexibility will often be the answer.

In conclusion, great design involves a deep understanding of your target consumer. That understanding is hyper-local and needs to address the design options already available in the resale market. Too often, the architects aren’t given much of a budget to conduct additional research themselves or for research conducted by the builder or third parties such as us. Fortunately, we offer DesignLens™ as well as Consumer Research for those who want to make multimillion dollar design decisions with confidence.