Editor’s Note: Pandemic Design

authors Patrick O'Toole | September 16, 2020

Among the great pleasures of running Qualified Remodeler—as well as its sister publications Kitchen & Bath Design News and Residential Design—is the front-row seat it affords in viewing truly sensational remodeling solutions delivered by the industry’s finest and most thoughtful designers.

Our annual Master Design Awards issue is the result of many months of preparation, beginning in January when the competition opens for submissions through July when our judges make their deliberations. Click here for a list of the winners and a link to their full profiles.

Amid a global pandemic with all of its business tumult, we were stunned to receive our highest number of entries in several years. And we were equally impressed with the high number of entries in categories with very large project budgets. Looking back, however, this should not have been a surprise. The remodeling market and the economy had been moving upward for many years just as the pandemic hit. The shutdowns clearly gave more of you the needed time to assess recently completed projects and to submit them. I encourage all of you to spend some time reviewing these excellent award-winning projects.

Looking Ahead to Next Year’s Winners

Lately in my conversations with architects, design-build remodelers and kitchen and bath designers, I ask them if they are noticing any changes in the project and programming preferences of their clients. Are there any perceptible changes that can be traced to months of sheltering-in-place? So far, all agree that client preferences are indeed shifting as they look ahead to more time at home.

For homeowners who are working remotely full-time for the first time and who have children learning remotely full-time, there are new needs for dedicated office and workspaces. Many of you are seeing projects driven by these new requirements.

Massive amounts of around-the-clock cooking, usually with multiple cooks, has become the new normal for millions of homeowners. Many who previously did not cook now find themselves putting their professionally designed and seldom-used showplace kitchens to the test. Some revel in the experience and will never go back. They binge on Bon Appetit cooking videos and learn all the pluses and minus of the current kitchen arrangement. They, too, are coming to you for modifications and upgrades.

Perhaps there will be a focus on retreats. We are hearing about new master suites, and we are hearing about fully programmed outdoor living spaces. We certainly will be seeing more of both types of projects next year.

Many of us are looking ahead at a world that is unalterably changed going forward—perhaps less business travel, a greater desire for suburban or even rural homes, and more time at home with family and friends, just to name a few that come to mind. Those changes favor our industry and give all of the great designers across the country the opportunity of a lifetime—the chance to play a part in what is likely to be a transformational period in residential design. QR

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