HAPPY NEW YEAR!
I am always excited to see what new trends and returning classics will be gracing our screens for the year. I will admit though, I have never been one to go with the band wagon, but every once in awhile a "trend" is so good that it stays and becomes a classic. That is what I am looking for.
When one returns for another debut, this is obviously a favorite of mine being an old soul, but I love to also take this as a design challenge to find a way to update it, make it my own, and have a little fun. Not simply copy + paste from the history book.
And I feel like a classic is indeed making itself known again: Multi-Purpose Rooms. Let's take a look back before we look forward.
For centuries, interiors boasted rooms that served for more than just one purpose. In the "Drawing Room" for instance, you would find a sitting area (a large one and one or two small ones floating about), a desk for letter writing, a musical instrument or two for entertainment, with maybe even shelves lined with books. In modern design you would find these functions separated into rooms of their own: the Living Room, the Home Office, the Music Room, the Library Room...taking up so much square footage!
We don't all live in castles with 200 rooms to house every need nor want we desire. So have we been limiting ourselves as to what we can have in our home solely because we do not have a room to dedicate to it? I know I have before. When all I would have needed was to move this to there with that so I could make room for something new I so wanted and would have made Home all that much more enjoyable, especially in a pandemic when you are confined to it. And how many of us are buying McMansions we think we need only to then find ourselves (and our families) lost in the surplus of space? And then downsizing later on...
Practice what you Preach, Kristian. That I can assure you I will be with our new home, Bonnie Manor. Even with 3,000 sq. ft. I would run out of rooms if I only doled out one purpose each. Our Foyer will of course serve as the entry for guests with a coat rack and a table to take a load off; but also as an extension of the Living Room it opens up to with additional seating, entertaining (and practicing) with our family heirloom piano, and I have even contemplated floor to ceiling bookshelves to finally have the Library of my dreams! All in one room instead of taking up four. Otherwise I simply would have to do without the piano and library I have always wanted if I didn't work them into the existing plan. Our Living Room currently has a blank area that will soon be where Q beats me in chess. Two chairs and a small table and voila it's the Queen's Gambit! I am currently finalizing the design of our kitchen and one thing I have been considering is leaving out one base cabinet so that a chair can sit at the counter like a desk; which would serve for Q to do his homework while I cook dinner - thus making this routine easier for us, but also freeing up space in his bedroom without having a desk. What was serving as a Laundry Room off the Kitchen will be turned into what I am now calling the "Scullery" equipped with a washer and dryer, but also a work table (built in over the front loaders), a utility sink for cleaning up after family dinners and garden hauls, a large shelf for storing canned goods and minimally used kitchen items, and storage for coats and boots as a mudroom would with this also being our back entry point. Oh, and one of my favorites: bedrooms with a sitting area and makeup vanity and maybe even a small desk as a bedside table. A true retreat to treat yourself at the end of the day. Because if 2020 taught us anything, its self care.
I am well aware there are of course exceptions, for example, large families. I come from one! Extra bedrooms will definitely be needed, but not necessarily one for each. Did you see the Bunk Rooms that were trending this past year? Love. My sister and I shared a room growing up and I am sure it did us some good and even made us closer. But also, twin bed rooms are adorable and what I plan for one of our rooms one day..when there are more littles running around. Otherwise, I would lose the Guest Room, which by the way will be housing my treadmill and weights as well! At first I kept going back and forth as to which this space would be used as, Guest Room or Home Gym, but then it hit me...I won't always have guests and let's be real, I won't be working out that much. So why let a room sit unused? If it served both purposes then it would be used twice as much!
So I challenge you this year, shift things around and make room for something you would enjoy! Was there something you missed getting to do this year during lockdown? Now is the time to bring it In- House. The gym? Do you have a guest room sitting unused as well? Then lets get some weights and give it a workout! I'm sure the guests won't mind their own private gym when they visit. The theater? Try bunking up two children or two other functions to make room for a home theater! Add in a big screen or projection screen and some comfy seating (maybe a popcorn machine) and enjoy the extra family together time! The Coffee Shop? Try adding a coffee station (and I mean decked out with your fav caffeine kicks) to your kitchen or dining room and enjoy a cup of joe without waiting in line!
Show of hands for who had to make a work from home and/or distance learning space this year? Once it wasn't uncommon to have a small desk in your bedroom. With so many working from home along with their children learning from home, possibly the easiest thing to do is bring this back instead of trying to all share one "home office". And what better reason to hit the thrift stores when everything is open again? Not only is the antique design concept making a comeback, but also antique furniture and thrifting them!
With all that said, I most certainly see Multi-Purpose Rooms trending or coming back for a time. Along with a more closed concept to help give privacy and quiet when needed, like zoom conference meetings we all learned how to do. And with so much time at home these days, things may not have been exactly magazine-ready most of the time, so being able to close a door on that when there's a call at the front door or just to give yourself some grace is welcomed after this year.
So here is to 2021! Make the most of it, your square footage, that is.