Home Guru

Making the Home Suitable for Quarantine

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By Bill Primavera

More than 15 years ago, I wrote a Home Guru article about the trend futurist Faith Popcorn (obviously a pseudonym) who coined the expression cocooning, or the trend of people preferring to stay more at home.  

At the time, as a public relations practitioner, I was engaged in a project with her, but personally was very much doubting her projections, at least for myself. What, me? Stay at home? Never.

But today most of us, including me, are now doing exactly that, and it’s not by choice; it’s by demand of civic and health officials. The new term for cocooning is to be quarantined.

If you’re like me, you hate the state of affairs of being restricted from going out, gallivanting if you will, going where you want whenever you want.

As a former frequent restaurant-goer, it is the dining out that I have missed most.   But just the simpler pleasures of being able to walk out of my condo without having to remember to mask up is very much short-circuiting the normal way I live.

Popcorn’s forecast was for a home-centered lifestyle to be supported with gadgets, furnishings and accessories to make one’s abode a more welcoming entertainment and work hub. She even projected the advent of shopping at home through technology long before the concept was developed. In fact, the re-emergence of the lifestyles trend is aided and abetted by 21st century technology.

The trend today is very much in effect, necessitated and enforced by a nasty virus.

Most times a change in lifestyles is a slow evolution and sometimes it’s a big switch. In this case today, it’s a bigger switch than most of us have ever encountered before.

This lifestyles phenomenon is leading to the design of official home offices, not just spare bedrooms, and designated entertainment rooms, fashioned as theaters and game rooms. We in the real estate business are certain to see more flat screen TVs in living rooms, hot tubs in garden rooms, more home gyms and more open kitchens where homemakers can interact with their quarantined families and cook at the same time. 

New housing developments will give us more options to stay on our own block, as well as in our own homes. They are planned around the topography so that each can have a walk-out lower level that would suggest a large space there designated for at-home enjoyment for the family.  

I’m friends with a couple who some time ago converted a raised ranch in Yorktown Heights into an enlarged colonial designed to entertain a big family.

With a punch-out addition in back that is 30 feet deep, they were able to combine their first level’s original living room, dining room and kitchen into one open space for entertainment with an equally large kitchen/dining room in the new addition, ample enough to seat 25.

On the lower level is a party room that includes two large screen TVs, one at each end of the room “specifically designed for Super Bowl Sunday,” they say, “where everyone in the large space can see the game.” There’s also a pool table, an octagonal gaming table, a darts table, two generous seating areas and a full-service bar. Why leave home to have fun? It makes good sense in a COVID-19 world.

In answer to any argument that quarantine and spending less outside the home will stall the nation’s economy, just consider all the new technology, accessories and furnishings we are utilizing to turn our homes into work and family entertainment hubs. 

While writing this column on my new iMac laptop, I’m lounging in my pajamas in a comfortable easy chair in my living room, intermittently watching TCM on my large screen TV and, with any leftover brain space, enjoying my favorite recent film, “Once Upon a Time in Hollywood,” on my iPad, while periodically checking for e-mails and voicemails on my iPhone. Case closed.

Bill Primavera, while a writer and public relations practitioner, is also a realtor associated with William Raveis Real Estate. To engage the talents and services of The Home Guru to market your home for sale, call 914-522-2076.

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