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Design for Well-Being

April 22, 2020 | By Rick Henry

Thoughtful Homes Improve Quality of Life

We spend most of our time at work or at home, and recently the two spaces have merged into one for many of us. Spending so much time at home sheds light on how well our spaces function. It may even reveal how deeply a home’s functionality (or lack thereof) can affect our well-being. If you’ve been at home for awhile now, would you say your spaces are thoughtful – or thoughtless? Do they help you easily navigate your day, or do you find yourself searching for work-arounds to make spaces fit your needs?

The Thoughtful Home™ concept was created by Dan Swift, President and CEO of BSB Design, over a decade ago after years of consumer research. By focusing on key data points, he identified key moments in a design that have the biggest impact on homeowner lifestyle and satisfaction – and ultimately, well-being. During today’s stressful times, thoughtfully designed homes provide functionality that makes life easier, often without us even realizing it.

Today’s Elephants in the Rooms: Home Offices & Personal Privacy

Does your home include spaces to work, to decompress and to play? Unless the floor plan has been thoughtfully designed, it’s likely that some of your spaces aren’t living up to their potential.

 
Isolated yet connected, privacy screening helps this home office function like a separate space.

Maybe your home office has become a playroom, so now your dining room is the new “office”. Those chairs are meant for mealtimes and may not be comfortable enough for an 8+ hour workday. Or maybe your home office is undisturbed, but every time you need a drink or a restroom break, you have to walk through and past multiple rooms – and a multitude of distractions – to get there.

And what about privacy? After days, weeks and even months at home, those of us with roommates or families are probably craving privacy more than we ever have. But simply closing the bedroom door isn’t enough. A home should offer opportunities for separation within the common areas, too, regardless of square footage.

Bedrooms should be reserved as sanctuaries of restful sleep. According to The Harvard Gazette, it turns out many of us aren’t sleeping well during this crisis, and that’s not surprising. The right environment can be created by thoughtful bedroom design, enabling homeowners to recharge and rejuvenate each night.

This Thoughtful Home™ includes a connected retreat in the master for added privacy.

Outdoor Connections

Spring is in the air, with the promise of time outside soaking up the sun by pools, beaches and even restaurant patios. But since most of those activities are off limits right now, we need alternatives to get outside for some Vitamin D. Homes should make it easy and enjoyable to get outside.

Courtyards that connect to multiple interior spaces make it easy to spend time outside.


Porches and patios need to be much more than afterthoughts, tacked on to check the box for “outdoor living”. To truly encourage functional outdoor living, these spaces need to be integrated into the floor plan, connected to the interior through glass and circulation, and carved into the very footprint of the home.

Multifamily is no exception. A great balcony can do wonders for the soul, but not if your neighbors are within arms’ reach or you’re in full view of one of their windows. Building orientation and unit layout must incorporate effective screening to make sure higher density doesn’t mean lower privacy.

 
These balconies are strategically positioned to maximize privacy from adjacent units.

So How Do You Feel at Home?

The Thoughtful Home™ uses a concrete, intentional design exercise to generate an abstract and hard-to-define result: Increased well-being. How do we truly measure whether a floor plan or room layout increases our health or happiness? One way is to think about how well our homes have adapted to our needs in the time of COVID-19.

So how do you feel? Has your home accommodated your needs lately and allowed you to work, relax, connect and isolate like you need to? Can you identify any changes that would make life easier should you have to endure another crisis like this? If so, you may have discovered why a Thoughtful Home™ is so valuable. 



Designing for well-being even impacts construction and finish material choices at the design stage. In Phoenix, several members of our team have received training from Wellness Within Your Walls. This group provides compelling data about the importance of thoughtful material selections for the future benefit of homeowners. Learn more by visiting their website.