Many a garage has been converted in pursuit of the convenience of working adjacent to one’s home – and the elimination of commute stresses. However, the floor plans of contemporary homes, condos, rental properties and hotels now routinely include consideration for areas that have flexible use potential.
The typical “secondary” environment is a home office. But by no means is it the only! Game and recreation rooms have been brought to elaborate levels in some residences; the pool has been brought indoors, the pool tables and video games have gained preliminary importance like the kitchen, den and laundry room.
Simply accommodating extra activities in the spare bedroom or the end of the living room, are old remedies! Spaces are now preplanned at construction stage for secondary uses from the get-go. The wiring for special needs, Internet capability, required lighting or plumbing are built in with activities flexibility in mind.
An important hobby may be formally acknowledged and require an area that takes it out of the shed and into the main structure. Movie buffs might include mini theatres within their residence. Health enthusiasts often dedicate a room to fitness and all its paraphernalia (getting the exercise bike and weights out of the bedroom).
It certainly takes forbearance to have a home office in the extra bedroom, close to the traffic patterns of kids and pets. Believe it or not there are ways to improve what presently exists, as well as exploring not-so-obvious alternatives! (It might be as simple as creating an external door, soundproofing, and eliminating the inner access.)
The evolution and acceptance of secondary environments is a path most of us can relate to. The formal development of an area called “the family room” was a giant step – differentiating formal dining from everyday meals and family group activities. Music and instrumentation was comfortably segregated at some point. And so it gradually went from “make do” to “dedicated space.”
Whether your secondary environment is a detached structure or carefully planned space under the main roof, designing such aspects into your project vision can bring many rewards. It is easy to calculate the long-term benefits of an office at your residence. Convenience is just one.
Your design professional will explore such alternatives with you whether your project has business or residential focus; and whether it involves conversion of existing space or new construction. Designing to the clients’ special needs presents many creative alternatives to explore.
Robert Boccabella, B.F.A., Certified Interior Designer
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Collaboration & Writing: Ms. Zoe Tummillo