Unity Blog

How Will COVID Change Home Design?

Readily-accessible outdoor living – Värm in mid-coast Maine

Unity Founder Tedd Benson commented recently in an online meeting that during the past two months, he’s spent more time at home than ever before in his life. Many of us are feeling the same way. The time at home has given us a new perspective on how our homes support us, and what we would like them to be. 

At Unity, we’re seeing pandemic-related themes in many of the inquiries that we’ve received during the past two months. These themes are generally about the design of our homes – how they facilitate extended periods of time spent at home, and the performance of our homes – how they support health and comfort.

Because Unity’s home designs are configured from a design system, rather than fixed in a plan book, each home that we design can be adapted to a new set of needs and conditions. Here are some of the needs we’re seeing, and ways in which Unity’s designs can serve those needs:

Entry Transitions

We all have a renewed appreciation for the transition from the unpredictable outside world to the inside space of home. At Unity we’re seeing that the mudrooms and entry spaces typical for our homes will increasingly include dedicated spaces for cleaning, and a more deliberate distinction between the clothes and shoes worn outside, and those for inside use.

Home Offices

Working remotely from home was already a growing trend before the pandemic. COVID-19 has underscored the importance of being able to work productively from home. While many Unity homes have been built with home office spaces, we’re exploring ways in which these spaces can enhance efficiency and work for more than one person. 

Kitchens for Cooking

Kitchens have always been a focal point of Unity’s designs. Typically the kitchen anchors an open floor plan that includes dining and living room areas. We’ve designed generous pantries into some Unity kitchens, and expect such pantries to become the norm. 

Caring for Body and Mind

With Unity’s emphasis on optimizing the use of space, home gyms have been rare – unless the home happens to have a basement. But we’re seeing the need for space in a house that can serve multiple functions, including staying fit and flexible, finding peace and quiet, and helping our children with schoolwork. We look forward to exploring the design possibilities of such spaces.

Connecting with Nature

While our homes need to protect us from harmful outside elements, they also need to help us connect with the healing world of nature. Exterior decks and three season porches are a staple of Unity’s design repertoire. We’ll continue to develop these design elements to make them as accessible and cost-effective as possible. 

Connecting Across Generations

The coronavirus pandemic has challenged us to care in new ways not only for our children, but also for our elders. The current crisis is likely to expand the trend toward intergenerational living that has been on the rise for a decade. We’ve designed Unity homes with in-law suites and separate apartments, and we’ve found that our Nano platform makes a wonderful Accessory Dwelling Unit (ADU).

These days, trying to predict anything about the future can feel foolish at best. What we do know is that in the face of unprecedented uncertainty, the best refuge is a home that is resilient, healthy and comfortable – qualities that we build into every Unity Home.