Let Us Explain Why Families Choose To Add On To A House During A Pandemic

photography by Lisa Russman

There’s one common thread almost everyone can agree this pandemic has brought to light: the need to be near the ones we love and the focus on family and community. It’s those exact reasons why so many families are still choosing to add on to a house, make improvements, and create more space. One other important factor to consider is what the future holds after a major economic crisis: regrowth. We’re spending some cash now knowing that what we need – space to be together – is only going to continue to trend as the many facets of everyday life become more challenging to handle with the expansion of technology, distance learning, and remote working.

First, let’s talk about family, it’s our favorite topic to explore. We’ve worked with hundreds of families over our decades in this industry and we see that despite national and even local circumstances, the need to be connected is why we do what we do as architects. Homes bring families together, virtually or otherwise. Deciding to do an add on to a house is always about what it will provide for the family as a whole first and foremost, and the financial opportunities it brings are always secondary. Aging parents, college students, in-laws, and family members from abroad are coming together with an urgency unlike any other. And as we reluctantly welcome this reality as long-term, there is a need for more space. Basements are being finished, first floor additions are taking spreading out into the side yard, and second – even third story additions are going up. The financial bonus being that one, literally, thousands of people are moving into New Jersey with huge NYC budgets in need of space, and with remote work settling in, that’s a trend we probably won’t get rid of. Two, regardless of people moving out of the city, there will always be growing families or those in need of their forever home who are just like you – they need the room! Betting on the future couldn’t be more sure than right now.

Second, we’ve looked back in time and have noticed a trend, whenever there is an economic crisis or recession, there’s always a bounce back. After the 2008 recession, there were more than 8 million jobs recovered by mid-2014. These times of hardship lead to innovation that wouldn’t have been possible without it. And now, we’ve seen small businesses embrace the need to be virtual, offering online classes, online ordering options, Zoom meetings, and more. We’re moving faster with more tools and technology available than ever before and this impacts the kind of decision-making homeowners consider. 

More technology also means more job stability. As thousands of us gear up to work from home, that means office space – let’s clarify – quiet office space. It’s a must-have. Our behaviors as an economy are shifting so to add on to a house now with soundproofed office space protects our ability to work from home and earn an income. The kids are also at home distance learning in many cases and not everyone has a dining room with enough space for Chromebooks, notebooks, kids, chairs, books, and the list goes on. It’s not always worth the heartache of that kind of chaos when we’re not really sure these circumstances will be lifted any time soon.

With more demand for home improvements and add ons means the cost to supply those materials will also likely increase. So, by creating the space you need now and let’s face it, space you’ll surely need in the future, you’re saving money in the long run and cultivating a lifestyle of family-first living.