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    Industry Trends | 3 min read

    Flexible Functionality: Home Hosts it All

    Never before in modern memory has the home meant so much, nor has it needed to bear the weight of such a diverse blend of activities throughout the day. With multiple generations living in the same space, our ever-accelerating culture is full of professional opportunities, personal pursuits and an accumulation of distractions. We also continue to see a host of technological innovations that change the landscapes of our lives nearly every day.

    In this context, it truly is a wonder that our homes can host it all. From the daily grind of work and school, to entertainment and exercise, there are very few facets of life that aren’t anchored at home. In many ways, the lifestyle changes prompted by the onset of COVID-19 actually sped up a “re-homing” process that was already happening for certain activities before the pandemic took hold.

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    Everything, All the Time

    The difficulty we now face is that our homes weren’t designed to serve as our “everything, all the time” life hubs. Therefore, we need to form new plans for whole-home flexible functionality that allows us to prepare multiple convertible spaces rather than looking only to a bonus room, garage or other flex space.

    To take things one step at a time, here are three compact-space flexibility options to consider for your existing footprint:

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    Workouts by the Wet Bar

    Thanks to an explosion in the variety of at-home fitness products on the market, from wearables to connected pieces of equipment, it’s possible to refresh even the smallest space into a #GymAtHome with a bit of creativity. Get a Mirror or a Carbon Trainer for the wall, park the Peloton or the Echelon to the side and roll out the yoga mat right in front of the wet bar to rev up your metabolism at the start of the day.

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    You can add a bit of textural allure to the dual-purpose space with a stone or brick accent wall to create a workout wonderland that any gym fanatic would envy. For refreshment options that won’t add empty calories back to your waistline after a session, you can also incorporate a juicer at the wet bar, and you’ll always have the option to treat yourself to a weekend cheat day.

    “Kettlebells and Cocktails,” anyone? (Not for you? Perhaps you’re more of a “Peloton and Prosecco” or “Mimosas at the Mirror” kind of person.)

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    Zen-ified Zoom Room(s)

    Now that home schooling and work-from-home environments have suddenly become much more the norm, it’s time to decide on a few long-term changes that will help us work well. This includes tools and technologies to deliver consistent WiFi to multiple devices without lag, inventive strategies to partition and soundproof shared spaces and, inevitably, a way to break up the chaos with a few moments of clarity.

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    In terms of health and wellness, the design aesthetic of a space can diminish stress all on its own. For multifunctional work-and-wind down spaces, use the principles of biophilic design to add natural lighting, real greenery and other textures to reinforce your family’s connections to the natural world.

    For the truly ambitious and those with space to spare, consider incorporating an Urban Blooms living wall for extra Zen or a fully functional standalone ROOM pod for enhanced privacy.

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    Refresh and Reconnect in Rec Spaces

    No matter our age or role within the family unit, the truth is we all need an opportunity to reset when pressures mount higher and higher. When the WiFi signal goes out for the hundredth time or the kids need a break from their screens, an extended outdoor recess is just what the doctor ordered. And most outdoor spaces have the capacity to house an enticing array of activities that go above and beyond the norm.

    For youngsters, a play area with a swing set, tree house and/or trampoline can provide the perfect combination of multisensory activities to get the willies out at the end of a long day. Meanwhile, a growing number of parents are looking for spaces to support a garden-to-gourmet lifestyle, including garden plots for cultivating homegrown produce and full outdoor kitchen setups for serving up alfresco meals under the evening sky.

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    For engaging discussions by the fire, add a Kindred Outdoors & Surrounds fire bowl and let the conversational sparks fly. Day or night, there’s nothing like an open flame to drive the imagination and inject a sense of contemplative creativity into any situation.

    Transforming our homes at a broader scale may still be a long-term goal, but that should not stop us from making small, intentional changes today. By better equipping our favorite spaces for flexible functionality, we’re making mindful adjustments to sustain the feeling of joy we have while working, playing and staying at home.

    To borrow a phrase, there truly is no place like home. Like gravity, it keeps drawing us in.

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    Sarah Lograsso

    Sarah Lograsso is the Director of Marketing for Boral North America’s stone division of brands (Cultured Stone, Eldorado Stone, Kindred Outdoors + Surrounds, Versetta Stone, Dutch Quality, StoneCraft and ProStone), where she manages all of the brands’ marketing, advertising and promotional projects and objectives. She is well versed in manufactured stone and brick veneer, masonry techniques, biophilic design, fireplace surrounds, outdoor living, fire bowls, color and texture, and up-to-date industry and market trends.

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