There is a saying, necessity is the mother of invention, and building design and home remodeling has been influenced by epidemics over history. In the 1800s, unsanitary and overcrowded conditions contributed to the spread of cholera caused by contaminated water. New plumbing and sewer systems were implemented to provide clean drinking water and removal of waste. Tuberculosis, considered to be the world’s most infectious disease, took the life of one out of every seven people living in the late 1800’s, when it was discovered that sunshine and fresh air helped people recover. Building innovations included concrete reinforced with iron rods which allowed buildings to be stronger and have larger windows, and plate glass allowed for the making of bigger windows as well. Electric lighting became standard (before it was gas). Hospitals and sanitoriums had outdoor patios and walkways so patients could spend time outdoors every day, and their windows opened up for fresh air. High rises included balconies for personal access to sitting in the sun and getting fresh air.
Early Modernist architecture was characterized by clean lines, white surfaces, oversized windows and indoor-outdoor living. Frank Lloyd Wright’s homes were designed to flood the indoors with natural light. Access to Taliesin West’s bedrooms are through an outdoor courtyard, and his Lake house had a fountain and a bar of soap at the entrance so everyone could wash up before coming inside. Somehow these lessons seemed to have been forgotten.
With urban sprawl, gone are the days where the majority were outdoors walking to work, to the store, to Church, and hiking or picnicking in the park or going to the beach on the weekends. They say we now spend 90% of our time indoors. Starting with the 1970’s, homes became more airtight, making the indoor air 2-5 times more polluted than the outdoor air. We know it is likely that a virus is spread from family member to family member from flushing the toilet with the lid up spraying surfaces up to 10 feet up and 6 feet out contaminating surfaces with the contents in the bowl (which includes viruses and bacteria)….Think about all the public restrooms that have no lids for the toilets! More people are looking to nutrition for prevention, and more people have started gardens in the last 2 months than did in 2019 as garden suppliers were completely sold out of their stock by April. What are some changes in home remodeling that will likely come from Covid-19?
These are some elements you may want to include in your next home remodeling projects to make your home your safe place, and more attractive to buyers when it is time to sell.
Happy Home Remodeling!