The Home Office As We Know It Is Changing, Dallas Architects Say

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Just a corner of an upstairs living area can become a home office nook as shown above.
L. Lumpkins Architects Inc.

Our lives have changed, and we are looking at our homes with renewed vision. Are they equipped for two busy working professionals and homeschooled kids? Do they offer a way to stay entertained inside and out? Do we have flex space that can be adapted to our new lifestyles? I asked a few of Dallas’ leading architects to weigh in on flex spaces and trends.

Lloyd Lumpkins of L. Lumpkins Architects Inc.

“Home offices are more dispersed around the house. With two professionals working from home, there is a need for separate, well-defined, smaller, private offices.”

Lloyd Lumpkins of L. Lumpkins Architects Inc.
L.Lumpkins Architects Inc.
L. Lumpkins Architects Inc.

“Having one of the home offices near the master bedroom is popular. We are doing a lot of secret entrances, like a bookcase wall in the home office that opens into a master suite. We began doing them as a second way out of the master bath and closet area. If someone has to be up for an early call, they don’t have to go back through the bedroom to work.

Hidden door access to office and study
L. Lumpkins Architects Inc.

“One area I see turning into the new flex space is the formal dining room. They were starting to go away, and are now returning as flex space. You may only use a formal dining room twice a year. The rest of the time it can function as a library and office where you can conduct Zoom meetings, and the kids can study.

“One of the interesting things we are creating is a front porch post office drop for packages. It’s like the old mail slot, but bigger. It can accommodate a package up to 24-inches wide, and you can lock it on the inside.”

Mail drop
L. Lumpkins Architects

Clint Pearson: Symmetry Architects

“Moving forward, home offices are essential. We are looking at our own home and thinking about how to adapt space as we want to work from home two days a week.”

Clint Pearson of Symmetry Architects
Symmetry Architects

“We have always tried to create flex space, especially in a spec house. What we have learned in the past two months about technology are things most of us have resisted in the past.

“For instance, we’d never done a Zoom meeting before. Both of our kids were here working over Spring Break. We had one taking online classes at the breakfast table and another in the dining room. The need for dedicated home office spaces became clear.

“The media room had almost gone away before COVID hit. Now it’s desirable again. We are not doing the elevated floors, but more of an entertainment room, often with a golf simulator and a TV area.

“It’s also important now to find space for a workout room. We recently added a gym to a three-car garage.”

David Stocker: SHM Architects

“People are looking at their homes with a lot more thought because they are spending so much time in them.”

David Stocker of SHM Architects

“One of the things I see is the return of the door! We need to close off that home office or workspace. The popular open floor plan doesn’t work for privacy. No one wants the dog barking in the middle of their Zoom conference.

“You can be on Zoom meetings constantly so working from home also means knowing when to stop working. There is an architectural and psychological aspect at play when you close that door and walk away.

SHM Architects

“One trend we are seeing is having a bathroom off the garage or located in an area before you enter the rest of the house. Medical professionals, especially, want to take a shower before entering the main living area.

“The trend for secondary homes is strong. They have been one of our largest areas of work. Clients want a ranch or lake house so they can escape and still do business.

SHM Architects

“Outdoor spaces are more important than ever, whether it’s a balcony, backyard, or a front porch. The front porch has regained popularity because it provides the perfect social distancing barrier, allowing you to safely connect with neighbors. Front yard living is where it’s at right now. It seems everyone is having a happy hour on Friday night in their front yards.”

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Karen Eubank

Karen is the owner of Eubank Staging and Design. She has been an award-winning professional home stager for more than 25 years and a professional writer for over 20 years. Karen is the mother of a son who’s studying for his masters at The New England Conservatory of Music. An ardent animal lover, she doesn’t mind one bit if your fur baby jumps right into her lap.

Reader Interactions

Comments

  1. Jerry Johnson says

    I simply made space behind our living room couch for a desk and lowboy filing cabinet with printer on top .

  2. mmJon Anderson says

    Regardless of how you architecturally fit in an office, quality furnishings matter. It’s one thing to get a quick chair from Office Max that will die in a couple of years (which I did for years). It’s another to get a professional quality chair like “real” offices do. Sure, they’re expensive, but there are alternatives. Places like Total Office Solutions on Oak Lawn Avenue in the Design District resell quality refurbished office chairs by the likes of Herman Miller (and their ubiquitous Aeron chair) or Steelcase’s Leap (what I use and where I got it). Figure on saving half off retail and if a lot of people transition to work form home situations, there may be a coming glut of these chairs that would drive down prices in the used market. Of course it’s not just chairs. But places that resell refurbished chairs will sell the whole kit and kaboodle at a healthy discount.

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