The Spaces We Live In Part 2

Along the same lines is that, so people are in their homes; they’re remodeling; they’re trying to expand maybe into outdoor living spaces. How have policies in, zoning, affected, adding on new living spaces?

That’s its own topic. And it’s a very significant one because that’s highly regulated by zoning practices. And that can be if you’re doing an addition to an existing home, or you’re trying to do something that’s referred to as an ADU, which is an auxiliary dwelling unit, which is typically detached. 

Those types of things are all highly regulated by our county or city zoning restrictions. So it’s not as easy as you might think. And I really want to defer that to another podcast, because it’s going to be a much greater discussion about what’s going on. And while we’re having issues with housing today that we are having,

Well, a couple of other areas. You mentioned the ADUs, but also duplexes and apartments are also impacted by these policies. But as you said it’s an entirely different topic, I have a couple of exciting questions for future podcasts. So you know who could afford living space? 

We talked about having different rooms for our living spaces, but who can afford to have all those rooms? And what are some ideas or techniques to optimize our current living space? I really feel like we could spend an entire episode just talking about those flex rooms that you talked about, and how can we get the most out of our rooms.

Michael Grant

Well, I think your whole concept of the space being flexible is the way to do that. Something I’ve been doing with a little more frequency is what I call a pocket office. And that’s a very small office, it could be four feet by six feet. 

It could be a closet converted into, and I’m talking about a reach-in closet, not necessarily a walk-in closet, but it can be being converted into a workspace. So after you’ve done your work, you can simply close that door. 

And you have left your office for the day. But we need those types of spaces where we can lay things out and work, so we can close it up until we need to come back to it later. So we need to rethink how we’re using square footage, because we don’t need an 8 by 12, 8 by 10, 8 by 12 office, or 10 by 12 office. 

We don’t need a big desk and credenza, so many people work off their notebook computer. Most people are storing things in the cloud today so that they don’t even need storage for their paperwork. But it’s become an important aspect of how we’re going to live in our homes today because of the frequency in which we need to work from home. 

So we’ve created a small space for an office, you know, think about if you can’t go to a gym to do your workout, maybe all you’re getting is a yoga mat, and you’re laying down laying that out into the linear space to be able to, to do you, your yoga or your stretches or whatever it is that you’re doing to get some, some exercise in. But we have to think about it differently. We just cannot afford to build bigger and more elaborate homes. 

I think we have a lot to learn from the Japanese, who have been doing this for centuries. You know, they don’t have a room necessarily solely dedicated as a bedroom. They’ll take a living space. And at the end of the day, they will take out their sleeping pad and lay it out on the floor with their pillow and so forth. And that’s where they sleep and the next morning when they wake up, they fold it up, put it back into his closet. And that space is now converted into a living space. 

So we’ve got a lot to learn, and we’re going to have to be more mindful of that because building a home today has gotten too expensive. So you made me think about a few other things, one of the things we discussed, that’s a strong trend today is how we’re using finishes inside our houses. And again, as a consequence of the pandemic, people are much more concerned about hygienic surfaces. And we see this in bathrooms and kitchens. 

I think that’s one of the reasons why synthetic stone or quartz, as it’s often called, has become much more popular because it doesn’t have the absorption that you get in a natural stone like marble and even granite. So because of that, we’re not trapping germs in the stone. And you can have more dense material that does not allow the germs to stay in place, you can wipe it off easily. 

And you’ve got now a much more hygienic surface. And of course in this quest to stay healthy. We just simply need more vitamin D, so sunlight is the easiest form of vitamin D. So huge trend, more windows, more doors, glass doors that yield more sunlight in the house. A very, very specific trend. I think it’s also quite interesting what we’ve seen with color, and it’s kind of gone in opposite directions. 

We’re seeing a lot you know, there are 50 shades of white, the two shades of black, and somewhere in the middle of, there are 50 Shades of Grey. But we see a lot of very light surfaces and a hugely definitive trend right now where there are much more moody colors than there are darker. And you know, black is no longer Black is now black, blue is black, green is black, brown is it’s just morphed into a variety of different shades of black, I happen to like it, I think it’s very calming, you know, rooms that are very light and color are more excitable to me things are more lit up if you will. 

So it’s a definite direction and color that we’re seeing, we’re seeing it on the inside. And we’re seeing on the outside a big trend where we’re using a lot of very dark finishes on the outside of our homes. And I happen to like it. 

The ones I like most are where you’re seeing a combination of both texture and color intensity, you’ll see a house that literally has a shade of black as its siding material. But it will be complemented by a limestone wall that is very light in color. And there’s usually another third color added into that that sort of brings those two together and blends them somewhat. But this is an interesting trend that we’re seeing today. And again, I happen to like it a lot.

David Grubb

There’s so much here we could continue to talk about, and I wanted to just kind of reiterate some of the things that you said and also mentioned a couple of items that we’ve overlooked. Houseplants have become a big huge trend, along with air purification.

Michael Grant

Spot on about that, you’re exactly correct. And thank you for mentioning that because the huge botanical theme in your homes today is full of color. So botanical, nature’s favorite color is green. So we’re seeing a lot of shades of green. 

We’re also seeing it in wallpaper that has these really oversized, almost super graphic scaled wallpapers that add that botanical theme to it. I’m also seeing a mix of botanical and not just in a tropical kind of sense but also in things that look like the Black Forest in Germany, or you’re seeing like the bamboo forest in Asian countries. It just depends on what your particular like is. But botanical is a very strong theme, and thank you for bringing it up.

David Grubb

It really led us to air purification, which goes in even further, working backward. House plants become almost like pets, but you know they’re helping us with naturally providing us with oxygen, and they’re visually appealing, but also they’re purifying the air, but there are also things that we’re doing in construction. That helps increase the air quality like simple things like spray foam.

Michael Grant

Well, spray foam is a bit of a mixed bag because spray foam. What it’s doing is it is holding that conditioned air inside your house more effectively, than you would get with. With almost any other type of insulation, that spray foam is wonderful to help you reduce your energy costs. The bad news about spray foam is that it doesn’t allow any fresh air into the house.

So you have to, you have to pump that in through an air intake that you would incorporate into your overall heating, air conditioning, and ventilation system. And that’s a good thing, then we can filter it. So we’re breathing better air. And so it’s a very definitive thing that we need to do, again, more and more. The pandemic was, again, a great example of us wanting to be sure what we’re breathing in an air filtration has become a hugely important thing to a lot of people as it should be.

David Grubb

So the spray foam it has, as opposed to fiber, it doesn’t have all those little fiber molecules that can get into the air and contaminate our breathing air. So like I said, as long as we’re circulating, it is a much tighter seal on the home. But really your home needs to breathe, like you said, you need to circulate that air. And then even to go as far as you know people having theā€¦ I don’t even know the right terminology for the infrared, or they have the scanners in the duct systems to be able to help kill things airborne, it can get very sophisticated.

Michael Grant

Well, it has gotten very sophisticated, and air filtration isn’t just some sort of synthetic mesh anymore. To your point, there is infrared light and other ways of capturing those dust molecules and minimizing those. So you are indeed breathing cleaner air. And to your point, the symbiotic relationship that we have with plants, we’re breathing in the oxygen, they’re breathing in the carbon dioxide. So life is good

David Grubb

So I’m going to bring all this full circle. One of the things that we spoke about in the very beginning of the podcast here was that one of the types of spaces that we have is personal spaces, private spaces, and all of these factors in the colors, the textures, the plants, the air quality, everything is moving towards us kind of distressing, if we have a distressing area, we’re more relaxed in our home, we’re more comfortable.

Michael Grant

Well, hopefully you do have a space that allows that. We’ve talked about this before, where you can blend that indoor and outdoor interaction, which I think is one of the driving forces with the larger door openings that are very prevalent today. 

People want screens on their windows so they can open the windows and get more fresh air. Of course, in the South and in the summer and in the springtime, you don’t want to do that. But to your point, you know, we need to do those things in our homes that are going to allow us to distress and a good segue into our next podcast as well. It is what I call minimalism. I don’t just call it what many people do. But what can we do as to how we fill up our homes to make these homes more comfortable, and less stressful? And David again, I want to talk about that on another podcast because I think it’s a lesson that we all need to learn. So on that note, thank you very much.

David Grubb

Well, thank you, Michael. And, again, this has been a modern rustic home podcast about creating shelter with Michael Grant and myself David Grubb, thank you for listening!

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