Spending More Time At Home? We All Need Better-Designed Residential Spaces

Spending More Time At Home? We All Need Better-Designed Residential Spaces 1080 719 White Sands Design/Build

We’re at home a lot these days, and we’re asking a lot of our spaces. We need our domestic environments to be safe, comforting, and functional—places we can live, work, and play. Now that you work from home, cook and eat all of your meals at home, watch all of your movies at home, exercise at home, and even homeschool your kids, you’ve probably realized what works in your space and what really, really doesn’t. You know with much more certainty what your next space needs.

All of this clarity and togetherness, plus your wide-open weekend schedule, make this the perfect time to begin a family project, like a custom-build or renovation. We’ve got a lot of thoughts on how shelter-in-place will lead to better design, and we’d love to hear your thoughts, as well.

Less Space Requires More Storage

Now that your family is taking up more space in your home, there’s less room for stuff. Purging can feel satisfying, but there’s no need to toss items that you’re attached to or need. If you store your things better, your space feels less cluttered.

Before the design process begins, we chat with our clients about their lifestyle and specific storage needs. We’re huge fans of built-ins, and we use all available space—hollow window-seats, crawl spaces under stairs, and floor-to-ceiling shelves. In the garage, you may need to store a particular piece of sporting equipment. You may even need a car-lift, so that a seldom-used vehicle doesn’t devour critical space.

To avoid frequent shopping trips, we all need more storage for essentials, such as food and paper products. And when you cook every meal at home, you need more gadgets and gizmos, such as food processors and blenders. You may need extra sink and counter space, and you definitely need more pantry and cabinet space. You’ll probably want tougher appliances, as well. Spending so much time in your kitchen changes the way you conceptualize and invest in that space.

Entertaining Yourself At Home

According to South Bay building codes, basements are “bonus” space, meaning you don’t have to count them in your home’s allotted square footage. So make the most of this space! A stellar home theater, complete with reclining seats and top-of-the-line audio, means you’ll never miss going “out” to the movies. If you’re more into billiards than movies, maybe try a rec room? There are so many possibilities for this space—an exercise room with a rock-wall, an in-home putting green, a two-lane bowling alley, a home arcade, a wine-cellar and at-home bar, with a low-lit vibe…get creative! This is where you play!

No room for a full-size pool? A lap-pool lets you get in your exercise, and keeps the kids happy.

Dinner with an ocean-view, from your very own deck, makes that crowded, noisy restaurant seem a lot less atmospheric. Tell us what you and your family are into, and let’s brainstorm how to make your private space more appealing than any public space.

Better Outdoor Spaces

Getting outside is essential to our mental and physical health. Southern California has an amazing mix of seaside, canyons, and desert, but what do you do when the parks, trails, and beaches are off-limits?

We incorporate as much green space as possible into every project we build. With the right landscaping, even a small patio can feel lush and invigorating.

Roof terraces aren’t allowed in Manhattan Beach or Palos Verdes, although they’re welcome in Hermosa and Redondo Beach. If you can’t have a roof deck, we add a large deck on the third-story, so you still get remarkable views. Cozy furniture, an outdoor fireplace, and a floor-to-ceiling glass door help integrate your indoor and outdoor living areas.

Bring The Outdoors In, With A Living Wall

House plants boost mood, focus and creativity. They also clean the air and increase oxygen, which is always welcome in smoggy, sometimes smoky So-Cal. Maybe you should consider incorporating a living wall in your new home? This is wall art made out of living plants, also sometimes called a vertical garden. Living walls add a fantastic vitality and energy to an office, family room, or bedroom.

Landscape With Edibles

Southern California’s growing season lasts year-round. Use your landscape wisely, and you can eat hyper-local—from your own garden! Herbs, greens, and fruiting plants are beautiful and can be grown in limited space. Well-designed raised beds on your decks, and landscaped edibles on your patios can yield a steady supply of fresh produce.

Build For Passive Survivability

Passive survivability describes your home’s ability to keep you safe when infrastructure fails.
Tesla and other companies make battery packs that switch on automatically, to keep your electric appliances running in the event of an outage. These batteries recharge from solar panels or the grid.

Automatic-switch generators are also an option, provided they don’t violate your neighborhood noise ordinances. They can be disguised with landscaping and hooked up to your natural gas line.

Water access is always a concern in southern California. Rain collection doesn’t have to involve unsightly plastic barrels. There are much more subtle and luxurious ways to store rainwater, which can be used to off-set irrigation needs and manually flush toilets. With the right filtration system, rainwater can also be potable.

Copper and its alloys, such as brass, are naturally antimicrobial. Consider using these medals for doorknobs and often-touched surfaces, such as bathroom fixtures.

Our Homes Are Important To Our Daily Well-being.

If you’re ready to custom-build, with a focus on flexibility, sustainability, and mental and physical health, we’re ready to lend an ear and a hand—or eventually, a lot of hands. You shouldn’t have to conform your lifestyle to your home; you should create the home that supports and enhances your lifestyle.


Thanks for reading,

Hawlie Ohe

Hawlie headshot for home air purifiers

Hawlie Ohe heads White Sands Interiors, and she and her husband are raising two boys along the South Bay coast. Hawlie brings the curiosity that fueled her first career, as a journalist, to her interior design approach: Who are you, who do want to be, and how can this space get you there? Great design makes you feel present and engaged, and Hawlie is here for it. Because she wants you to help you be “here” (in this space, in this moment), too.