Style can be, and often is, more than just aesthetics.

With more people working remotely part or full time, and a surge of interest in DIY projects during lockdown, it makes sense that we’re interested in making home a refuge – a place of retreat, relaxation, and fun.

“We see a lot of requests for outdoor kitchens, things that center around entertainment and gatherings. We’re seeing more interest in elements like bigger great rooms and back screen porches,” explains Sondra Thirston, Marketing Director of Gainesville’s Red Door Homes. “People want their homes to be their vacation spot, as well as a comfortable and functional workspace.”

One particular trend Thirston is seeing in the customer requests are water vapor electric fireplaces, which go beyond just looking pretty. They have no venting or gas, are eco-friendly, and can be installed almost anywhere in the home. Plus, they’re extremely safe for children and pets.

“I think they’re really cool,” she says. “They’re energy-efficient, affordable, and much easier to maintain than an actual fireplace. I think we’re going to see more of those going forward.”

Whether the design is geared towards the sustainable – like energy-efficient and solar lighting and solar panels or eco-friendly building materials – or the functional ease of open-concept floorplans and workspaces, the goal is to turn the home into the perfect spot you never want to leave.

“It can be aesthetic or practical, or a combination of both,” Thirston points out, and adds with a laugh, “Beauty and comfort don’t need to be useless.”


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