Grand Opening of America at Home Study Concept Home “Barnaby” Reflects National Homebuyer Preferences in the Wake of COVID-19

Homebuilding industry veterans conduct consumer research uncovering paradigm-shifting behaviors and preferences, brought to life in a physical concept home and accompanying digital experience

RALEIGH, N.C.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Propelled from concept to completion in just 60 days, The America at Home Study Concept Home: Barnaby is the first intentionally-designed and constructed home based on findings from two waves of the America at Home Study, which revealed that imminent and permanent changes are underway regarding how Americans perceive of and want to live in their homes.

Located in Chatham Park at 28 Edgefield Street in Pittsboro, N.C., “Barnaby” is a literal representation of the changes Americans desire and are willing to pay for, and serves both as a model of human desires in a post-pandemic world as well as an inspiration to homebuilders and architects as they design and build future homes.

Historically, health crises have instigated changes in the way humans live. When it was realized after the 1918 influenza pandemic that fresh air helped combat disease, more homes were built with porches and improved ventilation systems. Fear surrounding the spread of cholera and tuberculosis spurred cities to improve water quality standards, and COVID-19 stimulated greater interest in touch-free appliances and fixtures, improved technology, and quiet, contained office spaces. The America at Home Study, which surveyed nearly 7,000 homeowners and renters across America, revealed findings that were transformed into a tangible concept home built by North Carolina homebuilder Garman Homes.

The 2,600-square-foot, two-story home containing 4 bedrooms and 3.5 baths was designed for a hypothetical family with two working parents, one who works from home and the other outside the home. Design considerations and key decisions were driven by how the concept home can support safety, comfort, and wellness through separate homeowner and guest entries, two dedicated office spaces, flex spaces, a guest suite with outdoor access, a larger family bathroom, multiple covered outdoor spaces, improved kitchen functionality, flexible storage, drop zones for package deliveries, and more.

“After spending significant time in their homes during the pandemic, many Americans leaned into greater wellness and comfort as well as stronger reflections of personal taste including layout changes, dedicated office space and more storage,” said Garman Homes’ CEO and Co-Founder Alaina Money-Garman. “By constructing a home that spotlights key findings from the study, we are able to bring to life collected data and transform it from consumer insights to an actual physical home that can be experienced by all.”

“Necessity is the mother of invention”: Women lead post-pandemic changes in the home

When pandemic lockdowns went into effect, a majority of women shouldered additional full-time responsibilities in the home such as caring for older family members and coaching children through distance learning. The unique perspective arising from limited movement in the home environment motivated three women with decades of combined homebuilding industry experience to summon individual and shared talents to study and construct a more efficient, effective, and current home ideal.

Teri Slavik-Tsuyuki, a community design and marketing expert, spearheaded the America at Home Study in collaboration with consumer strategist Belinda Sward and architect Nancy Keenan, president and CEO of Dahlin Group Architecture Planning. “Many industries were negatively impacted by the pandemic; but missing from the daily conversation was how COVID-19 and ‘life from home’ revealed deep dissatisfaction with our individual home environments as they became ‘catch all’ destinations for multiple family members for work, school, play and rest,” said Slavik-Tsuyuki. “Our shared concern and perspective was the catalyst for the creation of the America at Home Study, and ultimately, the decision to bring the findings to life in an actual concept home.”

Combining modern and traditional aesthetics, Barnaby was designed with a garage off the back of the home, where the owner’s entry, a mudroom, laundry room, secondary refrigerator, and powder room are situated, as most homeowners enter their homes through the garage. The guest entry, positioned in the front of the house, leads to an oversized vestibule with glass pocket door and access to a guest suite, all of which is isolated from the rest of the house to contain and control the flow of people and germs. Barnaby was also designed with two dedicated home office spaces, one located on each of the two levels, and neither of which is a bedroom. “Flex spaces,” defined as multi-purpose spaces that can change over time, highlight how built-ins can be added or removed to transform a room’s purpose. Improvements in the layout and design of the kitchen and bathrooms and addition of flex space in the garage for a home gym and a secret room off the primary suite complete the metamorphosis.

Tour “Barnaby” from the comfort of your home

For those interested in a virtual tour of The America at Home Study Concept Home: Barnaby, customer experience property technology firm Cecilian Partners created a modern digital community and home shopping experience. Easily accessed from any digital device, the interactive experience affords future homebuyers a direct path to tour and explore Barnaby and the surrounding Chatham Park community from the comfort of their couch and at their own pace. In addition, the interactive tour encourages real-time feedback, which itself will serve as another layer of research and development, capitalizing on first-hand observations of consumer’s reactions to the home.

Barnaby will be open to the public and will serve as a model home for visitors to tour in person for the next nine months, after which Garman Homes plans to list the property for sale in concert with further development of the Chatham Park community.

To learn more about Barnaby, watch time-lapse construction videos, or enjoy a digital tour of the home, visit: https://concepthome.garmanhomes.com/.

About the Concept Home

The concept home is a physical manifestation of the behavior and perspective changes Americans experienced at home during the first year of the COVID-19 pandemic. Envisioned and realized by three women leaders in the homebuilding industry who also serve as the America at Home Study founders, the concept home is the collective effort of Dahlin Group Architecture Planning (architect), Garman Homes (builder), and Cecilian Partners (digital customer experience). The concept home, located in Chatham Park in Pittsboro, N.C. and opened in July 2021, is intended to inspire new approaches in home design in a post-pandemic world. Visit https://concepthome.garmanhomes.com/ for more information.

About the America at Home Study

The America at Home Study was hosted online in two waves during the COVID-19 pandemic. The first wave took place April 23-30, 2020 with a nationally representative sample of 3,001 consumers ages 25-74 with household incomes of $50,000+. The second wave took place September 24–November 6 with a nationally representative sample of 3,935 consumers in the same age and income brackets. The America at Home Study was spearheaded by marketing expert Teri Slavik-Tsuyuki of tst ink, consumer strategist Belinda Sward of Strategic Solutions Alliance, and architect Nancy Keenan, president and CEO of Dahlin Group Architecture Planning. The second wave was further enhanced with Kantar’s MindBase® consumer attitudinal and generational segmentation, providing deeper insights across nine unique consumer targets and enabling potential for direct/digital activation and enhanced messaging. The results reveal Americans’ desire for home purchases, how they feel about and live in their homes, and what changes they’d like as a direct result of sheltering in place. www.americaathomestudy.com

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