Craving more personal connection, many homeowners are turning to conversation pits as a renewed symbol of intimacy in interior design. Whatever happens next, stay tuned with our weekly roundup of headlines, launches and events, recommended reading and more.
In response to changing remote work preferences, residential real estate developers are incorporating advanced work-from-home amenities into new luxury rental buildings across the country. New features include private offices, conference rooms, task lighting, wall monitors, podcast booths, and high-speed Internet, costs for which are either included in the rent or available for an additional fee. As The New York Times The move is reportedly part of a trend accelerated by the pandemic, with developers beginning to add desk and work equipment space in new builds. Demand for such features may continue to grow: according to a survey conducted earlier this year by the Pew Research Center, 59 percent of employees are still working from home, and 78 percent of that group want to do so post-pandemic — up from 64 percent two years ago.
According to the National Association of Realtors, the median selling price of an existing American home in June reached $416,000 – the highest since records began in 1999. The Wall Street Journal reports. Recent market conditions have caused activity to slow, with nearly 15 percent of outstanding home sales contracts failing, the fastest since the pandemic disruption in April 2020. Although demand remains buoyant for now, and properties stayed on the market for an average of 14 days last month (the shortest since 2011), buying could slow in the coming months if mortgage applications continue to fall, as they have for the past three years in a row have done weeks. Currently, applications are at their lowest level in 22 years, partly due to Federal Reserve rate hikes aimed at curbing inflation.
Operations at the Port of Oakland have resumed after a week of protests stranding cargo on ships, docks and warehouses, straining the supply chain and prompting some vessels to divert to other ports. Reuters reports. The demonstrations began last week in response to California’s new “gig worker” law, which would require many businesses that rely on freelancers to reclassify those independent contractors as employees – a distinction protested by truck owners. Companies said they would force them to bear heavy additional costs. Port managers and police have now restricted protesters to designated “free speech zones,” allowing cargo shipments to resume in California’s third-busiest port and busiest agricultural export hub.
Construction startup Vantem has announced plans to build 15 factories across the US by 2029 to manufacture prefabricated modular housing units. Archinect reports. The expansion, fueled by capital from the company’s recent Series A funding round led by Bill Gates-founded Breakthrough Energy Ventures, will allow Vantem to expand production of its proprietary design — a cost-effective net zero -Construction product that does not require steel or wood reinforcements. Vantem joins startups like Vancouver’s Nexii Building Solutions and Bjarke Ingels’ Nabr in the race to disrupt the construction industry and expects each of the new facilities to produce 1 million square feet of housing annually.
Market launches and collaborations
The Healthy Materials Lab at Parsons School of Design has released the third season of its podcast trace material. The new iteration will explore the “secrets of the mycelium” as a mycologist John Michelotti Travel to the Catskill Mountains to study the properties of mushrooms and their potential to create healthier housing, materials, and food systems.
Pottery Barn has introduced The Accessible Home – a new line of products focused on inclusive design, aiming to serve those with disabilities or injuries and the aging community in place. The collection includes a range of bathroom, upholstery, office, dining, bedroom and lighting products with additional accessibility features – such as the remote-controlled Irving lounge chair and the wheelchair-accessible Pacific Desk.
Courtesy of The Novogratz
Husband and wife duo Robert and Cortney Novogratz of The Novogratz have partnered with Bed, Bath & Beyond for a curated collection of Back to College merchandise. The colorful product line includes furniture solutions, decoration, bedding and bathroom items suitable for dormitories, apartments and small living spaces.
Shutterfly partners with four influencers – a viral TikTok personality Brittany BroskiEntrepreneur and dating expert Serena Kerrigancomedian and author Elsa Majimboand actor and digital creator Chris Olsen– for launching a new initiative called the Shutterfly Collective. The program will pair each social media personality with an independent artist on Spoonflower – the home décor marketplace owned by Shutterfly – to create a limited edition capsule collection of original designs on coffee mugs, blankets, magazines and pillows.
The collectors design and art fair Salon Art + Design has announced the list of exhibitors for the 11th edition of the event, which will take place from November 10th to 14th at the Park Avenue Armory in New York. Alongside a mix of returning exhibitors, new additions to this year’s cohort include Armel Soyer, Boccara Gallery, Galerie Artempo, Galerie Carole Decombe, Galerie Scene Ouverte, Galerie Yves Gastou, Garde and Le Lab.
When Laura Mauldin, a University of Connecticut sociology professor who studies nursing and living with disabilities, began conducting remote research during the pandemic, noting the ingenious ways people with disabilities were hacking their homes. Using household items like cable ties, painter’s tape, and dry-erase chalkboards, they created accessible furniture, spaces, and appliances that better meet their everyday needs. The discovery led to the creation of Disability at Home, a website that exposes the ableist approach of mainstream design companies that fail to provide appropriate options for people with disabilities, such as: Nate Berg reports for Fast company. “We don’t want any innovation. We want infrastructure,” advocate disability and design Liz Jackson told Fast company. “It is often written about disability that it is not about the solution, but about the promise. So what happens when you start asking what the solution is without a techno-utopian promise?”
A new breed of first-time home buyers has emerged during the pandemic. Recent research by Freddie Mac found that the federally-backed home mortgage company funded the highest loans for first-time buyers since it began tracking such metrics in 1994 Jerusalem Demsas writes for The Atlanticthis rise, coupled with uncertain market conditions, could herald the rise of a new class of NIMBYs, an acronym for Not In My Backyard – a phenomenon partly due to homeowners desperately trying to preserve their property’s value.
Courtesy of Sister Parish Design
Sister Parish Design’s fabrics, wallpaper and lifestyle products are now available in Palm Beach, Florida through an exclusive partnership with full-service showroom Well Made Home. Both retail customers and customers without a design license in the region can purchase the brand’s items in person, with the selection available including best-selling fabric prints as well as new releases, as well as performance fabrics, grass wallpaper and hand-painted wallpaper.
designers and industry leaders Scott Koehler, founder of North Carolina-based design/build firm Dream Kitchen Builders, has passed away. A 28-year industry veteran and licensed contractor, Koehler was active in the National Kitchen & Bath Association, reports KBB Online, and held accreditations as a certified kitchen designer and from the National Association of Home Builders. Koehler was also recognized for his extensive contributions to the industry: in 2020 he was named an honorable choice in the NKBA Person of the Year competition. Koehler is survived by his wife Gwen; his extended family; and his grandson.
Homepage Photo: Pottery Barn this week launched The Accessible Home – a new line of products focused on inclusive design, aiming to serve those with disabilities or injuries and the aging community in place. | Courtesy of Pottery Barn