Courtesy Dahlin Group Architecture Planning and Garman Homes

About a year ago when the COVID-19 pandemic took hold, three industry leaders, including 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, administered the first wave of the America at Home Study to thousands of U.S. homeowners and renters. Their goal was to gather immediate feedback from Americans on the imminent and permanent changes that could impact home design and building going forward.

Now, the team that launched the study is collaborating with Raleigh, North Carolina–based builder Garman Homes to design and build a concept home that reflects the changes Americans desire and are willing to pay for.

“The way we live is forever changing, as evidenced by the America at Home Study findings over the course of this past year,” says Slavik-Tsuyuki. “When Americans initially entered lockdown, nobody could have predicted the widespread changes that would ultimately manifest. We knew the best way to convey the changes in American home life would be to build a concept home that accurately represented the findings we gathered.”

Construction on the concept home at Chatham Park in Pittsboro, North Carolina, is currently underway and is anticipated to open in June. The home’s design was developed by Dahlin Group Architecture Planning and is expected to be the first new home built in response to the radical changes spurred by the pandemic.

Designed for a hypothetical older millennial family where one parent works from home and the other works outside the home, the concept house comprises two stories, 2,600 square feet, four bedrooms, and 3 1/2 baths, and sits on a 45-foot, alley-loaded lot. Plus, using the key findings from the study, the design team incorporated separate homeowner and guest entryways, two dedicated office spaces, additional flex spaces, a guest suite with outdoor access, a larger secondary bathroom, multiple outdoor spaces, and better storage.

“Thanks to the America at Home Study and responses from almost 7,000 people, we know the ways people want to live, but the concept home is our chance to show how that can become a physical and widespread reality,” says Alaina Money-Garman, CEO and co-founder of Garman Homes. “Every square foot was discussed and thoughtfully optimized. The floor plan is configured differently than anything we’ve ever done, and we want to make it realistic and attainable for buyers to purchase.”

The base price of the concept home is just under the median new-home price of $444,500 in Chatham County, with the actual concept home expected to be priced in the mid-$500,000s.

Focused on bringing the concept home to as many people as possible, the team has also engaged with customer experience property technology firm Cecilian Partners to create and demonstrate a modern digital customer experience. The interactive website and map will help tell the America at Home Study and concept home story, showcase the area and lifestyle in Chatham Park, and provide real-time feedback into the areas of the home most important to consumers.

The team at d3 Creative is also making a digital 3D model of the home to showcase the multiple design configurations that will allow future residents to explore the home by either desktop or mobile device.

“The shifts we’re experiencing at home right now aren’t something we just want to study; we’re putting the findings into practice,” says Keenan. “The concept home is how we plan to walk our talk; it’s a home built for how people want to live in today’s world, and we can’t wait for people to experience it."

Further details about the concept home, including the digital experience, will be forthcoming as development progresses.