Are Vacation Homes Becoming Less Vacation-Like?

Most of us have a pretty clear idea of what we would like in a vacation home if money were no object. Yet it turns out that the ongoing coronavirus crisis may be changing some of those ideas. It could be that vacation homes are becoming less vacation-like in favor of properties that look more like our primary residences.

A recent post published by MarketWatch calls the phenomenon “COVID design”, implying that it is some sort of architectural or design trend. If that’s the case, there may no longer be any point to investing in a vacation property. If you are just taking what you do at home to a different location, you might just as well stay at home.

The MarketWatch post suggests that people looking to buy or build vacation homes now want them to look more like their primary residences – at least in terms of function and amenities. Design and style preferences might be different, but buyers are looking to include home offices, extra storage space, and bigger mud rooms in their vacation homes.

This is troubling for the simple fact that vacations are supposed to be different. The whole point of taking a vacation is to leave normal life behind for a little while. Vacations are supposed to be lazy and relaxing. They are supposed to be a time to do things you cannot do the rest of the year.

Imagine hiring the Sparano + Mooney architectural firm to help you build a family ski lodge in Park City, Utah. The whole point would be to have a vacation home you could visit whenever you had the urge to go skiing. Every trip to your vacation home would be punctuated by long days on the slopes. That is the way vacation is supposed to be.

  • A Different Setting to Quarantine

Now it would appear as though consumers want vacation homes built around the concept of staying home more often. They want more bedrooms to accommodate extended families. They want larger dens and family rooms. Surprisingly, the Market Watch piece implies they want more room for quarantining.

Is that what things have come to? Have we reached the point at which the family vacation is nothing more than moving the family quarantine to a different setting? God help us if that’s the case. God help us if we are willing to live the exact same lives we do at home and yet call it a vacation just because the view is different.

  • Green Space Is a Silver Lining

If there is a silver lining to the new vacation home trend, it’s the desire for more outdoor and green space. As long as families are quarantining together, they want larger yards and bigger patios on which to do it. More green space allows them to spread out while they do whatever they do.

Most of us would probably agree that you cannot have too much green space. If the end result of this is that more people learn to appreciate the great outdoors (even if just in their own backyards) then we will be able to point to at least one positive. Needless to say, there is a lot to appreciate about the natural world.

Vacation homes are changing. Thanks to coronavirus fallout, vacationers are less likely to use a vacation home as little more than a base for weeks of fun-filled activity. They are more likely to use vacation homes as extensions of their primary residences. For good or bad, that means more time spent at home.

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