Pandemic-Responsive Concept Home Breaks Ground

  • May 13, 2021
  • America at Home Study
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The America at Home Study uncovered paradigm-shifting behaviors and preferences that will be reflected through a physical concept home and accompanying digital experience.

Responses from thousands of U.S. homeowners and renters to two waves of the America at Home Study revealed that imminent and permanent changes are underway regarding how Americans perceive of and want to live in their homes. Now, the team that launched the study is collaborating with Raleigh, North Carolina-area homebuilder Garman Homes to design and build a concept home that reflects the changes Americans desire and are willing to pay for. Construction on the concept home at Chatham Park in Pittsboro, N.C. is currently underway, and is anticipated to open in June.

With the design of the concept home developed by Dahlin Group Architecture Planning, it is expected to be the first new home designed and built in real response to the radical changes afoot in American home life during what has become an abrupt and historic lifestyle shift. Laser-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 digital modern community and home shopping experience that can be accessed from any device, and will provide real-time feedback into the areas of the home most important to consumers.

"The way we live is forever changing, as evidenced by the America at Home Study findings over the course of this past year," said community design and marketing expert Teri Slavik-Tsuyuki, who spearheaded the study with consumer strategist Belinda Sward and architect Nancy Keenan, president and CEO of Dahlin Group Architecture Planning. "When Americans initially entered lockdown, nobody could have predicted the widespread changes that would ultimately manifest. We wanted to proactively gather as much feedback as possible from homeowners and renters in real time to determine precise changes that would impact the homebuilding industry in the future. 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 and focused on the full potential of all the spaces in the home, even as needs change."

The concept home is designed for a hypothetical older Millennial family where one parent works from home and the other works outside the home. The home is a 2,600-square-foot, two-story home with 4 bedrooms and 3.5 baths, and sits on a 45-foot alley-loaded lot. With America at Home Study findings top of mind, design considerations and key decisions for the concept home will include separate

homeowner and guest entryways, two dedicated office spaces and additional flex spaces, a guest suite with outdoor access, a larger secondary bathroom, multiple outdoor spaces, better storage and more.

"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," said Alaina Money-Garman, CEO and co-founder of Garman Homes. "It's more than simply installing easy-to-clean textiles and appliances; it's about offering homeowners a different way to experience home. 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." Nancy Keenan says, "The shifts we're experiencing at home right now aren't something we just want to study; we're putting the findings into practice. 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."

The base price of the concept home is just under the median new home price of $444,500 in Chatham County and the actual concept home is expected to be priced in the mid $500,000s, with a high priority focus on implementing key features that consumers signaled they'd be willing to pay for in the America At Home Study. This will provide designers, builders and developers with a competitive advantage as they seek to create the kind of homes that people want in the post-pandemic world.

The virtual concept home will be an interactive modern digital customer experience designed to give future residents a way to see and explore the home and community digitally. The interactive immersive map and website will help tell the America at Home Study and concept home story while showcasing the area and lifestyle in Chatham Park where the home is being built. The team at d3 Creative is creating a digital 3D model of the home to showcase multiple design configurations that will allow future residents to explore the home from the comfort of their couch by either desktop or mobile device. The virtual concept home gives potential buyers transparency and agency, allowing access to all the information and letting them explore the concept home in their own way, at their own pace - truly a frictionless shopping experience.

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

bout 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 is located in Chatham Park in Pittsboro, N.C. and is anticipated to open in early summer 2021. The intent is to inspire new ways builders and architects can think about designing homes in the post-pandemic world.

bout 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.

The concept home is expected to be the first new home designed and built in real response to the COVID-19 pandemic and how Americans want to live in their homes today. Based on consumer insights from two national America at Home studies, the home is anticipated to open in Chatham Park in Pittsboro, N.C. in early summer 2021.

(Image courtesy of Dahlin Group Architecture Planning and Garman Homes)

Updated from April 13, 2021 press release.

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