Living in the Washington DC area, there is an increasing and constant trend for living smaller. We have many wonderful longtime customers who are downsizing their footprints, generally in exchange for freedom. Freedom to travel at the drop of a hat, freedom to do something other than yard work on the weekends, freedom to not spend tons of time cleaning rooms that are no longer used.
We have many newer customers who also have chosen to live in small spaces, but for completely different reasons. Their freedoms include an entirely different generational trend. Being truly paperless, digitized everything from music, banking, taxes, social calendars. Their desire is to spend their money and energy on experiences rather than stuff. I know so many thirty-something people who are vastly more traveled than me.
I receive constant comments regarding the scale of our furniture. It is, in general, smaller than most. It can, of course, be made even smaller, or for our larger house dwellers, even bigger. I designed a very small kitchen table recently that has drop leafs on both sides. Designed for two, and up to four people with the leaves, I have designed 6 of this exact table in the past 5 months for different clients. Eat in spaces in kitchens are trending smaller, often times preferring over bar height kitchen island dining.
The point is that we (that is the societal “we”) are moving toward the next trend in living. Years ago, in the late 1980’s/early 1990’s kitchens began to be the focal point of homes. Great rooms emerged, kitchen walls torn down, large islands created, all for the sake of open air living. Now, we are trending toward the next iteration, small living spaces with many social amenities in the building we live in or nearby. I plan for Hardwood Artisans to keep up with the change.
I’m excited by the prospect of new, interesting, multi-functional, and complex designs. Small problem solving is big, very big. It’s very big indeed.
Our lease is expiring in our Rockville location in June. We have been looking for about a year for a new space. We plan to have a contract on a space in a few weeks. The proposed new space is smaller, and more contemporary. We will look different in our new spaces, but not forgetting our roots.
In the search for a space, we have seen hundreds of what are now called “micro-living” spaces. These are very small spaces, from 250 – 500 square feet. The NoMa area in Washington, the U street corridor, the Shaw district, the Mosaic district, the H street corridor, the Rockville Towne Center, Bethesda, the list goes on and on. While many clients live in large homes still, many are trending toward this downsizing phenomenon.
The challenge for me and my team here is to continue to create furniture, but furniture that is relevant to our existing and new clients changing needs and wants. You would think we would know it by now, but even the clients are not sure what they want, what the piece would look like that would enhance their future living space. My focus lately has been looking at design and solutions that address this exact issue. In my 80’s sort of way, the future is so bright, I need to wear sunglasses!