Cozy nooks and quiet spaces – Marie’s Residential Report Jan. 2014
Marie’s Residential Report
NEIGHBORHOODS | PRICE POINTS | STYLES
LANDSCAPES | COLORS | LAYOUTS |MATERIALS | HOME DÉCOR
GREATER PORTLAND REAL ESTATE TRENDS: CURRENT, EMERGING, …AND DEPARTING
FROM THE DESK OF MARIE FLAHERTY
CURRENT Trend: A room of one’s own
In her book Quiet: the power of introverts in a world that can’t stop talking, author Susan Cain spends a lot of time discussing one of my favorite topics: real estate.
Much of the discussion is around commercial real estate, particularly the challenges associated with open-floorplan offices which, according to her research, leave introverts—who comprise 30 to 50 percent of the population—distracted, overstimulated, and unable to work the way they work best: in a quiet space where they can listen to their thoughts. Turns out office pods, pits, and other “groupthink”-inspired spaces can actually inhibit productive thought for a significant portion of any group.
On the topic of residential real estate, she likewise floats the idea that introverts and extroverts are drawn to distinctly different living spaces, floor plans, and features. For example, the open floor plans so prevalent in newer homes—appeal more to extroverts who seek opportunities to entertain, hear what’s going on, and feel a lot of connection to other people in the house. Introverts, on the other hand, tend to be drawn to homes with cozy nooks like window seats, and quiet spaces like porches and sunrooms where they can think and be inspired.
It was an interesting read and an apt reminder that descriptors like “wide open concept,” and “good for entertaining,” while at the top of many buyers’ criteria lists, aren’t universal perks. It also made me think about the underrated appeal of some of the Portland area’s older housing stock – from turn-of-the-century Victorians with their porches, libraries, and fireplaced parlors, to homes of the mid-century with their warm tones and wood-paneled dens and family rooms. Somewhere in the 90s, formal living and dining rooms and small dens became passé, but perhaps with the Introvert Revolution, we’ll also see in home design a resurgence of walls and separate, comfortably-sized rooms.