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Design Ideas for Flexible-Use Spaces 2.0

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House Review

Design Ideas for Flexible-Use Spaces 2.0

The value of homes with multiple flexible areas is now obvious. Pro Builder's House Review team presents a range of fresh ideas for designing flex spaces to meet the needs of today's homeowner

By Larry W. Garnett, FAIBD, House Review Lead Designer November 8, 2021
Bonus room
The bonus room in DTJ Design's Ridgegate Plan 4. (Scroll down to see floor plans and details.)

Flex rooms were introduced several years ago to enable homeowners to remake the purpose of a given space to meet new lifestyle needs, such as a nursery into an art studio, home office, or guest room ... and back again.

Although there’s no doubt these areas were even more invaluable during the COVID-19 pandemic, many households realized the need for more than one flexible space within the floor plan to accommodate multiple work- and learn-from home areas, places to exercise and decompress, or to house a long-term guest or quarantine a family member.

For sure, the value of homes with multiple flexible areas is now obvious, and required, as such spaces can help us survive unknowns and address ever-changing family needs. Here are some fresh approaches to consider.


Ridgegate Plan 4

DESIGNER: Seth Hart, DTJ Designshart@dtjdesign.com, 303.443.7333

DIMENSIONS: Width: 41 feet / Depth: 57 feet / Living area: 3,035 sf

Flexibility in a floor plan can manifest itself in a variety of ways, from an office that flexes into a bedroom, a loft that flexes into a study, or an enlarged family foyer that doubles as the control center.

This plan, designed for Shea Homes, offers plenty of versatility while also creating a unique opportunity in flexibility—an optional bonus room over the garage accessible from a private entrance that offers a variety of finish-out options.

Whether using this space as a bonus room, private home office, or guest suite, it provides lots of opportunity to appeal to different lifestyles and needs.


Ridgegate plan 4 first floor


Private entrance to bonus room with optional door to interior



Ridgegate plan 4 second floor


B  Bonus room configuration with powder room and wet bar




Ridgegate plan 4 second floor guest suite


C  Guest suite configuration with on-suite bath and walk-in closet



Modern Farmhouse Custom Home

ARCHITECT: Donald F. Evans, AIA, The Evans Groupdevans@theevansgroup.com, 407.650.8770

DIMENSIONS: Width (unit): 60 feet / Depth (unit): 70 feet, 4 inches / Living area: 4,429 sf

This five-bedroom home is perfect for today’s family, featuring an open floor plan with space for everyone and everything. The den/guest suite is ideal for a home office, with a private space that has an outside entry (with the addition of doors replacing the windows), a closet for file storage out of sight, and a private bathroom.

A flexible space upstairs is for kids only! Labeled as a “leisure room,” it features built-in desk space and a small kitchenette for drinks and snacks. This multipurpose space can be used for home-schooling, crafting, video games, homework, or as a hangout.

The entertaining possibilities indoors and outdoors are endless with the grand room and dining room opening onto a large covered/screened lanai with separate spaces for living, dining, and cooking.


Modern Farmhouse custom home first floor plan

A  Den/guest suite/home office

B  Grand room/dining room/gourmet kitchen

C  Laundry room/drop zone/beverage center/pantry

D  Upstairs kids’ oasis

E  Adult sanctuary

F  Indoor/outdoor entertaining



Modern Farmhouse custom home second floor planModern Farmhouse custom home front elevation


Modern Farmhouse custom home rear elevation



DESIGNER: Dahlin Group Architecture | Planning, marketing@dahlingroup.com, 925.251.7200


DIMENSIONS: Living area: 2,637 sf

Barnaby is a pandemic-responsive real-time design solution for the American experience of “life from home.” At the start of shelter-in-place restrictions, three women leaders in the real estate industry—Teri Slavik-Tsuyuki, a brand experience designer; Belinda Sward, a consumer strategist; and Nancy Keenan, an architect—developed and deployed the America at Home Study, ultimately reaching 7,000 Americans, to uncover changes in how people live in and perceive their homes.

Barnaby is the concept home that has translated data-driven consumer insights into a beacon for flexible design focused on people. Post-pandemic, many will realize that their homes can do more and that better design matters.

SEE MORE about Barnaby, the America at Home Study Concept Home

While we may see the idea of a dedicated home office fade, we can expect the desire for a flexible space that works as an office, a playroom, or for other uses at the same time will not. Design decisions that make a home more comfortable, easier for a family to live every-day life, and bring value to their investment are here to stay.


Barnaby first floor plan


A  Dedicated flex space. Located on the main floor, people can define how they use this space, as a school room, playroom, or creative space. There is also an option to split the room into two separate areas, each with its own door.

B  The garage is ready for a quick conversion to home gym with flexible small-space equipment or to a workshop—and still have space for storage and car parking.

Barnaby flex room on first floor
Photos, above and below: Main floor dedicated flex space used as a school room
Barnaby flex room on first floor


C  Flexible secondary bedrooms. These are designed without built-in closets, which allows people to define how they use the space, from nursery to kid’s room to office space (scroll down for photos).

Hidden flex space. A secret room hidden off the primary bedroom can be a yoga studio, meditation room, or private space for conversation or reading.



Barnaby second floor plan


Barnaby flex room bedroom
Flexible secondary bedroom
Barnaby private space
Hidden flex space



ARCHITECT: Kevin L. Crook Architect, kcrook@klcarch.com, 949.660.1587

DIMENSIONS: Width: 40 feet / Depth: 65 feet / Living area: 3,180 sf

With the onset of COVID-19, many of the “Next/Gen” homes we’ve designed have been converted to “Flex/Gen.”

For instance, what was once a living/sleeping/eating area in the Next-Gen home, with its own bath, washer/dryer, and closet suited for multiple generational living has been reimagined as a private office and an open office setup, with its own kitchenette, powder room, storage closet, and Amazon drop lock-off.

We’ve found that repurposing spaces doesn’t just facilitate work-from-home scenarios but provides the ability to hold a Zoom conference in the private office while remote learning takes place in the open office. The Amazon drop lock-off offers secure storage for incoming and outgoing packages.



Next/Gen floor plan

A  Main entry

B  House entry

C  Living


E  Kitchenette

F  Stacking washer/dryer


H  Bath




Flex/Gen floor plan

A  Main entry

B  House entry

C  Private office

D  Open office

E  Kitchenette

Amazon drop lock-off

G  Storage

H  Powder



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