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When Beverly O’Mara and Mark Uriu converted their loft in Jersey City, NJ, into a live workspace in 2015, they envisioned an open, airy apartment where Mrs. O’Mara could have an art studio and Mr. Uriu could work from home on an occasion.

They added logical elements at the time, installing shoji screens that provide privacy and light, but no acoustic barrier. And for a while, it worked beautifully.

Then Covid changed everything. Suddenly the couple found themselves working from home full time, trying to come up with temporary solutions for a space that had already undergone a $250,000 renovation.

For millions of Americans, the pandemic heralded an era of remodeling, as they used time at home to redesign kitchens, bathrooms, and living spaces to accommodate a more local lifestyle. (Annual spending on home remodeling grew more than 9% from the third quarter of 2019 to the third quarter of 2021, to $357 billion annually, according to the Harvard Joint Center for Housing Studies.) But what if you renovated before the pandemic – and spent a lot of money on it – and now you have to bring it back to reflect a new reality?

Like so many others, Ms O’Mara, 66, and Mr. Orio, 65, found themselves running headlong into the design boundaries of their imagined post-pandemic lifestyle and wondering what modifications, if any, would make their home more functional.

“We’ve seen these interesting new demands being placed on our spaces, and it’s definitely a byproduct of the changing lifestyle,” said Jeff Jordan, an architect in Rutherford, NJ, who designed the couple’s renovation and is seeing a shift in the way homeowners think about the renovation.

For those considering a redesign now, Ms. O’Mara and Mr. Oreo’s project offer some useful lessons.

The creative cost-saving strategies they adopted early on, such as choosing affordable building materials, are more valuable now, as material and labor costs are high. Allocating more space for family life proved a wise decision during the first year of the pandemic, when the grandchildren visited frequently, using the open living space as a playroom, and a break from their small, cramped Brooklyn apartment.

Other decisions also did not hold, notably to place Mr. Oreo’s desk directly above Mrs. O’Mara’s studio, without a wall to serve as a sound barrier. Desperately in need of more space and quiet, he converted the 4-by-7-foot dresser in the guest room into his office. To enter, he has to bend under the beam.

Two years into the pandemic, he finds himself working in a 7-step Ms. O’Mara-like space in the 1999 movie “Being John Malkovich”. When seated, Mr. Oreo could look outside under the beam and see across the apartment and from the windows to the street below. He said, “When you’re sitting, you don’t feel like you’re in a closet.”

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