A highlight of Making Room: Housing for a
Changing America, an exhibition at the National
Building Museum in Washington, D.C., is a
1,000-square-foot home that enables visitors to
get up close and personal with innovative housing
concepts. The space was reconfigured twice during
the exhibition to show three different living
scenarios within the same footprint.
“Certain household typographies are underserved in
the housing market,” says Lisa Blecker, director of
marketing at Resource Furniture, which specializes
in wall-beds and a range of transformational
furniture that can be experienced throughout the
exhibit home. “No one is building enough housing
for these groups because they’re somewhat under
the radar, but they’re all increasing dramatically
and they have very distinct needs within a home.”
At the exhibition, the three scenarios have focused
on unrelated adults living together as roommates;
multigenerational households—another hugely
growing segment; and older people aging in place.
“We thought it would be extremely interesting
to show how one structure can be designed—
without changing any walls—to serve all three
of those household scenarios by only changing
the furniture,” explains Blecker.
A critical structural element that made this possible
is Hufcor’s acoustical sound partition wall system.
According to Blecker, they’re more acoustically
sound than drywall and they do not require tracks
in the floor. “With the push of a button, you
can separate one large space into two, and it
functions like two separate rooms with a wall in
between—or you can open it up. So, that allows
a lot of flexibility.”
In a roommates scenario, that wall could be
closed most of the time. When roommates want to
socialize with one another or others, the wall could
be open. In the multigenerational home, the wall
could be open during the day because it separated
a mother’s and child’s room, but would be closed
at nighttime. “Because our furniture in all three of
the spaces is transforming furniture, there’s no bed
visible during the day,” notes Blecker.
In an aging-in-place situation, the space is
configured as two rooms. The smaller 200-square-
foot space is a micro apartment and the larger
space—with the partition wall—becomes a larger
studio for an older couple. They have an easy-to-operate motorized bed, as well as hidden bunk beds
for when grandchildren come to visit.
“The kitchen has a unique feature that works
really well for all three scenarios,” says Blecker.
The cooking surface is an induction cooktop
on a peninsula that is adjustable from dining height
to counter height, which enables individuals to sit
or stand to cook. ADA-compliant features, such
as electric drawers, backlit handles, and easy-to-open appliances, blend in. “You wouldn’t know
any of these lovely features are for people with
eyesight or mobility issues unless we pointed it out
to you,” explains Blecker.
One of the two bathrooms features a Duravit
OpenSpace by EOOS corner shower with doors
that fold away when not in use.
With so much innovation in place, it’s important to
note none of the furniture in use in the exhibit home
is a prototype. “This is not the house of the future,”
urges Blecker. “It’s the house of the present.
It’s what’s possible if you know what’s available.”
The Making Room exhibit is open through
January 6, 2019.
The Transformative Power of Furniture
1. Depending on a household’s
configuration, two adjacent
living areas can function
separately or as a larger,
(Image: Alan Sprecher)
2. A shower with collapsible
walls offers extra space
and a full-length mirror when
not in use.
(Image: Carl Cox)
3. At the Making Room
exhibition, a micro-kitchen,
complete with all the amenities,
hides behind a folding wall.
(Image: Yassine El Mansouri)