Shelter in Place: 8 Great Ideas for your Home

Elissa Morgante, AIA

Elissa Morgante, AIA
Founding Partner at Award Winning Chicago Architects, Morgante Wilson

Jun 12, 2020 - 5 min read

Shelter in Place: 8 Great Ideas for your Home

If there’s such a thing as quarantining in style, this house – one of our all-time favorite projects – is an ideal example. Built by a family-centric couple with four boys – that’s right, four boys! – on Chicago’s North Shore, it was all about keeping family close, nurturing ties between brothers, and ensuring this would be the house everyone wants to spend time in. And trust us, it is. And while it was designed to be the favorite hang-out of friends and family alike, it’s also turned out to be a pretty great house for sheltering in place. Let’s take a tour, and you’ll see eight reasons why!

1. It’s restful

You can imagine the activity level of this house on a typical day. Which is the reason we intentionally designed a quiet, cozy space for relaxing – and nothing else. With four comfy chairs, a fireplace, and shelf after shelf of absorbing books to choose from, this space encourages conversation, contemplation, and camaraderie – all in a serene and restful setting that’s an antidote to the usual hectic pace of this family’s daily life. Now that we’re all sheltering in place, it also turns out to be the perfect spot for family members to tune out the world and take comfort in one another’s presence.

2. It’s convenient

With four boys home from school, the amount of snacks and drinks being consumed here has risen exponentially during quarantine! So while this butler’s pantry is typically a boon for entertaining, it’s equally handy when the boys need beverages or snacks – they can help themselves to what they want, and leave Mom and Dad to cook in the adjacent kitchen without interruption.

3. It’s inviting

There’s so much to love about this family room. For one thing, notice that it’s not huge. In fact, it’s deliberately right-sized to feel absolutely cozy. The lesson here: bigger isn’t always better, and sometimes, big enough is just perfect. Plenty of upholstered seating is inviting. The TV attracts, the fireplace relaxes, and the built-in aquarium surprised, excites, and soothes, all at once! We love the vibe in here; it’s one of the most welcoming rooms we’ve ever designed. And even though its color palette is light and creamy, it’s a surprisingly indestructible space – leather seating and a forgiving stone-topped coffee table help make it that way.

4. It connects indoors and out

In Before Times, this was a favorite spot for kids and adults alike to spend warm-weather evenings. Now, with the family sheltering at home, this screened porch offers a much-needed, world-away feeling from the rest of the house. We’ve always been huge fans of screened porches for many reasons (we wrote a whole post about that here), but right now, we especially love the way they transport you between indoors and out. You’re not quite either place, which makes them pretty magical.

5. It’s smart

This study space was designed to give each son a dedicated spot to tackle homework without interruption from nearby activity. That’s more important now than ever, since classes have moved online and “school” is taking place at home.

6. It’s fun

And then there’s the lower level media room – every boy’s dream! With plenty of room to stretch out in front of the screen; a built-in bar for snacks, beverages, and, depending on the event, adult libations, too; and a game table, this is the place to be for sports-watching, movie nights, and board games.

7. It’s active

An indoor swimming pool is another attraction that keeps active boys happy and busy while at home, allowing them to burn off plenty of energy without even leaving the house. (Notice the adjacent fitness room!)

8. It’s novel

The same can be said for this indoor basketball court! And with two teams of two – or three, if Mom and Dad join in – it almost seems as if there’s a full game going on. And while that’s not possible right now, it doesn’t stop this active family from engaging in one of their favorite pastimes, right in their own house.

For more inspiration on ways architecture and interior design can make your home the one place your family prefers to be above all others, visit our website. Or follow us on Instagram!

Morgante Wilson Architects provides architectural and interior design services in Chicago, Deerfield, Evanston, Glencoe, Glenview, Highland Park, Kenilworth, Lake Bluff, Lake Forest, Northbrook, Northfield, Ravinia, Wilmette and Winnetka – along with Colorado, Florida, Idaho, Indiana, Iowa, Michigan, New Hampshire, New York, Ohio, Utah, Wisconsin and the U.S. Virgin Islands.
Elissa Morgante, AIA

Elissa Morgante, AIA

Founding Partner at Award Winning Chicago Architects, Morgante Wilson