Real Estate

Forget Man Caves: Play Up These Features To Market Homes To Makers

As a millennial knitter for the past dozen years, I’ve come to understand just how much being a maker becomes part of a person’s identity. For me and many of the other knitters, crocheters, fiber spinners and sewers I know, crafting is more than just a hobby — it’s a lifestyle.

Because making is such an important part of my life, and the lives of the people I know (and, yes, that includes men and non-binary folks, so please don’t call a crafting space a she shed) there are definitely things we look for in a house or an apartment.

With the largest segment of crafters between the ages of 18 and 34 — which also happens to be the age group buying homes — it can be a smart way to market spaces.

Just like a center island would be a key amenity in a chef’s kitchen, here are just some things that makers want in a home.

Great light — especially natural light

All but the most intrepid knitters I know can’t knit in the dark. And any Instagrammer knows that natural light is best for those works-in-progress or finished-object photos. Recessed lighting and big windows are a great feature for any room.

Storage as display

I love a big closet as much as the next person — in fact, the abundant closet space was one of the main reasons my husband and I chose our Brooklyn apartment. But I also don’t want to hide my highly-curated yarn stash behind closed doors. Built-in storage, as well as walls that can handle large shelving systems, are great assets when it comes to storing materials and tools you’re looking to show off.

Don’t discount random rooms

Makers can get creative with small spaces, so play up those random or oddly-shaped “bonus rooms,” without closets, that can be outfitted with open or recessed shelving for storage.

Consider side hustles

While it’s perfectly fine to stick to crafting as something to do in your spare time, more and more people, particularly knitters, are turning their hobbies into businesses.

Homes with cottages or outbuildings or attached units that can’t be converted to legal apartments can make great studio spaces. A friend of mine who works at a tech company has a successful side hustle selling enamel pins, t-shirts and other accessories marketed to makers, and chose her Portland, Ore., home partly because it has a TV room on the lower level with a private entrance that has the potential become a studio.

Another friend chose her 14-acre property in Bedminster, N.J., with a converted barn because she was growing a spinning fiber business. The extra acreage helped prompt a move to raise Shetland sheep.

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