The Hangout

In the year 2020, we experienced a collective transformation. We were challenged to rethink numerous aspects of our lives; from the ways we worked to the ways we raised our children. But nothing, some would argue, was more challenging than finding new avenues of human connection.

We learned through our common isolation that we need social interaction, but with social distancing orders in place, this once readily available privilege became complicated. It seemed that our only saving grace was the fresh air of the great outdoors, and that was only if the weather permitted it.

Coincidentally, Charter had been centering the creation of outdoor gathering spaces since their conception, long before the pandemic ever surfaced. “We’ve been thinking about the relationship between house and neighborhood for a long time,” explains Rob Bowman, President of Charter. “And being outdoors—whether walking trails, going to Crossroads, or getting together in outdoor spaces—is all a part of that.”

When stay-at-home orders were issued, it didn’t take long for the team to brainstorm how they could incorporate indoor/outdoor living space into their building plans—that would allow for neighbors to socialize safely with all the comforts of home. “The Hangout” was the solution. This feature transforms the first-floor of a Charter townhome into a space specifically designed for entertaining, with available add-ons such as a wet bar or wine fridge. It transitions seamlessly to an outside patio when its sliding glass doors are opened wide, complete with seating area and room for an outdoor television.

One can only imagine the possibilities of socializing in this space—burgers sizzling on the grill, sipping brews with friends while watching the game in the crisp autumn air, lounging with a pitcher of frosty sangria beneath the cotton candy clouds of a summer night. Even in the winter chill, blanket-wrapped kiddos might enjoy a mug of hot cocoa, snuggled up in front of a fire pit as a gentle snow falls. But perhaps the best feature of “The Hangout” is its purposeful angling towards Crossroads. Rob Bowman elaborates: “You’re not off the edge of the neighborhood, you’re in the middle of it. So when you’re sitting in ‘The Hangout’, it’s no different than sitting on an old porch: watching people walk by, close to all the energy of the neighborhood. And that’s very exciting.”