2020 has been a crazy year. As a nation, we’ve gone through a lot of new experiences that will have ripple effects for a generation to come. As these events have unfolded, we’ve witnessed them largely from the confines of our homes. Because of this, we’ve learned a lot about our homes over the course of these past few months and how they provide support, or obstacles, to our work life, our family life, and our overall sense of wellbeing. During this time, clients and colleagues have shared with us the pain-points of their own homes, as well as where they’ve been able to find refuge and comfort.
The Home Office
The term ‘work-life balance’ has a whole new meaning these days. Those lucky enough to be able to maintain their jobs by working at home are now faced with the shortfalls of their makeshift work environment. The old home office that was tucked into the corner of a spare bedroom, tagged onto the end of the kitchen, or hidden away in the basement now feels like an isolated cell or a cramped cubby overly exposed to the chaos that is life with home schooling. Technology has also moved front and center as Wi-Fi loss of signal or speed, once merely an annoyance, is a potential road block to getting your work done or joining in on the office video conference.
Already the heart of the house, the kitchen has become more important than ever to our daily lives. As most meals are now prepared in the home, people are getting to know their kitchens in a more intimate way. Lack of storage has been the biggest complaint with a clear need for larger pantries and refrigerators as people reduce their trips to the store and increase the amount of goods brought home. With the extra time spent in the kitchen, it has become obvious they are lacking in needed space. Whether it is the loss of the kitchen island to the new temporary home school, or the unnecessary agitation of having your significant other always in the way – the kitchen has become one of our most used spaces yet it is often undersized for this new intensive use.
The “Away” Room
We’ve never needed a place to escape to more than we do now. Netflixers, gamers, and pretty much everyone else is looking for a place to disconnect from the news and submerge themselves in a cocoon of digital distraction. Beyond this technological escape, we’ve also heard a longing for a more serene space removed from the bustle of family life where someone can go to gain a change of scenery, meditate on the day, and mentally shift themselves from one mode to another – be it work to relaxation, boss to parent, or so forth.
The Club Room
With access to restaurants and public bars severely limited, people are trying to create their own place to unwind at the end of the day. Similar to our kitchens, described above, space for our libations and their enjoyment is often undersized, or simply nonexistent. Crafting cocktails is becoming a popular hobby in need of a space to perform, and virtual happy hours are helping to keep us connected to our co-workers, friends, and extended family during this isolated time. The top shelf of the kitchen cabinet just doesn’t cut it anymore.
The Great Outdoors
Kids or no kids, the back yard has become a primary source of escape for many of us. Who would have thought that “getting out of the house” would mean going into the back yard? Clients are looking to add swimming pools for their children who are currently limited on their summer activities, and with more time to grill, people are noticing their old Weber is a bit undersized and severely rusted. The need for better decks or patio space is also becoming apparent as a night out is now relaxing out back with a glass of wine or a cold beer.
While this is a new world for us all, and our home must now do more than it ever has, the good news is many of these issues can be improved relatively simply with a little thought and game-planning. Here are three things you can do today to make your house work better.
- Outline your family’s daily activities in detail, noting when things work smoothly and when there are problems.
- Take stock of your current living space – where are people congregating and what rooms are sitting empty.
- Ignore past conventions and re-arrange your home to meet the needs of your new life. Make the formal dining room the home office or the guest bedroom the yoga room – but do it for real, not just in a provisional manner. Move out the old furniture and arrange the space as needed for these new activities.
If you need more than this to get your home in shape, give us a call – we’re here to help.
So, did we miss something that has been a thorn in your side? Have you created a home-hack that makes your life better? Let us know what new discovery you’ve made about your home at firstname.lastname@example.org.