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Upside Down World

(replace scary monster with Covid)

Although we’re all inundated with talk about this pandemic, conflicting information, and all sorts of speculation about the future, there is a side to it that is quite positive and fascinating. I’m talking about the change in how we do work and life: The status quo has been disrupted.

At the start of 2020, the average person’s typical work/life consisted of going to an office for 7 to 9 hours, 5 days a week, and then home in the evening and weekends. Working from home was not nearly as widespread as it is now. Our homes were often single duty or we could get away with having a casual home office setup. I often noticed that at the start of projects I needed to really encourage some clients to take note of their needs, how they live/move in a space, and what wasn’t working. Now that so many people have been stuck at home for way longer than they ever have they are noticing things that they otherwise would not have. Or if they did notice things before, they now have a drastic change in their home with multiple family members home at once in school or working.

Before and After: There's always the potential for your space to be transformed like this one was. Yes, please!!

If you have realized your home is not cutting it, take a good, long look at your priorities, what is important to each person in your home, needs, wants, and assess what is working for everyone, and what isn’t. From what you find out, you might be able to get away with just adjusting layouts of your furniture, or repurposing rooms in a way that will make sense for what you need. Or, you are realizing actual construction/renovation work is in order. If that’s the case, here are some tips:

#1: Take your time to think

That might not be what you want to hear, but stick with me. What I have learned from over 22 years since interior design school is that rushing this step is never a good idea. Timelines are needed, but it is never worth pushing through because you think you have to get something done at a certain time. The more you have thought through what I listed above, the happier you will be in the end.

Take this gift of time to assess your needs, wants, and how you live, and use that info to empower your renovation?

#2: Compile what you figure out

We all think we’ll remember everything, but we don’t. So, make lists, even a wish list, write a journal, talk to friends about what they like and don’t like about their recent renovation, and start compiling ideas into one place. All these details matter and you don’t want to miss things. Having all of it compiled will clearly inform your decisions and will be the starting point for a good design for you.

Just to note, keep an open mind once you start talking to professionals because they will pick up on things you may not have noticed and have different ideas that might work out better. Still, the effort you put in will make their job easier.

#3: Get an idea of how much you are willing to invest on your home

I realize this can be extremely challenging if you have never renovated before. Even if you decide on a number, you can then speak with contractors, builder, architects, and designers to get some guidance. Not everyone is willing to provide insight, but some will, including me.

You might find out you need to wait a bit longer before you can start, you’ll have to phase your renovation, or you start prioritizing what you were planning on doing and adjust your goals to reflect a reduced scope. No shame there! Or you may be pleasantly surprised that you can do all that you’re hoping!

Budgeting 101: Know what your budget will allow before you start

Once you go through those three steps, you can start interviewing firms for your team. Many of us are offering video calls so you can safely and quickly go through this stage. Once you are ready to move forward, I would still advise you to take your time and review the ideas, your options, pricing, and layouts. Even if you don’t plan to start the actual construction till this pandemic is over, having all the planning completed, most of the selections done, and construction documentation ready to go you will be in an excellent position with your renovation.

If you’d like some guidance on the process of a renovation, rough pricing, recommendations on contractors, or any other burning question, please reach out. I love to help show people the potential that their homes have.

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