To suddenly find yourself working from home can be quite jarring, especially in these unsettled times.
In a time when our health is so important and at the forefront of our minds, we can’t forget that the way we hold and move our bodies plays an integral role in keeping us healthy. If you haven’t already read our previous post about creating a work space or you’d like a refresher, you’ll find it here: The Modern Home Office. Maybe you don’t have the space for a dedicated office or perhaps you’ve found yourself with multiple family members needing a work zone. This can create an added challenge to carve out and create a fabulous work from home spot.
Here are a few tips and tricks for setting up your temporary home office:
Ensure that you have proper lighting. Eye strain can detract from productivity and give you neck and head aches. Task lighting can help to ease your eyes and add some ambiance. A simple desk lamp, like the one shown below can help ease that strain. The key is to find a lamp that has built-in dimming capabilities and adjustable angles to help get the perfect lighting.
Add something that enjoy looking at and can make your space visually appealing. A bouquet of fresh flowers or a favorite piece of art can really brighten up a space.
Use a laptop stand, mouse and separate keyboard rather than your laptop’s built in track pad and keyboard. You’ll have more flexibility to get the right height for you to be looking at your screen. Ideally, you’ll be able to maintain as close as possible to a 100˚- 110 ˚ for your arms to your keyboard, and 20”-30” from your head to your screen.
Make sure that the chair you’re using is the correct height for your arms to be at the correct angle. If you aren’t using an office chair, try adding a pillow to sit on in case you’re like me, and find dining chairs to be too short. If you’re taller try putting a book underneath your keyboard to get the right height. Your posture is important! If you have the ability to work standing up, that’s a great solution as well!
Create a space where you can focus. The reality of suddenly finding yourself working from home may not allow you to fully separate from others but the more of a focus space you can create, the better. Whether that’s creating a desk area in a bedroom (try not to work from bed!) or at the dining table, create your space to be as private and distraction free as possible so you can be your most productive.
Make sure to get up and walk around every hour. Whether it’s a walk to the mailbox, or a quick jaunt around your neighborhood, walking for just 5 minutes every hour can help lift your mood and keep you focused.
One of the most important things is to stick to a schedule and routine. Working in your pajamas is fine once in a while, you may find that getting dressed (even if it’s just a nicer sweater on top of your leggings) and looking professional can get you in the right mindset for work. Plus, you get the added bonus of already being dressed appropriately for that last-minute video call you’re inevitably going to get.
Written by Amanda Kratochvil, who may or may not be in pajamas, from her home dining room office.
My team and I at Housewarming, hope this message finds you and yours safe and well. Through these unsettling and unprecedented times, our clients, colleagues and community are in our hearts and on the very top of our minds.
Our team has been working remotely for several weeks. We are very lucky that we have the type of business that allows us to do that. We know, many others, are unable to work, at all, right now. While it is our preference to work in person with our clients and colleagues, that is not possible right now. While we cannot provide all the services that we typically do and how we typically provide them, our amazing and resilient team has been flexible and adaptive, as have so many other people and businesses.
We are continuing to design for our contractors and homeowners so that when residential construction can begin again, there will be little to no delay in getting our partners back to work. We are able and willing to take on new projects and welcome the opportunity to chat with you over the phone or video conference. Need some advice on how to set up your home office space? We can likely work with you remotely. Does spending this time at home make you realize you are not happy with how your space looks and functions? We can get the conversation started for future home improvement or renovation projects. As always, our initial consultation is complimentary.
As we all navigate these tumultuous waters together, please know that our Housewarming family is here for you and your family. We will help you in ANY WAY that we possibly can, whether it’s design-related or not. We have an amazing network of resources so PLEASE feel free to call if you are struggling. We want to help!
Until we meet again in person, please be well and try switching your mindset from “I’m STUCK at home!” to “I GET to be safe at home!”
Peace and Health to You and Yours!
Karen Pfeiffer Bush
The proud CEO of Housewarming Home Staging & Design, LLC
For more information email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or call us at 206.719.1662.
Valentine’s day always brings out the pinks in every aspect of design, and frequently people tend to avoid in their homes because it feels too feminine or too baby pink.
Well I’m here to tell you that pink can be amazing, and really add something special and sophisticated to your space. Whether we’re talking about a full remodel or your furniture, don’t be afraid to go pink!
Here are some of my favorite pinks right now….
These amazing pink and white vases from Cyan Design
This amazing subway tile installed in a herringbone pattern from Roca, paired with this beautiful slate blue cabinetry is a stunning show stopper.
Or this AMAZING concrete tile by Marrakech Design.
How about this show stopping blush pink sofa? You can find it here at Wayfair.
We just wrapped up a fantastic project for wonderful clients. The whole process was extremely rewarding, and I enjoyed working with them.
Sheryl & Tom have lived in their home for over 20 years and were ready for an update. Their kids are all in college leaving just the two of them in the house. They had been toying with the idea of moving, but still loved the house they raised their kids in.
This house is your typical split level with a lot of potential, but they hated their kitchen and hall bath. It just didn’t fit their lifestyle or needs anymore. Their kitchen was hardly used, being too small and cut off from the rest of the living space. The hall bathroom functioned fine and was mostly just outdated. It also had a weird split storage closet (the bottom ¾ was accessed on the kitchen side!) that didn’t function as it was too high up and items were frequently lost.
We were brought into this project by one of our favorite contractors, Better Builders, to help solve this kitchen and bath problem. We started by sitting down with Sheryl & Tom and discussing their wants and needs for the two spaces.
For the kitchen/dining/living:
- Open up the space by tearing down the wall separating the three spaces
- Add an island with seating
- Tom has back problems, so access to cabinets is an important factor
- More storage
- Warmer/natural tones but keep it modern, not too beige
- Built in doggy door so they can reclaim the use of their sliding glass door
- Remove carpeting from living room & continue the hardwoods throughout
- Better lighting
- Update the fireplace & add TV above
For the Bathroom:
- Soaking tub to fit in existing alcove
- Single sink (it’s a hall bath, didn’t need multiple)
- Keep the layout, but update fixtures
- Fix the weird split closet that was shared with the kitchen
All in all, they weren’t asking for much, and thankfully they had the space to pull it off. Once we established their needs, we moved into space planning.
For the kitchen, we played with the layout, looking at doing a large u-shaped kitchen(top), but ultimately— to increase flow and ease of use of the space— we ended up with an L shaped kitchen with an Island in the middle(bottom). This allowed us to create an open concept space that allowed for easy access from the entry of the house and a more functional space for entertaining.
For the bathroom, we kept the same basic layout, with one major change: the entire odd split closet would be utilized by the bathroom. In this case we went with the first option, a closet(left) instead of cabinetry(right).
To address Tom’s back problems, we made sure to utilize lots of drawers, pull-outs and a full height pantry. He wouldn’t have to bend down and reach back for anything. A few more tweaks and we had our final layout!
Once we established our final layout, we started on fixture & finish selections. Sheryl had started the process a few years back and had some samples already in mind. The problem being that most of her choices had been discontinued so we just used those as a starting point and came up with current options for final fixtures & finishes.
We focused on warm tones and natural products. Tom really liked the idea of being able to see grains in the stones we picked, so we focused on that for both the kitchen(top) and the bathroom(bottom).
There were a few hiccups along the way, like finding out the beautiful backsplash was discontinued, and if we wanted the first-choice countertop, the kitchen would be delayed by a few months. Unfortunately, things like this happen. Depending on how long between selection and build, any number of products could be discontinued, but that’s why having a designer and a solid construction team come in handy. We were able to find replacement tile/counters quickly so that Tom & Sheryl didn’t have to deal with the anxiety of the unknown for long. Luckily the replacement tile for the backsplash and the countertop, in my (and thankfully Tom & Sheryl’s) opinion, turned out even better than the original.
Now that we were getting close to construction completion, the furniture conversation started. They knew they wanted to start over as much as possible, really giving their space new life. In addition to the kitchen and bath design, we helped Tom and Sheryl make furniture selections. We started off by showing them the biggest sectional they could have, while still maintaining other seating options.
Sheryl and I ended up texting pictures back and forth on options that could work. This was a bit more informal of a furniture & décor project, but it was the method of communication that worked for the client, so I adapted to it and end results were terrific. We were truly able to get a feel for our clients’ desired outcome by doing the initial design and really understood their goal to create an amazing entertainment space.
Once we had all the new furniture, Lori, our lead stylist and photographer, and I went in and finessed the space. We played with the layout and accessories, and finally…we got the picture-perfect space!
Don’t worry, we didn’t forget about Leo….
This blog post is a guest publication from Marin Ryles with our trade partner, Better Builders LLC.
So, you’re finally ready to start pursuing that remodel you’ve been dreaming of for years. Or maybe you bought a new home that needs some serious fixing up. Better yet, perhaps you’ve afforded the luxury to build your dream home from scratch.
I’m sure anyone considering a new construction or remodeling project has a million and one things flying through their mind. If this is you, you’re likely asking yourself, “Where do I even begin?”
Well, having a solid idea of where you want to take your design is a great start.
Some people still opt for the old fashion method or cutting pictures out of magazines and creating a physical idea board. And while I love a good craft just as much as the next person, in this age of technology, you can make this process so much easier. Which is why I would like to introduce you to Pinterest and Houzz.
If you’re one of the 300 million+ active Pinterest users worldwide, you are likely very familiar with this social media meets microblog platform. If you’re not so pin savvy, allow me to introduce you to the basics of Pinterest.
Pinterest is a “visual discovery engine”, designed to spark inspiration and keep your ideas organized and easy to find. Pinning is the verb used by Pinterest users everywhere to describe saving posts to their Pinterest boards. Pinterest has over 75 billion ideas ready for your pinning. Categories range from recipes, to fashion, to arts and crafts, to design and remodeling ideas.
When using Pinterest for organizing your design ideas and goals, you can build a “Pin Board” for your project or just to compile ideas of what you like for that dream remodel down the road. Being able to show a project developer or designer a visual compilation of what you want or styles you like can make a world of difference in the ease of planning your project.
No, I didn’t spell “house” wrong, Houzz is a real (and awesome) website. Houzz started with two homeowners gearing up for a remodel, a stack of magazines, and a handful of referrals to home professionals.
Like Pinterest, Houzz is a place to browse and save thousands of beautiful photos. Houzz, however, is specifically geared toward home design/remodeling. Once you create your Houzz profile, you can begin building “projects” and saving inspiration to them.
Not just a picture platform, Houzz also helps you connect directly with design and construction professionals. Not only can you view a home professional’s page for a portfolio of projects, but users are also able to leave a review of a company directly on their Houzz page.
Joining the community of over 40 million Houzz users, you can create project idea boards and connect with your project professional, all in one place.
Why You Should Prepare an Idea Board
In the Better Builders project development process, a site visit with Pete is one of the first steps. During this first “eyes on” meeting, Pete is walking the site with the owners, trying to get a solid understanding of what they hope to get out of their project. This is also when potential clients are usually trying to get an idea of the feasibility of their project. It should come as no surprise when I tell you, guess-timating a project is very challenging when the full picture is unclear.
We understand that verbalizing your design ideas can be difficult, which is where a visual tool like an idea board comes in handy. “To keep it simple, a picture is worth a thousand words”, says Project Developer, Pete Baughman. “Having images that guide us in the direction of your design aspirations, helps us draw a much quicker connection between your vision and feasible design
possibilities.” When looking for images to build your idea board with, it is important to look beyond what you like and dislike. When developing your design dream, Pete advises, “when you look at an image of a design, you need to think about how the image makes you feel, not just the bits and pieces you like and dislike.” We are dedicated to providing a final product that you love, and every last detail will be considered.
Amanda Kratochvil, Lead Designer with Housewarming, finds similar value in platforms like Pinterest and Houzz. “The design world is incredibly vast, and there is a style for every single person out there. When it comes time for you to make a change to your home, sometimes it can be hard to describe what it is you like without having some sort of visual. Using a platform like Pinterest or Houzz to gather those thoughts and be able to see them all in one place, can really help define your style and keep you organized. It also gives you a solid platform for showing others and having them—your designer or your builder—accomplish your ideal style in your space. I especially love when clients have these ready for me because it’s an organized visual of their style and is a great reference for me as I’m making selections or planning out their space.”
Check out the Housewarming Pinterest profile here.
To view the original post, please visit the Better Builders Blog.
Where do you even start? You’ve got your inspiration figured out from our post on Organizing and Finding Inspiration but you’re still lost. What do you keep? What do you replace? Do you just say “to heck with it” and replace everything? Unfortunately the answer won’t be the same for everyone, but the process to find that answer absolutely can be.
When I’m working with a client who knows they want change but doesn’t know where to begin in their furniture and décor selection process, I always ask them the same question:
what can’t you live without?
It seems like a simple enough question. When you think about how you live in your space and about what you use the most, it’s interesting to consider if you’re using it because it is a convenience or because you really love that piece. It can make a huge impact on your decision-making ability.
That exercise can result in a good list of pieces that you don’t want to live without. The next step is to figure out how to pair those pieces with new pieces. Me personally? I love mixing old with new; you just need to make sure you balance it correctly, so it doesn’t feel like a hodge-podge of random pieces.
Another trick is to stick with coordinating colors. When you do this all your pieces work together regardless of the style because of the color scheme. They just “fit”.
If you want to get techy, take a photo of your furniture and upload it to whatever system you used for your inspiration board. I use Canva. And then as you’re shopping for pieces you can upload pictures of those and make sure it all meshes with your vision.
Here was our inspiration board for the kitchen:
With the living room just off the kitchen, we wanted to ensure we coordinated the two spaces. We used this as a starting point. No need to start from scratch!
Here are our final furniture choices:
We started with a bright orange sofa and a gold coffee table that we just couldn’t live without. By choosing the navy chair—a contrasting color—and a darker gray area rug to ground the space, we aren’t competing with the bold sofa choice but rather keeping it within one color theme.
You’ll also notice I did not stick exactly to my original color story because it’s important to remember that you don’t have to, it’s just a guide. You want to avoid being “matchy-matchy”. The inspiration is a starting point, and you evolve from there. By making sure we embraced a similar look (and stole a few of the items from the original inspiration) we created a cohesive look that will flow from one space to the next without feeling like you’re jumping styles too much.
Let’s talk Décor!
Décor is something that is incredibly personal to each of my clients. You have to decide how you want your space to feel. Magazine ready at all times? Functionally minimal? Extremely personal? Think about how you want others to see your space but also how you want to feel in it.
I’m a fan of the personal approach. I think décor and accessories mean more if you have a good story behind them. Not to say all your pieces need to have a story but it helps make the space feel more special if, at least, some of them do.
If you’re a big traveler, find pieces that you love while abroad and incorporate them into your space!
Are you more of an art collector? Consider having more prominent pieces on a cycle and trade them out so you have a fresh look all the time.
A good rule of thumb is to try to keep within your color story but know that if you go outside of it for a really special piece, it will fit because it fits you.
Most importantly find things that make you smile. Be happy in your space.