For many of us the simple line “There’s No Place Like Home” immediately conjures up vivid memories and images in our minds. Whether it’s an old Christmas Carole, or Dorothy and Toto in the Wizard of Oz or Kevin in Home Alone, the very words almost always immediately resonate with us- and for very good reasons.
As anyone who watches Property Brothers “Forever Home” knows, a home is much more than a house or any dwelling. According to the psychologist Carl Jung who spent much of his life exploring the collective unconscious and our entire inner world, home is one of our most important primal expressions of our psyche. It is the ever- important boundary between ourselves and an often harsh world outside. It is our sanctuary and an expression of who we are.
Never perhaps more has home been more crucial to our sense of well being and protection than right now as millions of us live through the COVID pandemic. It is not overly dramatic to say that we are all fighting for our lives. In the US alone, in less than one year more than 300,000 people have died so far and the millions of people who are becoming ill daily are just too many to conceptually deal with. Over the past ten months, our economy has been dealt a blow that will take years to recover from. Many of us have lost our businesses, jobs, and our savings. In the midst of all of this, we are spending more and more time at home and those of us fortunate enough to still have jobs are working remotely. We aren’t just fighting for our lives and jobs, we are fighting to hold onto our homes which are integral to our entire sense of well-being and who we are!
If home is where the heart is, it is also now our place of protection from the COVID storm. Our home, right now holds the key to our most basic needs according to Dr. Abraham Maslow and his hierarchy of needs. Its hard for us to meet our social and relationship needs (never mind self-actualization) when we are worrying about our health safety and financial security. The really good news, or silver-lining is that by making our home as good a sanctuary as it can be, we are doing one of the best things we can do during these times to alleviate our stress and anxiety and to feel in control of our lives again. Pouring our self-expression into our home is also a much better distraction than watching the covid numbers escalate on whatever news channel we happen to watch.
So where and how do we get started on Making our home as warm and inviting a sanctuary as it can be during these times? Here are 6 steps you can take right now, whatever your budget is. In future articles we will elaborate on these and add more but right now, our intent is to afford you some positive movement in a good direction.
1. Take a walk room by room of your current home with a note pad in hand. Make a list of every repair and change you would like to make. At this stage, dream big and don’t limit yourself-yet.
Look at everything both big and small from the ceiling and walls ( eg that wall you have always wanted to open up or how some wood beams might look on your ceiling). Look at your kitchen and bathrooms from the perspective of how new fixtures, more storage space, new counters etc would look and feel. On the more micro level, list paint color changes you would like to make, lighting fixtures you would like to modernize, new furnishings right down to cushions that can add a pop of color to your space.
2. Now its time for a Reality check. How much money can you afford to spend? If you have not been able as many of us to take vacation this year, you may have some savings. Be creative in creating a budget for yourself and/or if you need help with costs, call us at Basic Black Design. We have been doing this for a long time and no client is too small for us. Once you have a budget, go back through your dream list and prioritize. Focus on what you can do as opposed to what you can’t. Perhaps focus on one room at a time. Eg many of us did not plan for working remotely but now our dogs, kids, family etc. make it hard to concentrate with all of those distractions. Maybe its time to create a private working space.
3. Pick a room you would like to start with and go on Houzz, Wayfair and other sites to look for ideas for that room. Now go window shopping to any or all of your favorite stores such as: Home Goods, Magnolia, Target, TJ Max, Marshalls, and of course any and all Consignment stores. Let your imagination go free. You will be surprised at how something as simple as a richly textured and colored throw or cushion, can start you thinking about how you want to re-configure your room. Start collecting ideas, run them by family and friends who might add onto your ideas. The point is that beautiful spaces, often start with small simple ideas.
4. Its time to look for the perfect co-collaborator. If You really want this space to be an expression of you, then look for designers who are prepared to listen closely to you and instead of pitching the latest/greatest trend or fad. Keep in mind that open spaces, for example, mean more noise, less privacy so maybe seek a balance with your rooms. For Example, use Glass French doors to transition from one room to the next but if you want a big friendly entertaining area, taking down a wall that closes off a kitchen, and adding a beautiful island, actually creates more space.
We at Basic Black Design , pride ourselves on becoming real partners with our clients. You bring your vision, we excel in helping you achieve that vision at the best value, cost and time. Of course, whenever you select a designer and contractor, make sure to get multiple quotes in writing and watch out for big promises with broad generalizations on costs. Pick the contractor who will take your bottom line budget and commit to what they will deliver for that amount.
There really is no place like home, as many of us are now realizing. The silver lining of this pandemic is that we are discovering new ways to enjoy our home and to productively earn our living there. The next biggest trend that we are seeing on Home Design is in fact the multipurpose home that includes such things as a home office, home gym, and outdoor/indoor living spaces. We hope we have ignited your curiosity and your motivation. Watch for our future articles and call us anytime.