Working from home has its challenges. Perhaps now you have a sore back from using your coffee table as a desk. Maybe the family making lunch in the kitchen at the same time is becoming a battle.
Now is a great time to look at your home and figure out what works for your family and what doesn’t.
You may have been thinking of renovating before the coronavirus outbreak sent a lot of us home. Now you can see which areas of the house get the most sun, or the most use. Perhaps you need more storage, or there id a particular room that’s always too dark.
“Now is a really good time to prepare for that renovation,” Melbourne-based architect Gary Windiate said. “Because once business goes back to normal, there will be builders looking for work and you’ll have all your plans ready.”
You may notice the afternoon sun in the backyard creates a nice space to work outside. Or the morning sun in the kitchen is too hot. Natural light is often overlooked when planning a renovation, so take the time now to factor it in to your plans.
“For me, natural light is number one in a renovation, like skylights or opening up part of the roof, even artificial light as a decoration,” architect and interior designer Nathalie Scipioni from NSStudio in Sydney said.
“Having extra light … can add some atmosphere. For example, add a nice pendant instead of downlights everywhere, which can be quite bland.”
The space you’re living in can have an effect on your mood. The pandemic and general uncertainty are having a negative effect on everyone at the moment. But if your house is always dark and enclosed, this can also dampen the spirits.
“A very bright and light house – even in winter when it’s raining – has a lot of natural light coming in. Natural, artificial light and bright colours will bring more happiness,” Scipioni said.
“Cross-ventilation can have two functions; [bringing in] light and fresh air and the [appearance] of glass on both sides. For example, if you [live in] a long house, [consider] an internal courtyard. This will allow more light to come in.”
Usage of space
Does everyone want to use the bathroom at the same time? Do you have a massive kitchen but only one person uses it? Now is the time to look at how your family moves through the house and where they congregate. A renovation needs to fit to your lifestyle.
“If there are more people in the kitchen cooking, you need more space between the benches,” Windiate said. “Typically, you’d allow a metre between the island bench and the backbench.”
“If there are two or three people in there opening dishwashers and the oven, you don’t want them to clash. We’ve done a couple of jobs where we’ve separated the oven and the cooktop.”
If everyone wants to use the bathroom at the same time, it may be best to make it usable for more people.
“Some couples may spend more time in the bathroom at the same time so may need two sinks,” Windiate said. “People use bathrooms very differently.”
Look at which areas are working well in your house. The living room might be an area that’s used for watching TV, reading a book or eating. If the space is functioning well, don’t touch it.
“We’ve designed kitchens where they’ve used the island bench as the dining room table to save space, but they congregate around the island bench when they’re preparing food and eating,” Windiate said. “The bench becomes the focal point. It’s the hub of the kitchen. It’s multifunctioning.”
When spending more time at home, more clutter accumulates. If work is also coming home, you may realise you need more storage.
Joinery can create functional and beautiful cabinets that can hide away all that extra work and home-schooling paper that would otherwise find itself on the kitchen bench, or the coffee table.