Creating a dream house/vacation

So what do we do now that we are hunkering down? How do you get a vacation experience at home? Plan a renovation.

As travel comes to a virtual standstill during the COVID-19 pandemic, sheltering in place has become part of the new normal for many of us. What will that be like going forward? One thing is certain: Our homes are more important than ever to provide us with a place to live, to work and to seek comfort. After looking around our homes these past weeks, many of us have decided we need to elevate our style.

Everyone is video conferencing, giving us a window into the homes of commentators, news anchors, celebrities and business leaders, as well as an evolving phenomenon. At the beginning of these home “broadcasts,” the backgrounds looked pretty bleak. As a designer, I was immediately intrigued and have become obsessed with what is in these homes. I am aware of who actually loves to be in their homes and what they surround themselves with. Many are sorely lacking in books, art, style and even furniture.

But as the weeks have progressed, I am noticing that the backgrounds are filling in with artwork, bookcases, plants and furniture.  Are these props or symbols of a new awareness? (I’m not alone in wondering. My editor here at WAG, an amateur decorator and bookworm whose home has a library throughout, is particularly enamored of the background bookshelves that lend a certain gravitas or at least fascination as to their contents.)

I’m sure these transformed “sets” are a combination of seeing your home through someone’s eyes and realizing that your home needs some TLC. Yet we are a society that is always running to work, the gym, to see friends and to travel on wonderful vacations. Sometimes little time is spent at home. So what do we do now that we are hunkering down?  How do you get a vacation experience at home?

Plan a renovation. That spa that you love going to? Recreate it in your own bath. Those fabulous restaurants you enjoy? Renovate your kitchen to include some industrial appliances and learn to cook. A bedroom redo is the ultimate in creating a personal space. Spring is here so we can get outside and garden. If you live in an apartment, bring in some plants in great containers and enjoy caring for them at home.

Working from home is part of the new normal. Set aside a room or area if possible with a desk, chair and storage and use that as your work zone. All trends in home design are moving toward live/ work situations, so our homes will be much more important to us, and we are going to want every comfort for living and every piece of technology available to keep us connected to the outside world, to family, friends and work colleagues.

At the same time, you can bring more of your vacation style into your home.  With so many choices in home furnishing styles, you can find one that suits you while you wait to take your next vacation safely. Until a full renovation can take place, you can begin to plan it now. Many designers, myself included, are working remotely and are happy to help you plan your new living spaces. Quick updates to help boost your home style until a more comprehensive plan can be created include the addition of some cozy throws and pillows. Hang up some artwork. Photographs enlarged of your travels are great inspiration for updating your rooms. If you now have time on your hands, take an online painting course and translate your travel photos into artwork for your home.

We are all looking forward to leaving our homes and going back to our daily lives of working, socializing and traveling. Use this time as a reset. How can we enhance our life/ work balance going forward? What beautiful objects and memories would you like to incorporate into your homes? On your future travels, remember to bring back some of those objects to incorporate into you homes and remind you of your journeys — and your having survived a challenging time.  Until then, stay safe while updating your home — and the next chapter of your life.

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