For many of us, February means Valentine’s Day and a chance to acknowledge those who mean the most to us—be they family, friends or work mates—anyone with whom we have forged a connection of any depth--emotionally or professionally.
During my 40 years as a professional Interior Designer, I’ve enabled my clients to show how much they care by paying attention to the surroundings of their loved ones, their employees as well as themselves. I think of it as “concern made tangible” or walking the walk on a spiffy new floor.
How Does Interior Design Show Your Love?
Let me count (just a few of) the ways. Because there are so many, this month I’m going to concentrate on those physically closest to us, and follow up with the others in your lives later on.
For Your Spouse or Partner
Sure you share your home on a more or less equal basis. But if it is more less than more, there are a myriad of ways to balance the equation. An important service we provide at Trans-Pacific Design is Space Planning. We spend time with our clients to understand how they interact with one another, as well as how they take time outs from one another. Before we even begin to think of colors, finishes and furnishings, we need to visualize how you wish to live within your home--the flow of traffic and the areas of energy and privacy.
Many enthusiastic cooks welcome a combined kitchen and living area, which encourages family togetherness, and even guest participation around an open counter while entertaining. But certainly not everyone. Especially those with less culinary confidence, a sink full of dishes, and a belief in the 5-second rule. On the other hand, if cooking has lost its glamour, the kids are on their own, or if there’s just you or the two of you who don’t particularly like to cook, why devote a large amount of space to heating up prepared meals or restaurant leftovers? We can right-size your kitchen to free up more space for whatever you wish.
Living Areas (aka Dens, Rumpus Rooms, Children’s Play Areas etc.)
We have to get personal here. Just how much privacy do you need? Is non-stop LOUD TV pounding a wedge in your relationship? And headphones are dismissed as only for old geezers? Physical separation may save the day and your feelings for one another. Renovating an unused portion of your home or garage (no basements here in Hawaii) into a Man Cave or Lioness Den can preserve the sanity of the partner not addicted to soap operas or sports or both, as well as prolonging and strengthening your relationship.
Did you know there are good looking recliners on the market? It’s true, but only professionals have access to these little known sources and can integrate them into a room’s décor. Ditto wide screen monitors, beer kegs, dartboards, framed football jerseys and assorted trophies. OK there are also feminine collections, which might offend a male. Taming collections of any gender through smart display tactics can really cut down on the “noise level” of any area.
Safe Areas for Children, Grandkids and One’s Own Special Needs Parents
Different story here. For safety reasons these spaces need to be immediately accessible for oversight without total physical separation between those being watched and their caregivers. This is true also for older parents who’ve moved in and may not be as alert as they once were. They too may need to be made secure and observed as well. Pass-throughs for discreet viewing, audio monitors, and comfortable furnishings that encourage staying put—or moving about safely--all help our loved ones of any age.
Offices, Studios, Craft and Hobby Areas
Notice we said “areas”? The reality of home square footage in the islands is that space is more often than not a luxury and that entire rooms can’t be set aside for working or playing. Thus the increased need to take advantage of existing space and making it work for you.
Had she been writing today, Virginia Wolfe would be known for extolling the virtues of “A Desk or Workbench of One’s Own.”* When you think about it, everyone eats and sleeps and bathes, but those areas of the home where we pursue our dreams and interests define our identities. No home is too small to deny anyone the pursuit of what makes him or her special. I’ve included a photo of a design solution I’ve provided which allow my clients to pursue their goal of a home office with part of their train collection as an accessory.
* Virginia Woolf, author of "A Room With a View"
More homes are becoming multi-generational. Hopefully your home is designed at a minimum for the “old normal” of parents and children. But what about the new reality of boomerang (returning) children? And how about bringing in Mom and/or Dad to retire within the comfort of their family? The necessary privacy such togetherness requires to make it work is so important and can contribute to a make it or break-it situation. I can share ways to gain “perceived” privacy without resorting to laying up drywall.
There are elegant answers to provide space for your children (young at-homes and returning adults). The bunk and trundle beds, which served through middle school, need to give way to traditional bedding. Only room for a twin or double bed? Don’t feel badly, having their own larger expanse of living area could be the perfect incentive for a young adult child to “move on out.” But in the meantime a consultation on making the most of your space could help to alleviate tension.
Ah, a bathroom of one’s own! Talk about an area where differences are amplified. Bath vs. shower—or both? Clean counters vs. displaying all of the decadent accompaniments for primping? Room for vanities and walk-in closets vs. in and out simplicity? Storage room for Big Box multiples vs. “No back stock!” A happy melding of opposites is our forte. Last month I attended the Kitchen and Bath Interiors Show in Las Vegas where I gained access to the latest resources and trends that can be implemented into your home.
Don’t forget to love the planet! As a LEED accredited professional, I can help you to achieve your goals in planet-friendly ways, with sustainable resources, smart planning and making the most of your existing situation. Talk about a win-win situation! These are just some of the ways to show those whom you care about that you really do care. Why wait? Call 808-885-5587 for a consultation and to make Valentine’s Day last all year long.
Published by: Susan J. Moss, ASID, LEED Accredited Professional in Active Blog, Residential
Tags: bedrooms, bathrooms, green, interior design, residential, kitchens, living areas, safe areas, home offices