Solutions for the Stay-at-Home Lifestyle

by Charlotte Kovalchuk and Ann Marie Kennon

We’ve all been home a lot this year and, even now, we’re contemplating a future in which we continue to spend more time staying home. In light of these changes, many of us have found ourselves taking a closer look at our surroundings than we did in our busy, pre-pandemic lives.

Local design experts Jason Daugherty (Omnia Outdoors) and Gigi Kinsey (Kinsey Interiors and Remodel) shared their expertise about emerging trends, taking advantage of opportunities to talk about changes to our living spaces, and some ideas about enjoying life at home together. 

INTERIOR THOUGHTS

You might find yourself working from home and need to turn your dining room into an office. Or you notice the flooring looks old and worn. Maybe the walls need new paint. You decide it’s time to spruce up your living quarters, but how and where to start?

Whether you want a full remodel or need some updates to put your house on the market, Gigi Kinsey of Kinsey Interiors and Remodel (KinseyInteriors.com) has some philosophy and ideas about transforming your indoors.

REMODEL OR UPDATE?

The first question to ask is if you will live in your home five years or longer. If you plan to move soon, updating surfaces is the way to go instead of full-fledged remodeling. If you’re planning a long stay, remodel to fit your needs and lifestyle.

FUNCTION, THEN AESTHETICS

You might want that gorgeous home straight out of a magazine, but Gigi suggests focusing on function before choosing color, style and surface materials. “If you remodel things to fit your lifestyle and how you function, you’re going to enjoy your home and be much more comfortable and maybe safer,” Gigi says.

Ask these questions: How do I use my space?  Am I casual, formal, or need space for both? Do I entertain a lot of people frequently or is it typically just my immediate family? Do I want finishes that are easy to care for? Am I all right with finishes that are more delicate or in need of more upkeep?

PROJECTS

  • Remodeling kitchens and master baths will give the biggest return dollar for dollar. They are also the most influential in a home sale.
  • Adding another bathroom, if needed, is another project with a big money return.
  • Updating surfaces in the kitchen such as countertops and backsplash, and update appliances if needed
  • Change out countertops and plumbing fixtures in bathrooms. Replace framed shower glass with clear frameless glass.
  • Replace dated or worn flooring.
  • Change out lighting fixtures, which can transform the whole style of a home. 
  • Replace dated hardware such as cabinet pulls, towel bars and door hardware.
  • Paint walls, trim and cabinets.

THINKING “OUTSIDE”

Jason Daugherty is the owner and designer of Omnia Outdoors (OmniaOutdoors.com), with a solid philosophy on creating a seamless transition from your interior style and comfort level to your outdoor environment. “When I visit a client, just walking from the front door to the back, I notice the textures and style of everything from their furniture to their kitchen backsplash. I imagine all the ways I can extend that look and feel into a monolithic design from interior to exterior.” 

Jason says current trends include incorporating hard and softscapes together—many people are expanding their patio space, and also adding herb gardens. Even more basic, you can add a second grill; charcoal for entertaining and a propane for day-to-day. 

For comfort, outdoor furniture has become more comprehensive; not just a few lawn chairs, but something that reflects the home interior. Adding potted plants will re-create the homey feel, and, he adds, “landscape lighting can go a long way to adding a soft warm feel to your space. Most people use 2700 lumen lighting inside; having that soft look outside extends the warmth of your home. It also helps create greater perimeter security.” 

A NEW VISION

Jason recommends homeowners looking to make a change take a look around their interior and think of ways to re-create the same−but outside. “People who worked a lot now have time to discuss the possibilities, and having a designer will help them figure out their vision. They may not be sure what they want, but they always know what they like. Great change is not always about a pool or outdoor kitchen; we just aim for that seamless transition from landscaping, beds, plants, and furniture, all the way into the house. A home owner’s goal should be to bridge that gap, recognizing that it’s not just the purview of resorts or the wealthy to have cool entertaining spaces.” 

Expert Assistance

Jason says the goal is to blend landscapes and interior to create more livable square footage in the home space. “Your home is not just inside your house; it’s everything from your back fence to your driveway. Ideally, everything in between reflects your personality and your comfort level.” 

Even home design is beginning to reflect this trend. Builders are looking at how people live today and designing new homes accordingly. “We don’t all want 3,000-5,000 square feet any more; we are expanding decking and outdoor living for entertainment, and cutting back on the footprint the house makes on the property. There is a lot of potential for having beautiful views, breathing room, and a comfortable space in which to spend all our new time at home.” 

With plenty of options—from DIY to construction—having experts like Jason can help your vision take shape and reveal the sanctuary that was in your backyard all along. “It’s important to plan, pull your aesthetic elements together, and see all that is possible.”  

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