We have conflicting advice being broadcasting to us all the time. News, information is coming at us from all directions and at lightening speed. Statistics say that we are expected to process the same amount of information in one day that our Grandparents processed in their lifetimes. Even THAT is a hard thing to process.
Yet, we do not allow ourselves to SLOW DOWN enough to reflect this deeply and then to accept and acknowledge that it is impossible to do the things that our society if telling us that we must do. Let me repeat that. It is not possible to be the person that we are told we are meant to be.
Human beings are not able to do the amount of work we are now told is the norm, process the amount of information that is bombarding us every day in all situations, to be an expert in multiple areas, and eat, exercise, travel, have a great sex life and be part of a reading club for fun with your friends, take care of your elderly parents and make sure to bake your child’s birthday cake from scratch. Yup. That is what we have been SOLD is the perfect life and the road to happiness. I feel that striving for many of these things are truly important, and human beings are deeply amazing, capable creatures. (do you feel the BUT coming here…)
Simply put, we will never be able to meet the expectations that we are setting for ourselves. It’s impossible. What is the result? When expectations are not met, then disappointment and frustration follows.
But I think that until we also accept the realities of our limitations we will never be able to truly overcome them.
Do-it-yourself (DIY) is the trend that has been increasing for nearly two decades steadily. This is part of the trend to BE MORE, DO MORE, HAVE MORE. We have been educated and given insight to the quality of life improved through the betterment of the places we spend time in such as our homes, and offices. This is super awesome despite the originals of more, more more! Because creating a NEST that keeps you safe, warm, healthy and happy is going to help you on every level of your life.
However, the issue is the ability to do-it-ALL-BY-YOURSELF.
You do not have to do it all alone. You can lead the DIY path but with a helper. Following this trend of DIY I have created a series of design services suited to this approach. My holistic approach is called Design-It-With-You (DIWY) and is DIY with a twist. Having nearly 30 years of interior design, renovation, building and architectural experience gives me a bit of knowledge in that arena. I may not be the best tennis player, or good at writing a legal document or a technology wiz. But I know that I do not need to be. My ONE THING is that I have been a designer my whole life and so I am pretty much a pretty darn good one. Experience comes after decades of doing the same stuff – it adds up after a while.
Design-FOR-You is very different than Design-It-WITH-You. It is a foundational philosophy to allow you to be the leader of your own design project and to allow my knowledge to help be the guide and resource for the implementation of your vision.
REAL LIFE EXAMPLES
Downsizing Home – DIY
A family of five soon became a family of three and then eventually a family of two. The empty nest was theirs, but they soon realised that the nest was too big for only two and they needed to find a place that suited them at this chapter of their lives. A new place was found and their old home was sold. Then the process of moving in and making theirs was the next step. This is where DIWY came in. Despite the husband being a little skeptical in the beginning because my design services were all virtual, the end result speaks volumes. Their new apartment was a “Grown Up Home that fully reflected both of them and their whole family. My process was to create a vision on what their version of the grown up home would feel like, then to dig deep into their hobbies, lifestyle habits, things that they wanted to change/add into their life and things that they wanted to get rid of.
We worked with their existing pieces as much as possible. This is both a sustainable approach to designing your next space but also one that links your past with your present. Often I can help discover new ways to use old pieces, either with a coat of paint, a new Upholestry job or using something for a new activity. (old sewing machine as a coffee table for example). Then the old pieces that do not serve anymore need to find a new home. We find a recycling location, or a second hand selling site or even donation center. Of course, after asking family members if they want it. Though the market for second hand furniture is currently increasing since the pandemic, it is something I have always believed in and support.
- The process of change can be fun if you have a dream team working with you.
- Do not be afraid to ask for help.
- Letting go does not mean you will lose your memories.
- Designer help from a distance does work.
USE UNDER USED SPACES
We placed their piano under the stairs in the large front foyer because this was under used space and the piano would have taken up valuable real estate in the living room and dining room, when it was only used on special occassions and could be seen/heard from the foyer, allowing the public spaces to be designed for a more comfortable and flexible day-to-day life for this new family of two.
TAKE YOUR TIME TO FIND THE RIGHT PEICE
Discovering the ‘right’ piece of furniture is a must-leveled process including the price and schedule to get it, the practicality of caring and durability as well as the most obvious which is the aesthetics or looks of a piece. These selections also need to be confirmed they work with the whole space and all pieces in it, as it is like a recipe – if you put in one wrong ingredient, it can spoil, the whole dish.Finding the Queen Bee chair that was both a lounge chair that was comfortable, but also was able to swivel so the queen could see her whole domain, PLUS it needed to be super pretty since it was in a key location that could be seen from practically everywhere on the ground floor. This piece took ages to find the right one, but when we did, magic happened.
MAKE MEMORIES AND MEMENTOS AND TURN INTO ART
One of my discovery processes is called the Magic Box, where you go around and collect or place into a box all your favourite things. (this can be literally or figuratively, depending). Many of the combined favourite things from this empty nester couple was their moments from their travels in Europe. They simply adored telling me stories of where they got each piece, the memories were rich with detail and the excitement of these pieces made me think we had to find a way to allow that magic to touch them everyday and not just when they opened their storage unit. Thinking outside the box with a set of four small, handpainted tiles to create a collage for an art piece over their mantelpiece was a golden opportunity to bring their love of travel into their vision every single day. Skeptical at first, the placement of these pieces read as “one” instead of four, allowing what was considered something unusable, into a sacred piece of art to brighten their new home for two.
I have literally dozens of these stories to share of happy design journeys with my clients with this special DIWY process of mine. It is a joy to collaborate with others to seek a better space for a better life in a sustainable and mindful manner.