Amid the COVID-19 Pandemic, many of us now find ourselves working from home. While it’s hard to complain about the commute, working from home can be an adjustment. For example, you may find yourself doing tasks around the house and suddenly you’ve missed several important emails. If you feel like you need some help being more productive while working from home, here are five tips to improve your workflow.
The best kind of light is natural light. Try setting up your workspace by a window. If that’s not possible, add a desk lamp or floor lamp to brighten your space. Not only will it help with visibility; it brightens your mood, which helps you to be more productive.
Remove distracting clutter. Take everything off your desk that you don’t need. Store it elsewhere or use shelves on your wall to display it.
If you find yourself cleaning throughout the day, set aside time specifically for these tasks. If you’re still waking up at the same time you did when working at the office—which studies show is a great strategy when working from home—using your would-be commute time to tidy up helps avoid those periodic distractions.
Bring the Outdoors In
Bringing plants into your home is beneficial for productivity and health alike. Greenery is a natural mood booster and gives life to a room. Plants naturally purify the air, helping you breathe easy as you make your way through the workday. Try arranging both hanging and potted plants to improve the mood around your workspace.
Change Your Chair
A chair that’s too tall, too short, or not comfortable is a fast track to back and shoulder problems that inhibit your workday and linger afterwards. Being in a stationary position for hours at a time requires the right kind of support to stay productive. Features to look for in a quality office chair include proper lumbar support, sturdy wheels, and an adjustable base that allows your shoulders to relax and your feet to rest flat on the floor.
It’s important to keep your home office professional and dedicated to your work. However, adding personal touches to the space will help you feel at ease. Position your work computer and phone front and center with any related work tools close by and handy. Adding pictures of loved ones, artwork, and inspirational quotes will help inspire you to generate ideas while working productively.
Today marks Earth Day. How will you spend the day? Here are a few simple ideas to save energy and reduce your impact on the earth.
Create your own Earth Hour
During Earth Hour, people around the world turn off the lights. Even famous places such as the Eiffel Tower and Empire State Building go dark. Re-create your own Earth Hour tonight by turning off the lights and the TV. Play a board game, have dinner or read a book by candlelight.
Adjust your thermostat
Spring is slowly heating up into summer. Check that your heating and cooling settings are appropriate for the new season.
Use compact fluorescent light bulbs (CFLs)
If you haven’t already made the switch, think about replacing old light bulbs with CFLs. According to EnergyStar, if each home in America replaced just one light with an ENERGY STAR light, the energy saved would light more than 3 million homes for a year and save about $700 million in annual energy costs.
Reduce, Reuse, Recycle, Upcycle
Upcycling is the art of taking something that could be seen as garbage and turning into something useful. Do you have a basement full of items that you’re thinking about throwing away? Next time you want to run to the store to buy something new, head down to your stash and envision if there’s anything there that you could use instead, like this pair of rubber boots that became a flower pot.
For more information on Windermere Evergreen, please contact us here.
Throw open the windows and freshen up your space with some of these fun spring and summer design trends!
Whether you add a new bright color, paint a pattern, or install decorative wallpaper, creative walls are an easy and exciting way to enhance your space.
Freshen up your space with the unexpected. Install decorative tiles, wallpaper, or paint the ceiling a different color. Or think outside the box and add sculptural elements.
Color is big this season! If you cannot paint your walls or ceiling, add a pop of color by choosing some statement furniture pieces to add color and interest to your room.
Put some pep in your steps with these creative ideas.
Over the last few years, tile has really become a fashion item for the home. Check out these styles when considering a backsplash or a bathroom renovation.
If you don’t have large statement art to fill a blank wall, consider curating your own gallery wall. You can alter the look for a modern space with uniform frames and images, or you can go eclectic with mixed frames and art styles.
For more information on Windermere Evergreen, please contact us here.
So what’s in?
- Bringing the outdoors inside. Do this with larger glass windows or folding glass doors.
- Minerals as hardware.
- Large geometric tiles on floors.
- Mixing metals, such as brass and gold.
Interior paint color – Grey still has a heavy influence, but it is warming up a bit and getting softened with a stone color. Of course, the Pantone colors of the year are playing a big part with light blues and soft pinks.
Wallpaper – Always a great place to get a little crazy. Textural, geometric patterns are so in.
Carpet – 2016 is about modernizing the traditional themes. People are doing geometric shapes and soft grays. However, hardwood floors continue to be on trend. It’s not uncommon for someone to do hardwood floors throughout the whole home, others are even putting wood on the walls. Fun fact: When the economy is good, floor color tends to lighten up, and when economy is bad, floors tend to darken.
Tile– Geometry, 3D textures, and extra extra extra-large tiles. Marble counter tops are still big and concrete is becoming more common in custom homes.
Cabinets – Many are painting them white with muted tones or contrasting wood tones. Mix and match. Get venturesome, but not reckless.
Lighting – Gold has come back in (don’t worry, not the gold of the 80’s). These are different from the pendants of last year; they’re brass and gold statement pieces. Remember: lighting is the jewelry of the home.
Plumbing – Plumbing is functional art. Brass, soft gold, and black (faucet) statement pieces are where it’s at.
We also learned that home owners are going bonkers for statement dining rooms. They love having a bold, fun place to entertain their guests. These are tying into a theme, which is: Nature luxe. Like we said earlier, it’s all about bringing the outside in. Yes, we’re seeing a lot of brave ideas and statement pieces going on, but it’s important to be subtle and do it in a tasteful way.
Gelotte Hommas Architecture kept the trend going with outdoor living. Seattleites think our climate is not the greatest for outdoor spaces, but according to Gelotte, with our mild winters and not-too-hot summers, we actually have the ideal climate for outdoor living… who knew! The most important thing to know about outdoor living is that it needs to flow from the inside to the outside. The space doesn’t need to be huge; a good rule of thumb is having your outdoor space roughly the size of your kitchen.
What’s being built? Modern, contemporary homes are still very much in demand. However, contextualizing a home into a neighborhood is really important so it doesn’t stand out too much. It’s about appropriate scale and size.
Multi-gen living is on the rise. Homes are being built to accommodate extended family which usually involves having an in-law suite. Also, bonus rooms are being made into living spaces.
When it comes to thinking green, most custom home clients are concerned with energy consumption, so they opt to get solar panels or geothermal heating.
That’s a wrap for the latest trends! How are you going to incorporate them in your home?
For more information on Windermere Evergreen and our team, please contact us here.
More than 80 percent of Americans say they want an outdoor living space where they can relax and entertain. And it’s no wonder why. Outdoor spaces extend your livable space, add visual interest, and increase not only your quality of life, but also the overall value of your home. (In some cases, the increase in your home’s value can cover most or all of the cost to create the new space.) Here are some options to consider:
Decks are still the most popular outdoor living spaces, not only because they work so well for entertaining and relaxing, but also because they have the highest return on investment (see the Tips column for data).
Surprisingly, wood decks (made of cedar or pine) are actually the better financial investment, because building with Trex or other popular composite products costs considerably more, yet doesn’t increase the home’s value by as much.
Expanding and re-configuring your current deck is another option that’s popular today. The contractor will typically remove the old face boards, extend the underlying structure, and then put down the new decking. This is also an opportunity to add built-in furniture, privacy screens, even plumbing and electricity.
Running a close second to decks – in both popularity and investment return – are patios. With a patio, you can relax and entertain at ground level, which can afford more privacy in urban areas, and allows you to be more engaged with the surrounding plants and landscaping.
Typically made of brick, concrete, or stone, a patio also comes with far fewer maintenance and repair issues than a deck. Plus, patios are generally easier and less disruptive to construct – which is why they’re often about 30 percent less expensive to have professionally built.
For those who want even more privacy, as well as shelter from the sun and protection from mosquitoes and other pests, there’s the gazebo. Available with walls or as an open-air design, with screening or not, these modestly sized, affordable backyard structures can be built from scratch or purchased as a kit (for assembly by a do-it-yourselfer or a professional).
Popular in the Midwest for decades, gazebos have made their way west as homeowners here have discovered how nice and easy they are for creating a shaded spot for reading, relaxing, and backyard gatherings.
People tend to gather naturally in the kitchen. And when the kitchen is outdoors, it creates an ideal opportunity to mix, mingle and interact in the open air. Other reasons why cooking outdoors makes so much sense: less kitchen cleanup, the house stays cooler during the summer, and grilled food just tastes better.
Some may think an outdoor kitchen is only for cooks who host large parties, but homeowners who go this route say they’re more of an extension of the home, and great for daily use.
Designs for outdoor kitchens range from the simple (a grill, limited counter and cabinet space, and maybe a prep sink) to truly independent entities with a refrigerator, an elaborate grill, warming oven, freestanding island with storage space, rolling cart stations, and even a dishwasher. Depending on how elaborate your design, you may be able to list it as a second kitchen when selling your house.
SIX PLANNING SUGGESTIONS
- Before meeting with contractors, gather photos of designs and ideas that you like; this will make it much easier to communicate your ideas.
- Make sure the materials you plan to use, as well as the overall size of the structure, will be harmonious with your home’s current look and feel.
- Give serious consideration to a roof – which will likely add significantly to the cost, but will also provide much-needed shade on hot days and protection from rain and inclement weather. In fact, to ensure things are structurally sound and architecturally appealing, start with the design for the roof first, then set your sights on the roof supports and structure below.
- Incorporate lighting into your design, which will extend its usability into the evening and throughout the seasons.
- Consider convenience, comfort, and longevity when choosing materials. For example, a floor made of dirt or stepping stones may last forever, but one made of wood or concrete is much easier to clean and arrange furniture upon.
If you’re eager to live a healthier lifestyle and reconnect with family and friends, as most people are today, it’s time to consider an outdoor living space. For more information on Windermere Evergreen please click here.