Carving out spaces to adapt to a new normal

September 10, 2020 BY

It was in March of this year when, on an onsite inspection in Winchelsea, I walked in and saw a living space, nice and large, with an open plan layout. But right in the middle of it was a spiral balustraded iron staircase and it impacted the space in a way that I found a little tricky.

Usually, by the time a walk-through is done, I would already have figured out what to do in a property. This was different and this wasn’t going to be easy. Then again, the staircase added an element of surprise and a conversation piece to the house so I decided to work with it.

At the time, the country was already in the process of restricting travel and movement. Somehow, while I was doing design studies for the Winchelsea home, I was also studying the prospect of my husband and kids working and studying from home. To be honest, I was slightly panicking at the thought of having a full
house 24/7. Then I realised how many other families were about to go through the same thing.

This was my light bulb moment. I knew then we had to create spaces that aligned with the fast approaching “new normal.” We need to reconfigure our lived-in areas and carve out new spaces, literally giving each other space in our old shared spaces, to respond to new needs. It was most fitting for what was about to hit us. Since then, the world has been scrambling to adapt. Technology, fashion, entertainment, hospitality, you name it. Trendy masks and loungewear are 2020’s fashion must- haves. Work and school meetings are now done via Zoom and Friday night cocktails have now turned into virtual happy hours on Google Hangouts.

Given our shared new reality, I think we need to become more intentional about creating serene and happy spaces that reduce the stress resulting from extreme lifestyle changes. If we’re going to be spending more time at home, I think it will be worth our while carving out these happy functional spaces to help us adjust
and to make this ordeal so much easier to bear.

First of all, this new normal isn’t going away very soon so finding that cosy and serene spot to work from so you don’t have to camp out (at the kitchen bench, on the sofa, or in bed) will be so much better for your state of mind. It will also improve the quality of your work or study. I highly recommend it! Here are a few tips on finding brilliant work spaces at home:


It’s highly likely that there’s a workable space around the staircase area. I find that these are often overlooked or forgotten and yet they offer so many possible space solutions.


We all dream of a sunny workspace because who wouldn’t want to bask in the sunlight while working? It’s simply the best way to get those creative juices flowing.


This is probably my favourite transformation. Some people call this a CLOFFICE . How did we pull this off? The linen cupboard had builtin shelves. We picked the shelf with the best height to work on for a comfortably seated person and turned it into a desk. We kept all the top shelves for books and storage. Finally, we removed all the shelves underneath for ample legroom. A fresh coat of paint, a little bit of styling and greenery and just like that, we were able to create a cute study nook!

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