Dear Renovator: Help! We’re cramped

We are a professional couple with two young children. Since the start of the pandemic, we have been working from home, and it looks as though this will be our new normal. At the moment we’re awkwardly perched in the dining room, in the kitchen, in a bedroom ‒ wherever we can grab some space. It’s time to get serious and create a dedicated office. We live in a medium-size house with a spare room we could convert, although an addition is not out of the question. Can you give us some ideas and possibilities?

Dear Homeowner,

We certainly understand your need for a productive work environment. So many of us are now in the same situation, and our guess is that it’s here to stay.

Your spare room might be all you need. It should be a room with a good window, big enough that you won’t feel cramped with two desks and chairs. Probably the most important thing will be a door you can close and even lock at times, especially if you are having virtual meetings.

It would be a good idea to discuss with your renovator the possibility of another window (or perhaps a larger one) in that room. You might also think about a skylight or sun tunnel. Other forms of lighting will be a consideration, so this should be an important discussion as well. (You might be surprised by the options you have.) Wall colour will be important not just for your eyes but your mood. An easily cleanable floor is always sensible, and there are many possibilities here, too.

This might be the time for a discussion about how you work best ‒ both of you in one space, or one space for each? Will you want a spot for your children to play quietly while you work? A small table or chalkboard? Low shelves for “quiet” toys and creative supplies?

Of course, the absolute ideal would be an addition if this is in your budget. You could create a whole office suite ‒ two rooms, a bathroom, a kitchenette and a small quiet playroom for those days when the children need to be near you ‒ perhaps with a big comfortable chair or couch for your own much-needed “power breaks”. If you wanted to go further with it, you could consider a guest bedroom and ensuite in your “office wing” so it becomes an even more useful part of your home even when it’s not being used for work.

We hope you’ll enjoy this new stage in your life ‒ a new stage with more possibilities than you might have thought.

Nathan Gurnham
Owner Sandy Hill Construction Ltd.