Home News These lockdown renovations were done with an eye for post-pandemic living

These lockdown renovations were done with an eye for post-pandemic living

by Marjorie

It took a world pandemic for a lot of Canadians to appreciate their houses should not as spacious or multi-functional as occasions would possibly demand. The closure of workplace areas, gyms and—for some time—playgrounds left many households feeling cramped at residence. Mother and father looked for quiet nooks to make Zoom calls, whereas children disadvantaged of hangout classes with mates or sleepovers with grandparents sought any technique of escape. Amid the on-again, off-again lockdowns, practically half of Canadians mentioned they already had, or have been contemplating, residence renovations, based on an Abacus Knowledge ballot launched in March. Listed below are a few of the areas they reconfigured with new realities in thoughts.

Goodbye cubicle, good day pod

Earlier than COVID-19, when he had a toddler and a pet who required his consideration, Rick Whitfield would attempt to sneak in a couple of hours of working from residence quite than going into the workplace. However his son liked to comply with him round throughout his calls with colleagues, and he risked blowing his cowl. “I might simply circle the home and he’d be chasing me,” says Whitfield, laughing, “and I’m operating away so nobody hears him within the background.”

That’s how Whitfield bought the thought of a yard workplace pod—a separate, quiet house for work. The concept sat on the shelf, nonetheless, because the long-time TV and movie manufacturing designer and artwork director bought busy designing every little thing from Hindu temples to police stations for tv reveals.

Whitfield designed a prefabricated totally furnished workplace pod (Jennifer Gauthier)

However Whitfield quickly discovered himself out of labor after the pandemic shut down a lot of his business. So, with a surge of individuals needing residence workplace house, he put his design-and-build expertise to work, making a prefabricated, self-contained workplace unit that may be delivered totally furnished to anybody whose property can accommodate it. He dubbed the corporate Field­Workplace, and the primary unit was dropped off in December by crane to his personal yard in New Westminster, B.C.

Whitfield had lengthy wished a yard workplace, however he’s not the one one in his family working from residence: his spouse, Angie, will get to make use of it, too.

Match for all times at residence

Earlier than the pandemic, Jen Bjarnarson was the one individual in her household who labored out within the basement of their residence in La Salle, Man. It wasn’t a great house. The house fitness center took up a small, sq. patch of a decrease ground “chaotic with random basement stuff all over the place,” she says. And the carpeted flooring left Bjarnarson with the occasional rugburn when she did workouts.

Bjarnarson’s husband and two teenaged daughters had fitness center memberships, however when COVID hit, they wanted a spot to train. “My husband began to say the way it sucks figuring out on carpet,” Bjarnarson remembers. “I mentioned, ‘I’ve been doing this for years.’ ”

Jennifer Bjarnarson's home gym renos (Courtesy of Jennifer Bjarnarson)

Bjarnarson’s residence fitness center renos (Courtesy of Jennifer Bjarnarson)

First they talked about merely changing the flooring within the exercise space, however the undertaking in the end spiralled right into a full-scale renovation to create a house fitness center, with the work led by her husband and eldest daughter. They added a treadmill, a bench and a Bosu ball, plus a softball internet the place their youngest daughter, a aggressive participant, might practise her hitting. Everybody bought their very own yoga mat, and an indication adorns the wall: Bjarnarson House Gymnasium. (“Our children suppose that’s the lamest decal ever,” Bjarnarson says.)

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Bjarnarson wakes up at 5 a.m. day-after-day to start out her morning routine. However with two daughters alternating days for in-school studying, there’s all the time somebody at residence to utilize the house. “Earlier than it was only for me,” she says. “Now it’s for everyone.”

Go the popcorn

In early 2020, Jen Nickel and her household have been enthusiastic about shifting. With three children—two of whom have been sharing a bed room—their residence in St. Catharines, Ont., felt cramped. They’d dipped a toe out there, visiting houses with an actual property agent, however then COVID hit, “and I didn’t know what my enterprise would appear like tomorrow,” remembers Nickel, an inside designer. “We didn’t need to decide to a loopy mortgage, so we thought, ‘Why don’t we do one of the best we are able to with this home?’ ”

Nickel's basement space was originally open with concrete floor and hockey boards on the walls—a space for the kids to run around and play hockey (Courtesy of Jen Nickel)

Nickel’s basement house was initially open with concrete ground and hockey boards on the partitions—an area for the children to run round and play hockey (Courtesy of Jen Nickel)

That meant fixing up their basement. It was a comparatively easy play house, with pretend hockey boards on the partitions the place the children would play with mini-sticks. They didn’t have to fret about destroying something as a result of there was nothing to destroy. However the children have been rising up—their eldest is now in highschool—they usually wished an area the place the kids might hang around with their mates on-line.

“The way in which they socialize throughout lockdown is over video video games,” Nickel observes. “We’ve additionally been doing plenty of household film nights. We’re at the moment working by the Harry Potter motion pictures.” The set-up features a sound bar, subwoofer and 55-inch TV—although Nickel says her husband is lobbying for a much bigger display—plus headsets for the children who are sometimes enjoying Minecraft. It’s a much better ambiance than the upstairs front room the place they used to look at TV, and the place somebody inevitably needed to sit on the ground. Now they’ve a big sectional and black-out blinds, plus a Murphy mattress in case anybody needs to remain over.

Jen Nickel's basement after the renos (Courtesy of Jen Nickel)

Nickel’s basement after the renos (Courtesy of Jen Nickel)

The brick-wall look is definitely wallpaper—a reminder of a household street journey they took to Chicago the 12 months earlier than the lockdowns; their Airbnb featured uncovered brick partitions. They’ve hung photographs of their favorite locations from that trip. “Now that my children are getting older, they keep up later,” Nickel says. “Now we have to kick them out—it’s our flip to make use of the basement.”

Drive your children up the wall

When metropolis officers began to dam off playgrounds with warning tape within the spring of 2020, Holly Thompson’s son and daughter complained. There was no level in going to the park anymore. They wanted a spot to have enjoyable, and she or he wanted them to burn off vitality. “We’ve been fairly cautious all through COVID,” Thompson says, “so even once we might go to parks once more, we didn’t go for some time.”

Thompson's kids play in the jungle gym their parents built (Photograph by Sarah Palmer)

Thompson’s children play within the jungle fitness center their dad and mom constructed ({Photograph} by Sarah Palmer)

Their residence in Guelph, Ont., had an empty room that was full of toys, but it surely was largely a cluttered mess that the children, now three and 5, didn’t hassle to make use of anymore. That’s when Thompson and her husband, Ryan, figured it was time to filter the toys and recreate the house as an journey room.

First, they put in rock-climbing house on a number of partitions. “Then we painted it with mountains so it appeared such as you have been climbing,” Thompson says.

Thompson painted the wall to look like mountains (Courtesy of Holly Thompson)

Thompson painted the wall to appear like mountains (Courtesy of Holly Thompson)

Subsequent got here monkey bars, however the one house they’d match was above the rock-climbing hand-holds, which was fairly excessive. So they’d a 12-inch crash mat custom-made for the ground in case of falls. Lastly, they put in a hook in the course of the room for interchangeable equipment like a swing, a climbing rope and a gymnastics bar.

The children use the room day-after-day, with their mother and pop relegated to supervision.

However enjoyable has not handed the grown-ups by. They hold themselves entertained with the golf simulator they put in within the storage.

This text seems in print within the Might 2021 situation of Maclean’s journal with the headline, “Constructing again higher.” Subscribe to the month-to-month print journal right here.

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