Six Tips For Improving Your Home-Work Life Balance

Improving Home-Work Life Balance
Before 2020 working from home for some of us was a dream. Now, it has become most of our reality. If some of you feel like the transition of bringing and conducting work from your permanent residence is still not where you’d like it to be, we have the tips to help you find the perfect blend of work and life. These are handy alterations you can use to modify your environment to prevent your work and personal life from becoming one endless headache. Support your healthy living with interiors that inspire productivity and encourage relaxation and entertaining.

Together But Separate

Separating your work and home life when these places are now one in the same has prompted conscious life and interior design solutions that will help bring order and balance to you and your family. 

1. Set Office Schedule

Depending on your line of work, your regular office hours may not always be 9 to 5. With your clients and workload in mind, be sure to set standard work time hours, so you know where you need to start and end your day to complete your duties. This may go without saying, but you would be surprised how key time management is to ensure you’re not burning the midnight oil when you could enjoy time with your family.

2. Take Breaks

Be sure to designate break times that nurture your overall mental health, like eating away from your desk or putting your phone down to take a brief stroll outside. Keeping a semi-consistent schedule will help hold you accountable and prioritize work items first, so you have the time and freedom later to unplug.

Office at home

3. Establish Your Home Office Space

While your entire home is yours to live, work, and play in–it is best to work from one room within your home base. Having your designated business area will allow you to be more productive and focused. Your type of business will help you decide on your workspace’s size and location within your home.

A couple of things to consider when designating your business area are your overall day-to-day living rituals and the consideration of special events. If you don’t have a dedicated home office, there are plenty of home office alternatives. You could utilize a spare bedroom, a closet, a private nook under your stairs, or a quiet living area that is rarely visited and far away from the kitchen or laundry room. Create an environment that will work for you to make your job easier and more enjoyable.

If you have a family that lives with you, you know that they are part of the equation. Don’t forget to plan how your new work environment will impact them. Preparing your workspace will help enhance your day at the office and minimize any unforeseen obstacles later down the line.

4. Design and Curate Your Home Office Space

Ensure your office furniture, equipment, and surroundings serve you the best in their appearance and function. Do you need a traditional desk with a computer, or will you need a modified workstation? Computers and desks come in plenty of configurations and alternatives nowadays that make them more comfortable and functional. If you require storage, make sure your desk drawers fit in their new home and open and close easily. You’ll want the ability to house all of those little odds and ins you may need and still keep everything in its place and out of sight. Natural lighting in your work area is essential! Open your blinds or curtains to windows or position your desk under a skylight. If your workspace is in a windowless area of your home, consider splurging on quality lighting. This will help alleviate eyestrain and increase your productivity.

You not only have to interact with this area every day for business purposes, but you also have to live among your office atmosphere to a certain degree. Making sure your interiors flow from business YOU to personal YOU will ensure a unified look that is equipped and easy on the eyes.

Home Office Space

5. Weed Out Distractions

Flexibility in your time does not mean you should distract yourself with daily household chores. Dirty dishes and laundry can wait till your day at the home office is complete. These distractions will keep you from completing the tasks at hand and you’ll quickly find that you’ll get far less work done or that you will need to work later to get the same amount of work done. Part of the dream we used to have of working from home is how productive we could be if we had that freedom. Trust us, block out that temporary mess until you are done with your workday.

6. Set Boundaries And Close Down for the Day

That feeling you get when you come home after a hard day’s work is still supposed to happen. This relaxing moment can be hard to come by if you never entirely turn off, and we understand that here lately, it is easier said than done. If you are preparing to call it a day, go ahead and shut down your equipment, whether it is your business phone, laptop, or any technology that could strain your eyes from overuse. The tiny notification bubbles on any backlit screen can wait while you are enjoying dinner or reading your favorite book.

Out of Office

Don’t forget to leave your office for the day. Departing from your work area for the day can help you separate work life from home life. If your business space is in a central location of the home where you’ll have to pass by from time to time, modify your business environment for non-business hours. This will help enforce that line in the sand where you are truly done for the day.

Setting boundaries for yourself is crucial to an overall healthy well-being. Be present in those little moments of life. You’ll find that you will be a more engaged and fulfilled human being who enjoys the work-life balance.

Get It Together

Learning and perfecting the boundaries you set will help you feel more in control of your life. Keeping business and home life humming along is important, but so is the time for your personal life events as well. Birthdays and anniversaries are meant to be celebrated. Allow yourself to have this kind of time and freedom to lead a more productive and happy life.

Have you recently found a job that you love that will allow you to work from home? Are you trying to master the work-life balance? Let us guide you through to a productive and stress-free New Year with a new home office design. We can help save you time and change the way you see working from home.

 

Designing for the Season in the Midst of COVID

Our goal is always to enhance you and your family’s lifestyle. Here are some design practices you can apply to your day-to-day life or for those special occasions. While COVID has brought its share of challenges, there is a lot to be grateful for this year. It has been a blessing to be able to take a step back from the hustle and bustle and be able to truly reflect on what is most important. Thanks to quarantine and social distancing, we have all come to appreciate what has always been right in front of us. The holiday season is well underway, and we are all still trying to navigate it with health and safety in mind. Traditions may need some modifying, and your checklist may look a little different this year. Remember, the environment you are creating in your home will help you and your loved ones be ready for this joyous time. We have carefully planned and compiled a holiday checklist that incorporates the new health and safety paraments that we hope will help you welcome your company in the most stress-free way.

Not the Same Song and Dance

A holistic design brings peace of mind that helps alleviate the rush that always comes with this time of year. While your overnight guest list may be altered this year, it is still essential to make your guest feel welcome and safe during their stay. Here are a few little reminders that will make the transition easier for everyone. 

Designing for the Season

1. Plan and Plan Some More

Planning, especially this year, goes far beyond the usual cleaning and decorating. There are various hosting options to consider in our new normal, such as, digital meetups or socially distant in-home events. Before your visitors arrive, be sure to discuss the importance of social distancing and the appropriate time to wear a mask ahead of time. This will help keep everyone on the same page and establish the answer to any questions they may have during their stay. Also, it is best to keep your guest list to a minimum this year. I know we all want to gather with those we love and that seem so far away. There are other ways for us to gather, celebrate, and keep everyone healthy and safe.

If you have guests that are still coming home to you, discuss transportation ahead of time. Schedule with them a set times and coordinate rides, so that you can prepare for them upon their arrival.

2. Safety First

Here is a list of go-to items to have ready and waiting. Keep everyone safe but make it fun with personalized or festive masks. This will remove the awkwardness if someone forgets to bring their own. Another good idea is to provide mini sanitizing pouches as welcome gifts. You can conveniently place these in the guest room or on your entryway table. Remember to stay a safe distance from others when possible and if the weather permits, host outdoors. This allows for ample airflow and a nice change of scenery.

Safety during the Holidays
If the weather does not permit an outdoor gathering, consider these tips for an in-home socially distant gathering option. For a cozy and safe dining experience, set up two dining tables at least 6 feet apart. This will help keep everyone included and safe. Bring the crisp outdoor air in by opening a window with a screen. The fresh air will keep the circulation in the room fresh and prevent any stuffiness. If it is far too cold out, consider using an air purifier. Anything like this that will help with air quality control will help everyone stay in the holiday spirit in a careful manner. As the host, it is okay for you to ask your guests or family members to wear a mask except while dining. They know as well as you do that everyone is doing their best to keep themselves and everyone around them healthy. To help lighten the load of hosting order take out for you and your guests. If you are like us and you enjoying cooking, set up a buffet, and take turns getting your meals. Once everyone has settled, que that background music and open that special bottle of wine you’ve been saving, and enjoy connecting again.

Lastly, keep washing your hands and avoid touching your face. Be sure that everyone washes their hands before touching the serving utensils. If your guests see that you are dedicating time to make sure your hands are clean, they will follow suit and will make this activity second nature or a conscious habit if it is not already.

Guest Bedrooms

Consider what your guests will need during their stay, such as fresh linens and a private space to put their belongings. Your dwelling will be their safe space during their stay. Adding little touches will make them feel more accommodated and right at home. Make your visitor’s stay an enjoyable experience by having your home well-lit with plenty of open outlets for them to charge their mobile devices.

Don’t forget those thoughtful elements that will help to elevate the overall look and feel of your home. The feeling your guests will have as they mingle within your home should provide them a sense of safety and comfort. If you are able to hire a professional cleaning service, this is a huge plus. A deep clean will give your home a fresh new feel. Next, make sure your bathrooms are well equipped. Stock them with plenty of toilet paper, fresh towels, and tissues along with the festive touch of holiday soap. Make hosting a fun and easy for you by keeping your pantry fully stocked to allow you to indulge and celebrate more freely.

2020 Holidays

3. Show Must Go On

To bring a sense of normalcy to an unforgettable year, decorate as you usually do. Not all traditions require a change when something like COVID comes along. A good way to spread joy and cheer this holiday season is by safely volunteering or donating to your local charities and organizations. A fun activity for you and your family could be to bake your favorite recipes and play games with the little ones. Indulge in nostalgic moments that remind us how blessed we all are.

For example, host a movie night where everyone can tune in, wherever they are, and whatever they feel comfortable in—like those infamous matching pajamas. If gifts are your thing, send them to your loved ones in the in the mail and of course, don’t forget letters or those holiday cards. This is the perfect way to let your favorite people know that no matter the distance, you are thinking of them and they hold a special place in your heart.

4. Virtually Anywhere

Be with your loved ones from virtually anywhere. Keep everyone healthy and safe, by choosing a virtual option to gather that includes everyone. You can send your video conferencing links via email or text and share any itinerary details you’d like your guests to prepare ahead of time. It’s always fun to share recipes for food, drinks, or even cooking together LIVE can shrink the distance. Prizes like digital gift cards can be awarded to the best-looking dish or the most festive cocktail. Adding these little touches, along with other creative virtual party ideas, will help make this new tradition a hit.

Virtually Anywhere

We hope this comprehensive checklist of little reminders will help you plan and gather with your holiday visitors safely. There is no right or wrong way to do things this year because it’s 2020. Navigate your environment the best way you know, and the rest will take care of itself.

Have other ideas in mind? Share your tips with us on social media or send us a note. We’d love to hear your creative solutions for hosting a memorable and joyous holiday season!

Helpful Tips for Sound Control in the Home

Sound control in your home plays a particularly important role in comfort. Residential designers be it architects, interior designers, or builders are challenged to incorporate acoustics into their design solutions. Acoustic controls are considered a must in public, educational, and some commercial spaces. Have you ever wondered how museums are designed to be so quiet?  What about churches like Sagrada Familia in Barcelona designed by the great architect Gaudi? The sound control is amazing given there is marble on the floors, the columns, and parts of the ceilings.

What may be overlooked in residential design is sound and how it affects our emotional state.   It is an important part of holistic design. Sound flows through the windows, under the doors, through the vents, and through the walls. How do you want to control sound in your home?  Sound also bounces off the floors, walls, and ceilings and can make it difficult to understand conversations or even think.

In order to effectively control sound in your home, it is important to understand both sound reverberation and sound transmission, as well as ways to address each.

Acoustic Control

Sound reverberation occurs when sound bounces off surfaces. Open floor plans with hard surfaces create reverberations and makes it difficult to control noise levels.

What will help reduce reverberations? Here are 5 suggestions!

1. Carpeting or other soft flooring solutions such as LVT

Home Control

2. Drapery and other soft window treatments

Sound Control

3. Walls can also absorb sound

Home Sound Control

4. Ceiling heights in ratio with room size

House Sound Control

5. Ceiling treatments such as coffering

Home Sounds

Sound transmission occurs when sound moves between materials. Sound transmissions are more difficult to control with residential design, but there are measures that can be implemented to help reduce sound transmissions to an acceptable level. Below are 4 areas to assess when trying to mitigate sound transmission in the home.

  1. Sound controlled glass for windows and doors
  2. Underlayment used with wood floors and other types of hard surfaces
  3. Soundproofing walls and plumbing chases
  4. Door sweeps

Stay tuned into our blog for more helpful information on creating a healthy and happy home! Are you looking to improve your home’s overall wellness and functionality but don’t know where to begin? Give SDG a call. Our team would love to help!

Improve the Flow of Your Home

Many have mentioned to me the challenges of living and working at home during this time of the pandemic and how chaotic their environment has been. Architects are now discovering that beautiful homes that have been designed with open floor plans work well for creating a welcoming environment, but do not work so well for multifunctional needs. Here are some questions to consider to improve the flow of your home.

The flow of a home should consider the use of space, traffic patterns, views, and natural daylight. Here is a list of considerations to keep in mind when you are thinking of how to re-configure your space. These questions and guidelines can be applied to your home whether you are building new or remodeling.

1. If you might need a space to have multiple functions, consider a sliding door system so you can close it off when privacy is needed (or if its messy😊)

Flow

2. What are the access points of entry to a given room and how does that impact the use of the space?

Your Home Flow

3. Is a view to the front important to see who is dropping by or leaving packages? Or is a view to a garden important to keep your mind balanced and healthy?

SDG

4. Is there enough natural light? Would you need to consider skylights or clerestory windows to optimize your wall and floor space and still maintain natural light?

The flow of a space

5. How are you planning to treat your windows? Will you cover them with shades, drapes, or shutters? What are the benefits of each and how will the window treatments affect your natural light?

Home

Schlosser Design Group specializes in holistic living and wellness in design and has been helping families and individuals create homes that are both beautiful and functional for decades. Whether you are building a new home from the ground up, remodeling your existing home, or needing to refresh your spaces to be more conducive to your current needs, SDG is here to help. Call us today to see how we can assist in bringing form and function to your home.

Quartz Countertop Vocabulary

If you’re not an experienced interior designer, talking about bathroom or kitchen countertops can be like speaking a foreign language. Veining, movement, porosity… what does it all mean? This is my cheat-sheet to understanding the professional lingo when choosing a stone countertop.

Edge Profile – The shape of the edge of the countertop. There are many different edge styles to choose from, like flat, bullnose, beveled, and quarter-round.

Engineered Stone – Countertops that are man-made from combining quartz with binders. These countertops look like natural stone but allow the manufacturers to have more control over what the finished product looks like. Engineered stone is more consistent than natural stone because it is manufactured instead of mined.

Fading – When a stone loses color after being exposed to sunlight.

Movement – A unique pattern that flows through a slab. Movement is the opposite of uniformity or consistency.

Non-Porous – A surface that does not have holes in it, so it does not absorb air and moisture. Non-porous surfaces are ideal for countertops because they do not need to be sealed. Most engineered stones are non-porous.

Porous – A surface that has microscopic holes in it, allowing it to absorb air and moisture. Most natural stones are porous and if it is being used for a countertop, it must be sealed.

Sealing – The process of putting a clear coat on top of the stone to protect it from stains. Sealing is especially useful for porous stones.

Slab – A large, flat piece of stone. Stone countertops are made from slabs of either natural or engineered stone.

Veining – Long, thin strips of contrasting color in a countertop slab. Depending on how a slab is cut — either with the vein or across it — the veining can appear swirled and cloudy, or distinct and linear.

Faint veining - engineered stone

This faint veining in this engineered stone picks up on the softwood tones from the custom cabinets. Design by Schlosser Design group.

Watch Behind The Scenes

In the second video of my four-part series SDG Renovation, I take you behind the scenes as I select an engineered quartz countertop for my clients. To learn more about the project I’m selecting countertops for, go back and watch Episode One.

Beautiful engineered stone

In my video, you’ll see how I selected this beautiful engineered stone for my client’s master bathroom. Design by Schlosser Design Group.

Reinventing Light

It’s easy to convert existing down lighting to LED by using retrofit kits from companies like Nora lighting. Companies such as Phillips and Toshiba have designed LED lamps that screw in to A19 sockets and MR16 low voltage. These are two great ways to incorporate LEDs into your existing lighting without a great deal of expense. We use LED lighting for general illumination, accent and task lighting as in under cabinet illumination, bathrooms, chandeliers and cove lighting when specifying new lighting fixtures. Currently we are designing a new construction residential project with 100% Energy efficient lighting. LEDs come in a variety of color temperatures and their CRI ratings are very good, in the high eighties which is much better than fluorescent. When selecting LED lamps, pay attention to the lumens vs. the wattage. – See more at: https://schlosserdesign.net/reinventing-light/#sthash.jk52JABa.dpuf

SDG was recently featured on Texas Homes. You can view the full article here.

 

Check out my interview, Interior Design That Fits Your Lifestyle and Personality on Texas Homes, one of the top sites for Texas real estate, including Plano, TX real estate. Texas Homes also services New Mexico real estate and Oklahoma homes for sale.

Aging with Elegance

Traditionally, growing older is associated with hospitals, nursing homes, or institutionalized equipment for those who choose to continue living at home. However, this is 2014! Forget everything you think you know about disability-friendly bathrooms. There are many more options these days for people who want to live comfortably in their home as they age.

Old bathroom equipment Seliger, Susan. Bathroom Equipment. Photograph. 14 Jan. 2014. Preparing for a Loved One to Die at Home. The New York Times. Web. 1 Mar. 2014.

Old bathroom equipment
Seliger, Susan. Bathroom Equipment. Photograph. 14 Jan. 2014. Preparing for a Loved One to Die at Home. The New York Times. Web. 1 Mar. 2014.

Walk In Tub. Photograph. N.d. Walk In Tub Installation. Ameriglide. Web. 1 Mar. 14.

Walk In Tub. Photograph. N.d. Walk In Tub Installation. Ameriglide. Web. 1 Mar. 14.

Modernized equipment allows for a seamless look in the home. Just because we grow old doesn’t mean our house has to reflect it! One of these great advancements is a ADA (American Disabilities Act) compliant tub from Kohler. Typical walk-in tubs can take up to 15 minutes to fill and drain. That’s a long time to be just sitting in the shower, waiting for a warm bath! The new Elevance series in the Kohler collection solves this problem stylishly and efficiently. Instead of the swinging door that most walk-in tubs use, these tubs have a rising side wall that is pulled up once you are seated on the wheelchair height bench. While this setup allows you to get out of the tub much quicker, they also went to the added conveniences of a dual draining system and heated seating. Bonus- it doesn’t look ugly! Check out this beautiful bathroom full of Kohler appliances:

Kohler ADA Compliant Products

Kohler ADA Compliant Products

Kohler

Kohler Elevance Series

One last cool new gadget that can be useful for refrigerated medicine is the M Series Cold Storage medicine cabinet from Robern. Now you can keep all of your medication together instead of making the long trek to the kitchen! This cabinet is a trendy solution for bathrooms. It fits seamlessly into the overall look of the room.

Accessories finish out any room! Check out these photos of grab bars (and more!) from Moen:

Iso collection from Moen

Iso collection Kingsley collection from MoenKingsley collection

Sage collection Brushed nickel mirror

Sage collection
Brushed nickel mirror

Eva collection Brushed nickel towel shelf

Eva collection
Brushed nickel towel shelf

 

Bathroom Therapy

The bathroom has evolved from a simple place to take care of business to a place expected to be serene and relaxing, much like a spa. People love to spend hours lounging in the tub or singing in the shower. As the demand for these luxury spaces increases, the variety of options explodes to meet the wants of the people.

Many people are already aware of the hydrotherapy options that are available, including bubbles or jets in whirlpool baths. Another less well known (but equally relaxing) option in tubs is heat. Several companies have combined these two therapies to create a bath that is even more luxurious. Most recently, music therapy has been integrated into bathing systems. Kohler has a new tub in their VibrAcoustic collection that uses Bluetooth technology to take advantage of the relaxation caused by music. Through the Bluetooth integrated into the bath system, your smart phone hooks up to the tub, allowing you to create a giant speaker out of the empty basin, or fill the bath and allow the vibrations to soothe your body. Lastly, there in an increased use of chromatherapy, added lighting in the bath to make the mood. With the wide variety of therapies available through tubs, you can choose your favorites and let the stress float away.

Kohler VibrAcoustics Tub

Kohler VibrAcoustics TubMore trendy features that can help create a spa-like environment in your bathroom are bamboo backsplash tiling, large, heated tile flooring, natural paint colors, frameless glass showers, and polished nickel features.

Schlosser Design Group Large tiles

Schlosser Design Group
Large tiles

IMG_0234

Schlosser Design Group
Large tiled shower

Having a clean, spa-like bathroom can positively affect your health and attitude. You will feel like you can relax, slow down, and enjoy the time your spend in your personal oasis.

Design 101 – The Golden Ratio

Written By Guest Blogger: Kayla Harvey

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Prime the Flux Capacitor, and secure your time-travel helmets for this installment of Design 101.  We will be reaching back, way back, to discover the origins of modern design through the birth of geometry and the Arabic numerical system.  If all that does not sound like enough fun for you, there are even algebraic formulas you can try out for yourself!  So, hold on tight, here we go!

 

Our first stop on this trip is ancient Alexandria around 300 BCE.  There the “Father of Geometry”, Euclid, is writing what will become one of the most influential works of mathematics the world has ever seen.  Amongst the many significant geometric observations Euclid records the Golden Ratio.   Simply put this means, a+b is to a as a is to b.

 

Da Vinci Vitruvian Man

Fast forward several hundred years to the middle ages and a man who became known as Fibonacci is exploring the Arabic Numeral system and its advantages compared to the then standard Roman Numeral system.  Fibonacci is credited with a series of numbers, and a subsequent formula, for determining a golden ratio.  Numbers in the Fibonacci Sequence work on a recurrence relation.  This means that it can be infinitely scaled larger or smaller.

 

The Golden Ratio via HongKiat

Fheeew!  That was getting heavy!  What do all these formulas and complicated mathematical lingo have to do with modern design?  If it feels abstract and irrelevant, know for sure it isn’t.  These are simply attempts to explain why we find certain things to be beautiful.  Why across cultures and centuries humans have gravitated toward specific proportions in design.  It might be because these ratios are an expression of our own, as seen in Leonardo Da Vinci’s Vitruvian Man, or possibly because the Golden Ratio is everywhere in nature.

 

Golden Ratio In Nature

Regardless of its origins, the Golden Ratio is one element of design that is here to stay.  Interior Designers constantly find this principal at work.  The Golden Ratio is the reason why rectangular rooms feel the most comfortable, and typically have the best furniture placement options.  It is not just a number or a mathematical concept, it is just as much an intuitive feeling that you get when entering a space.   If things feel pinched, or out of balance, the Golden Ratio might be the answer.  So next time you see an ultra modern house, or a blooming flower, remember the Golden Ratio and see if you cant find this design concept at work.

 

Golden Ratio In Modern Design

Golden_Ratio_FP_Perspective