We were already living in a time when small goals became a heavy lift, and simple projects quickly veered towards drama. Now we have supply chain pain, symbolized by the cinematic image of a ship named Ever Given disrupting the global economy with one wrong move. But HGTV, Instagram design influencers, and our hyped-up housing market are stronger than a speeding virus. Here are just a few tips and local resources to help you navigate the uncharted waters of Home Improvement in the Time of Covid.
ONE Stop at the beginning. This means no shopping, spending or scheduling until you have a solid idea of how much time and money you have to spend. What is the problem you are trying to solve with your project? Declutter, downsize, deep clean and consider repairs before you define your goals. Do not demolish or destroy anything yet. Seriously, don't do it. A lighter paint scheme updated lighting (or even just lightbulbs with a human Kelvin rating 3000k or below), new hardware and a fresh approach to art, accessories and plants can work miracles If you don’t know where to start, or want to confirm you are on the right track, book a consultation with a professional home stager or an interior designer or lean on your friendly local Realtor for ideas and honest feedback. Book storage room or a portable unit delivery right now. They are almost as rare as white oak.
TWO Figure out what YOU really want and need. Dog ear magazines and design books, use Pinterest and Houzz to collect favorite images, visit online stores and stalk all the popular kids on Instagram and TikTok for inspiration. Try not to get caught in the twirl of trends unless you really enjoy the breakneck rollercoaster ride from grey and white to modern farm house, boho chic, monastic minimalism, Paris apartment, and our looming courtship with maximalism. Do what you want with your money and your home, just know that it might be easier to accommodate your own fickle taste if you choose timeless materials and invest in a neutral foundation. Ignore everything I just wrote if you are about to move.
THREE Sweat the small stuff. Shelves are empty and there are raw material and shipping gaps in every industry. Make your list, check it twice and don't get too attached to a single vision. Consider ordering items separately in case one item is delayed which could cause your entire order to be canceled, thus sending you to the end of an ever growing line. If you see it, buy it. You may have to cobble pieces form separate physical and online locations. There is no harm in returning duplicate purchases as long as you understand the policy and watch out for restocking fees. Ask about appliance outlet stores, special sales and open box displays.
FOUR Float like a butterfly. Embrace the opportunity to explore new resources. Bellevue and Kirkland offer an array of design showrooms, lighting, flooring, and paint companies, lumber suppliers, appliance shops and big box stores. Inventory, displays and exclusive partnerships vary from store to store as does staff expertise. Saying hello and asking questions will lead you to helpful experts. While instant gratification is a decaying concept; vintage and antique malls, thrift stores and online marketplaces are an amazing resource if you open to sustainable shopping.
FIVE This never-ending pandemic business has created new business norms. Think of yourself as a teammate instead of a customer. Stores and call centers are understaffed and open shorter hours. Bring your patience, sustenance, and a charged phone because transactions take twice as long, and finding inventory is like mining for gold. You may need to add a truck to your shopping list because rentals are hard to find and the only way to guarantee an appliance will arrive is to pick it up yourself, or build one from scratch, because the spare parts are on back order too.
SIX Will you need to hire a contractor? Vendors can afford to be selective about taking on new projects. Demonstrating mutual respect, courtesy and an air of hospitality for the skilled artisans, design professionals, expert vendors, salespeople and related workers you are entrusting with your home environment and investment is critical to the success of your project. Tipping is appropriate in many instances, snacks and beverages are appreciated, and a fair and comfortable work environment is a must. Think about how you expect to be treated and act accordingly for best results.
When you’re done, smoke a cigarette. Kidding! Instead spam your friends with before and after pics on every platform available. It’s like the same thing…I think.