By Julie Spiering CID, EDAC, LEED AP
Principal, Director of Interior Design
In recognition of World Interiors Day on May 23rd, an appreciation for “all things inside” feels hard to come by these days. Everyone has, across the globe, been inconvenienced; and for many, lives have been drastically impacted. Stay at home orders have forced us all to experience our homes and closeness to family in new ways.
As an interior designer for DSGW, I address the importance of healthy, inspiring spaces for my clients daily, but for some reason it’s hard to take the time to do the same for myself. I have found myself bouncing between trying to isolate in order to focus, versus wondering what my kids are up to and seeking them out. Sometimes I want to curl up in a cozy dark corner, whereas other times I crave the fresh, open air of Minnesota spring.
When rumblings of what was to come began in early March, our family was on vacation in Mexico. We rearranged our travel plans and made it home, albeit hesitantly, through airports and mass transportation, a few days early. Due to our travels, both my husband and I were quarantined at home for two weeks to protect our coworkers and clients from potential exposure to the virus. My stay at home work setup continued through April and May, as we urged our staff to continue to work from home whenever possible. My new home office was set up facing a north window and I hunkered down surrounded by a sea of material samples, while my family settled into their own nests and came up with their own routines. Being stuck at home, and largely inside, has opened my eyes even more than usual to what a big impact the interior spaces that surround me have on my own well-being and demeanor.
I hope that as we all adjust to a new normal at work, we will better recognize that each persons’ needs and expectations for interior spaces are constantly changing based on the task at hand, mindset, and circumstance. Interior spaces shape our communities just as much as buildings and the outdoor environment do. I have a new appreciation for my home and the comforts and security it has provided during this unnerving time. But at the same time, I am anxious to get back to other spaces and buildings that are important to me—the office, the local coffee shop, homes of extended family and friends, school, church. As we venture back into the world, let’s be grateful for how the spaces around us shape who we are and the relationships we hold. Those experiences make each of us who we are.
I miss the camaraderie of the office, but at the same time have appreciated the extra time I now have not needing to travel to and from work every day. The work from home experience has taught me the importance of balance and personal choice when it comes to being indoors.