Stranger Days #16: Remaking Home

Estimated Reading Time: 5.5 minutes

Welcome to stranger days--my blog series exploring daily life, challenges in times of the COVID-19 pandemic, and just sharing insights or thoughts about how to make it through these days.  

Given the abundance of time that we're spending at home, we thought it made sense to do some re-arranging and reconsider how we use some space. We didn't set out to do this all at once but slowly decided each space would be ideal as we found our homebound lives needed to use the space differently.

The Porch

A porch with a wicker chair, wicker love-seat, and a small foam mattress

For the porch, my partner decides that it was high time to make it cozy and add a little zen to it.  We have the furniture but she also had the bright idea of bringing the floor mattress into the area in order to make it further comfortable. This place is our designated meditation and reading room.  It's a great place to just sit and relax.  In particular, as the days are still cool, sitting out here during the midday when the sun is strongest, is warm and relaxing.  What I like about this space is that places to get comfortable and read for a while but when that position loses its appeal, I can move to another space.  

Living Room

A 4 piece couch reconfigured to be largerly enclosed so people can lie in it. Also, there is a cat sitting in the middle of the couch.

We call this The Cuddle-Couch.  I came up with the idea some time ago, when I realized our four-piece couch could be rearranged into something entirely different--the cuddle couch.  Since we're not expecting guests for the foreseeable future and we like way this positions us to watch TV or just relax, we are keeping the couch as such.  Of course, to the right of the couch is the radiator and on top of that is a "Bear cave" a place that our cat, Bear likes to hang out it.  

Dinner or Workspace: Depends

A dinner table for two with a white table cloth as well as an orange serving mat that extends across the table.

Our dining room table can fit six people and maybe 8 if we squeeze.  However, we can also make it a simple table for two.  We alternate between this set up and putting up one side of it.  In either case, we occasionally eat meals here but also are using it as one of the floating workstations.  I have my own work-area that I'm pretty consistent at (see below) but my partner likes to migrate from the cuddle couch, to the meditation porch, to here depending on mood and the kind of work that needs to get done.  

The Exercise Room

A thick foam gray matt in the middle of a room with some weights nearby.

I recently got some floor mats so I can do more exercises and stretches on a floor that is more inviting. I had one set of mats in the guest room but now, I figured it might be ideal to have it in a more open space and expanded so that my partner and I can both use it--together or on our own.  It's now in our "dining room"--facing the table above.  We've been doing stretching, weights, yoga, etc. I've found that having it along with a timer, it reminds me to go and do some exercises a few times a day so that I get some moving about that I usually got in the office.  

The Guest Room: Laundy Layout

A futon bed with laundry folded on it.

We have a second bedroom where guests stay when they visit or I occasionally sleep if my snoring is too loud (a result of eating too lay or alcohol).  But with other spaces taken up, it has become our place to put laundry that has been cleaned.  I'd be curious to learn how laundry is changing with being home a lot more. Is there more or less laundry?  Does it matter if you have kids or not in this scenario?  

My Office Part 1 

A desk with a laptop and second monitor; to the left shelving unit with TV atop it and to the right the desk, a small filing cabinet.

So this is where I do much of my work.  I've got the dual monitor set up because it makes a lot of the work so much easier.  It's an oldish desk that I got at Buy And Consign (it's also where we got the couch--it's an amazing place that I cannot recommend enough!). The shelving to the left of the desk has some relevant materials for work (essential headphones, right) and at the bottom, the cat-bed where Bear usually hangs out when she's not popping in Zoom videos by perching on the file cabinet to the right of me.  For the first few weeks, this worked quite well for my work.  You can see above the computer there are some papers on the wall. These are lists of things I need to get done for my dissertation and other odds and ends.  The TV that is there does not get used much. I had a Ruko connected to it but it doesn't work particularly well.  However, I recently upgraded.

My Office Part 2

The same desk set up but there is a standing desk unit on the desk that holds both the laptop and the monitor.

After the first few weeks, I found that sitting was wearing on me and decided it was time to shift to a standing desk. I found one that I really liked and met the need for both a laptop and the second monitor. I liked this model because it had a lower space for the laptop so my arms wouldn't be high.  I also like that it's easy to adjust so that I can change it up throughout the day.  For instance, in the morning while I'm still awaking, I prefer to be seated but as I get to later in the day, I definitely find that standing is better for me in terms of attention and energy.   

How are you rethink and recreating your living spaces? Are you finding that the conventional ways you used don't work in these conditions or maybe even work better than before?

Take care. Be careful. Be care-filled.  Welcome to stranger days.

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