In the Greater Richmond Area, most public schools have opened with full-time distance learning for the 2020-2021 school year. These changes can bring feelings of anxiety and uncertainty for many parents, and also feelings of a cramped household. Sharing the dining room table or kitchen island with your kids cannot be a long-term solution. It may be time to consider creating unique spaces that better respond to your student’s needs and your family’s lifestyle.
We’ve compiled seven renovations and tips to help you create a custom space for your child to actually enjoy distant learning. When searching your home for a designated space to help your child adapt to the essential change, consider a distraction-free, easy-to-access area with a flat surface and plenty of room to spread out materials, and plug in a laptop or desktop computer.
Renovate Under The Stairs
Across the nation, it is now the new norm for multiple family members to work or study from home. Living spaces have been commandeered and chopped up to set up separate workstations that allow for a combination of minimal interaction and some quiet to concentrate – or to avoid your child in the background during Zoom calls. One option to consider is to transform an otherwise unused space into a homework nook.
With the entire family working from home, many may not have an entire room to devote to a new distance learning study or second home office. And, in homes where, instead of a home office, you are using a make-shift desk in a room you moved furniture to accommodate, there appears to be even less space to establish a well-organized desk for your child. There is hope though, and Fabling Built can help you find and redesign square footage you may not have considered or known existed: under the stairs.
In a multi-level home, you may be able to carve out a niche and convert a storage closet under the stairs. It may be a small, cozy space but still big enough to house a desk, some storage, and vertical wall space to hang shelves, brackets for file folders, or a hook for a backpack.
Redesign Your Staircase Landing
The staircase landing is the space at the top of the stairs or the space between flights of stairs. All too often, this space remains vacant, but if there is space enough to do something with it beyond hanging a mirror or picture, there is no real reason why it should not be used. To convert it to a distant learning center for your child to study could earn you an A-plus.
Depending on the depth or width, you can build side-by-side computer stations for you and your child. Exploit vertical space with tall floor-to-ceiling bookcases or upper hanging bookshelves. Cabinet doors can serve to hide the printer, wireless router, or supplies. Comfortable and colorful chairs or artwork can help streamline design elements from the floors above or below or from the hallway.
Convert a Closet
Try to avoid transforming your child’s bedroom into a distance learning center because the bedroom provides an escape from school activities and noise; it also fosters a peaceful retreat for necessary downtime to unwind from an ever-changing world right now. Additionally, it can compound the feeling of isolation, which is something you will want to consider when re-designating and redesigning space in your home for distance learning.
A guest bedroom closet can easily be remodeled to accommodate a desk, chair, and plenty of space to maneuver. The best part about turning a closet into a desk area is the ability to close the doors when finished studying to hide it and to step away.
Fabling Built can help you dismantle the existing closet system and repair the drywall to patch, prime, and paint; install shelves along the wall to take advantage of the vertical space; mount a custom-fit desk; build drawers for organized storage; replace sliding doors with swing-mounted doors; and professionally run electrical for at least one electrical outlet to accommodate a desktop light and computer/printer combination as well as a bright overhead light fixture on the ceiling. New National Electrical Codes require a closet outlet be arc fault protected, and this means your contractor will need to connect to or add a circuit that is protected by an arc fault circuit interrupter (AFCI). It is always wise to use a licensed and insured electrician when remodeling your home.
Construct A Hallway Nook
Spotted in Décorpad, this built-in homework nook demonstrates how space can be found in a hallway or even a small hall closet. A floating desk transforms a nook into a hallway workstation. We love how the designer added wallpaper and open shelves for personality and individualized style. Do you have a hall linen closet you can take off the door and doorframe and remodel into a distance learning station? You can keep them close enough to keep an eye on your student but private enough for independent learning.
Window Dormer Attic Study
Fabling Built will help you work around or within it some of the unique architectural features of your home. If your home has window dormers in an attic space, you can easily convert the square footage with a desk, reading bench, recessed shelving, or a comfortable reading lounge.
When remodeling, it is important to make the most of both horizontal and vertical space. In attics or along dormers, you can sometimes recess bookcases into the wall. Cabinets hide clutter but also keep smaller areas from feeling light, bright, and open. In a small area, you want to keep well-utilized items compact, efficiently in reach, and organized.
With uncertainty on the horizon about how long distance learning will be in play, it is important to establish a new routine that provides both you and your child predictability, calm, and purpose. If you have more than one child participating in online learning and if you have a home office, you may want to consider converting it into a space specifically for your children, or for you and your children to share.
Fabling Built will help you redesign a space tailored to your family members’ needs. With more than one person operating in your home office, staying organized will be key. Installing shelving on the walls with pre-planned purpose and building base units with drawers and adjustable shelves will help each member of your family use the space as needed and avoid overcrowding others’ workspaces. Clutter reduces efficiency and can add significant stress to relationships.
Convert Basement or Attic Space Into a Homework Haven
Are you sure you are using all of the hidden spaces in your house? Homes often have negative space, which is large, unfinished areas boxed in by framing and drywall. The unused space in your attic, crawl space, or basement can provide a suitable opportunity to remodel it into extra square footage used for living quarters, bedrooms, or to now satisfy your family’s need for a distant learning destination. Or, you may have an extra room in the basement that is fully finished but needs to be redesigned to meet the requirements of distant learning.
In spring, when working from home alongside your child who was distance learning, it seemed feasible to set up short-term work stations at the dining room table or kitchen counter. But now that you know it is a longer-term plan, you may want to find a more permanent solution more conducive to a new lifestyle.
Fabling Built will help you make almost any space work in your favor. The physical and visual separation between the learning or working areas and the rest of your home helps you and your child mentally prepare for a day’s work and for time away from school. If you are considering a remodel to carve out a dedicated space for your child and yourself to study and work, Fabling Built will work with you to make sure you consider all options that bet for your family’s needs. Please send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 804-822-2625.