As we are spending more time at home these days, those projects that have been on our to-do list may be coming more into focus. The Amity Worrel & Co. design team is sharing tips to help lift spirits and elevate the experience that staying at home presents:
Amity’s Tip: Wash Your Windows
This is one of the most visually impactful and low cost improvements you can make to freshen-up your home. Wash your windows! Inside and out.
Whether you opt for ‘old-school’ techniques (newspaper and homemade solution)
- 1 cup rubbing alcohol
- 1 cup water
- 1 tablespoon vinegar
…or Professional methods: (watch this video)
How to Wash Windows Like a Pro
It will be a great form of exercise, and it will make your home feel cleaner and friendlier and –even better– it will open up your view to the world which we can all use right now.
Andree’s Tip: Connect with Nature
My tip is to design your work environment to get the most of working from home. Sit where you get the most natural light and have the best view, even if it means rearranging your furniture for the time-being.
Cut some greenery from your yard (if you have one), and put it in a vase or jar next to you. The connection to nature is grounding and reassuring!
Jessica’s Tip: Keep a Routine & Carry On
I’ve found myself most productive when I maintain a similar routine to the daily at AW&Co. So, I still put on tea as I’m checking emails. Instead of opening the Studio shades, I open the blinds to my patio doors for more natural light. Instead of asking Siri to play something that the entire staff will find appropriate, I ask Alexa to blast as much Post Malone (or Depeche Mode) as she can muster. And instead of catching up with my co-workers in the break room, I take my favorite temporary intern on a quick walk outside to start our day.
Thankfully, our team stays in touch virtually with regular Zoom meetings, texts/calls/emails, and yes, meme sharing (which is really the heart of any office if you ask me).
Our surrounding environment affects our internal one, so small changes or details can really have a big impact on mood and behavior. I’ve found arranging my workspace similarly to my office has helped me stay grounded.
My notebook to the left (that’s easy as I’m left-handed); Material samples at the ready to reference for current projects; Scale/tape measure; Cup of tea; Notecard from my 1 yr Anniversary at AW&Co; A few chew toys to distract restless intern; And our potential clients folder (to keep me focused on all the good to come).
Allison’s Tip: “Ask the Expert” for Help
Allison here. My phone reminded me on Sunday that my daily average screen time is higher than usual – yeah, probably!
My family has a daily group text going these days, one with 18 people!
My husband, Patrick and I are making sure to get outdoors daily while working from home to balance the higher than usual digital connection time.
My tip? Ask for help as needed. Amity often says, “We go to a doctor when we’re sick and call an architect to build a house.” Why wouldn’t we do the same when it comes to investing in our personal spaces? If you want to discuss an area to tackle, we’re still just an email or call away! We regularly work remotely on a number of projects…so, it’s comfortable and familiar.
At home, we’re also practicing some professional cross training, given our areas of expertise. I’m an interior decorator and my husband’s a landscape architect, (aka an exterior designer, right?) I showed him how to paint a chest of drawers, and now he’s project managing a fence design in our front yard.
We made it out to Lockhart to buy cedar posts (before Austin shut down) and we loaded up the Prius with seven 6′ soggy cedar posts. The city came out and marked where the utilities are. Then we were able to mark out where the fence is going to go.
The goal is a 1950s Tex-Mex version Canyon of The Eagles type vibe. I can’t wait to hang this terracotta sconce by our front door someday.
Becky’s Tip: Change It Up
My #WFH space changes daily, depending on the schedules of my husband, who’s also working from home and my kids, who are home from college and middle school.
Today I’m having a zoom meeting in our guest room, where I can easily and comfortably participate without causing disruptions in the house. I’m very thankful that I have options and that I have work as Amity Worrel & Co’s office manager that keeps me busy.
One reason that I’m not a designer: my approach to design and home improvement is more emotional rather than strategic. I tend to act on things that are bothering me! Recently it was my kids’ bathroom which is at the top of our stairs, so I see it a lot. It was pretty clear that the single towel bar wasn’t providing enough space for them, so they helped me switch it out for a set of Shaker pegs that we found from vendor Peg and Rail (@pegandrail).
We also found a macrame plant holder from Sea Flower Studio (@sea_flower_studio) for a little extra beauty. These small changes were enough to change my view!
Will’s Tip: Hang Artwork while Hanging at Home
As I write this, my cat, Mimi glares at me for taking “her” favorite seat. It seems I’m not the only one adjusting to #WFH. These past two weeks, I’ve made it a point to focus on getting as much natural light as possible, so I’ve set up my work station next to the window in my living room.
Additionally, even though there’s no need for me to leave the house, I make sure to change into something that I would wear at work (fun duck socks included) to get myself in the design mindset.
My #WFH design tip is this: Now that we’re all spending more time inside, why not take the time to hang those pictures you have lying around or stored in your garage?
Hanging photos is quite easy. All you need is a tape measure, pencil, and a few tools to get things done. Normally, you hang photos at eye level (which is 57” above the floor for the standard-height American), but there are several other “rules” to follow. I found this awesome mini guide on some “do’s and don’ts” for art hanging, courtesy of Studio McGee.
George’s Tip: Purr more. Bark less.
On behalf of my twin brother Fred, myself, and of course …the other two (Bubbles and Lilly), we highly recommend climbing, playing, chasing, exploring, followed by frequent snoozing, snuggling, snacking, and loving.
Amity Worrel is an award-winning interior designer based in Austin, Texas. She has worked on high-end interior design projects for celebrities and tastemakers in NYC, LA, and the Bahamas. In 2008, Amity decided to bring her passion for diverse design back to her hometown of Austin. Her spaces pull from timeless design concepts ranging from coastal contemporary to cozy cottage to Austin eclectic. Emotional connections, functional flow, and a touch of humor remain central to every interior design scheme. Her work has been published in national and local publications, including The Wall Street Journal, House Beautiful, HGTV Magazine, Better Homes and Gardens, and Austin Home. In her free time, she loves perusing estate sales and diving into design history. Learn more about Amity.