Before school started virtually, I knew I didn’t want to face another “home school season” without the resources to create a better experience for my child and keep my sanity. Working from home isn’t new to me; I’ve been doing it since I started my own business 10 years ago. What is new to me is having my teenage son in the house all day long, making trips to the fridge every ten minutes.
When I began working from home years ago, I used a spare bedroom as my office. But as my business grew, I knew I needed more space so I decided to renovate the basement. And it needed a lot of work. It was the only space in my home that hadn’t been renovated since it was built in the 1950’s. It needed new windows, structural changes, new HVAC units and an installation of a sump pump. There was little to no lighting, and red shag carpet and tile flooring were everywhere. The renovations took a few months and then I was ready to move into my “new” office. I purchased new furnishings that were flexible, ergonomic and had storage capabilities.
After a few years of using my basement office, COVID-19 happened. Suddenly I had to adjust to virtual meetings with my clients. After a few Zoom meetings, I decided to turn off my camera and use a stationary picture. I wasn’t happy with my background or the lighting in my office.
I decided to create a Zoom-worthy wall. I upgraded light bulbs, purchased shelving, framed some of my awards and degrees and purchased new décor for the office. The result: a more professional Zoom wall that I was proud to have as my background. I was at peace.
In July, my peace was shattered when my son’s school district announced they would be teaching high schoolers remotely. This totally stressed me out because the workspace that he had used this past school year wouldn’t accommodate his new high school needs. This fall, he’s attending a performing and visual arts school and needs space to create art and music. There was only one option: I needed to make room for him in the basement with me.
I had to give up some space to create an environment that would be conducive to his learning needs. I figured I wasn’t the only parent freaking out, so I reached out to friends and family members to get their input on space and their children’s needs. After receiving plenty of feedback, I decided to offer a virtual School from Home design package to help parents resolve school-at-home issues for their children. Before designing the packages, I consulted with clinical psychologists and occupational therapists and gain even more insight into how to create the best at-home learning environments for children of all ages.
I decided to use my son as a test study for the new School from Home design packages. I created a questionnaire to gain some insights on his design style, what he was lacking from his previous space and what he needed for the new space. I held a design consultation with him where I reviewed his answers and we looked at images he liked. From there I created a floor plan layout and two Style Boards for him to review with furniture, colors and accessories. He chose one of the options and I created a Final Style Board with his selections and a 3D rendering. After he approved everything we went shopping for the furniture, accessories and organizational tools. The result? He loves the space and has already started using it daily.
What once felt like an insurmountable task—learning from home—has become a joy as my son and I both thrive in work and school from home spaces we love. Right in our own basement!
Are you stressed because you don’t know how to set up a virtual school space for your child or children? Not sure where to start? Maraye Design Studio brings its expertise in K-12 and higher education to its School at Home design packages. We equip children with the environment they need to do their best as they learn from home. All design services are provided virtually for safety and convenience. Visit https://maraye.com/school-at-home/ to learn more.