Our Home is Our Sanctuary By Luly Bestard Melarti

……..and now it has also become our office, school, gym, restaurant, entertainment complex and vacation spot!

Our home has always been our sanctuary. When the world seemed to be moving too fast from the chaos of work, family and social life, I could simply come inside, drop my keys and plop myself down on the couch next to my family for some good old-fashioned TV watching. It felt good to be able to shut the out world and find some respite. Weekend family dinners and projects around the house were special.

However, the new reality of a coronavirus world has changed the way we view and use our home. Having been told to shelter in place, our home has suddenly become the epicenter of all activities and is no longer the peaceful stress-free environment that it once was. Most of us have recognized how challenging it can be to work, teach, cook, organize, clean and exercise in the same place – and sometimes at the same time! Keeping our families healthy and mentally fit can take a toll on all of us, especially here in the metropolitan New York area as we are at the center of the storm.

While the future might seem uncertain, I would like to offer some thoughts on how we can weather the storm and try to make our home a sanctuary once more. Here are some ideas:

Talk about your space needs with your family – There are a lot of functions that suddenly need to be met as my family of five shelters in place, and we are finding that we have to negotiate with each other to optimize the use of our space. The rooms in your home will similarly have to work double duty, and you should discuss with your loved ones how to make the best use of your space. The kitchen in particular can be multi-functional and can serve as a temporary office or homeschool area. Find a section of the counter that is in a low traffic area and set up a computer!

Turn your bath in to at home spa - There are few things more relaxing than a spa visit, and your bathroom can provide the necessary privacy that we crave right now. Set up candles and a portable speaker to create the mood. Buy soaking salts, bath oils and creams with lavender (a calming herb that is very soothing).

Organize and de-clutter - Keeping your home organized as we shelter in place can quickly become overwhelming, so just start with one space or room. By de-cluttering the high traffic areas in your home first, you will see an immediate big impact as these are the areas that you see every day. A mudroom is a great place to start your organizing project since it often serves as a dumping ground.

Find a quiet spot– It is helpful to find a quiet place just for yourself to read or listen to music. Natural light is good for the psyche so make sure it is close to a window and well lit. Soft goods such as pillows, blankets and poufs will make it feel more cozy.

Prepare your outdoor space – More than ever, getting outside and connecting to nature is important. Spring is the perfect time to prepare your outdoor space to enjoy it. Start fresh by pressure washing your patio and washing all cushion covers. Use old pots to plant fresh plants and flowers that you can enjoy all summer. If you have space for a waterproof TV, you can also use your outdoor area as an extend living space.

Behind the Scenes

At a time when the uncertainties of the world can be overwhelming, our wellbeing at home is still something that we can control. I would therefore like to share with you some before and after pictures, as seeing positive change can be therapeutic. Thank you for reading!

Luly Bestard Melarti, Designer, Licensed Architect, and Founder of Terracotta Studio LLC. Working with clients to create homes that reflect their lifestyle on both the interior and exterior.

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