On our Turf Posts

At Home: Reflections on Shelter in Place

By Stephanie Andrews

Week 8 comes to a close with this blog post. 8 weeks since our team has been together in our Candler Park studio. 8 weeks since Margo’s dog Chauncey has alternated laps and our attention. I feel a huge commitment to keep our team working through it all, even if it is not at the frenetic pace that we are accustomed. I miss the joy of being together, of bouncing ideas off each other in person, of seeing what sparks excitement in each person’s life. I am an extrovert and very empathetic at heart and I thrive off of others energy. You may say I am experiencing “quarantine fatigue”, right now. I also recognize a level of gratitude and compassion that I have developed through this experience that leads me to write this personal blog post.

Photo Courtesy of Liz Stubbs Photography

As I write this, today is Giving Tuesday. So many people sick, this unfair distribution of the virus disproportionately affecting the poor, the immune compromised and the elderly is overwhelming to know what to do to feel helpful. But doing something appears to be the one thing I can do to relieve a bit of the anxiety, the fear, and the uncertainty that I am feeling. Our neighborhood has found camaraderie in their recently developed food bank, and creating boxes of food for families in need. I am finding joy in my small service to others.

My current reading pile.

I am also finding joy in the simple things. A card game with my daughter, a walk with my husband and dog, maintenance on the house, making a menu, picnicking in the park, fire pits with best friends (at a safe distance of course), reading, journaling- the list is so long! All things that I rarely had time for before the virus. I feel a kinship with Jo in Little Women and her turn of the last century domesticities.

Photo Courtesy of Liz Stubbs Photography

This brings us to the Home and my curious reflections on the need to feel safe, comfortable and at ease in my home, especially in times like these. I want to look around my home and see beauty, feel proud of what we have done and have a sense of control in troubling times. We at Balance Design are committed to you in helping you create a home that you love, that reflects you and that you feel happy in. We are here for you, as we know that we are in this together.

Designers at Home: Challenges, Surprises, and Projects

By The Balance Design Team

Week 3 of our Shelter-in-Place orders in Georgia. We, like many other small businesses, have been facing some tough challenges. From not being able to move forward on some projects, to practicing virtual meetings, to homeschooling and not going stir crazy, we are all trying to cope with this new way of life. And although these are unprecedented and difficult times, we are eternally grateful to the healthcare community and essential workers for their service.

We thought it would be interesting to recant the experiences over the last few weeks of some of our designers, and gain a personal insight on everything from their thoughts and fears to fun projects around the house.

Melody

This time at home has been particularly stressful for me. As many of our readers/clients/friends know, I live in my childhood home helping to take care of my father who is in a wheelchair due to an autoimmune disease. Naturally, under the circumstances, we are taking every precaution possible to limit our exposure. Working from home, keeping up with the news, and maintaining the household/cooking has definitely been a challenge and I have struggled with my stress levels.

I have been saying that I was going to paint over the pink sponge paint from 2005 in my bedroom for a long time now, and somehow have never gotten around to it. However, now that I’m spending significantly more time in the house, I found the walls to be much too loud for my overwhelmed brain. So this past weekend, I decided to finally get it done. Many of my friends were shocked when I told them I’d gotten rid of the pink- it has been my signature color for 15+ years! And honestly, as I began painting, I had a minor moment of panic and regret – was I really ready to let go of the room that I grew up in? But now when I enter my space, I feel a sense of calm that has not been present there for a long time and I am ever so grateful.

If there is just one thing that you can focus on that will bring you a little bit of peace in this time of uncertainty, go for it! It will make a world of difference and grant you that small respite we are all desperately searching for.

Jennifer

For my family, just like many other families with young children during this time, trying to work while homeschooling has been our biggest challenge. I’m not going to lie, our first week at home was a complete mess – lots of meltdowns, stressful conversations and an overall feeling of being overwhelmed – with everything! Week #2 started to get a little better once my husband and I both acknowledged the simple fact that we could both no longer get eight consecutive hours of work in if we were going to give our son the attention that he needed. We have been able to prioritize a few work tasks per day for each of us, while taking turns doing 15-20 minute spurts of kindergarten lessons with our son and making time for lots of play to break up the day. Luckily the weather has been really nice here in Atlanta, so we’ve been able to get outside, go on lots of “nature hikes”  and tackle a few projects around the house too. 

Home projects are huge de-stressors for me. I love using power tools, building things with my hands, as well as the cost savings involved with fixing things myself while adding value to our home. With each new project we tackle, however, there always seems to be a learning curve we have to overcome or break we need to take to play, making most of our recent home endeavors take longer than they should to complete. Either way, I have found painting, cutting wood, and drilling holes all to be somewhat therapeutic and gratifying for me during this time of seclusion at home.

 

Photo Courtesy of YoungHouseLove

Over the past 2 months, my husband and I have been working on our outdoor shed. Ever since we moved into our house 6 years ago, I could not wait to get rid of the “red barn” in our backyard. The walls and interior of the shed were in great conditions, but the overall aesthetic was definitely not up to par with the rest of the work we have done on the house. Just like we tell most of our clients, I started off with an inspiration image. I fell in love with this shed from YoungHouseLove, and knew I could adapt it to fit our shed style and color scheme.

First to go was the roof! When our house’s roof was replaced earlier this year, we had the guys also replace the roof on the shed. Once this was complete, the doors were the next challenge. I had searched high and low for pre-made shed doors to purchase and install, but the only ones I could find with windows that would fit, were completely out of the budget. (Basically, I could have bought a new shed for the price of new doors). So, I set to work scouring the internet for how-to videos and ended up putting several techniques together to build the doors I had envisioned.

Next we temporarily installed the doors to make sure they’d fit, and then un-installed them to paint, caulk, and seal them. The exterior of the shed was then painted, and all new trim installed. The doors were re-hung and we set to work this past weekend constructing a new ramp for the lawn-mower to finally drive up! While the shed still has a few more details we’d like to tackle, like installing additional windows on the side of the shed with flower boxes, finishing the trim paint, and then organizing the inside, at least we have something much prettier to look at in the meantime while we sit out on our deck or look out our windows. 

My advice to everyone during this time is to just take it one day/one week at a time and not be so hard on yourselves if everything that you set out to do in the morning doesn’t get done that day. We only have so many hours in the day, and now that we’ve been given this opportunity to spend more time with the ones we love, we should definitely try and make the most of it, have fun, and just slow down to enjoy the little things.

 

All of us from Balance Design wish you safety, and peace of mind. We are all in this together, and we will all get through this together. Hope you find some inspiration and we would love to hear about your thoughts and projects, feel free to share!

Beauty in Our Community

By Stephanie Andrews

As we near the end of week #2 of social distancing in Atlanta, we’ve found we’ve had more time to reflect on our lives, our health, our homes, our finances, and the possible ramifications of this giant shut down while being at home. At Balance Design, community has always played a very important role in our designs- from supporting local contractors, artisans, and vendors to primarily working within 5 miles of our studio so that we have an easy connection with our clients. Now in this time of uncertainty, I thought I would share a few beautiful works of art that we have seen recently in the community- ones you might not have taken the time to look at or even notice 3 weeks ago amidst the hustle and bustle of our busy lives.

Photo Courtesy of Sarah Neuburger

I recently picked up this poster from Citizen Supply at Ponce City Market. The illustrator, Sarah Neuburger, shows the vernacular of the homes in each neighborhood. I loved the fun and colorful vibe that this poster added to our home in Candler Park!

 

Photo Courtesy of Rob Geirsch

With the roads empty and spring in full bloom, I have truly appreciated the ability to walk with my husband and dog every day, usually twice a day. This photo is by our good friend and photographer, Rob Giersch. It shows a car-less stretch of Dekalb Avenue with the MARTA tracks above at sunset. It is usually a rare sight to see, and yet recently, not so rare.

 

Photo Courtesy of Greg Mike

Atlanta Mayor, Keisha Lance Bottoms, has given us a 2 week shelter-in-place decree. The funny part is, she is allowing us to walk on the Atlanta Beltline as a part of her tweet of “essential places” that we are allowed to visit. Due to my family’s ample dog walking, I have been immersed in the work of Greg Mike. Though you are probably familiar with his art (this guy’s work is everywhere), I am constantly surprised by his delightful play of ultra-realism mixed with colorful whimsy.

 

Photo Courtesy of Penny Treese

Since I am still working virtually, I get the joy of seeing the encaustic art of Penny Treese, right here in our Candler Park studio. The team is all working from their homes, but I have found working in the studio to be a refuge with all of Penny’s art around me.

I hope that you will share the beauty of your community with us. Although we may be isolated to our own neighborhoods and roads, we are all one community working to pull through this and come back together. (Speaking of community, our landlord gave us a rent free April, due to the crisis. Blessings indeed- Thank you!) We are looking forward to hearing how you are feeling, and we are looking forward to seeing you soon (at a safe distance). Take care.