I hope this finds you, your family, and friends well. I’d also like to thank all of those working every day through this crisis to provide the essential services we all need. It is appreciated.
As many of us are spending extra time at home right now, you may be spending more time thinking about your house and how it meets the needs of your family. While designing homes isn’t as vital as supplying groceries or providing health care, shelter is a basic human need. So is hope for brighter days. While you are social distancing, you may find yourself thinking about additions or renovations, or building a new house. If so, please know that New Leaf Home Design is available to help you consider your options during the coming weeks, with some creative adjustments to keep us all safer.
As a home-based business, most of my work is unaffected by the current shut down, and I’ve found that introductions, design reviews, and even consultations can be done effectively via computer. This isn’t altogether new for me, as I have worked in the past with clients who lived out of state during the design process. For those, I used a program that provided screen sharing that allowed me to share drawings with clients as we talked. More recently, I’ve been using Zoom, which also provides video conferencing if you have a webcam. This provides the face-to-face interaction that is especially important as we are just getting to know each other. This does require a quick download of Zoom to your computer, but it works on my mom’s 8 year old computer, so it will probably work on yours without a problem!
This past week I had the opportunity to really explore what can be done with an online meeting. A woman was interested in a consultation to figure out if the renovations she had in mind were practical. We decided to give a virtual consultation a try, doing a little preparation ahead of time. First, we talked on the phone to discuss what she wanted to accomplish. As I am getting more comfortable with Zoom, I may do more of those first discussions with video too! Next, I looked at the house using Google Maps, which provides an aerial view of the house, and usually a picture of the front. I got the rough outside dimensions of the house from the county auditor’s website and I had her send me some photos of the house. She also happened to have some rough drawings of the space as it is now which were helpful. I was able to draw up a floor plan of the existing space and then started on a drawing for the renovation. During our Zoom call, we talked through the challenges, did some brainstorming, and ended up with a good plan! In another virtual meeting, a client and I met with a contractor for the first time to go over the design for their addition and renovation.
There will be times when I will need to see your house in person. The governor’s Stay at Home order lists construction, including housing construction, as Essential Infrastructure. Architectural services fall under businesses that support that essential work, and I may also perform activities that facilitate being able to work from home. This would include seeing a house in person and taking field measurements, maintaining a safe social distance while I am there. Then when we are ready to sit down and talk, we can cozy up to our computers where we can each see the drawings clearly. In some ways, using my computer for the meeting makes it easier to explore the CAD model together. We can look at views in 3D and even edit the model as we talk.
It’s amazing what we can accomplish with a little creativity. So keep your creative juices flowing on those ideas for your house, and give me a call when you’d like to start turning those ideas into reality! Give me a call at 330-329-6901 or email Hallie@NewLeafHomeDesign.com.