Spring Home Renewal
Increasing Function & Style
Over the last year the No. 1 place to dine with loved ones, celebrate birthdays, indulge in happy hour or see the latest film has been, well, home. And the No. 1 place for hitting the books, putting in office hours or maintaining your workout routine? You guessed it, home. For a lot of people, home has gotten old. While there are reasons to be hopeful that our recent confinement may soon be over, we’re not out of the pandemic yet, and public health experts still recommend staying home as a crucial component to stopping the spread of COVID-19. The good news is that spring gives us a fresh opportunity to make what’s old feel new again.
According to Maria Barcelona, Owner and Designer of Maria Barcelona Interiors, homeowners are discovering that the more time they spend at home, the less their homes are working for them. What were small inconveniences before the pandemic have become daily aggravators, and rooms that once had one function must now satisfy a variety. Home design professionals are seeing a rise in home renovations for making space more functional, and Barcelona notes that expanding your home’s footprint is a popular option. From playrooms and workspaces to homework areas and mother-in-law suites, adding space is certainly one way to satisfy some needed newness.
“The big thing on my personal calendar this year is the addition of my new cabana, outdoor kitchen and small living space for guests,” says Barcelona. “My husband and I discovered that we spent much of the past quarantine outside with a few close friends and family, so we decided to expand the use of the yard that we have,” she says.
For interior environments, adding space for contemplation and “mind resting” is a new consideration for residences and office spaces, says Terri Dreyer, Owner and Founding Partner of Nano, LLC. While home used to be thought of as our “safe space,” we now work, study and much more at home, requiring space within it that incorporates stress relievers.
“For example, I use my sunroom as a meditation/yoga/reading/creativity/napping room – stress isn’t allowed in this room,” says Kelsey Chappuis, Designer at Nano.
Another trend Dreyer notes for keeping the home fresh and inviting is improving the living environment. She suggests incorporating interior plants such as air plants, orchids, or fiddle leaf plants to help with oxygen levels while improving the overall ambiance (as well as your energy bill) by changing your light bulbs to LED 2700+ degrees Kelvin.
If adding space or buying all new décor and furnishings isn’t in the cards for your spring home makeover, there are easy ways to freshen up a space without breaking the bank. Designer Claire Lewis, Owner of Claire Lewis Designs, recommends simply rearranging your home. By moving pieces you already own from one room to the next, you can find yourself in a seemingly brand-new space. Perhaps that antique lamp in the guest bedroom could enjoy new life in a child’s homework area or an underutilized colorful art piece could make a larger statement when placed near the dining room table.
“Another thing that works wonders for the mind is to organize,” says Lewis. “Spend time finding homes for the things you aren’t using on a daily basis and getting rid of the things you don’t need. You’ll find that extremely refreshing,” she says.
Spring cleaning is a ritual well worth the effort for renewing your home, and whether you’re going full Marie Kondo and tidying every nook and crannies, or simply giving the curtains and linens a good wash, a clean house can feel like a new house.
With 20 years of experience helping homeowners with organization, Don Wise, Owner of Louisiana Custom Closets, recommends focusing on one space at a time, whether it’s a home office, workspace for children or the closet, pantry, garage or laundry area.
“It is important to feel safe and relaxed at home, especially now during this difficult time,” he says. “Chaos can breed more anxiety, so think of getting organized as prepping for calm to come.”
While many people know Liberto Cleaners as a household name in dry cleaning, Owner Lauren VanCamp has seen a large rise in demand for their household cleaning services for items such as sheets, pillowcases, comforters, duvet covers, curtains and down pillows.
VanCamp says customers are often surprised to learn of these services because they seem so “luxurious.” If ever there was a time to make your home feel luxuriously clean, now is perhaps the perfect time. Freshly pressed sheets and newly sanitized feather down pillows can both renew a bedroom and improve a good night’s sleep. An affordable service, Liberto’s feather pillow cleaning process completely restores your pillows without the need to buy new. Considering we breathe in much of what settles into our pillows, having them professionally cleaned is a seriously worthwhile consideration.
From dingy curtains to dusty light fixtures, the increased time at home allows us to notice flaws easily overlooked before – including existing pest issues. Perhaps bugs are taking advantage of your fully stocked pantry or you uncovered termite damage during a DIY home repair. Spring in New Orleans is termite season, and thanks to a number of factors, local experts expect ripe conditions for the home-destroying pests this year.
“Termite services are obviously very important to property protection here, but we also have a number of specific programs that battle different types of pests like bed bugs, fleas, flies, mosquitoes, beetles and moths, just to mention a few,” says Robert Lewis John III, Southeastern Regional Supervisor for J&J Exterminating. Additionally, J&J Exterminating can treat for rodents and offers a progressive new TAP pest control insulation product that has added pest control benefits to help further protect your home.
“We want to stay ahead of these pests,” he says. “Therefore, our services are most effective when we approach them as a regularly scheduled preventative measure as opposed to a reactive or problem-solving measure.” While perhaps not the most visible tip for renewing your home, the peace of mind that accompanies pest control will help you enjoy your space a little more.
Freshening up your outdoor space reaps big rewards in spring and summer, and beyond mosquito and flea control there are numerous ways to increase your yard’s allure. Kim Alvarez, Landscape Architect at Landscape Images, Ltd, recommends pressure washing your patios, walkways and driveways, visiting your local nursery for new plants and pots, mulching your planting beds and beginning your dream project, perhaps that water or fire feature you’ve always wanted.
“We’ve noticed a significant trend of our clients treating outdoor spaces more as a living area and oasis than just simply the garden or yard,” says Alvarez. “There is more emphasis on spaces needing to provide both beauty and function.”
Small-budget ideas with big impact include upgrading your outdoor furniture with new paint or accent pillows, planting a butterfly garden (to help and encourage local pollinators) and hanging string or bistro lights that extend enjoyment into the night. Additionally, Alvarez says this is a great time to check the health of your soil.
“The LSU Agriculture Center offers soil test kits and analysis for $10 to $20. It could save you a lot of money and heartache in the long run,” she says.
Another exterior option for making a home look and feel new is updating the front door.
“It’s one of the most important things on a home – the first thing people see when they arrive and the last thing they see upon leaving,” says Laurie Martin, Owner of Doors of Elegance.
Long known as a specialist in New Orleans beveled glass doors, Doors of Elegance offers a variety of door and style options in addition to door refinishing services. While a new beveled glass, divided light or wrought iron door can make a big difference in the look of a home, Martin says simply refinishing your dull or weather- and sun-beaten door can do wonders for renewing the home. The company offers free estimates and is usually able to assess your project with just a couple of photos.
Even indoors, a new door can serve as a portal to a more enjoyable space. Martin’s spring to-do list includes changing her bathroom doors to new barn doors, saving space and adding style.
Maria Barcelona Interiors
9501 Jefferson Highway, River Ridge
432 N. Anthony St., Suite 303
Claire Lewis Designs
Louisiana Custom Closets
4814 Prytania St.
416 Commerce Point,
Landscape Images, Ltd
655 Central Ave.
Doors of Elegance
3100 Kingman St., Suite 107, Metairie