Ever since I started freelancing as a Virtual Assistant seven years ago, my work from home dream has been to have a little workspace of my very own in our house. Just a little corner somewhere, where I could have all my work stuff, in one static place, instead of gathering it all up and moving to where there weren’t other people to disturb me, which is tricky when all you have downstairs is one living area and a small-ish kitchen! Let’s not even go there with all the distractions of working in the midst of all the breakfast dishes and piles of washing….
Lockdown did nothing to abate my dreams and in fact getting a Zoom glimpse into everyone’s homes, whether it be colleagues or presenters etc on tv programmes, made me more determined to make my dream a reality!
An extension has always been on the cards
We have lived in our house for nine years now, moving in when my eldest was two. It gave us a good size garden, round-the-corner access to an Ofsted-ranked ‘outstanding’ school and the beach, and most importantly room to grow!
We knew that as my daughter grew and we added to our family, the house would no longer be big enough, but the plot offered us the potential to extend. We have saved hard over the years with the aim of doing it when my youngest daughter started school to minimise disruption.
But Covid hit and scuppered our plans!
I mean it scuppered every type of plan imaginable, didn’t it!! But with my work from home Virtual Assistant business temporarily in tatters and my husband only in a temporary position, it didn’t feel like the time to be taking on a big financial commitment. We certainly weren’t in a position to remortgage.
So, we waited it out and actually I am so glad we did! All that downtime gave us so much more time in the house as a family to
a) really work out what we wanted from the space long term
b) watch tons of home improvement shows – our favourite being ‘Love it or List it’!!
c) save even more and do our financial research using tools to calculate affordability so we were fully prepared for the big undertaking it would be
What we decided
We were living with one big downstairs room – 7m long by 4m wide and really we only lived in the front half of it which had ample space for two sofas, tv, and fireplace etc. The back half behind the sofa which cut the room in two, had over the years turned into a dumping ground. We had a dining table pushed up again the wall which we never used and which just collected clutter and ALL the kids’ toys in storage units. In all honesty, the area was unofficially dubbed ‘Barbie-land’. Quite often couldn’t even get to the curtains for all the elaborate Barbie setups on the carpet!
After watching one particular episode of ‘Love it or List it’ in which Kirsty lined up 92 mugs in a garden and told them they were using something like 2m cubed of their house to store them, I had a lightbulb moment!!
We started talking stud walls and extending backward rather than sideways. AKA making the most of our existing space by incorporating our living room wasteland and turning it into something really purposeful. We got our builder friend in, he put us in touch with an architect, and before we knew it, our living room wasteland was being turned into an office space and utility room. They would be housed off a brand new kitchen/diner/living room extension!
Where we are now
Well, we are ten weeks in and my work from home dream is about to be turned into a reality!! Now it’s never going to be up there with the size of these home offices, but I am absolutely over the moon to just have a cute as anything little 1.4m square cubby home with its own radiator and sockets galore! A workspace of my very own to house JET HQ!
I’ll be working from it as soon as I can, but I am mindful that I really want the space to be perfect and so I am going to take my time over the finer details.
Help me out!
According to the Financial Times, in the UK we are ahead of our European peers when it comes to working from home. So, advice please from those folks who are trailblazing and have their own designated home working spaces already…let me know in the comments what your must-haves are for your home office!
In the meantime, decisions must be prioritised and so I am off to order a kitchen tap 😊