#StayHome, but Better

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Home, sweet home. 

By Meg Walburn Viviano

It’s a sentiment we feel when walking in the door after a long commute, a business trip, or a particularly busy day of running around. We drop the keys on the counter with a sigh and enjoy the momentary comfort of familiar sights. 

Or that’s how home felt before the pandemic, at least. Today, it feels a little different. Over the last six months, most of us have spent more hours per day at home than ever before. “Stay Home” became a hashtag, a social responsibility, and—when COVID-19 cases were at their peak—even state law. While loosened restrictions allow us to move around Bay country a little more freely now, most people are still working and playing from home base. 

My family’s townhouse functions as a workplace for two journalists, a preschool, and a “restaurant” for dining on takeout food. What used to be a guest bedroom for out-of-town family is now a playroom, office, and quiet space for conference calls. When I want to socialize with friends, we set up the deck or patio with carefully spaced lawn chairs and stream tunes from a portable speaker.  

I can say with confidence that we’re using every space in our house to its full potential. I can also say that I’m feeling a little bored doing the same things in the same house, day after day. And I dare say I’m not the only one. 

That’s what started the 2020 home improvement boom. A lot of homeowners are looking for ways to better enjoy the spaces they’ve got, so they’re tackling projects inside and outside.  

Friends recently invited us to an outdoor cookout at their house, and I was surprised to find the exterior of their house looked entirely different than the last time I’d been there. The siding and trim of the 1970s rancher were painted a modern off-white with black trim, and landscaping existed where none had been before. In the backyard, beyond the kids’ play area, trampoline and pool, the couple had added a secluded fire pit with chairs around it and string lights hanging in the trees above. We enjoyed all their outdoor space had to offer, and with pumpkin beer and s’mores to cap off the evening, I almost forgot we’re in a pandemic. 

The desire to freshen up spaces and add at-home entertainment is still going strong, as travel and big outings remain limited. This is the annual “Fall Fix-Up” issue of CBM Bay Weekly, a time when we offer ideas and resources to help you tackle home projects before winter comes. If there’s ever a year to read closely, it’s this year! A new fire pit may help you enjoy the outdoors further into the fall. An indoor remodel could provide better, quieter work spaces. And fall home maintenance tasks will keep things running at a time when you can’t afford to have any surprises (like clogged gutters or a broken furnace). 

So check out our Fall Fix-Up cover story, and make the best of the season as you #StayHome.