Pairing Function and Beauty.

Pairing Function and Beauty.

Having a home is part of your financial foundation.  It is often a significant investment most people will make in their life.  And owning a home is a big commitment.  Keeping a home in good condition requires maintenance, care, and diligence.  A home is also a place of sanctuary, where I go to rejuvenate, re-energize, and remind myself of my abundant life.  A home shouldn’t be a place where you must compromise on how you work to function efficiently; A cramped kitchen with no storage, a malfunctioning stove hood, or flickering counter lighting does not allow you to live comfortably in your home.  Your kitchen may be beautiful, but that doesn’t mean it works for you.  As a Vegan Interior Designer, my passion is creating beauty.  But beauty is intrinsically linked to function.  One does not work without the other; you need both for your home to be a valuable asset.

a grand foyer
A unique foyer with classic black and white tile

I recently spoke with Sandi Goodman, Co-Founder/CEO of  Homeowners Hub.  Homeowners Hub is a web-based subscription service that helps homeowners take great care of their homes by making the process simple, convenient, and affordable.

Sandi and I have similar ideas about a home, and why we are passionate about our company’s missions, so I thought sharing our conversation would be insightful to any current or future homeowner.  One would think Sandi looks at the home from a more functional point of view; I would presume to look at it from an aesthetic perspective.  But, funnily enough, our outlooks are intrinsically tied together, which brings successful results to our clients.

Risha:  I often see homeowners who have had a major catastrophe, such as a bathroom leak; consequently, they repair the leak but don’t take the opportunity to improve the damaged space.  Sandi, you take care of the repair and what is required to restore it to operational.  What is your experience with what happens in this case?

Sandi: When there is an URGENT issue, it often requires an immediate dispatch of multiple skill sets (i.e., restoration, plumbing, electrical) to solve the problem quickly and return the space to its former functionality as soon as possible.  Rarely does the question of improvement or renovation come up at that time, especially if it is an insurance claim.  The question, however,  can come up AFTER the repairs are completed, once the emergency is over and more thought is given to how you want the room to feel.

Risha: I also see homeowners embark on a major design project for a space in their home.  More often than not, issues arise with the basics of the house, such as wiring or heating issues.  In addition, there were indications such as lights that don’t work consistently or drafts from inefficient windows and doors.  I aim to create a beautiful space for my clients that works for their lifestyle.  If the space is uncomfortable because it does not have enough light for their needs or is cold, it doesn’t matter how beautiful I can make a room.  I know that my clients will not use the room.  How do you tackle the basics of the home to make it comfortable?

Sandi: We believe that your home is your sanctuary.  A place where you feel safe, can relax, raise kids, make memories, and live life.  It should not be a burden or, worse, your albatross.  Keeping your home in good working order is the key to feeling safe and comfortable.  Annually inspecting and servicing the primary systems contributes to a sense of comfort and security.  Those systems and appliances include, but are not limited to, Heating/Cooling, Chimney/Ventilation, Roof/Gutters, and Foundation.  Inspecting and servicing these systems also contribute to maintaining your home value, a significant component of your net financial worth.

Risha:  It is a shame to me that homeowners will often put off any aesthetic improvements to their home until they are ready to put it on the market for sale.  I believe that one should improve their homes as soon as possible so they can reap the benefits of their improvements.  I understand that some homeowners believe making your home unique makes it difficult to sell down the road.  But if you plan on living in your home for 5 or 10, or even 20 years, it should be designed for you.  Then, when the homeowners go to sell, any improvements they have made will reap the financial benefits, plus they will have truly enjoyed their time living in the home.

The original kitchen before Risha worked her magic.
An amazing complete redesign of the same kitchen!

Sandi:  Exactly.  We have helped many homeowners improve the electrical, plumbing, heating/cooling systems, and roofing right before putting the house on the market, hoping to sell for more money.  Sadly, they did not experience any of the benefits of these upgrades while living in the house.  It may sound strange, but it has been my experience that homes “enjoy” the benefits of the upgrade too!  Case in point.  True story.  Years ago, my wife and I purchased our first home.  It was a summer cottage ( read, no insulation or boiler/furnace) near a lake in western New Jersey that we planned on turning into a year-round home.  We lived for a year without proper heat, eventually installing a coal-burning stove to stop us from freezing while focusing on each room’s aesthetics.  One icy cold wintry day, the wind picked up, the temperature fell, the coal stove overheated, and the house caught fire.  Luckily we were home, and the house did not burn down to the ground. However, we learned something from that lesson.  Ensure the house’s primary systems are working properly before spending a lot of time and money on the appearance.  Our focus needed to be on installing a code-compliant, professionally installed heating system and not on paint colors and wallpaper.  In other words, we were focused on a “facelift” when we really needed “quadruple bi-pass surgery” Our house was happier once we concentrated on taking better care of it.  It became a wonderful place for friends and family to visit, and it was truly our sanctuary by the lake.

Risha:  That is extreme!  Being safe and comfortable in a home we enjoy is why we invest in a home for ourselves and our families.   Having a functioning home is beautiful.  When our home supports us and makes it easy for daily living, that is beautiful, and we can appreciate that.  And then we have so many choices to make the functional into a beautiful sanctuary.  We all have our ideas of beauty, and our homes are a chance to express ourselves.  I interpret what is beautiful for my clients through conversations and listening to their vision.  Bringing beauty into my clients’ homes works best when the house is functioning and safe; that is when the best designs come to life. 

Sandi: Regular maintenance does not give any visual reward.  The reward for the homeowner lies in the knowledge that the basics are being paid attention to, reducing the odds of needing major repairs or dealing with disasters. Unfortunately, 75% of all surveyed homeowners in the U.S. do not have a maintenance plan.  Homeowners don’t think about regular maintenance, and that is what Homeowners Hub does so well.  We know what it takes to make a home run smoothly.  We have the expertise to understand what a home needs to remain safe and comfortable while providing the tradespeople with the correct tools to accomplish that.

Risha: Having a good foundation for my designs is vital.  I feel confident; when the home operates smoothly, my designs will be safe and purposeful so my clients can enjoy them.

Sandi:   That’s right, Risha. It is wonderful to see a home brought to life with the positive energy the homeowner brings and know that  Homeowners Hub is helping to increase the safety, comfort, and financial security of the family. A well-cared-for home will provide a lot of enjoyment and increase in value over time. We want every homeowner to experience that.

Risha: Sandi, it has been great to talk about our mutual passion.  How can people connect with you and Homeowners Hub? 

Sandi: We can be reached through the Homeowners Hub website or email with questions or requests. You can also find us on Instagram @HubYourHome and Facebook @Homeowners Hub, where we share information about homecare. We are happy to help.

A gorgeous kitchen with dynamic backsplash and countertop.
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