It’s been a year hasn’t it? Shut downs, shut ins, masks, work from home. Covid brought it all. But, it has been a huge boon to the home interiors and building industries. Decorating or renovating: have patience is all I can say because everything is getting more costly and taking more time.
Outdoor living has definitely been the big story all across the world. Historically here in New England, we’ve considered outdoor living time to run from April to October, give or take. It can still snow in April and we can still get killing frosts as well. So, outdoor living spaces have not been as big a deal or as elaborate as they are in, say, southern California. But in the past year, the back deck has reigned supreme.
I’ve spent considerably more time out on my tiny back deck at Nook Cottage this past year and for the first time, I left my furniture outside over the winter so I could take advantage of good weather days with the addition of blankets and mittens.
But, why am I telling you to have patience? Because there’s a run on materials and labor. Everyone is just flat out and the price of lumber has skyrocketed. This is due to various factors including import tariffs, Covid restrictions, weather events, plus demand. According to multiple reports, lumber prices have doubled in the last year. This means that the deck you wanted to build a couple of years ago is now twice the cost – if you can get the lumber. And a contractor.
With so many working and schooling from home, the WFH situation has been quite a challenge especially in open floor plan homes.
Sometimes, a nice little work station can make all the difference in productivity.
With so much more time spent at home, it’s no surprise that folks are tacking interiors projects as well. The insurance industry actually saw a drop in claims for the standard types of damages that occur (those unrelated to unprecedented weather events or fires) because homeowners are home to deal with problems as they arise and not hours or days later.
So, in addition to challenges on renovating project, simpler decorating jobs are also experiencing enormous delays and longer lead times. Every day, we’re receiving email notifications from vendors advising us that products are out of stock or discontinued suddenly. Vendors are also dropping smaller designer clients as they try to consolidate their processes and reduce overhead. All the shut downs due to Covid really cause much of the delay. Whether goods are made in America or overseas, social distancing in factories and workrooms means that once streamlined processes are disrupted.
We all got very used to Amazon two-day turn arounds and free delivery. But nothing is free and nothing is quick these days. A sofa, such as the custom one shown above thatI had made for my lovely clients in Hingham, MA may have had a 6-8 week lead time a couple of years ago and now it might easily be 16-20 weeks. So, word to the wise – plan ahead and have patience with your friendly decorator!
I’ve been very lucky with patience clients. This past summer over the course of a couple of weeks I had to tell my lovely Cape Cod clients that the woven wood shades chosen for their bedroom had been discontinued as had the beautiful embroidered sheer fabric selected for their den, and the lead time on the drapery fabric in their main room (which was the basis for all other decisions color-wise) had gone from 3-5 weeks to 8-10. The mill was out of the country and between having to reprint and ship, there was no telling how long it would take.
And then came the big Texas snow and ice storm and subsequent electric grid meltdown.
Did you know that foam for cushions and upholstered furniture is a petroleum product? Ah… the 2020’s just keep giving.
In the best of times, patience is needed in any home dec or reno project. Mistakes are made when we rush decisions but if we delay, cost rise, product becomes unavailable.
Word to the wise: If you like something, it fits your needs and budget, and is in stock, buy it and store it if you need to. Don’t feel rushed, but don’t delay decisions. Communicate with your team and be flexible. Everyone is doing everything they can to make the process as smooth as possible!