With corona virus numbers ticking back up, likely, many of us are still hunkering down in our homes with our “pod” of family and perhaps a few close friends. Having been at this since March, it’s also likely that our homes have taken on many new roles…everyday office for one or more, schoolhouse, gym, restaurant, outdoor entertainment venue, and more. But how can we make our homes work in all these new ways?

I chatted with TJ Monahan, BOWA’s VP of Design, to find out some of the ways he has made his family’s home more functional and enjoyable during this time. The following are some projects he has undertaken.

Big Impact with Removable


Wallpaper: Hands down, TJ’s number one recommendation is removable wallpaper. TJ transformed a bare room in the basement into his office with the help of bold decals from WallsNeedLove and a modular office system from Ikea. TJ loves these decals because, in his opinion, they are more impactful, cleaner, and more comfortable than painting. His second project was cozying up an office for his wife using a sophisticated, feminine pattern from Rocky Mountain Decals.

The great news is the material to cover 20 square feet is under $90, and you can finish the project in about one hour. Wow!

The Great-er Outdoors: TJ then turned to the home’s exterior to spruce up their patio area and landscaping. With just a little bit of work and some plantings, they were able to create more privacy and an outdoor room for al fresco dining with family and enjoying safely with friends.

A Space for the Kids: With mom and dad both settled in their new home offices, TJ and his wife also wanted to create dedicated spaces to accommodate their children’s distance learning. Carving out a learning nook in each of their rooms with a great desk, good lighting, and a chair they picked out themselves set these kids up comfortably for their adventure in schooling. So far, so good!

A Need for Speed: With two adults and two children all working from home, TJ took steps to improve their Internet speeds. TJ found the best solution for them was installing a multi-point mesh WiFi system. He chose the eero system, but there are several well-reviewed options available today. Your home’s size determines how many points/bases you need, but generally, the systems cost a couple of hundred dollars and can be easily set up by a non-techy in minutes. The result is improved internet efficiency, reduced network congestion, less buffering, and a more productive family.

Create a Mini Home Gym: Missing their usual workout routines, TJ carved out a small space in the corner of their finished basement for a small home gym. By allocating just 30-40 square feet, TJ was able to create a dedicated space with padded floors for a stationary bike, weights, resistance bands, and more to keep the family fit and motivated.
The solutions to making your home more functional and enjoyable often fall on a spectrum. On one end are DIY projects you can knock out with a little elbow grease or retail therapy and on the other are more elaborate solutions requiring thoughtful design and careful construction. If you’re interested in bouncing around some ideas for your home, let me know.

Tim Burch is a Vice President and Owner of BOWA, an award-winning design and construction firm specializing in renovations ranging from master suites and kitchens to whole-house remodels and equestrian facilities. For more information, visit bowa.com or call 540-687-6771. Have topics you would like covered, email me at AskBOWA@bowa.com.

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Tim Burch is Vice President of BOWA, an award-winning design build firm specializing in luxury renovations ranging from master suites and kitchens to whole-house remodels. A Northern Virginia native, Tim focuses on clients in the Loudoun and Fauquier County areas providing them with his 25 years of expertise in the design build construction industry. He is a third generation builder, certified remodeler, and instructor. Prior to joining BOWA, he was the Lead Project Manager of Construction for the Emmy Award winning construction reality television show, Extreme Makeover Home Edition on ABC Television. For more information on Tim and the BOWA team, visit www.bowa.com, or call 703-734-9050. Have a question for Tim that you’d like to see covered in Middleburg Eccentric? Email him at AskBOWA@bowa.com.