Waste Not, Want Not

Toward the end of last year (on Christmas Day, in fact), the National Association of Realtors published a post called, “The Forecast: 2018 Trends in Staging“. It was unsurprising, except for this quote from one of the people interviewed for the post:

Staging and preparation can include as little as some fresh paint, but in most cases we also landscape, replace dated light fixtures and hardware, and in many cases refinish hardwood floors, replace countertops, bathroom fixtures, etc. … Fewer than 10 percent of homes I stage are partial–where we keep some of the furniture and belongings, edit out and add in where needed.

Maybe we’re a little more provincial than we fancy ourselves to be. But we think adaptive re-use makes sense. It certainly manifests common sense. And it definitely makes good business sense.

Consider This

Think about the choices you made when you went about outfitting your home or your workspace. Then ask yourself these questions:

  • Did you deliberately or knowingly make any bad decisions or choices?
  • Did you deliberately or knowingly select any furnishing or finishes that didn’t suit you at the time?
  • Did you deliberately or knowingly plan or anticipate the obsolescence of anything with which your furnished or finished your space?
  • Will you recoup and make a profit on whatever investments or purchases you make for the purposes of selling your space, residential or commercial?
  • Do you have money to burn?
  • Did you deliberately or knowingly purchase anything because you knew it would have a short shelf-life?
  • Did you consider the things you purchased to furnish and finish your space to be investments?

If the answers to those questions are, in order — no, no, no, no, no, no, yes — an alternative perspective might be in order.

What Price Value?

We love new stuff as much as anyone. But we define value as more than the purchase price of new stuff. Your investments have value. Your vision and tastes have value. The things that remain important to you have value. And your money most certainly has value. So, our approach is more evolutionary than revolutionary.

If it ain’t broke, we won’t try to fix it. If it has emotional, monetary, and aesthetic value, we won’t try to replace it.

We don’t have a motto. But if we did, waste not, want not would work pretty well.


Sharing Your Vision

Last month, Harvard Business Review published an essay entitled, “The Best Leaders See Things That Others Don’t. Art Can Help“. It made this important point about the ability of art to help business leaders perceive things they might otherwise miss or discount:

Without ever intending it, experienced leaders often allow what they know to limit what they can imagine … [that’s why] it’s so important for leaders to see their company [sic] and industry [sic] with fresh eyes — which means looking at their work in new ways. Art, it turns out, can be an important tool to change how leaders see their work.

But it missed another, arguably more important point: Art can help everyone (not just leaders) see everything differently everywhere (not just at work).

Salvation by Imagination*

If you don’t believe in the power of art to inspire imagination and to compel people to look at themselves and the world differently, consider this: My husband created a workshop, Finding Your Voice, for fledgling writers who want to find or improve their authorial voices. In the workshop, he uses my painting, “Dawn”.


In the first session, he gives participants their first and only assignment — to write their interpretations of the painting. (The remaining sessions are spent refining the written expression of those interpretations.) No interpretation is judged to be correct or incorrect. How could it be? Imagination isn’t correct or incorrect. It just is. Any judgment can only be subjective. Subjectivity is the source of interpretation. And vive la différence!

Live Out Loud**

In the same way my husband uses “Dawn” to help people with their written expression, you can use art — painting, sculpture, pottery, and more — to help with the visual expression of your vision. Serious. Playful. Constructive. Recreational. Your vision is anything you want it to be. And the art you choose for your workspace will reflect your vision, as well as your brand and its personality, even as it invites the creative interpretations of those who work in and visit your space.

To paraphrase Harvard Business Review, art, it turns out, can be important in changing the way others see your work and your workspace. And it’s an engaging way to express your vision.

If you’re ready to share your vision, we’re ready to help you express it.

* “An idea is salvation by imagination.” (Frank Lloyd Wright, Two Lectures on Architecture, 1931)

** “If you ask me what I came to do in this world, I, an artist, will answer you: I am here to live out loud.” (Émile Zola, Nana, 1880)