BY DAWN CHAPNICK

Designing post a divorce can be a difficult task, especially for men.  Generally speaking, most men are not as design savvy as women and find decorating and design a daunting and stressful endeavour.

Many men have an idea of what they like and don’t like but really have no idea how to begin, how to pull it all together and no idea where to go to get what is needed.

Too often, during a divorce, men just grab or are given mismatched pieces of furniture and furnishings from the matrimonial home to just have some ‘stuff’ to start them off in their newly rented or purchased place. There is however, a lot more involved than signing on the dotted line and dropping your ex-mother-in-law’s old sofa and kitchen table in the middle of a room, in order to create a new home for your new single and independent life.

Faced with so many new challenges and many emotions, the transition from the matrimonial home to the ‘new pad’ can be overwhelming and depressing.

Men often neglect the need to rebuild their living space and create a positive emotional feeling for what will be their new home. Faced with the task of checking of boxes on the “to do/get through” list, and just simply not having the emotional energy, one must turn to experts to help them navigate the new journey.

In addition to the arsenal of specialists that you will need to meet you on the other ‘side’, such as real estate agents, therapists, financial planners, and mortgage brokers, there is one specialist that is incredibly important and a key member to your team, the Interior Design Specialist. The designer’s job will be to create and design for the space as well as to create a new home, not just a place to sleep.  Creating a style using elements like proportion, color, balance, style, order and cohesiveness are all an integral and essential part of this.

Without the right design help you most likely will waste unnecessary money and make some very embarrassing mistakes. It is especially important to hire a designer when you have joint custody of the kids. The home then needs the creative balance between the new reality that dad is a single guy but still, the same love and caring dad. It will be a comfort as well for the ex wife to know that her children will be living, part of the time, in a clean, cheerful, well organized and comfortable place. This transition for the kids should be as smooth and comfortable as possible. There are many ways to create a welcoming and safe place for the kids and this is a critical part of the designer’s role.

There are some common design needs of the newly divorced male, some to include, but not limited to, the over 60-inch screen televisions, leather chairs, wet bars,  a spot for their prized possessions and extra large bath towels. The ‘’setting up house’’ for men is frustrating so interior design services can include not only interior design but can also include shopping for essentials like pots and pans, new plates and even stocking the pantry. We also can select the right books, sheets and even toys for the kids. I’ve even had to find cleaning ladies and be involved in other concierge service type requests.

It is important to keep in mind that the new place needs to serve several functions. Not only does the new home need to work for kids, but perhaps you work out of your home and need certain elements and furniture items for potential larger meetings. We also can’t deny there may be future romantic partners coming around to your new place as well. So, why not kick it up a bit as well for those grown-up times – a place that looks like it belongs to a man but has some elements that are soft and welcoming to the new lady friend. I try to be realistic and open minded with all of my clients and there needs to be some thought for those areas of the home for ‘’cuddling’’ other than the bedroom. The bedroom needs to look welcoming and have nice sheets, good duvet etc. After-all, you are a grown up and need to have grown up stuff.

Overall, the goal is that the post-divorced male needs to feel settled in his new home so that he can be ready to embrace all the new and exciting opportunities ahead. A place he can do the dad job, do homework and make pizza, but also to indulge and feel proud of the man cave where he can re-create those seduction scenes out of a movie.

What your place looks like and how it makes you feel are critical to building your new life. Whether you think about it or not, homes and apartments have a huge impact on our mood. Hiring a designer may not change your life in all areas but it will help you discover who you are, who you want to be and may even help you live your dreams.

Dawn Chapnick is the Principal at Dawn Chapnick Designs. The team is focused on both residential and commercial design but Dawn has developed a method to work with the divorced male to help him get back on his feet from literally the ‘ground’ floor’ to the ceiling. For more information please visit www.dawnchapnick.com