If I (re)build it will I cook?

I came across that american classic film Field of Dreams from 1989 (“If you build it he will come”) the other day. As a business strategy, I would suggest that the approach is seriously flawed. But I’ve been spending a lot of time in my kitchen lately and when it comes to kitchens the approach may be just the ticket.

In the sense that you (and those that you live with) are well… already home and so the risks of whether or not ‘he/she/they will come’ are pretty negligible and especially in our mid-pandemic state, the kitchen is in focus.

In our Danish approach to design and architecture we focus on the core attributes associated with that approach (Simple, Smart Function, Beautiful) and with kitchens FUNCTION takes the front seat as it needs to be the most functional room in a home. But if you’re like me I tend to envision the kitchen also as a social hub bringing family and friends together, albeit within pandemic guidelines these days, while exploring and sharing food and drinks. That’s where the ‘hygge’ kicks in :).

In that way, and like many things in our homes, if our kitchen does not function well or it is complicated to navigate or rather than inspiring us it feels drab or creates frustration then we are far more likely to look forward to our favourite restaurant or take out experience and it reinforces the feeling that we are not really cut out for cooking or baking.

Given these last months of challenge and where we have all been doing our best to look after each other by staying away from each other, the kitchen has for some been the saving grace in finding a reinvigorated and comforting place in a world that has been turned upside down. For others though the kitchen remains a source of frustration and reinforcement of a disbelief in one’s ability to create anything edible let alone delicious at home. For those in the ‘frustrated’ category, we tend to believe the road to upending that frustration is to start not with new recipes but with a “Field of Dreams” making sure your kitchen is both super functional and also makes you feel inspired to cook.

So we offer this adaptation of Kevin Costner’s mysterious whisperer in the corn fields of Iowa…

“If you build your kitchen to function simply and efficiently and then make it beautiful and surround yourself with things that inspire you along with a candle or two and some family or friends… you will cook something wonderful!

Introducing modernhygge™ & “The Danish Home”

We are introducing our ‘concept’ program we’ve named modernhygge™ and rather than write a story (blog) about it we’ve made a video (vlog) for you instead. If a picture says a thousand words, I hope the video does even better…

While we’ve been active in the residential architecture/design world for many years, it’s something that had always been overshadowed (at least in our marketing and mindset) by our commercial efforts… that is until a global pandemic turns the world upside down. For us here at mettespace one of the silver linings of this pandemic is that we’ve finally had time to put the finishing touches on our residential homes program while completing our latest residential project and we couldn’t be more delighted with the results.

Zoning, Architecture, Interior Design, Renovation/Build. This project had it all in spades along with the typical challenges of an urban Toronto neighbourhood long and narrow property!

Work From Home (WFH) in tight spaces

As we embrace working from home for the long term, we decided to attempt to help those that are challenged or struggling to find enough space at home. If you are struggling try this simple to follow 7-step formula to integrate WFH into your tight space!

There are many things to factor in to maintaining mental, physical and emotional health when working from home on a more regular and long term basis. And it can be difficult. We hope this short video will help you get started in thinking it through to make the most of the space you do have available.

Hope this is helpful and as always, send any questions you might have to hello@mettespace.com.

Happy workday from mettespace!

Healthy & Ergonomic WFH Environments

This is a partial re-post of a campaign we had initiated pre-COVID but as many of us recognize and accept that working from home or remotely will be an ongoing and longer term part of our work life reality, we thought it would be a good time to remind everyone to at least do the easy/simple things to stay healthy and look after your emotional, physical and mental health.

As expected, we are starting to encounter some WFH burnout. This is a natural consequence of human nature when confronted with ongoing isolation and the difficulty in separating work from life and vice-versa over the longer term. Given we, in the Great White North, are headed indoors again for some months to come it’s really important that we all keep the dialogue going regarding health at home.

These are the ‘top of the list’ things to think about not only when setting up your work from home environment, but habits to get into while continuing to work remotely. Don’t be lured into underestimating the challenge. To be successful working remotely, we recommend the following as a minimum. If you are already doing all of these things and still feeling like WFH has turned into an insufferable and overwhelming challenge then it’s time to reach out to your employer for help. 

Or, and as always, if you have any questions or would like to share your experience in WFH please just contact us by email at hello@mettespace.com. We’d love to hear from you and offer our thoughts regarding any specifics that you are dealing with . Happy workday!

Have you ID’d your organization lately!?


Most of us in Ontario are familiar with the LCBO campaign justifying clear identification in determining age when buying liquor… but what about Organizational Identity!?

Organizational identity, even when well defined, seems a little trickier in that it is something true and organic for sure but it is not as absolute or undeniably decided by a birth certificate or driver’s license. In the pre-pandemic world we spent a lot of time with organizations in helping them define their identity so that the workspaces that we designed and built would inspire all that enter to understand, embrace and get excited about that identity. 

Often as we explored this with our clients it felt, to begin with, like something rather abstract and too easily regarded as a branding exercise in exposure to a market. But while organizational identity is often closely tied to brand, it’s in fact deeper and more about how the organization sees itself. The most commonly referenced definition of organizational identity is that describing it as those central, enduring and distinctive characteristics (“CED”, Albert & Whetten 1985) that, like our birth certificates, identify a unique entity. As an organization, it answers the question “Who are we?”. And these days, we thought it would be a topic most leadership groups and individuals might be struggling with quite naturally with physically distributed workforces.

Organizational Identity is important. It’s about character, personality and values and it is a foundational driver of culture. Organizational culture I heard described wonderfully just recently (briefly paraphrased here) as the behaviour that leads to decision making (Hilton Barbour, LinkedIN) and in organizations as in life, we need to be true to thyself. The anchor of good culture is a tangible, strong and clear identity that makes it easy to recognize when an organization might be acting ‘out of character’. A strong identity makes decision making much easier.

The thing about organizations is that they are made up of multiple human beings and while there are of course lots of ways to express identity, one of the primary ways is with visual queues in a workspace. So how do we establish, develop and sustain a strong identity when we’re spread out physically all over the map and we are far less connected naturally to an identity that was previously realized mostly through sharing organic social and collaborative time together? It seems that organizational identity might be getting a bit blurry these days…

If you are an organizational leader and have a strong organizational identity what are you doing to sustain that identity? Even if the answer is unclear, it’s an important and timely question to ask.

From Dark to Light… Bring Life

As we all, I think, are feeling a little bit more freedom in our lives these days, enjoying the beautiful Canadian summer days, hopefully taking some vacation, and begin to enjoy some semblance of social interaction in sharing a meal with a friend at a recently reopened local restaurant or similar, our moods and minds have hopefully lightened since the dark days of March and April.

While I for one, recognize we are not out of the tunnel quite yet and that the tunnel is longer than I had originally hoped for certainly, I did start thinking about the “light”…  and so I thought I’d share some design visuals to help any of you that are thinking about how to bring life to indoor space as the fall months approach and we begin possibly to consider moving inside and/or back to an office space that has been standing empty for some time. Well designed lighting solutions can literally reduce the darkness and create life in space. 

Lighting design, for any space whether commercial offices, residential/homes, home offices, educational institutions or whatever, is often overlooked and can really be the key to creating inspiring spaces for living and working. Check out these visuals and hopefully get inspired to bring light into your tunnel.


The waiting is the hardest part…

In the immortal and legendary words of Tom Petty, our current situation is so aptly described. Our good friends at Raw Signal Group shared a newsletter with us that we think is worth including here as it really speaks to workjoy™ from a leadership perspective.

Click on the lyrics to see their latest newsletter recognizing an amazing opportunity for us all to ‘run the tapes’!

Mette’s Tips for Creating workjoy™@home

I think, truly, we are living in a history textbook these days. I have been amazed at how well so many have been able to transition productively to a work-from-home (WFH) environment; temporarily at least! We may finally be seeing “the end of WFH prejudice”1 and a paradigm shift that will eventually bring more work-life balance.

In the video, we are sharing a simple 7-step formula for those with enough space at home for a dedicated home office.

Here we’re hoping to help the MANY still grappling with creating a workspace at home not just to maintain their sanity but to thrive and gain inspiration while being productive at home. Homes are not designed to be workspaces and we know not everyone can carve out a dedicated space for work within their home. Stay tuned for a follow up video on creating space and workjoy™@home when, like most, a workspace cannot be separated from personal space.

On a broader note, there are some challenges and speed bumps ahead of us all and the data available is sparse on the long-term health and productivity of our WFH staff. The office btw is by no means dead despite some obituaries in the media. As we all strive to some extent to retain a more flexible work life in the months and years ahead, we’re excited to be launching our workjoy™ program in addressing the acute need for organizations big and small to address a more flexible approach to workspace.

Need more help!? Contact us.

1 https://www.theglobeandmail.com/business/careers/management/article-changed-changing-and-will-change-adapting-to-our-new-and-ever