Happy Labor Day Redux

By LuAnne Silvia, ASID

Time brings change, and yet some things remain the same. Two years ago I wrote the following entry on Labor Day and it is as true today as it was then:

I spent the long holiday weekend doing a variety of  things that Labor Day has come to signify to a lot of people: celebrating the last unofficial weekend of summer grilling with friends, shopping for the first day of school, meeting family for a picnic, and preparing our closets for the fall season.  The National Holiday was founded to honor and celebrate the American Worker and it got me thinking, what are we all working for?

In my work as an interior designer I help people realize their dream homes. I wanted to be an interior designer since I was in the fifth grade. I rarely think of what I do as work, it is something I enjoy doing. The biggest reason I enjoy what I do is my belief that your home greatly impacts your life. This belief has rung true for me hearing first hand the stories of people whose lives have benefited from their environment.

As the chair of our local chapter of the American Society of Interior Designers Community Service Committee, I have had the privilege of having this question answered for me from a perspective that really hit home. The first project I worked on was helping to renovate the old St. Barnabas hospital in downtown Minneapolis into housing units for homeless youth. Our committee attended the one year anniversary celebration to hear from residents about their new home. For a formerly homeless youth, a home provides safety. A home provides a foundation so they can ask themselves, what do I want out of life?

The Community Service Committee is made up of volunteer members of ASID who donate our time to help design spaces for people that haven’t had a place to call home. People who are working to build a life for themselves, working so they can own a home of their own.

My committee work has brought me many valuable insights. Learning from my colleagues. A deeper appreciation for the value of home. Understanding that the truest pleasures are the simplest pleasures. That what makes a house a home is the work, the effort and dedication that you put into it, not simply the stuff that is in it. The activities your space and your stuff allow you to share with people: cooking with family, reading with your child, dining with friends and the joy you share with people by having beautiful artwork in your home.

Between barbeques and cleaning, I discovered Labor Day is an opportunity to pause and recognize the importance of the work you do, and realize why you are working.