“Families are organic and constantly changing.”

From every crisis comes opportunities for positive change and growth.

The COVID-19 pandemic has forced us to reflect on what matters most in life. Modern society is reevaluating and reprioritizing its values, and is responding in amazing ways. People with idle sewing machines at home are cranking out face masks. Delivery people and store clerks are keeping shelves stocked. Health care workers on the front lines are risking their lives to heal the sick. And thousands of dedicated men and women in the building trades are doing everything possible to keep housing projects moving ahead for families who need a home. The building industry is one bright light in our economy that is struggling to find a footing.

The realization that family and loved ones are most important is front of mind. Through this experience, we are deeply thankful for our homes that shelter and protect us against the outside world. Ultimately our home is where families traverse the good times and tough times — together.

Evan Fujimoto, president of Graham Builders, shares his thoughts to three common questions that people have begun to ponder since our state was ordered to stay at home.

 “It is a good idea to spend some of your time at home searching for all security and safety vulnerabilities.”

“Is my house safe and secure?”

It is a good idea to spend some of your time at home searching for all security and safety vulnerabilities. Repair or replace broken or missing window louvers. Replace broken entry door locks. Repair your roof if it is damaged. This is the time to address items that need repair. Deferred maintenance is like a cancer in our homes and it needs to be taken care of.

You might consider installing a home security system and better exterior lighting. Home security systems can also be lifesavers in times of emergency.

 “Is my home ready to welcome family who need shelter?”

True to local culture, many Hawaii families will be opening their homes to displaced relatives. Providing extra space will be made possible by tossing out decades of clutter. What we thought of as valuable just a month ago is not nearly as important as caring for ohana.

“No matter if you need more space or not, now is a good time to start cleaning up,” encourages Fujimoto. Prune through old items and donate or throw away unused items. Clear out areas of your home that are cluttered with boxes of old shoes, newspapers and magazines, obsolete computers and piles of clothes. Uncluttered spaces are much easier to sanitize. Clean the windows and screens and let the sunshine in.”

 “No matter if you need more space or not, now is a good time to start cleaning up.”

“How can my home add value to my family’s quality of life?”

Some families may be facing months to years living together again in multigenerational households. If you have already been planning to remodel or rebuild, think about the most important family needs first. High-end finishes may have to be reprioritized to be able to increase square footage or add another bathroom.

“Your home design should be flexible and adaptable for changing family needs,” continues Fujimoto. “Families are organic and constantly changing. The homeowners we work with are encouraged to include spaces that can easily adjust to diverse situations. Imagine learning that your 87-year-old grandmother needs to move in with you — a year after you’ve completed an extensive remodel. Sadly, the completed project didn’t include a ground-floor bedroom or accessible bathroom. Rather than feeling remorseful later, our designers help homeowners to think proactively while designing their new space.”

 “…think about the most important family needs first.”

COVID-19 will pass. When it does, we will reflect on how it has changed us and what we will do differently. We will need be resilient and resourceful in the months ahead and not forget what makes Hawaii special in how we care for our families and one another.

Founded in 1990, Graham Builders remains the only design-build contractor in Hawaii honored by Better Business Bureau’s Torch Award for Business Ethics. For more information, and a library of award-winning designs, visit grahambuilders.com or call 808.593.2808 for information..