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DIY Dynamo

Tune in as do-it-yourselfer Sachi Lord, pictured with husband Mike, brings a positive touch to the interior design world during One Room Challenge, a biannual renovation competition whose new season is just around the corner.

Words like “adapt” and “pivot” were common in the vernacular of 2020, and while many took these terms to heart and adjusted to the proverbial “new normal,” there were others who took a chance at creating brand-new destinies outside of their comfort zones.

Such was the case for Sachi Lord, a nurse anesthetist at Kaiser Permanente. While hunkering down in her North Shore abode with husband Mike and young son Luca during 2020’s stay-at-home orders, she launched Sachi Lord Design Co. in the heat of summer.

“Everyone in Hawai‘i and the nation were looking to make their homes feel more inviting,” shares the 2007 Hanalani Schools graduate. “We were spending so much of our time here, and looking for ways to turn closets into offices and homework stations, multifunctional stations.

Sachi Lord and her interior design company will be featured on the upcoming season of One Room Challenge.

“I realized there’s this side of me that was unfulfilled, this creative side,” she adds.

Lord found herself stuck indoors with no social plans and a lot of time on her hands looking at her home’s interior. Since buying their house about a year ago — also right around the time of the pandemic’s start — she and Mike have been slowly fixing it up and transforming its spaces into much-loved areas, bringing life into a home that once had a story of its own.

“Once I started doing these projects around the house, working with power tools and getting creative with different tiles and paints and finishes, I was hooked,” Lord admits. “That sparked the idea that if I can create a space for myself that I love and other people love, I feel like I have the ability to help other people love their spaces as well.

“I get excited coming home, and I want other people to have that, too.”

And, in the latter half of 2020, people began to notice the inviting spaces Lord was creating, including notable companies like Better Home and Gardens, which selected her as one of 20 featured designers (and the first from Hawai‘i) for the upcoming One Room Challenge.

Lord had twice participated in the biannual online renovation event — of which the magazine is a media sponsor — as a guest designer taking her talents to a master bathroom and then a kitchen by breathing new life into their interiors.

When she’s not working on her interior designs, Sachi Lord is a nurse anesthetist at Kaiser Permanente. PHOTO COURTESY SACHI LORD

“I found out about the One Room Challenge through the DIY and design Instagram community,” remembers Lord. “I saw people posting that they were going to tackle a room, and I thought, ‘What is this? I like a challenge; I’m competitive. I want to participate.’”

The idea is to transform a single room in the span of six weeks — eight during the coronavirus pandemic — and document the progress on a personal blog.

The new season kicks off the first week of May, and Lord invites everyone to follow along on her journey on Instagram (@sachilord) and online at sachilord.com.

“They’ll be able to see what goes into a total renovation, and we have some fun surprises to share,” she says. “I’ll also post on Instagram and share our day-to-day progress. Instagram is where we share a lot of behind-the-scenes footage. I think that people love to follow along because they get to see the ups and downs, and the mistakes and the solutions to the problems we’re having. They get to see more of that real-life story behind it instead of just the before and after.”

While the focus will be on Lord’s design — she can’t yet share what one room she’ll be renovating — she’s excited to be able to showcase local companies who will be helping her, including The Splinter Concept’s Davin Jaime and construction company All Things New Hawai‘i.

Though a competition that pits top designers against each other, One Room Challenge is not cutthroat in nature.

“Secretly, we all are hoping that people think our room looks the best,” says Lord. “But there’s great camaraderie; everyone staying up until 2 a.m. on the final day trying to finish their projects, wondering if their hardware is coming in on time. Through it all, everyone is cheering each other on.”

While preparing for next month’s One Room Challenge, Lord and her team are still serving clients here at home and afar. Though a local company, Sachi Lord Design Co. even offers services for people who don’t live in Hawai‘i. For those people, Lord presents them with a design plan, allowing homeowners to bring their plans to life with her expert guidance.

Locally, families can take full advantage of Lord’s services from start to finish — this means installation, purchasing, planning and shipping.

“We even give them their HGTV reveal day,” shares Lord.

CREATING CUSTOM DWELLINGS

“We love helping people with their renovation and design projects,” says Lord. “One thing that we try to provide our clients with are custom, individualized solutions.”

For one such project, Lord hid a TV in a half-wall, allowing it to be out of sight when not in use. To do this, she implemented a special TV lift, which enabled the set to rise up and down when needed.

“Aesthetically, the room is much more pleasing as the layout of the furniture isn’t defined by the TV,” she explains.

Other projects include creating flex spaces for clients — especially in light of the corona-virus work-from-home months — to get creative with form and functionality. She recently custom-built a desk on wheels that could be converted to an entertainment center when the home offi ce is no longer needed.

“The thing that makes us the most excited and drives us to do what we do is when people are happy with their home, and they can see themselves creating memories there.”

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