So it’s as good a time as any to reflect on 2020, the good, the bad and the ugly, so we can improve on the things we need too and reward ourselves for a job well done!

Well firstly, WOW, goodness me, that was quite some year!!! A year full of extreme highs and lows…

The year started off wonderfully, my husband, Trev was on 6 months primary careers leave, to enable my return to work after mat. leave. I was very excited about going back to spend 3 days a week with my first ‘baby’ again!

The start of the year is always slow for the Architecture & Design industry but the ball got rolling with a few projects including an exciting site visit to Alice Springs, all to come to a grinding halt come March, when refurb and fitout projects were no longer a priority for my clients as the severity of the Covid-19 pandemic set in. 

Going through this pandemic has been something quite like no other. Confronting, challenging and life-altering. This year has really put into perspective just what is important in life; our health and our loved ones.

I have a great passion for travel and an entire year of no-travel is a first for me since I can remember! Growing up in Darwin, we were always traveling somewhere! Be-it a road trip to Broome for a swim at the beach! Or a trip South to visit the fam. My creative mind has really missed the new experiences and inspiration of traveling this year.

Living in the NT we have been extremely lucky and I am so proud of my fellow Territorians for doing the right thing. Fortunately for us, life didn’t change all that much. Working from my home studio and the kids still young has meant minor disruptions to our day to day life. The biggest adjustment for my family was when Trev returned to work in May, his FIFO roster became 3 weeks on, 3 weeks off. That is not what we signed up for!! I must admit it was quite challenging for us and take my hat off to those families that were (and still are) separated for a lot longer than that.  

Here’s a snap shot of our year: 

Besides the pandemic impacts, 2020 has been quite a wonderful year for Schapel Interiors. We’ve had incredible project opportunities with both new and repeat clients including office fitouts and refurbs for NT Government and private sector, exciting high school refurbs, retail tenancies at Casuarina Square, the Palmerston Fire Station Complex interior design and health clinic fitouts in Alice Springs. It has also been a year of many many firsts for Schapel Interiors….

We had our very first month in the 5 years we have been operating, where there was not one single project on the books. Of course, there are slow periods from time to time like most businesses, but there’s always at least one project on the go. This was April and it was at this point that we started to feel the impacts of what was happening in the world.

This year we’ve had the opportunity to collaborate for the first time with Ashford Architects, DKJ and IN4D. It has been fantastic to work alongside these talented Architects and Designers to produce some exciting designs. Collaborating with these firms gives us the opportunity to work on large scale projects, so we thank you for taking a leap of faith and giving us a go this year. We hope it’s the first of many collaborations.

We were also busy yet again with work in Alice Springs. We designed our first ever Covid-19 pandemic clinic (although we really hope we don’t have to do anymore of these projects in the future!). We also learnt A LOT about specialist dental equipment and prosthesis laboratories with the design and documentation of the Alice Springs Family Dental clinic. This is currently nearing completion and can’t wait to share photos with you!

This year has seen the first time for Schapel Interiors on an Architectural panel.  I feel this is a massive achievement for a little sole trader like me, going up against the local and national big guns! So excited to see what projects arise from this.

In November the Design Institute of Australia (DIA) had their very first ever event in the NT, co-hosted with Reece. And can you believe it, it was the night of the blackout that stretched from Darwin city to Katherine! What are the chances! Anyway, as a member this makes me very excited! Finally little old NT is being acknowledged as our member numbers grow and I am very much looking forward to 2021 and what the DIA has instore to support the local design community.

Also on the topic of design events, I attended my first ever Virtual Design Event, Denfair. This is a trade expo usually held in Melbourne, that I always mean to get to, but never actually do! This year it was held virtually with design showroom 3D tours, interactive videos, interviews, keynote speakers and masterclasses to watch online. How amazing is technology! This was absolutely fantastic. It meant that I could attend this year from the comfort of my office without the downtime or cost of travel. It’s things like this that I really hope stick around post-pandemic.

So as 2020 draws to an end, a year that has been all about distancing, yet ironically of greater connectedness, I’d like to take this opportunity to say a HUGE thank you to my amazing clients, people who have supported me throughout the year, sales reps that go out of their way to assist, the general Darwin community who are always so friendly and approachable, fellow peers that provide encouragement, my business and industry mentors and to you people reading, liking and sharing my socials and spreading the word. But Schapel Interiors wouldn’t be possible without the support of my loving family. So, to you all thank you, thank you, thank you!

We look forward to a bright and strong 2021, a year full of fresh opportunities

Stay well, take care and see you in the New Year.  

Here’s Cheers 🙂 

And one last toilet paper meme for good measure! 

Stefney Schultz
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