After giving advice to numerous clients on how to downsize their homes, I now was faced with being my own client. And to my dismay I turned out to be a bit tough and unreasonable!
I had lived in a 3200 sq. ft. house and decided after years of hemming and hawing to sell it and downsize to a 2 bedroom 2 bathroom apt. It was time to make my life ‘easier’ and ‘simpler’ for all the right reasons: no outdoor maintenance of the lawn or the house itself, no worrying about the trees that had to be cut and removed after storms, no more cleaning the septic, cleaning the gutters, worrying about the weight of snow on the roof that needed to be swept, no shoveling the driveway and paths, and on and on. Just close the door to an apt. and there’s nothing to worry about.
“Alice, you want me to get rid of WHAT ????” became my daily dialogue with myself. The decisions turned out to be endless and unexpectedly painful. I hated to admit to myself how attached I was to my things. They were a part of me, they all had a history or an association, and I had lived with most of them for the majority of my life. But the quest to eliminate had to be addressed.
As you can see from the photos, the living room in my house was filled with furniture and chotchkes.
For my new apt. I chose to keep my antique camel back sofa and a pair of cream colored repro French chairs. The little rocker my grandfather gave me when I was 5 was a must. A pair of antique love seats wouldn’t fit and are now living in storage as is a deliciously comfy down chaise. A pair of rattan chairs had to go. I kept my mirrored coffee table which was relatively new. A large English breakfront that used to be in the dining area is now in the living room with an antique Oriental pedestal from downstairs. I had bought a pair of blue tall vases in California which I re-purposed into lamps – my house had an open floor plan and recessed lights, so lamps weren’t needed vs. the apt. which had no lighting except for table lamps.
The goal needs to be making the new space work without being crowded and NOT becoming an exercise in seeing how much can be crammed in!
There was no architectural interest in the apt., so I painted the long LR wall and the only long(ish) dining area wall dark blue to provide contrast against the rest of the taupe walls in the apt. At least I could use color for appeal.
I have newfound sympathy for my clients when I blithely advise them which items to eliminate for their new smaller home. It’s tough, and I think doing my own project showed me just how much!