Downsizing Done Right

Recently, some my previous clients have contacted me to engage my services for their downsizing projects.

I am not one for trends but this one is irrefutable. These empty nesters want less to maintain and a carefree lifestyle. They are also faced with emotional decisions, such as how to decide what to give up or how to part with sentimental objects, family heirlooms and time traveled collections.

As an interior designer my job is “how to make it all work” with less square footage and a different layout.

I just completed a project of this nature. My client was moving from a traditional home, where each room had its own distinction, to a new home with an open floor plan.

With careful space planning and re-purposing, along with a heartfelt talk with my client about priorities, I was able to come up with a plan. If you are downsizing, some of these solutions may inspire you.

For example, the large buffet that had been in the dining room found a new home in the over-sized entry.  The chandelier that had hung over the breakfast table was also used in the entry. We were able to keep the breakfast room furniture and rug in the new eating area off the kitchen. By adding a new chandelier (remember: the kitchen chandelier from their former home is now in the entryway!), I switched up the look to a more casual one without the expense of new furniture.

Breakfast room in previous home


New chandelier with table and chairs from former home


Dining room in former home


Breakfast room chandelier and dining room sideboard repurposed in new entryway


A fantastic striped chest was moved to the loft area on the second floor.

Striped chest in former living room


Striped chest in new loft area


In the end, the only item that didn’t make it was the over-sized antique reproduction Oriental rug from the great room.  It found a new home with a family member.

Keeping an open mind and treating this as a design challenge was part of my criteria. I was happy to be able to help my clients keep all of the beautiful art, furnishings and antiques we had brought together for their previous home.

Guest Blogger Deborah Leamann, Allied ASID is the owner of Deborah Leamann Interior Design in Pennington, N.J.

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