The following is an account of an epic downsizing project we completed for clients in White Rock. If you're wondering what goes into our process, read on.
WHERE THINGS BEGAN
As an act of love, it is often the grown children of aging parents who initiate the downsizing journey. Such was the case with Mr. and Mrs. Crosby. I took a call from their daughter-in-law. She requested that I meet the three of them in her parents’ existing home.
I was struck by her father-in-law’s boundless energy and sense of humor as well as her mother-in-law’s sparkling eyes and delightful personality. We hit it off immediately.
As we began our On-Site Lifestyle Consultation, they disclosed they had already purchased their new condo. They had emotionally embraced the huge change in lifestyle that faced them. Moving from a 4500 sq ft home on the beach to a 1600 sq ft condo was going to be a major undertaking.
They desired to use as much from their existing home as they possibly could. They liked their furnishings an they had a lot to select from! As I walked through their spacious home, I took a mental inventory of their furnishings and finishes.
I marveled at how beautifully Mr. and Mrs. Crosby embarked on their journey toward a simpler, more minimal living space. I wondered aloud how they would miss the years they had enjoyed the ocean as their front yard. While a favourite original piece of art would largely inspire my fabric selections, I knew I wanted to create a feeling of sand and sea in their new home.
As we visited the newly constructed condo, it became apparent that they were ready to live on one floor. No more stairs! They loved to entertain and share meals with family and friends. Having a comfortable dining space and seating for at least 8 in the living room was paramount. They were ready to travel more and have less property to maintain.
With the developer’s floor plans in hand, I proceeded to measure the condo’s specific dimensions so that I could prepare a design concept and appropriate furniture layout.
Upon our return to their waterfront home, I took pictures and dimensions of all furnishings and art pieces that I ascertained would move nicely into their new space.
I proceeded in the following way:
While the existing colour was a classic grey-green, it didn’t make Mrs. Crosby’s heart sing. It felt dark and a bit oppressive to her. We needed to find a way to establish a warm cocoon. I chose Benjamin Moore’s Muslin for the walls in the entire space, with the only exception being the master bedroom and ensuite.
The general lighting, while adequate, was all in brushed nickel. She preferred warm metals. All her lamps and accessories were brass.
The fixture I selected for the dining area was not only a piece of art, it also served to strengthen the focal point of the dining area, which was the first thing you saw when you entered their home. Other ceiling fixtures, including the track lighting above the fireplace, were replaced with oil rubbed bronze fixtures.
The strata had stipulations about window coverings so I opted to bring visual drama and beauty with floor-to-ceiling side panels. Where possible, the existing roller shades were lowered so as to allow for privacy where required, while still allowing light to filter through the top of the windows.
Because of the unique shape of the living room, I steered toward a custom bound rug. The weave in the sand colored broadloom I selected had a pattern resembling a rippled beach after a wave has washed out. Already the space felt warm and inviting.
In my assessment of furnishings in their home, I discovered a lovely sofa in their master bedroom. Mrs. Crosby was fond of the piece and I knew the size was perfect. The sofa was modified creatively. By removing a wooden rail along the top, and upholstering an occasional chair with a very similar profile in the same fabric, we created what appeared to be a set.
The blues, greens and warm ivories in the fabrics I selected not only communicated tranquility and peace, they reminded the Crosby’s of their many years beside the water.
A pair of bright mustard yellow chairs that had the most magnificent shape but had been relegated to an upstairs guestroom were reupholstered for a whole new look . With solid piping accentuating their unusual design, they bring a classic and artistic elegance to the living room.
Two small cane backed side-chairs received new striped upholstery to the seats to complete the conversation area. One resides in the den and can be brought into the living room when the eighth seat is required.
A prized glass and brass coffee table, a piece that they have long enjoyed, took center stage.
Two newly acquired table lamps were purchased to add balance and task lighting.
It was impossible to use their existing dining room set. A beautiful round Stickley table and chairs were purchased to provide a gathering place for family and friends. The leaves are conveniently stored under a bed but give the Crosby’s what they longed for: ample dining space for celebration gatherings. The other two dining chairs reside in their office/guest room.
The den (not shown) was outfitted with a custom wall unit that spans one entire wall and houses their flat screen TV. Custom pull-out drawers and shelving were designed to provide additional storage for prized family photo albums, etc.
Two new small scaled leather recliners were placed across from the wall unit with a table and lamp between so that they can enjoy doing crossword puzzles, reading or watching TV. I’m told they even enjoy a meal or two there.
The Crosby’s had a beautiful collection of original art, consistent in both color and theme. I hung their art strategically throughout their new home, electing to place the most prominent piece above the fireplace. Once it was reframed and hung, it anchored the room and provided visual stimulation and joy.
After we identified their most meaningful possessions, I took great delight in retelling the story of their waterfront family home in their new space. Through this process, which required so much of Mr. and Mrs. Crosby, they emerged with happy and contented hearts. They have embraced their new home and lifestyle in a way that is consistent with who they are—full of gusto and grace!
Thank you, Mr & Mrs Crosby. It was a joy to work together.