Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Decluttering Design

My client had recently moved back home to the big city and brought with her the things she truly loved or needed...and then she wished she hadn't brought all she had. She wanted a new home that was warm and comfortable for her friends to visit and a retreat for herself after a long day at the office. Her last home was adorable with all kinds of wonderful things on the walls and table tops, but she wanted to minimalize a bit more in this space.  It's an interesting experience to downsize, declutter or dispose of your household treasures and especially after the kids have grown up and moved on.

It's hard to cull out what makes you happy from what was supposed to make you happy.  And let's not forget what memories you have associated with your stuff, the money you spent or how important it once was to collect.   It's a process that is not so hard for some and nearly impossible for others...in the end, once it is done, it is freeing!  We simply don't need all that stuff.  And especially all that stuff we store into boxes for years.  

At my cousin's suggestion, I read Marie Kondo's book, The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing.  Her philosophy is quite easy...mainly that you gather up together everything you own, one category at a time, and then keeping only those things which "spark joy", and choosing a place for everything from then on.  It's essential for living in small spaces and makes the whole decluttering process much easier.  It helped a lot in choosing what to keep, donate and give to consignment stores.  My client was great about all of it.  

Let's take a peak at what we accomplished in 2 days...
She literally moved in a few days before and had only unpacked the kitchen and clothes.

She has a fantastic space here...I guess it was designed as a breakfast room but she only wants one dining table, so for now it is a keeping room.  Still a few more boxes to unpack but that is all that's left!  She could easily make it into a cute office.  Isn't that a great pine sideboard?

I forgot to take a before shot, but this is the living area and though not finished, it is perfect!  The dining room is a beautiful, light filled room that allowed her to keep her lovely dining suit.  

Above is the fire place before...we unpacked and trashed moving boxes and I painted a new piece of art for the mantle to tie the room together.  We found the great wood and glass hurricane lanterns to warm the space up.  

Originally, all the wood pieces in the room were all the same honey toned finish, so I refinished this end table with a chalk paint and gold wax to pull in the grey from the chair across the room.

 I forgot to take pictures of the kitchen, but hung this antique rolling pin under a French print of short bread cookies on one wall.

She wanted to be sure the guest room was comfortable for her guests to come and visit and I would say we succeeded.  We decided to use the original matelasse coverlet and shams and added a fresh cotton quilt, shams and accent pillow to make the room cheery.


A friend gave her two wonderful night tables and I painted them to coordinate with the new linens.

The guest bathroom is ready to go. The matte to the bottom picture was originally peach colored, so I applied gold wax to the matte to compliment the shower curtain and antique map.

I wanted to be sure her bedroom was an oasis for her and something that would make her smile.  She showed me a picture of a friend's bedroom that she really liked and I told her what she liked about it was the simple lines, clean bright linens and a touch of color.  I don't have that picture, but sent her this one to see if she liked the overall look of the room.  Yes!

So we started from scratch and got rid of things, painted some things and bought some things to go from this...

to this...

She really liked the idea of using a haint blue in the room.  It is a relaxing color and I set out to find it in a few key items like accent pillows and throw.  She already had a few items with it like picture frames.   

She had this older chair but didn't love it because of the dated fabric and wanted to get it recovered in the future.  I convinced her to let me chalk paint the chair fabric so that it will look good in the room until that time and painted it as close to the color of the linen headboard as I could.  You can still see the detail of the jacquard weaving through the paint. 

I also chalk painted this antique oak piece which brought the greatest smile on her face!  I toned down the robin's egg blue by waxing it with white tinted wax which gave it a softer appearance.  

 The antique bookshelf used to house her son's trophies many years ago and now it's a photo gallery.  Below that I hung a heavy iron piece that she used to have in her living room.  

 I didn't do anything in the master bath but this...the matte around this sweet print she has treasured for years was originally royal blue and the frame did not go with the room at all.  We painted the frame with silver wax and painted the matte the linen color and let the original lighter blue remain.  I hung this in her bathroom.  A fresh and totally free face lift!  She said to me on many occasion that she can't believe that this is her bedroom and that she actually gets to sleep here...there's no greater compliment to know that she's one happy lady!

 We bought a few baskets for laundry room storage and she organized the space.  As a surprise, I hung a few things she loved here as well because we all know how much time we spend in the laundry and now it's a happy place...the whole space is for that matter!

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