As my friend Nadine recently posted in her family blog, she and many others are trying to reduce their impact on the world by consuming and buying less. This attitude is also shared by my most recent clients, Gil and Debra. Parents of a charming 18 month-old daughter, they're ever-mindful of the world that their child will inherit, and wanted to make the most of their eclectic mix of vintage furniture, hand-me-downs, and street finds without buying more "stuff."
After taking some measurements of the three rooms they wanted to update, I gave them the option of receiving a series of floor plans and instructions on how to implement the changes themselves, or (this is maybe the best part of this service) have me come by for several hours and rearrange things over the course of one or two afternoons. They chose the latter because they're both visual people and wanted to see how their pieces would/could actually look in different areas. They also wanted the changes to happen quickly, so they wouldn't lose steam part-way through.
The living room of their large craftsman house had been left mostly undecorated since they moved in almost a year ago. In talking to them, I learned that one of their priorities was to create a cozy and inviting space for guests. But this was hard because they relied entirely on overhead lighting. I also found out that they had a hard time deciding where to hang art, and were afraid of getting large pieces.
Here are photos of the living room before:
Since the living room was where they did most of their entertaining, I had them gather all the artwork, lamps, and rugs from the entire house so we could concentrate on this room.
Using only their own pieces, here's what I came up with:
The dining room also desperately needed some art on the walls. Here are photos of it before:
They still didn't have much art to go around, but I made the most of what they had. Here are photos after:
The upstairs family room still needs some large-scale art. (It's one of their assignments to find more.) All we could really do in this room was tidy up. Here's the before:
Here are the photos after a good cleaning and a little rug switcheroo:
Like I said, with this service I can only work with what the clients have. To make this family room warmer, they'll need to get more lamps--it turned out that they only had three lamps in the entire house!
The little guest room off the family room needed some attention, too. Here are the photos before:
And here it is after, with a rug I stole from the baby's room:
Finally, the master bedroom needed some cleaning and rearranging. Here are photos of it before:
I rearranged pieces to create an additional sitting area opposite the bed. (Note that I cheated a little bit and brought over new bedding to show them how to incorporate brighter colors into their home.)
Here are photos after:
In the end, I left them with a list of recommendations, like get more lamps (to achieve that keyword--"cozy"--that they want so much for their guests as well as themselves), find more artwork (to reflect their interests and passions), and--most importantly--keep their home clean and tidy!
Although the RETHINK*RECYCLE service is usually limited to three rooms, I decided to include the guest room and dining room since both were connected to other spaces and also reflected Gil and Debra's warm hospitality and love of entertaining. (They're also old friends who have used my services before at a previous home, so I thought, Why not?)
It's always great to step back and take a fresh look at how you can reuse your own stuff. What do you think?