A client recently came to me for some design advice regarding her parents plans to downsize in the Louisville area. They were struggling with how to make the process easier and less stressful for everyone. They wanted to insure that downsizing was the beginning of a easier lifestyle – one that provided her parents with a more comfortable, manageable living space surrounded by their favorite things.
Downsizing, or “RIGHT SIZING” as I like to call it, is an area of my interior design practice that has grown greatly in the past 5 years! It started when my own mother made the decision to move from her patio home into Miralea, an independent living community here in Louisville, KY. My experience helping her settle into this great community on the Masonic Home Campus allowed me to meet other Louisville seniors and their families, who asked me to assist them in their own downsizing process.
With the recent opening of The Meadow, the second independent living community on the campus, I have had the pleasure of working with many more families of Louisville seniors who have made the move.
What I have learned is really quite simple. Whether it’s family members taking the reigns or seniors themselves handling the move, everyone wants this transition to improve the lifestyle of their loved ones and their family as a whole.
“Even though the square footage is greatly reduced, by designing a new home environment that is both familiar and updated, the change can be positive for everyone involved!”
To give you a jump start on getting things “moving”, so to speak,
I’ve put together my
TOP THREE DOWNSIZING TIPS FOR LOUISVILLE SENIORS
TIP #1 – Listen, listen, listen
When I first meet with my new clients, I asked lots of questions. I want to get a sense of their desires as well as concerns regarding this big life decision. Then I sit back and LISTEN. This is when I learn the most. It’s important to understand why they want to downsize and what they envision for their new home in order to create the best design.
TIP #2 – Put the team together
Everyone involved should understand that this process is a team effort. There’s always a way to pitch in! Family plays a key role but there are also senior living specialists who can make the logistics of the move much easier! Often I am the first point of contact for the family as they consider options. In addition to designing the new residence, I will make recommendations on local, Louisville-based companies who can help with sorting, selling, packing and unpacking, like Smooth Transitions, or technology specialists who can make suggestions on integrating existing TV’s and computers and then handle all the hook ups. With the right team in place, we help our clients have a positive experience throughout the process.
TIP #3 – Create a Wish List
Yes, this is downsizing, but it doesn’t mean everything needs to be discarded! In designing the new smaller home, I ask my clients which furnishings they hope to take and include these in their WISH LIST. Not everything will fit, of course, but this list provides me with a starting point for the layout of their new home. I try to incorporate as many of their special pieces as possible – sometimes in new, unexpected ways that maximize the functionality. For example, I might place a favorite secretary next to the bed with the top open so that it can be used as a bedside table, desk, and display cabinet! I also suggest new pieces to fill in the gaps, such as smaller sofas or wall units to house the TV and provide more storage. Often we find other opportunities to customize by switching out light fixtures and bathroom mirrors, or adding wallpaper. Finishing touches, like window treatments and accessories also contribute to the overall warmth of the new space.The finished design is a comfortable mix of familiar and fresh that functions beautifully for their new lifestyle!
“The most successful downsizing projects are always those that are well planned – months in advance.”
Thoughtful planning insures that everyone is aware of the process and what to expect in the end. When my clients walk into their new living space, I want them to feel like they are “home”- a place where we have integrated familiar furnishings and new pieces that gives them a sense of belonging as well as a new beginning.
Want to know more about our Interior Design Downsizing Services? Visit our website or give us a call.