It’s no secret that everyone decorates and lives a little differently than their neighbors or friends. Everyone has their own distinct style and decorative taste, as well as, their own personal ideas of what looks “nice.”
Growing up, my parents had loads of eclectic art and unique ceiling lines which I grew to love. Today, I tend to decorate with a lot of family photos. Meanwhile, my two young boys like to "decorate" the house with lego-creations and science experiments.
I learn a lot about our clients from the selected furniture and decor in their favorite spaces. The variety of styles is as unique as each personality. While some seniors surround themselves with bright colors, bold prints and lots of collectibles, others are more content with clean lines and minimal furnishings. But whatever their style, I love the process of helping each client to curate their favorite items and then recreate the same feel and vibe in the new downsized space.
The final phase of our downsizing transitional services involves turning the original home back into a house that is ready to sell. We call this service: Home Sale "Prep" (preparation).
Once, we helped a client to downsize from a large, pink house he had rented for nearly 40 years. It was very well lived-in. He had an incredible number of antiques that he wanted to relocate to his new downsized space because those were the things that made him feel most at home.
When we “relocate your nest” the point is to make your new space look and feel familiar. To some extent, we want it to feel like the home you lived in for multiple decades. We were able to do this by moving a floor-to-ceiling, wall-to-wall mantle and multiple 100-year-old bookshelves for this particular client. The bookcases were originally relocated to Ohio from California after a house fire in his childhood home. The shelves survived. These pieces were especially meaningful to him, and reminded him of his family, so we relocated those items. Our client loved that his new space felt incredibly familiar. This also made leaving his previous residence much easier.
The home he left behind needed a bit of a transformation, too. After completing the space plan for his senior independent cottage, we were able to begin the process of liquidating the items that weren't included in the move. Thankfully, his family was extremely helpful during this process. There were items throughout the house that hadn’t been moved or even rearranged since the day he moved in during the summer of 1979. And there were other items that were “projects” that never became finished products. We sold items; we donated items and with the utmost care, we sorted the clutter to reveal the original walls once again. We were amazed at the vintage wallpaper, floor to ceiling built-ins, and gorgeous extra wide baseboards hiding behind all the furnishings for so many years.
When we returned the keys to his landlord, he was shocked! He said he couldn’t believe the house looked exactly like the one he originally rented in 1979. Right then, we knew we had done it: we converted the home back into a house.
Click on the image below for a little peek video inside the historic house after we had moved out all of the furnishings:
If you are considering putting a house on the market that has been lived in for multiple decades, it should have its own transition, too. I like to think of it as getting the house ready for prom or dressing its best. 😉 That means clearing out all the clutter, giving the outdoor landscape a refresh, while also making the home as clean as possible before showing it off.
We regularly assist clients with this home sale preparation process, which helps them get the most out of their house sale. Removing old carpet and adding a fresh coat of paint on the walls can do wonders for distressed spaces. Other relatively minor upgrades that payoff in increased sales include updated light fixtures and new vanities. A little bit of money up front can ultimately make you a lot more money when you sell.
Downsizing is a multistep process. We not only make your new place feel like home, we also help turn the old home back into a house. This enables potential buyers to envision their own decorative furnishings to suit their own personal style--whether that's antiques or books (or dinosaurs).