Take the Stress Out Of Downsizing

As thousands of Baby Boomers continue to approach or reach retirement and make their way to Southwest Florida’s warmer climate, many of them are downsizing and opting for the carefree lifestyle and social atmosphere afforded by upscale adult communities. For individuals and couples who have spent a lifetime creating memories within their home, collecting treasured keepsakes, and developing a special affinity for particular furniture pieces and accessories, downsizing can be difficult. Interior designer Donna Overly, ASID, of Vogue Interiors in Bonita Springs has worked with numerous retirees as they have gone through the process of deciding what to keep, what to part with, and how to best incorporate their must-have items into the design of their new living spaces.

“The downsizing process can be painful if not approached with sensible design solutions,” said Overly. “As a Boomer myself, I have spent a lifetime collecting and understand the need to hold dear some of the special treasures and ‘objects d’art’ that define our lives. A design I recently completed in the Terraces at Bonita Springs was for a woman who had decided to simplify her life by leaving her large condominium behind and moving into a residence with about half the square footage of her previous home. My challenge was to develop a design plan that would not only maximize the functionality and aesthetics of the living space, but also create attractive yet effective display areas for her collectibles and art.”

Overly selected wood flooring for the living/dining room and kitchen and light neutral carpeting for the bedrooms. A complimentary light neutral color palette brought a more expansive look to the space and eased the stress of moving into a smaller living environment. She kept the window treatments simple yet creative and utilized special hardware, trim, and textures. The combination takes full advantage of the available natural light while accentuating the views. Bright accents of candy apple red and lime green provide the “pop” that brings the room to life and work in harmony with the homeowner’s personal art pieces.

Overly used her design expertise to position the living room seating on a free-standing angle. The configuration of the furnishings made the room feel larger and provided an opportunity to utilize the wall space for bookshelves and a credenza that provide storage space special keepsakes as well as display areas for art pieces and other collectibles.
For Overly, another “must have” when downsizing is the closet system. A thoughtfully designed closet system can triple the useable space and storage capacity of any closet, no matter how small. Closet systems can be custom designed to meet specific needs and requirements and accommodate a greater number of keepsakes.

“An experienced interior designer who appreciates the stress associated with downsizing can certainly help guide a homeowner through the process and minimize the stress that is frequently associated with moving into a smaller residence,” said Overly. “Knowing how to use color, textures, furniture selections, and accessories in ways that bring a feeling of roominess to spaces that are actually considerable smaller than the homeowner’s previous residence is critical. Creating opportunities for storage, whether on bookshelves, in furniture pieces, or through the use of custom closet systems will allow the homeowner to keep as many collectibles as possible. That said, as anyone who is downsizing prepares for the process, they will almost certainly need to gift some of their collectibles to their children, grandchildren, or to a charity. Giving items to someone who will appreciate them or benefit from them will make the task of downsizing a bit easier and can leave one feeling good about themselves, too.”

Founded in 1979, Vogue Interiors has earned numerous national, regional and local awards, including three consecutive Aurora Awards, the highest award presented by the 12-state Southeast Builders Conference. The firm’s 30-year tradition of award-winning design excellence continued in October, 2013 with the receipt of four Collier Building Industry Association Sand Dollar Awards and seven awards presented by the Lee Building Industry Association. From corporate offices at 24520 Production Circle in Bonita Springs, Florida, Vogue Interiors provides design services and model merchandising to residential and commercial clients in the United States and abroad. Visit Vogue Interiors online at vogueinteriors.com.