If anyone wanted to peg us, it would be easy: we’re unabashed project junkies who aren’t happy unless we’re scouring magazines for inspiration, daydreaming about master bathroom tiles – or charming little swimming pools in Provence. Right now, we’re both all about downsizing.
One project is a move onto the 35th floor of a snazzy Buckhead high-rise and the other a little renovation job. We like chatting with Ann, who’s now managed to downsize not just once but three times. The third (and final?) downsize has been the most spectacular with a light-flooded aerie in the sky that has 360 degrees views of Atlanta’s skyline and a lengthy list of perks.
A (small but thrillingly luxurious) Aerie in the Sky
Ann’s heavenly hideaway is small but smart. And like a good little Huffington disciple, she’s furnished it with a fun mix of old and new, antiques and modern with crusty little gems of paintings married with textural abstracts. The best part? No clutter.
What’s her secret to making it all work and why does her pretty condo feel so spacious and elegant? Read on for Ann’s tips:
Say goodbye! Go through your belongings carefully and hold on to the special pieces that are dear to you. Look at the others as “they served me well for all those years” and just say goodbye. It’s only stuff.
Give it away: hold a big garage sale! It’s fun to see your pieces go to someone else who will appreciate them. Give away the rest to charity.
Can’t quite bring yourself to do it? Get a storage unit for those things you’ll never use but can’t quite part with yet. It makes the decisions easier and takes the pressure off.
And the pro says: take it from me: Once you move, you’ll embrace the freedom of your new, downsized abode. You’ll love having less “stuff” and the opportunity to meet new neighbors, see new views … and of course, redecorate!
A (Small) Nest on the Lower Branches
My little family is downsizing too, literally and figuratively. Our oldest birdy flew the next last week to start life as a freshman in college. And her little sister is hot on her heels. So, it’s a great time to shed the unused space and go small. We can’t wait.
Our new Nest is a just-started work in progress. We’ve got our favorite dream team (Linda MacArthur, architect and Michael Ladisic, builder) working with us and we’re confident this 2,800 square foot 1930’s cottage will be the best Nest yet.
Priorities, priorities: Since this one is a redo (cha-ching), we have to think long and hard about the things we loved so much in our previous house and can’t want to live without. Figure out what’s non-negotiable. For us, the list is pretty short: an open kitchen/family room plan and a small but stylish kitchen. We love being outside so don’t forget a fabulous porch with a fireplace. And, of course, separate space for returning co-eds and the high-schooler in the house? It’s a lot to pack into a little house but we think we’re on our way.
Think cozy: we realized that, in our old house, we regularly used about one quarter of the space: the kitchen/family room, our bedrooms and our pretty porch. Now we know that we don’t need or want a formal living room or dining room. We can live without a dedicated office or a mudroom dedicated to stashing sports gear. The fancy and expansive foyer? Adored it last time but small and chic will do just fine now.
Make those key spaces really count: our little nest-to-be already has cute and charming exterior bones. Now we’re looking at the interior focal points and giving them a wow factor: a 9-foot long iron window in the kitchen that will overlook the porch and lawn; my very favorite Calcutta Gold marble countertops in the kitchen and no upper cabinets in sight. White shiplap paneling will add the cottage-y vibe and I’m planning on using the wall space for a gorgeous, drop-dead gallery wall. Or maybe two.
Face it. There will always be some baggage: I love to read and over the years, I collected dozens and dozens of books. I was probably one of last people on the planet to go to a Kindle (which I truly adore – immediate new releases without leaving the house!) but what to do with all my old hard-backed friends? My tip: there are just some things you won’t be able to part with. (See Ann’s tip about getting a storage unit…)
Be lean, mean and super efficient: I always thought I needed a little gem of an office. But we’re all paperless and digital these days and it turns out my favorite place to work is at the kitchen island. In the Nest, we’re going to use a small closet as our “I.T. Closet” to house the router, printer, a file drawer or two and a couple baskets for office-y stuff.
Small doesn’t mean boring: I can’t wait to revamp some tired old pieces that have lived long and happy lives with us. Our new family room is small, so I’m fixated on a few key and comfy pieces that pack a wallop of style: a plump and inviting linen slipcovered sofa; graceful and comfy club chairs that swivel and a cream hide rug that will sit on the super dark wood floors.
I’ll let the art take the lead here with a glorious wall of large abstracts and smaller representational jewels.
And for our vaulted ceiling? One of the French iron street lamps we found on our last buying trip – transformed into a spectacular pendant.
The moral of the lesson: look at your downsize as a chance to hit the reset button for a new stage of life that liberates you from clutter and stuff. And, if it happens to involves a project, lucky you!
Stay tuned….ta ta.