“In the winter I plan, in the spring I move” – Henry Rollins
It is official – winter has finally gone! Man and nature are slowly creeping out of their slumber, awakened by springs’ reliable alarm clock. As we stretch and yawn and blink our eyes open again, we prepare to experience the rejuvenation and renewal that’s about to re-enter our lives and our surroundings. That is the gift of spring.
Our minds and bodies aren’t all that’s been in a winters’ hibernation. For most of us, our homes have also been in a deep, stale sleep. Hunkering inside for so long may have left us blinded to our surroundings. And if we aren’t stimulated by what we see we fail to get the visual pleasure and spiritual nutrition our homes can provide.
So just how do we re-awaken our homes? The answer may be more manageable and have more impact than you think.
As an interior designer, my favorite tonic for rejuvenating a home is a nice little shake up in the form of the one-day, mini makeover. Setting a one day timeframe keeps the project manageable and avoids loss of focus. Selfishly, this is my favorite service to provide because it allows me the opportunity to access a situation, come up with a solution quickly and get the instant gratification of change. Working with existing furnishings, things get re-arranged and re-purposed to feel fresh again. It’s also the chance to dump the clutter and piles of unused, unwanted and unloved things that always seem to creep, invited or uninvited, into our homes.
For most people this is a great alternative to a costly and time consuming large scale renovation or re-design. In fact, clients are pleased to see that many concerns are addressed in the course of a makeover and usually don’t require more involved measures. For instance, a room that seem useless or confusing can be given clarity by rearranging furniture to best suite the space or it’s use. Art can be re-hung to direct the eyes toward the rooms’ best features and away from its eyesores. Proper furniture placement can help to create more inviting conversation areas, subtly designate activity zones or clearly define walkways through a space. Sometimes simply adjusting a paint color can make a space feel totally transformed.
Many homeowners fear that a makeover will reveal a need to buy all new furnishings, but that’s typically not the case. Most of the time they have all the right things, just in all the wrong places. I’m a fan of pinching furniture from one room to repurpose and rearrange in another and delving into closets, cabinets, attics and basements to mine art and accessories that have been left for dead. In the end, homeowners give a sigh of relief to find that they had just about everything they needed already under roof. Purchases that need to be made are typically small ticket items like houseplants and lampshades.
There are other benefits to these fast little face-lifts. Since a makeover happens in a short timeframe there is minimal disturbance to the occupants of the home. There is little or no dust (dust bunnies don’t count) and no contractors traipsing about at ungodly early hours. And if you do enlist the help of a design professional you will be getting their expert skill and opinions without the financial commitment of a more involved project. But the best benefit is the renewed excitement that comes from turning the old and familiar into the fresh and new.
While spring is a great time to renew, it’s not the only reason to initiate a makeover. Preparing a home for sale requires it to feel fresh to prospective buyers and show it in it’s best light. I recently did a one-day makeover on an historic house that was about to go on the market. The home had poor layout and outdated furnishings that would surely catch the eye of buyers and be a turn off. But rearranging furniture and re-hanging art redirected the eye from the tatty furnishings to the fireplaces, high ceiling, crown moldings and other architectural highlights of the home. A few hours worth of changes had transformed the house from a problematic listing to one worthy of a higher asking price.
A change in health can also be the impetus for shifting things around a bit. An elderly client of mine now has reduced mobility and is in need of a walker or wheelchair to maneuver inside her home. By re-arranging furniture we ensured she had the clear pathways she needed while retaining good layout for conversation with guests. Her beloved paintings and objet d’art were placed in sight lines where they could be enjoyed from a seated position. In the end, the space looked more like a posh Upper East Side penthouse than a reminder of ailing health.
Working from home, getting married, having a new baby, acquiring/inheriting furniture, etc. are all reasons that might require a rearrange. A makeover can help find space for storage, work or maybe even space for another person. It can repurpose furnishings so they have renewed value and function. And maybe, just maybe, it will will remind you why you fell in love with your home in the first place.
Whatever the reason, or the season, a one day makeover is a wonderful way to sprinkle some pixie dust and rearrange, refresh and rejuvenate your home – and you too!