By: Merilee Elliott
My favorite four -letter word is NEXT. It’s a funny thing how life can surprise us. Just when you finally have the home your have always dreamed of, in the neighborhood you always wanted to live, BOOM. You come to the realization that you don’t need that much space anymore. And then from family and friends comes the dreaded word – DOWNSIZE. But my synonym for that word is UPSCALE.
You painstakingly decorated every space in the house. It took forever. You labored over every selection and decision. Your home is finally almost perfect (perfection is always aspirational when it comes to design). And now the nest is empty and you are walking through unused rooms. How much space in your home are you currently using? If you are like me, it’s the bedroom, the kitchen, and the spaces where I read, watch television, and spend time on my computer. We love restaurants so the dining room table is my desk.
The emotional attachment to a life lived well there can be strong, but the thrill of a NEW place can be exciting and cathartic. As an interior designer, my job is to create a backdrop for my client’s lives. Think of life like a play. You are the star of the show, of course. And there is a new stage set for the second act.
Everything should be state of the art. Now is the time to live the dream. If cooking is your hobby, go for commercial appliances and create a demonstration kitchen that rivals the cooking channel If you love binging on Netflix, put the home theatre equipment in your main room. The Design Police are not coming over to ticket you because it’s 2015 and you are now permitted to have a large flat screen exposed in your living room.
Instead of bedrooms and rec rooms and play rooms, here’s the short list of what to think about when you are looking to renovate, or are considering a vacation home or pied de terre to downsize but go upscale.
- FACT - you need MORE (not less) closets and storage, because you’ll want the ability to store what you don’t use but cannot part with – hard as you tried.
- Your master bath must be the ultimate experience in luxury. Install heat coils under the floor tiles and towel heaters on the wall. Have a dressing table. Copy your favorite 5 Star hotel bathroom. A window would be wonderful
- Have dedicated floor space for a stretching area, yoga poses, portable massage table, etc. A mirrored wall with a ballet bar is wonderful to have. And if you get lazy about exercise, it works perfectly as a staging area when you are packing for a trip because you can hang up your clothes on the bar while deciding what to take along on your travels.
- Man Cave. Men don’t need a lot of space, but it has to be very tricked out. Everything in the room should come with a remote control including the window covering and lighting. The sofa has to be fall asleep-able. A Mini frig is nice. Make his room so great that he will not invade your “sacred space.” Wireless noise-cancelling headphones for both of you is a must.
- Accommodating visiting family can be accomplished without or in addition to a dedicated guest room – The stretch room or the man cave could have a built in queen size wall bed.
- Location, location, location. Quality of life depends on how convenient you are located to your favorite spots. Luxury is not about space, it’s about access.
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MERILEE ELLIOTT - Interior Design
Merilee Elliott is a luxury living expert who has spent her career designing award-winning interiors for vacation homes and resorts in beach, ski, desert, and sky-scraper locations. As a vocation, and avid trend spotter, she travels the world on sourcing trips and shares her knowledge and “finds” on the art of DOWN SIZE UP SCALE.