Living in the present while remembering the past

by Natalie Weinstein

Photography by Jack Ader/Images for Presentation

Through my years as an interior designer, I am often privileged to work for many members in one family. Usually it begins with the parents’ home or office, perhaps a second home for them and later, the adult children’s homes follow. This client, interestingly, was the widower father of a darling couple with three children whose lovely home I have recently completed and soon to be published in HOUSE magazine. They encouraged him to meet me to help him live more happily in a home he and his wife had shared for many years.

Round dining table expands into living room for family gatherings.

The Admiralty, a prestigious gated community on the South Shore, has various home styles with a lovely lifestyle component. This particular model is perfect for a couple or single person. The eat in kitchen, open living room/dining room and upstairs master and guest bedroom appear larger than they are because of the high ceilings and tucked away staircase.

Custom kitchen cabinets provide more ­storage and an updated feel.

The hardest decisions this homeowner had to make were those regarding parting with things that he and his wife had lived with and chosen together or that she had particularly loved. Being sensitive to this, I tried to make the task easier for him by suggesting that some furnishings and accessories go to family members, and they did. The harder choices came with the actual space planning. It took him a little while to realize that the existing rooms would have better energy (in Feng Shui, “chi”) if less was more.

Eat in kitchen is a cozy spot for the single homeowner.

Less is more in this small entry. 
Antique hall rack provides a warm
yet uncluttered welcome.

The project involved installing new wood floors throughout as well as a major paint job, new window treatments and new furniture. Twice as much furniture went out as went in as we said good-bye to a massive dining room set, large scaled sofas and a bedroom set that he later realized was far too large for the space. The beloved antique chandelier, and all dishes, glassware and gold plated dinnerware remained, as well as his wife’s lovely collection of Lladro figurines and other collectables which are now housed in specifically selected display cabinets to showcase them.

Family pictures abound in his “man’s cave” and in his bedroom. New art and lighting as well as some items from Uniquely Natalie, our quality consignment store, cohabit with Thomasville’s new dining room and bedroom furniture and his son’s sofa and chair from his prior home. New area rugs from Peykar set the tone and color scheme while demarking and opening the space. Soft window dressings in the living room and dining room allow light to enter without blocking the view.

Thomasville furniture enhances a classic bedroom where a Peykar rug adds pattern while keeping with the serenity of the space.

This past Christmas, the entire family gathered in “Dad’s” house, admiring the changes and enjoying the home that had so many happy memories for all of them. Life goes on, but the past can be part of a new look and a new home.