Why Downsizing Boomers Should Love Antiques

“Less is more” is certainly true when it comes to the attitudes of Boomers who are downsizing their homes. But, what do they want less of, exactly? Here lies the conundrum for so many downsizing Boomers today.

I often hear from my clients how overwhelming and difficult this whole endeavor can be, and it can leave anyone in a cold sweat. Well, I have come to realize that it is not just de-cluttering and sorting that has them in a tizzy; it’s the guilt of letting go of things that have no significant meaning to them in this life stage. Do you know what I say to that? Get over it! Seriously, if we cannot keep what we want, then when will we give ourselves permission to stop our pleaser games?

Now that we have the guilt elephant in the room out of the way, I’d like to compare downsizing to cleaning out a clothes closet. First, everything has to be emptied out in order to sort. Then, only the useful items are allowed to return. The rest is donated, sold, or given away to family and friends.

When downsizing, the same principles apply. We must evaluate all of our items and decide if they are allowed to stay. This means EVERYTHING, from furniture and accessories, to rugs and lighting fixtures. Figure out what is actually needed to complete our homes, and to give the interior the look we desire.

WHY BUY ANTIQUES?

Now, the fun starts! Boomers are in love with unique, conversation pieces that often have an interesting back story to share. We also believe that finding these special, one-of-a-kind pieces makes them even more hip than they already are!

Many do not remember or know how Boomers started the “green” movement. Remember the granola-eating, tree huggers from the 1960s? These are today’s Boomers. Another valid reason for purchasing antiques is that they are normally “green,” considering they are made from materials such as wood, wool, etc. Repurposing antiques for another use also keeps these items out of landfills.

How fun is it to find that perfect piece that only you have? Come on, admit it; we all love these wonderful antique items that become a unique part of our homes.

WHERE CAN I FIND SOME GREAT ANTIQUES?

THE HIGHBOY
Check out The HighBoy. It’s one of the fastest and most reputable curators of antiques, furniture and accessories. If unable to find an exact piece, or time constraints are an issue, let them locate the item for you! The website is user friendly, giving complete, detailed descriptions of pieces. Plus, they are the best source for locating items such as an authentic bistro table with an aged marble top. See their site and be amazed, as I always am, at the broad scope of styles and very cool pieces that defy thoughts of “old” or “stodgy.”

Even if you’re looking for mission or turn-of-the-century pieces, The HighBoy most likely has it, or will be able to find it for you.

The HighBoy campaign chairs

Campaign chairs

Swedish Morin Rococo Period Tall Case Clock

Swedish Morin Rococo Period tall case clock

Alfredo Barbini hand-blown candelabra

Alfredo Barbini hand-blown candelabra

19th Century Swedish Bergere

19th Century Swedish Bergere

TOMA CLARK HAINES: THE ANTIQUES DIVA
If you desire the experience of finding and shopping for your special antiques is what you desire, then Toma Clark Haines of the Antiques Diva & Co. is your gal. Toma takes her shopping clients to Europe, and you may end up in someone’s castle, or in a warehouse in Belgium. This dynamic lady has sources from years and years of European travel, and knows a large network of people. Shopping with Toma is an opportunity to find that perfect treasure for any space, to complete your Boomer home. Plus, you’ll have the shopping trip of a lifetime!

To downsizing Boomers: be unique, be courageous, be spontaneous, and most of all, enjoy your living spaces! Find and treasure those antiques that are just right for you at your life stage. Those that do will ultimately be winners by buying and living with what they truly love.

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Beat the Heat with These Summer Meals

Summer is in full swing, and I love exploring new meal ideas during this time of year.

I did some research, and picked some AWESOME breakfast, lunch, dinner and snack ideas to share with you all! I’ve also included the original website link to each recipe, which you’ll find next to each recipe title.

Feel free to leave a comment on this post to let me know if you tried any of the recipes, or to include your own great summer meal suggestions!

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Delicious Dilemma: Sisterhood of the World Bloggers Award

sisterhood-of-the-world-bloggers-award11

I am so surprised and humbled to have been nominated for the Sisterhood of the World Bloggers Award by esteemed bloggers Kerrie Kelly and Lesli DeVito. What a fun activity!

Kerrie Kelly

Kerrie Kelly

Lesli DeVito

Lesli DeVito

I chose my five favorite questions from each respected blogger to come up with my 10 responses. Following my responses, I’ve added my list of 10 questions for 10 new bloggers, which they’ll pass on to their readers.

1). WHAT PROJECT ARE YOU MOST PROUD OF?
Volunteering as the interior designer for three different Ronald McDonald Houses in Wichita, Kan. Two were Ronald McDonald homes and one was a Ronald McDonald respite in a hospital family room.

Credit: Ronald McDonald House Wichita
2). WHAT IS A NEW SKILL YOU’D LIKE TO LEARN?
Photography! I’m so inspired by nature and would love the skill to snap impromptu photos to share with others.

3). WHAT IS YOUR GO-TO COMFORT FOOD?
Definitely pizza–especially Papa Murphy’s Mediterranean chicken! No one believes that I can eat half of a pizza, but just ask my family. It’s the “cheat” part of my 80/20 eating plan and pizza is definitely in the 20 percent splurge!

4). WHAT DOES YOUR PERFECT DAY LOOK LIKE?
As a morning person, enjoying the quiet of the morning, taking a long walk, having Mitzi time, having friend and family time, and also knowing that I’ve made a difference in somebody’s life that day. And, of course, having fabulous food and a glass of wonderful red wine at the end of it all!

I'd have to make my raspberry chocolate truffle pie for dessert!

I’d have to make my raspberry chocolate truffle pie for dessert!

5). WHERE DO YOU MOST WANT TO TRAVEL?
Since I’ve been fortunate enough to have been to Europe many times, my list now includes fabulous resorts in the United States such as Mackinac Island in Michigan and the Green Briar in West Virginia. I’d also like to visit New England in the fall, or a take cooking class in Napa Valley.

6). WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE DRINK?
Red wine. These days I’m into red blends like Apothic and Callia.

LOVE this Callia Bella red blend

LOVE this Callia Bella red blend

7). BESIDES LIVING THINGS, WHAT YOU WOULD GRAB FROM YOUR HOME IN A FIRE?
My journals and family portraits.

Bob Bob and I with our angels.

Bob Bob and I with our angels.

8). WHAT IS THE LAST BOOK YOU READ?
One of my favorite book series is “The Mitford Years” by Jan Karon. Very rarely do I re-read a book, but I read the whole series again this summer. Her latest book, “These High, Green Hills,” was also great. I was so sad when it ended.

9). IF YOU WERE GOING BACK TO COLLEGE AND COULD GET IN ANYWHERE, WHERE WOULD YOU APPLY AND WHAT WOULD YOU STUDY?
Parsons The New School of Design in NYC to become an interior designer. To start out my career after graduating from such a prestigious school would have opened doors so many doors, where as my route took much longer!

parsons-the-new-school-for-design-logo-61dtuatu

10). WHAT IS YOUR CURRENT FAVORITE COLOR TO DECORATE WITH?
Benjamin Moore “Crystalline” as seen here in our master bedroom. It’s a color I love to incorporate because it’s so soothing.

master

Finally, here are my questions (some of which are borrowed) for my Sisterhood of the World Bloggers Award Nominees.

1). How long have you been blogging and why did you start?

2). What is the perfect paint color?

3). If you could pick any designer, living or dead, to decorate your house, who would it be?

4). What location is on your travel bucket list?

5). What is your favorite restaurant?

6). Which wallpaper is your favorite?

7). When starting a design project, your first step is… (lighting, colors, furniture, etc.)

8). What is your favorite holiday and why?

9). What is your favorite type of lighting source to use?

10). What is your favorite design project you’ve ever done?

My 10 nominees are…

Mary Carol Garrity – Nell Hill’s
Arianne Bellizaire – Inspired to Style
Stacy Kunstel – Dunes and Duchess
Carla Aston – DESIGNED with Carla Aston
Gloria Graham Sollecito – Artful Kitchens
Libby Langdon – Libby Langdon
Carolyn Von Der Ahe – Von Der Ahe Interiors
Ruthie Staalsen – DecRenew Interiors
Michelle Cortizo – DECORTIZO
Amy Lambert Lee – House of Wentworth

Enjoy, ladies! I can’t wait to read all of your answers.

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Downsizing? Bookshelves Are The Answer!

If you’re in downsizing mode and have special treasures or family heirlooms you want to be able to enjoy, consider vertical bookshelves your new best friend. Not only do they contribute to purposeful design, they can also serve as a back drop to your furniture.

This video from our archives has been popular with viewers looking for smart ways to use bookshelves to keep treasures, while at the same time, still downsizing.

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Healthy Homes Have “Healthy” Furniture

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Knowing who is actually making our furniture, and also what country it comes from, is a definite goal for purchasing furniture to keep our homes as “healthy” as possible.

Why? Because we are now learning and gaining more research on the effects of off-gassing from our purchases for our homes. This is especially true in the furniture we buy!

Even if a company says solid wood, we unfortunately do not have a guarantee that it truly is solid wood. A year or two ago, imported tables from various vendors were said to be solid wood. Well, examples of those tables were cut half to expose what was under the supposedly solid wood inside.

It was shocking to see how inside many of those lovely tables was actually particleboard, which is glued together by formaldehyde, which is a known carcinogen. The very thin wood veneer was literally only skin deep.

In a report by Matt Hickman, he asks, “Why is my new piece of furniture emitting a nasty odor”?

A quote from his report: “Off-gassing is the natural evaporation of a type of indoor-air-quality-compromising pollutant often referred to as volatile organic compounds or VOCs in paints, stain, and carpets.

Formaldehyde is a common culprit because it is used to cure particle board, pressed-wood, and plywood–all manufactured composite woods.

China often takes the blame, but the manufacture of off-gassing furniture knows no geographic boundaries.”

To read more about this, click here.

So how do we know if our furniture is “healthy’’?

MacKenzie Down Barley Twist Four Poster

MacKenzie Down Barley Twist Four Poster

Hype Park Chairside Chest

Hype Park Chairside Chest

One way is to buy from companies such as Mackenzie-Dow Fine Furniture, which is made in America, where our government regulations are extremely strict about permitted chemicals. Companies with solid reputations often have the information readily available to actually learn what is inside their furniture, how the outside was finished, and with what materials.

Barley Twist Gate Leg Table

Barley Twist Gate Leg Table

In the long run, it is not a bargain to buy cheaper furniture if it is transmitting off-gases in your home or living areas. This, of course, includes our work areas, as so much time is spent in these areas.

Alton Ladderback Arm Chair

Alton Ladderback Arm Chair

More research is needed on what is called the “sick building syndrome ,”and its effects on our health. We live in a chemical world with toxic materials everywhere–in carpeting, for instance. But where we can, it is prudent for us to do a little research as we can find anything today on the Internet. Companies that have nothing to hide make it easy for consumers to know how their products are manufactured because they are proud of their products.

Randy Fiser, CEO of ASID, said at his January 2015 Modenus presentation, that everyone deserves a healthy environment. Of course we all can agree with his statement and want this for ourselves and others.

Plate Rack for Huntboard

Plate Rack for Huntboard

However, I can hear the cries already. “Mitzi, who can afford the furniture you are promoting”?

Well, my question for all of us is how can we not at least begin the dialogue on what types of furniture we are purchasing? One way, which is what I tell my clients, is to buy quality. Wait until your budget allows you to buy quality furniture from reputable manufactures.

Desk and Hutch

Desk and Hutch

By doing what I suggested (checking out quality furniture manufacturers) one will discover that Mackenzie-Dow is one of those manufacturers, hands down.

To read more about MacKenzie-Dow Fine Furniture, visit their website here.

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