Wednesday, January 6, 2016

HIDING ASSETS

Well, well, well we all made it to 2016 in one piece (hopefully). The holidays are always a nutty time, if at all evident in my absence from the blog world for the last month! The beginning of 2016 has found me knee-deep in several kitchen renovations, but more on that in a bit.  One of the many lessons I have learned in the last few weeks...brace yourselves...I need to GET RID OF STUFF! I absolutely love the holidays, but are six trees really necessary? Once I had them all up and decorated, I loved turning them on, lighting a fire and enjoying the beauty of the season, but COME ON, even I know this is too much!  If you don't have room to store it, I say, GET RID OF IT.  As I slowly disassemble the holidays I've started making a pile for donations (and, yes, there are many charities that take holiday decorations...I thought it was kind of rude...send a tree to someone who can't afford to buy gifts??) BUT, a quick search online found many local charities that accept everything, so this year will definitely begin with the thinning of SOMETHING.  Now, back to the renovations I've jumped into this year and the common theme with each and every one of them; how much do you really need?  While one client insisted on having a warming drawer in her kitchen, I asked, will you really USE it?  Another wants a soaking tub in her tiny master bathroom JUST BECAUSE even though she hates baths.  Yet another client wants to spend an absurd amount of money on a programmable shower that will know when she or her husband steps in and will adjust pressure and heat accordingly. Really? I think before beginning any renovation one must approach it the way I have my holiday decorations...do you REALLY need whatever it is? Or is it just taking up unnecessary space? Designing apartments in Manhattan has forced me to learn how to be incredibly conservative and innovative when it comes to STUFF and the way we exist with it in a smaller space. I often use my little vintage camper as an example; I LOVED buying fun vintage STUFF for the camper, but the majority of it is never used and only occupies space and takes time to move around when I go camping. What's the point? So, after emptying my 70 square foot camper a few months ago I took an inventory of all of the things that came out of it..and it was shocking...my solution? I bought a bigger camper. SO, that's not exactly what I want you to take from this first-of-the-year design ramble, but as exciting as it is to buy a new piece of furniture or design a new space, no matter how much money you have, step back and think about it for a second.  One thing I've done as I begin the de-decorating process is to designate one area..a fairly large walk in closet in a guest bedroom...and say EVERYTHING must fit in there (now it lives in several closets).  If it doesn't, it's out!  Back to my kitchen designs, and one continuing trend of "hiding" elements like refrigerators, dishwashers, microwaves, etc. behind matching cabinet panels.  While this is admittedly a very clean look, I always wonder, how many times will you accidentally pull open a drawer or cabinet when you meant to open the refrigerator? HAPPY 2016 EVERYONE!