COTE DE TEXAS: EMPTY NEST

EMPTY NEST


Empty nest.

When did that happen? 

Wasn’t it just yesterday that day Ben and I were sitting in the doctor’s office, faced with a diagnosis of infertility?

The stigma of that diagnosis is branded on the psyche which only starts to fade after years go by.

Years that go by in the blink of an eye. 

Your parents warn you about this – they tell you to enjoy every moment, time is fleeting.  You scoff at that and don’t believe them, but here you are and they were so right.

One minute you are in the doctor’s office praying to have a baby and the next….

you are ready to be a grandmother.

When did that happen?

For years you are happily ensconced in the family home of your dreams and the next, that house has become too big, filled with empty rooms that are hidden behind closed doors you no longer open.

Empty Nesters.

When you start to imagine moving – you study the possibilities:  there’s the high-rise, the apartment, the one story bungalow, or the 4 story townhouse (but only if it has an elevator.) Those are the realistic choices.  Then there are the dreams.  What about a cottage in Galveston’s historic East End?  Or New Orleans’ French Quarter?  Or maybe a ranchette near hilly Round Top?  The possibilities are endless, if only the bank account is.

While thinking about a new address can be exciting – a garage and attic full of memories and junk is the cause of much anxiety.  What do you do with a lifetime of possessions you no longer need or want? The mere thought of a full dumpster is enough to paralyze anyone. 

Or, you can choose to live vicariously through others going through the painful process.

The new Milieu magazine has an Empty Nest story that is quite inspiring, to say the least.  It’s enough to send you looking at local real estate listings.

It’s not every day that one of Houston’s most influential designers downsizes and invites Milieu along to document it all.  HERE.

Enjoy!



Years ago I wrote about the One Perfect House.    It had come on the market and  I think of it as the “one that got away.”   I like to pretend I was out-bid for it.  The truth is the house was never in our budget.  

But design is about dreaming, right?

Still, that house remains my ideal.  Owned by designer Carol Glasser, she had decorated it in her own brand of English Country Manor which she alone is an expert in.  Her style of decorating is so beautiful, that she inspired a legion of fans all influenced by her aesthetic.   I can’t stress how important she is to design in Houston and to the south.

Her house was her laboratory.  She decorated it and redecorated it and each time she changed it, a magazine was nice enough to photoshoot it for the masses to drool over.  And drool we all did.

A new design magazine with a Carol Glasser house was newsworthy.   I still have all those original copies and the stories continue to inspire me to this day.  Her designs are as relevant now as they were twenty and thirty years ago.  Classic doesn’t age.

Glasser’s style isn’t extravagant nor dressy.  Instead, it’s that fabulous mix of cozy and warm, layered and inviting.   She fills her house with what she spent a lifetime  collecting – there is her fabulous transferware, ironstone, chinoiserie and art - all with a patina. 


An early photo from the living room of the “One Perfect House.”  While this is located in Houston, Texas – it could just as well be in Cotswold.


Years later, the same room looked completely different.  Edited and updated with white stucco walls and creamy upholstery. 



The dining room was always part library, part reception area.  For each photoshoot – Carol tweaked it just a bit to hypnotize us more.

This was a Christmas decor photoshoot.   Doesn’t it look like a still life painting?  I absolutely love this.


Later, the room was edited just enough to blend with the new white walls in the living room.



Carol was known for her transferware collection and she started a trend in Houston.  Anyone who read Veranda or Southern Accents wanted one too.


An early version of the sitting room.   So cozy.  So perfect!!



Later, she showed a new set of rattan furniture and did a bit more editing.   Somewhere along the way, her iconic Irish dresser was sold.

After several decades in the One Perfect House – it was enough. 

Next came a move a few miles away.

The new house was larger, grander, and it provided Carol with a chance to spread her wings and show us what she could do with more space and more rooms.

Oh my God!  What CAN”T she do?

The house was her masterpiece.

I thought I had loved her old house but the new one was in a league all its own.   At a time when everyone in Houston was doing white slips and gold accents – Carol stayed true to her roots.

It was a vision.


The new house was sprawling – an ivy clad, two story Georgian, which had been added onto over the years.


The entrance set the tone.  A gorgeous damask wallpaper in soft aqua paired with an exquisite painted console with gilt mirror.  Underneath, a beautiful rug in coral and blues.


A peek into the living room which is lovely in coral.


Is there a prettier room?  A velvet sofa matched with casual linen striped chairs and two antique bergeres in persimmon and checks.  Antique red painted chests with beautiful stone lamps.   I love the casual English matting underfoot.  Of course there are curtains in a soft print.


Against one wall is a striped settee with herbiers above it.


Another view.


The dining room was in blue with checked chairs and matching demilunes.


The stairhall with a Swedish center table.


And more antiques in the stairhall.



The library in coral and blue.


The kitchen is a knockout with brick floors and beamed ceiling.  French mantel.  Bennison fabric.  LOVE!



Another view of the kitchen.  Instead of an island there is a table.  The breakfast room is then freed up for seating.


The family room with a casual slipcover sofa and chairs and blue and white stripes.


I’ve only showed some photos of Carol’s two former houses.  To see more extensive stories with more pictures – go HERE and HERE.

When I heard that Carol and her husband had sold this large house in River Oaks, I wondered where she would go next.   I thought for sure they would downsize, but how do you downsize when you own the most fabulous antiques?

Carol and her husband own a second home in California and I felt perhaps that would be their permanent house, after all, that area of California is the stuff of dreamy vacations.

  But there is work, still.

Last month Milieu Magazine was so nice to answer all these questions for us!  We didn’t even have to ask them!!   And I have to tell you, the story is a lesson in downsizing and moving on and how to enter our golden years gracefully and with class and beauty.   Of course Carol would be the one to lead the way.

Faced with the sale of their very large house, Carol and her husband were stymied.  Where would they go?

At first she held onto her old desires and needs.  She planned to move to a townhouse with a small garden to tend to.  Except they couldn’t find that townhouse fast enough.

“No highrises” she told her husband.  In Houston, when you reach a certain age, many choose to go the route of a Versailles in the Sky.  But that choice didn’t appeal to Carol.  At first, that is.

But time was moving on and that perfect townhouse with the small garden was elusive.

So, they rented a loft style apartment in the trendy Museum District, planning to stay just long enough until they decided on their next move.

Except once they were settled in the 13th story highrise, Carol discovered she liked the cozier quarters.   She also liked being able to just lock the door and leave without any worries about the yard or that garden or that large house.

It was a freeing feeling. 

She said she is “amazed” at how easy it is to take care of an apartment instead of a large house and garden.   She enjoys the open concept – cooking in the same room where she entertains means she isn’t isolated away from her guests.  Carol told Milieu that she and her husband still entertain, just with smaller groups of friends, such as two or three couples.   

Their apartment faces west Houston, offering a view she had never really seen before, living only on terra-firma in her past life.  The sunsets make for a pretty show to offer her guests over cocktails.  The real surprise she says is that she hasn’t looked back.

How would YOU choose what to keep from your old house and what to sell or give away?  

Remember, in Carol’s old house – she had a living room, family room, office, TV room and sitting room.  And each room was furnished with fabulous antiques and upholstered furniture.  How could you choose?


The Loft-Style Apartment:  A large main room with high ceilings, exposed ductwork, and an open kitchen/dining area behind the sofa.

“I think that’s the definition of eclectic,” Carol says, “the juxtaposition of the old and the new, the country and the gilt. To me, it’s the mix that makes a home interesting.”  And notice that is exactly how she designed her apartment – the gilt antique mirror with the country styled coffee table and the casual slipcovered sofas. 

“I’d rather have an eighteenth-century piece than something new.  An antique gives character and patina to the room like nothing else.”   Every new piece of upholstery is framed by an antique – a console, a table, a dresser.

When is came time to choose, Carol went for comfort – the large slipcovered sofas were maintenance and worry free and they were comfortable.  Gone was the velvet sofa.  And also gone were scores of antiques collected over a lifetime.

Did she cry?  I would have!  I’m crying looking at all that is gone.  But, Carol was lucky enough to know designers who were looking for those very antiques.  She knows exactly who now owns what she once did and it makes her happy knowing that “other people are now giving them life”something that truly pleases her.


Key pieces stayed with Carol – like this mirror which has she had for decades. Underneath it is a large console that holds her collection of French pots and antique santos and candlesticks.



Today, these Raphael engravings sit above her baby grand.  An antique chinoiserie chair is chosen over a modern piano bench.  Of course!

Carol said:  “Color and texture make a room elegant.”   When you use antiques in a room – it is unique and isn’t something you will see again in an interior with new pieces.  “And when you buy quality, you can use it over and over again in any house in any style.”    Something Carol has proven here.


My favorite accessory – her collection of biots, filled with beautiful roses. 

And notice too, how beautiful Carol Glasser is!  She is such a pretty woman – a classic beauty. 


BEFORE:  An early photo from two houses ago – the mirror is still with Carol, as is the side chinoiserie table, the putti on the walls, and the chandelier, which is now in her master bedroom.  By picking and choosing key pieces, she is able to add texture and layers to her new apartment, making it classic and timeless, two terms Carol admits are overused today.



A peek into a side room shows the rattan furniture with the Bennison fabric is off in another area, probably where the flatscreen is.


BEFORE:   The rattan furniture with Bennison fabric – I love that this stayed in the new apartment.   It makes sense Carol would choose this grouping for the TV room.


In the kitchen – this blue painted 1850 English cupboard is being used to hold her transferware and ironstone.

This are her dishes that she uses everyday.   Carol says her antiques aren’t just to look at!!

This piece was formerly used in her master bedroom.  Now, it used for much needed storage.  


The kitchen.   One thing Carol kept was her collection of kitchenware – antique ironstone, faience, Delft, and transferware. 

In the article, she said that one of her favorite pieces are the antique dairy slabs which she uses to serve cheese or appetizers on. 


Carol chose to use the breakfast table and chairs in her former kitchen over the dressier and larger table in what was once her dining room.

Love this room so much – the herbiers become the focal point.  She bought them loose from a book of one man’s collection.  Framed and hung together – they make a such a visual statement.

The chairs are fabulous – a country take on Chippendale.   And against the wall is the painted dresser – you can just barely see it here.


In the entry is her French buffet.  This piece was once in her stairhall.



In her master bedroom – Carol used the furniture that was in her former house.  I’m curious who inherited the Bennison Roses bedroom that was in her guest room?!!  Lucky person. 

But this is the right choice between the two bedroom schemes.  The quiet green and white stripes and checks are a bit more sedate that the romantic Bennison Roses print.

Even the chandelier made the move.


Across from the bed is the sitting area, with the sofa in Claremont fabric.  And she mixed in the two linen striped chairs from the living room, here in the bedroom. 


Remember this decor?  Her beloved Raphael engravings are in the loft apartment above the piano. 

But how do you edit and choose what stays and what goes?


I absolutely love this entrance with blue wallpaper and gilt console.  It might be my favorite piece in her all houses.  But, it isn’t right for the loft, I know.   The English buffet in cream is the better choice. 

And there was this:

I absolutely LOVED the decor in the living room.   But I think she made the right choice.  The loft is not the right mix for velvet.  The slipped chairs landed in her new master bedroom.  The white slipcovered sofas and matching chairs fill up the room and look good with the concrete and exposed ductwork.  Still, the piano gives the room a touch of elegance.   And, the herbiers actually work better in the loft – put together as one piece of art work, they make a much bigger statement.

But, those matching buffets.  And those lamps.  Sob. 


What would you do?   If you are faced with a large family home and no children left at home, do you stay or move?  And where do you go?  An apartment, condo, cottage, or highrise?

One dream would be a smaller, one story cottage – old and renovated – and reasonably priced.  But that’s almost impossible to find in Houston.

And there is something to be said for a large loft.   Last year I saw this unit in an old downtown building that had been converted.  It caught my eye and I have thought – would this be somewhere to move to?  A new life, downtown, where we could walk to dinner and plays and concerts.   Doesn’t that sound romantic?


The loft is located in an historical building on the fifth floor.  The only drawback?  There is no balcony for the dogs.   Those are reserved for the second floor lofts only. 



The front door opens to a foyer with painted paneling.   Other walls are original brick and concrete.


Looking back to the front door with the original glass transom.


The large loft is technically two bedrooms – one on each side of the loft.  There are no walls between the bedrooms, only curtains divide the space.



The view into the guest bedroom – which is set up as a TV room.  This would make a good space for a library, if one is needed. 

The curtains are just for show – and softness.   They don’t close.   But you could easily change this is you needed privacy.


And the view towards the other side of the loft where the kitchen and main bedroom are.  This wall would be a perfect place for ceiling to floor shelves for books.


Another view from the guest room towards the other side of the long loft.

This has been decorated in taupe paint.  I wonder how it would look painted white, including the brick and ceiling? 


The guest bathroom with the same block paneling and mosaic tile floor with standing sink.


In the center – these owners placed two tables across from the kitchen.  To the right is the master bedroom, also could be behind curtains if privacy is needed.


                                                                                             

The view from the tables toward the guest bedroom.


The kitchen and bar.


Concrete countertops.  Wonderful kitchen was custom built in this unit.


The master bedroom is on the corner so it gets lots of light from the windows.


The view from the bed that looks throughout the loft.


The master bathroom runs along one side of the loft and the windows let in much light.  Love that sink with double faucets.

Love the mosaic tile floor.


  Large shower.

The bathrooms and kitchen are really nice for a loft.

                                                                                                           

The owners obviously like antiques, industrial sized and repros from Restoration Hardware. 

I wonder how French antiques would look in a space like this?



Ideas to Get The Look:

I’m loving faux fur throws for bedspreads and sofas.

FAUX THROWS HERE

Loving  accent chairs in wicker and rattan.

ACCENT CHAIRS HERE

In black

BLACK RATTAN CHAIR HERE


                                                                   

A little pink goes a long way.

BLUSH THROW HERE

49 comments :

  1. You're the best design blogger writing today, thanks for another brilliant post!

    I hate this apartment - it looks as though they've tried to put 10lbs of stuff into a 5lb bag. Why downsize, if you aren't really downsizing? It is about more than space.

    Anyway, it is no doubt luxurious, and I hope the owners love and enjoy it, as they are living there.

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    1. Which apartment do you hate?
      Sheila

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  2. Joni,
    1)Loved this woman's taste and design sense. Thank you.
    2)PLEASE don't refer to yourself and her, and I guess some others of us, as entering the golden years! Can we save that for when we ARE actually old?! I think I'm a bit older than you, but I feel great and the term "golden years has not even entered my mind. Seriously girl, that's not the attitude to have! Shake it and get your groove back! You're not that old! Snap out of it!
    Sheila

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    1. God Sheila. I do feel older tho. Are you over 60? Something about 60 has made me finally feel older. For the first time.

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    2. I am over 60, but I don't feel like it and I really don't believe it! I don't feel like I look that old either, but am I delusional? Ha!
      I read another blog where the blogger often features funky fashion for older women. These are clothes that an eccentric 80 year old would wear. Recently I found out she's only in her fifties. I couldn't believe it. Her mindset has her way older than she really is. I just don't understand that. Why resign yourself to old age at any time, much less when you aren't even anywhere near it.
      Sheila

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  3. Is that the old Cotton Exchange building next door to that last old apartment building? It looks familiar...but it was so many years ago.
    If so, I've been on that street as my former husband sat for hours doing a wonderful detailed drawing of that building before his death, as well as many other buildings in Houston.
    Does anyone know if the building where "The Pink Pussycat" was located is still standing? Houston had some nice old buildings back then; I'll bet lots of them have been torn down.
    s.

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  4. I love her taste, but then, I'm a sucker for French antiques. Not a museum--a mix of periods, including a little modern practical stuff, is most interesting and personal.
    Having dealt with moving my parents out of their house, all I can say is it's best to move while one is young and while it's an exciting step, not "the end." My parents were so isolated in their home as my dad had to stop driving--and the burden on my brothers living in the same metro area to drive them to every doctor, every shopping run, because taxis are for people who don't have family. I refuse to do that to my kid and will move where I can walk (all the better for staying in shape) or easily get a taxi or bus when I can no longer drive. Not to mention the burden of getting rid of all those possessions. We're about the same age, and I don't consider it "old" but the time to make changes is while we're young, not when we're old.
    Thanks for a post that shows how one design aesthetic works in such vastly different settings.

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  5. Joni,
    I too love Carol Glasser's style and still have the pages from the magazines that feature her homes. We recently downsized from our house of 35 years. I thought it would be difficult, but oddly, it's been fun. The new house is a little cottage and I've had to pare down. I thought I couldn't get rid of pieces I'd spent my married life collecting, but it's been fun and easier than I thought. I am now surrounded by the things I absolutely love.
    Love your posts and hope you continue. So many bloggers have "retired" from posting.
    xo,
    Karen

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  6. Ok, here's a question.... If you downsize, where do your children and their families stay when they come to visit? We had neighbours who downsized and then regretted it because they didn't have enough room to host their children and grandchildren. I love the idea of my children having a place to come "home" to. Perhaps this is because as a child, our family moved every three years. It was very unsettling to be uprooted all the time. When people ask me where I grew up, or where home is, I honestly don't know how to answer! So when I started my own family, the idea of bringing my babies home from the hospital, having them grow up here, move away, and one day return with their own families appeals to me. A lot. I know this sounds very idealistic, and oftentimes things don't happen the way you envision. My kids are still in high-school so we have a little time yet. Maybe they will end up living half-way around the world and having a bigger home will be completely overwhelming. Or, like some millennials, they may never move out and we may HAVE to move! Eeeeek! But for now, I wouldn't dream of going anywhere!

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    1. I don't know. I guess you have to have a few guestrooms? My inlaws did that - they moved to very small house but it had 3 bedrooms and we would all stay there at different times. Good times.

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    2. A nearby hotel even if you have to pay for it. Better than buying square footage that only gets used a few times a year!!

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  7. I keep upsizing and the thought of downsizing fills me with dread. I don't know whether it will ever happen. In fact, I hope it doesn't. I like all of my spaces and if it gets to be too much for me alone to maintain, I'll get help. Unless I suffer some sort of financial downturn, I'd really like to maintain my current lifestyle until I become too feeble, and that may not happen. My mother will be 89 soon and she still mows, gardens, and maintains her house by herself. Many are not so lucky, I realize, but just because one matures doesn't mean giving up what one loves. If the nest is empty, fill it with friends.

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    1. Lucky girl, you, that can keep "upsizing." With the way real estate prices escalate so rapidly these days, it's very difficult to "keep upsizing" for most people. Sometimes, usually once when you're young, but not so much into middle age. Most of us want to see those house payments end at some point, or at the very least not get even larger.
      Sounds a bit like a humblebrag. A bit.

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  8. You say that the Millieu story makes you want to go check out the real estate listings, but so does your post! Amazing job covering an inspiring story and space. I haven't even had children yet and you're making me want to downsize!

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  9. I can't wait to downsize. Both my adult daughters are here temporarily while they get established in new jobs (and decide if they want to live together) and I want space around me. I am ready to get rid of most of my stuff, including my collections of china and ironstone. I want white slipcovers, rattan blinds, and neutral walls, and I will change my look with the seasons with pillow covers and throws. Can't wait.

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    1. Elisabeth has been home again too. Making a HUGE mess of her room. And my air conditioning bill!!!! lol. I really wish I could move and just twist my nose like Bewitched.

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    2. When Elisabeth is making a mess of her room she is using the house for it's intended purpose: living in.
      You are so lucky to have her still coming home. Enjoy it.
      Houses don't need to look perfect every minute. Close her door.
      Go buy her favorite junk food and curl up together on the sofa with a movie.
      I wish I had a daughter. Or a mother.
      Sheila

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  10. Being an empty nester is an exciting time. You can finially decide how and where you want to live. We are in our early 50's, and my husband and I moved to a waterfront home 2 years ago, which was our dream. We love living here! The water is so calming and restorative. It is so important to do the things you want to do. My Mom always told me to do everything I really dreamed of doing because there is such a small window between raising your children and caring for your parents. It is so true. We have lost 1 parent, and all of the others have had some sort of health problems. Three months after we moved, our beautiful, 28 year old son was killed in a car wreck, 5 days before Christmas. Life is fragile and stressful,so I try to balance things by making our home a retreat from the world, which helps to make it all bearable. Life is short, buy the beach house, or the mountain house, or the condo, or the loft...

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    1. omg. I am SOOOOO sorry!!!! I can't imagine your pain. I am so sorry.

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  11. 5 years ago I downsized. I kept my clothes, 1 dresser, 2 end tables and a bed. Kept the most special memory items but went without living room furniture for a year. Until I could find the perfect pieces. Absolutely no regrets! Never felt more freedom than the day I sold or gave away the last item I wanted to get rid of. Since then, I rarely buy anything so I never gather so much "stuff" again. I have enough to make a home in the perfect size without a lot of maintenance. But just enough garden to putz around.

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  12. Great post. Both my kids are gone and it's empty nest over hear... I have started selling things from my home but only because I don't want as much stuff. People come over and ask "are you going to downsize, this house is sooo big".... but we live in all the rooms and I like having guest rooms for my children to return at holidays...etc. The only way I would consider moving (health issue aside) would be a small cottage by the ocean... and in CA that's not downsizing your bank account.... great post! I loved seeing the transformation of spaces and furniture moving from living to bedroom etc. Very inspiring! Are you considering a move???

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    1. HERE,,, not hear...sorry. No way to edit

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  13. I was "introduced" to Carol Glasser in one of Mary Emmerlings'books many years ago, and then again here many years ago! I read this article in Milieu and enjoyed every minute of it and now I am enjoying it again through your eyes. I am trying to get my husband to give up the big house and property. It isn't happening very fast on my end. Any luck with Mr. Slipper Socks?

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    1. um Cindy - If I had your property I would die there. lol. It's so gorgeous. It's just different in Houston. No views. Maybe you could give it to your daughter and build a small house on the land? Sure!!! lol. Just stay there. I love your house!

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    1. A sure way NOT to get my business is to place an add here without paying for the space. What you are doing is counterproductive. Wise up ;-)

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  15. Oh intriguing apartment and layout. I love it!

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  16. Such a timely post for me. I just found out my daughter in Kansas City is expecting my first grandbaby...I have waited a long time. And I want to move to KC, but my husband who will be retiring soon wants to stay in Fort Worth. The only thing keeping me here is the 90 year old tudor cottage that we have done so much work on. Wish decisions like this were easy!!

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    1. I would move. You could always find a great house there. But a grandbaby?????? Move!!! lol. So easy for me to say.

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    2. Stay in your cute cottage it's a quick flight, kids now a days move more than we did for their careers.

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  17. You know what, that first house of Glasser's outdistanced all the rest by a mile. It was warm and inviting and with each iteration her homes got progressively more forced and 'decoratorish". Her last place, the apartment just seemed sort of vacant of the charm she started with. And those ceilings in the apartment - oh my God let me outta here". Who would live with duct work just to get higher ceilings. Ugh! Joanie, don't move. Your home is you. And you are still the very best blogger I have ever seen. Don't ever leave us. Ann

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  18. One of the advantages of living in a smallish cottage is my children already grew up downsized with which to begin. I have a small cottage but large yard. I like having a certain amount of stuff. My aunt lived in a lovely apartment in Portland...but I always felt it kind of aged her prematurely. She was kind of stuck there. Also, the minute she walked out the door: concrete jungle. I also am not fond of traditional decor in modern apartments. Love this edition and Minn Hogg.

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    1. Wait for the next story -----Min.!!!!

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  19. This is one of my fave posts! I wish more magazines/blogs addressed those of us at a certain age who have collected our entire lives and are having that same dilemma. Problem is that I love so many styles and locales. Beach house? Yes ma'am! Lake house? Love it. City loft? What fun? I need to have one of each! Write it down, make it happen! Please do more of these posts as I so enjoyed it. Can't stop pouring over these dreamy pics...

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  20. I've moved 3 times over the past 9 years, downsizing a bit each time from around 4,000 sq ft on 2.5 acres to 1,873 sq ft with a decent yard in a city neighborhood. I have already decided to either 1) add on 400-500 sq ft to increase my kitchen and living area and add a utility room and small office, or 2) move again! I feel cramped here, and I have a 2,000+ book library, a grand piano, and many other treasured things in storage that I miss having around me :( This Thanksgiving I'll be hosting dinner for the first time here, and I worry about fitting everyone in comfortably. And I love to cook, so the small kitchen with limited cabinet space is killing me. Also, I think it will feel REALLY cramped when grandkids come along. For me (and I'm middle-aged and single), 2,500 - 2,800 sq ft is probably the ideal size.

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  21. I like her first English rooms better than all the others. They were so cozy and elegant. They look good to me even today. I must say that I'm not a fan of today's trendy look.
    It seems to me that it will all look dated very quickly. Give me rooms that are beautiful always. And as for that loft - ugh. Too precious for me.

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  22. There are other considerations than whether you would like a house or apartment, modern or traditional.
    I have two friends who sold their homes in a rapidly appreciating market (CA) and moved to a cheaper states. When they regretted their decision and wanted to move back to where their friends and family were, they could not afford it because the houses had appreciated there much more than the houses in the state where they then were. One of them never moved back, and the other has moved back, but to a tiny apartment which was all their money from a different state would get them in CA. They are so sorry that they ever moved and sold their beautiful homes.
    Please people, before you move, make sure it's what you really want. It's impossible for most people to buy back "in" in an expensive state if appreciation in the state you're in has not kept up with where you want to move to. Unless you're rich, of course, in which case you wouldn't care about any of this.
    Anne

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    1. You are right on! I live in Seattle and decided to rent for the winters in Scottsdale AZ. As tempting as it is to sell and buy a house there for half of what our house would sell for we live our current home. We want to be double dog sure that's what we want to do




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    2. Yes, really think hard. You'll never be able to get back into Seattle once you leave.
      Anne

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  23. Joni great post as always! You introduced me to Carol years ago, and I just love her style! Having just emptied and sold my childhood home in order to support my mom (she is in assisted living) was a very long process. My sister and I kept very little of the furniture, but mom's personal items now grace our homes and bring back great memories. Since my husband and I are at "that certain age" we think about moving, but living in southern california, you have to ask "where is affordable?" I agree with previous post, if you leave California, it is likely you can't afford to move back… how sad is that? I think the deciding factor will always be that we want to be close to our children and grandchildren (luckily they live nearby!)

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    1. You already live at the center of the universe, close to your children. Why would you want to move?
      Why does everyone want to move somewhere else?
      I moved years ago, and now most everyone who is important to me is far, far away. It didn't seem like a big deal when I was younger; I wasn't thinking along those lines. It wasn't something I considered when younger, but I'm lonesome for my peeps now, even though I live in a beautiful special place that I love. Without the people you love, life means nothing; it doesn't matter what style or size house you live in.
      Sheila

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  24. Always so interesting - and the comments too!

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  25. Love this post! Especially since I'm in the middle of a downsize crisis myself. I would grab that loft in a minute!

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  26. Beautiful Post. Has it really been over 10 years since you introduced me to Carol Glasser? Time flies. Each home is stunning, also masterfully mixed. Her style is comfortable, with a sense of effortlessness.
    As you know we relocated three years ago, a business relocation pushed us to downsize into a cottage. The move has been a fun adventure. Its interesting what you'll chose, when faced with which pieces are truly important to you. It may not be what you think it will be.

    I must admit if we were empty nesters we'd seriously consider a loft. I love the loft you featured at the end, only I like the rustic brick, and industrial finishes. I'd love to see a mix of your beautiful French pieces within that industrial environment.

    We may ourselves be on the move in the next year, yet again. Heavy sigh. Leaving "Sybi" will be hard. This time, aging parents, too many hours away for comfort may cause us to wander off on another adventure. One thing I've learned, life is fluid, almost as changing as our interiors!

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  27. I have been waiting for you to write about Carol's new loft! I love it!!! Seriously beautiful. "Downsizing" is often called " Rightsizing" because often it can create a wonderful feeling of freedom from the boxes of stuff that one accumulates. Minimal doesn't mean living with less, it is about living with what you love...people and pets included!
    Always a treat to stop by Cote de Texas ; ))

    xo kelley

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  28. We recently sold a very large home and moved back to another house we owned which is half the size. Our "new" house is laid out quite nicely but the kitchen is about 1/4 the size of my old one. Really miss the elbow room. Still trying to find the best places for my huge furniture (much of it bought to fit the large home). However, it's an interesting design challenge and has really got my creative juices going!

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  29. I love helping people move into smaller, cozier spaces...deciding what to take and what won't work....keeping heirlooms, etc. It's stressful...we personally did it. And now I am thinking of all the burned down homes here in the Bay area and realize...it's the people in the home that are most important.

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  30. Hello Joni, I enjoyed your blog previously but with the vagaries of blog readers had somehow lost track of it. I was recently on another site which had a contest for design bloggers and was happy to see your name again. (I voted for you twice--I hope you win something!) I am now paying more attention to issues of design, and am happy to have reconnected with your blog.
    --Jim

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  31. It's pretty, but in the end, it is just stuff. And you cannot take it with you.

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