New year, new home

Bucking the trend, Wares columnist Cami Weinstein and hubby Marc have moved from the ’burbs to the big city. But a new home in the new year may simply mean a refresh of an old space.

A new year always signifies a fresh start, a time to reset and move forward. I think everyone this year could not wait to see 2020 go.  2021 will definitely have its challenges, especially the first half before we can all get vaccinated and fully resume our lives. However, everything is definitely looking brighter.

The coronavirus pandemic had many of us rethinking priorities and what would be important to us once the pandemic is over.  How we want to live and work has undergone a huge transformation and will be affecting us for many years. After isolating for almost a year, my husband and I realized that the home we raised our children in and lived in for almost 30 years was no longer going to suit the lifestyle we wanted as we moved forward into 2021. We realized we were living in too few of the rooms in our house, so we decided to accelerate our plans to move to New York City a few years earlier. We put our home on the market this past fall and it was quickly purchased by a young couple with a family.  We were so delighted that our home would have a young family in it. The house was a family home and we were thrilled it would continue to be one. Still, downsizing from a five-bedroom house to a two-bedroom apartment in the city was a challenge.  

As a designer, I am almost always curating and adding furnishings and artwork to my clients’ homes.  Most times clients are starting from scratch.  I would not be starting from scratch. It would be too difficult for me to part with beloved pieces of furniture and artwork that we have collected over the years. That being said, some furniture pieces work out more effectively in a new space than others.   Seeing your pieces in a different space and light makes you realize that no matter how “good” your furniture is, no matter how careful you are with your pieces, many may need to be repaired, refinished, reupholstered or replaced. When you refresh and move furniture and artwork around, they’ll look new in a different setting. When you take the additional steps of changing the colors in your rooms and reupholstering the furniture, you are creating a new frame of reference.  Adding in some completely new pieces to replace pieces that just no longer fit your new space is the chance to bring in some newer design trends. Don’t be afraid to eliminate the pieces that just don’t work. Be objective when pieces are not working and get rid of them.

The most challenging issue for me was the lack of storage space in an apartment compared to a house.  One trick I have learned over the years is that as many pieces of furniture that can have storage space with doors should be part of your design.  It reduces clutter and makes your space feel more organized. Every single inch must be utilized:  One of my antique armoires in the living room that held many beautiful sets of porcelain plates (now in storage) holds my overflow of boots and shoes.  Even though we did reduce and shed many of our things, we still have a storage unit filled with items we will need to dispose of over time. 

This new start in the city feels completely right for us at this time. With a new space, less “stuff” to worry about or take care of, we are poised to enjoy the city and travel once the pandemic is under control.  The location we picked also affords us a quick route back to our offices in Westchester County and Greenwich.  The pandemic brought into focus what is important and the ways to refocus energy, creativity and renewal. Whether you are planning a move to a larger or smaller space or a totally new location, now may be a great time to do it.  Truly there is no time like the present and if the pandemic has taught us anything it is that. 

Warm wishes for a happy New Year.  Stay healthy and safe and enjoy being home. 

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