Before and After: Retirement Condo Makeover

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I really admire photographers that have the ability to capture the emotion an interior design evokes. I think rooms are one of the hardest things to photograph. There are no people’s faces conveying emotion, no body language. Just “things”. But somehow when you’re in a room with things, you feel something. When we started this room, this blog did not exist. So I had to beg/borrow/steal the before pictures. Also, I have not mastered the art of photographing rooms, but I’m working on it!

My boyfriend’s mom recently moved into a retirement community. It’s located in a great place, and is surrounded by tons of redwood trees. She was downsizing from a bigger space, so even though she had some amazing things, it was hard to know where to place everything. The bf and I offered to redo her condo as a surprise. She had no idea what the plan was. I never told her the concept, or showed her any fabrics or sketches. I honestly can’t believe she agreed. She is one brave woman.

right wall before

The bf’s mom is so elegant and warm, and the space just didn’t reflect her personality.

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When I looked through her treasures I knew immediately that I wanted the room to have a Chinoiserie feel. She has little foo dogs and boxes inlaid with asian motifs so I was pretty sure she would like that design style.

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I love that Ikea has inexpensive furniture options for times like this. However, I didn’t want to just go with the plain white backing that comes with the particular bookcases I picked. So, to kick up the glam factor, and add some pattern and texture, we taped pretty golden paper from Paper Source on top of the backing.
before-and-after-retirement condo startwithfourwalls.com

There is only one light source in the room that comes from a sliding glass door that leads out onto a little balcony area. So one priority was to bring in lots of lights. We used the little clip lights from Ikea on the tops of the bookcases, and two lamps, one on each side table.

And now for the “before” picture of the back wall…

back wall before

Here are the “afters”…
before-and-after-retirement condo startwithfourwalls.com

She also has tall ceilings. If I remember correctly, I think they are 10-12 feet high. So I knew that I wanted to do as much as I could to bring the eye up. It makes a room feel so much bigger when you use the vertical space. Part of that involved getting taller bookcases. My other remedy was hanging curtains as high as we could. As an added bonus, the curtains and taller bookcases covered up that greyish white paint color.

The star of the show is obviously that amazing screen. In person, it really glows. The gold paint is so warm and just luscious. It’s a beauty.

before-and-after-retirement condo startwithfourwalls.com
The red velvet pillow covers are Ralph Lauren euro shams that I got from Home Goods. The other pillows and curtains were made from fabric from Fabrics R Us, which is a discount fabric store in San Jose that I mentioned here.
before-and-after-retirement condo startwithfourwalls.com
The curtains are made of dupioni silk, and are embroidered with gold and cream thread.
before-and-after-retirement condo startwithfourwalls.com
The trim is all tassels and beads and laced velvet ribbon to match the red velvet pillows.
before-and-after-retirement condo startwithfourwalls.com
Another glamour shot of the screen.
before-and-after-retirement condo startwithfourwalls.com
The lamps are also Ralph Lauren Home from Home Goods.

before-and-after-retirement condo startwithfourwalls.com

before-and-after-retirement condo startwithfourwalls.com

blue and white garden stool startwithfourwalls.com

before-and-after-back-wall

What do you think? Have you ever worked on a really tight space? What tricks did you use to make the room feel bigger and more grand? I’d love to hear them! I’m linked up to the before and after parties at Thrifty Decor Chick, A Stroll Thru Life, Savvy Southern Style, Sand and Sisal, Dwellings, Green Willow Pond, DIY by Design, The Style Sisters, Cedar Hill FarmhouseHome Stories A to Z.

ooox,

Nicole

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9 Comments

  1. Marty@A Stroll Thru Life

    July 9, 2014 at 12:39 am

    Oh how pretty, I love the style you created for her, so pretty and what a lovely place for her to enjoy. Thanks tons for linking to Inspire Me.

    • Nicole Bedford

      July 9, 2014 at 4:05 am

      Thank you so much Marty! I’m so glad I discovered the linky party!

  2. Jan Garon

    July 9, 2014 at 1:59 am

    I love what you have done with your boyfriend’s mother’s place! You gave it a rich look that I am sure she is overjoyed with! Been snooping around your blog and it looks great!

    • Nicole Bedford

      July 9, 2014 at 4:04 am

      Thank you so much Jan! I really appreciate your kind words!

  3. Deborah

    July 22, 2014 at 2:24 am

    Wow! What a difference. The room looks really elegant and rich now. Thank you for sharing at What We Accomplished Wednesdays. Have a great week!

    Blessings,
    Deborah

    • Nicole Bedford

      July 22, 2014 at 6:43 pm

      Thank you so much Deborah!

  4. Ginnie

    August 14, 2014 at 4:40 pm

    What a wonderful surprise! Very elegant! I’m in love with that screen:)

    • Nicole Bedford

      August 16, 2014 at 11:33 pm

      Thank you Ginnie, so sweet of you to say so! I know! That screen is so amazing!!

  5. Pingback: Living Room Revamp and Inspiration - Start With Four Walls

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