Room 911: Try Showcasing a Few Treasurers Instead of All at Once

You can imagine my surprise as I was greeted by Mrs.. Windbotham gesturing to me to come quickly and see what she had done to her living room. {{more}} Lo and behold, before my eyes ,was a living room that had a fresh coat of white paint on all the window frames and baseboards and the walls were painted a pale cream color with wheat undertones. If Mrs. Windbotham did nothing else, the room was already classy and welcoming.

“This is a surprise indeed. I didn’t realize you would implement these ideas so quickly. What gave you the impetus to just ‘do it’ ?” I inquired.

“Well, my dear husband, of noted fishing fame, was so tired of seeing everything piled atop the tables in the hallway that he said, “Edith, you get this room goin’ and I promise you a trip to Coney Island.” You know, my dear, Ms. Schneider, that was where I had my first date with Alfred, in 1957. Immigrated to these shores from Dover, I am, I have longed to see the ocean again. Her voice trailed off as if she were caught in her reminisces.

“No time like the present. So shall we begin putting your room back together? I see that you did not, at this time, resand your floors, but, you can always do it later. I know it involves some cost so don’t worry about it. Remember, ‘Rome was not built in a day.” In the meantime, we will place your area rugs in such a way that perhaps we can cover some of the more highly scuffed areas. Now all we need is a little brawn to help move this furniture,” I said looking around for another pair of hands.

As if on cue, Mr. Windbotham lumbered into the room. He reminded me of Paul Bunyan. His adoring eyes on his wife, he bellowed, ”Darlin’, where the heck do you want me to put all this stuff?”

Stepping up to this friendly man, I said.” Mr. Windbotham could you please take the sofa and face it toward the picture window but do not put it against the back wall. We do not want this to look like a doctor’s waiting room with everything against walls. Instead, put the sofa about 20 inches from the back wall. We will take the narrow table, which fortunately, is not as long as the couch, and put it behind the couch to serve as a sofa table. It will be a good place to put some of the many, many, many things that have been acquired. But recall, you will have to pick out some favorites for now, and others will be put away, to be rotated onto that table, at another time. Remember we want each object to have its own share of the limelight and therefore we cannot crowd too much onto any one surface.”

Surveying the room, I remembered the two club chairs Mrs. Windbotham had originally put so far across the other side of the coffee table that she no longer had a conversational area. She needed to have the chairs brought alongside the ends of the coffee table, angled in toward the sofa.

Directing Alfred (he insisted I call him by his given name) to put them as I had mentioned, and to put the coffee table in front of the sofa, the room was starting to get a foundation.

“So what do you think so far Mrs. W?”

“Well, truly dearie, I am excited by all the space because it has so much potential to be filled with my seashell collection, you remember that don’t you, and the plants, the artwork, the statues, the stuffed bass, the samovars, the macramé hangings, the photos, and my latest acquisition, an autographed copy of the Back Street Boys (say, what?!)”

Telling the Windbothams that we would continue building the room and giving it depth and interest, we made another appointment to continue our work.

“Pick out an object or two that you ‘d like to make the focal point of your room and we will work it into the room. Remember our motto, renew, refresh, redo and declutter” as I waved my good-byes.

Something weighed heavy on my mind as I made my way to my car.

What if, just what if, she wanted the Back Street Boys poster to be the focal point of her room. Oh No!

Tedra Schneider is the founder of reSTAGE, a division of Tedra Associates, Inc. She has worked in residential interior decorating and design and can be reached with questions or comments through her website