Room 911: We Did It! We Did It!

Today was the last appointment that I would have with Mrs. Windbotham. I knew that we would need to have a heart to heart if we really wanted to declutter her living room.{{more}} Thirty percent of her “items” would not be displayed. I felt a sense of trepidation but also determination in going forth with my plan.

Knocking on the door, Alfred invited me in. Sitting on her divan was Edith, decked out in a new pants suit, replete with a string of pearls, and holding two glasses of sherry. Handing me one, she said, “Sit down, Mrs. S. and let’s get on with this. I know you have some things you need to share with me.”

“This may be a hard day for you or an enlightening one, but you asked me here because you wanted to make changes. Change is hard but it can be liberating, too,” I said with my most cheerful, upbeat voice.

“I am going to suggest you put away some items for now. The operative word is “now.” From time to time you can rotate items as long as you put something away. Are you ready to start, Mrs. W?”

“Let’s get ready to rumble,” she said in her oh so proper British accent.

With that, I put the Rottweiler statues on either side of her front door. I put all the books back in the bookcase making some shelves all books and others a combination of books, plants, objects/photos.

The macramé planters were put away and all the remaining plants were displayed on a window ledge. The top drawer of a bureau, on the left side of her living room ,housed her compact discs, and the marbled top held her souvenirs from her trips abroad. I made a template for all her ancestral photos, so that a framed collage could be made.

Standing back to look at what had been accomplished thus far, Mrs.W. said, “You can’t leave without telling me what to do about my signed Brad Pitt photo, The Back Street Boys photo, my Andy Warhol poster nor all the photos of my granddaughter since the day of her birth 25 years ago?” she said clutching her hand over her heart.

“Of course, not.” I was just about to work on that,” I said.

“Then let’s rock n’ roll, Dearie. I don’t have all day.”

Going down the stairs to her finished basement, I took the photos and put them along the wall in an arrangement that gave the collection a sense of importance.

Looking at the soffit there was a “smiling” photo of precious Fifi in her better days. In the carpeted basement, I took Alfred’s prized stuff bass and some “ancient” fishing paraphernalia and made a vignette.

Once upstairs, I surveyed the room. The sofa table, the couch, the coffee table, the chair placement, the books, the souvenirs, the art work collection, the vase of fresh flowers all gave the room a look of serenity and style. Mrs. W. was smiling like a Cheshire cat. She was pleased.

“We did it! We did it!” I practically crowed. “Well, I think that about does it. I feel really good about this room.”

“Mrs. S., thank you so much. I know Alfred and I will enjoy this room so much more. Perhaps, I shall call on you again and we can work on another room.”

“I, too, enjoyed our time together but now I am off to another assignment and ta ta for now” I said smiling as I walked toward my car.

While I was backing out of the driveway, I am not sure whether it was an auditory hallucination or did I really hear her screaming, “what about the samovars?”

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