Furnishing your home can be a lifelong endeavor. Some of us search and rummage through flea markets, antique shops and yard sales for the perfect pieces. The find is the reward — and one that defines the tone of our homes. We all want homes that reflect our lifestyle and success, and amassing large collections of art and furniture is part of the game. The best homes are always autobiographical, filled with heirlooms and furnishings that have been collected and passed down from one generation to another. So why is it sometimes so appealing in one's later years to mark a new chapter of life — such as a retirement, the passing of a significant other or even a divorce? Why do we try to eliminate the past via an estate sale, giving away items to sons and daughters or even donating things to a charity bazaar or thrift shop?
It seems there are milestones in life, which require a psychological restart. And what better place to start than redefining the concept of home? The desire to define the new you is the reason why so many empty nesters and the like decide to do an about-face and head for sleek and contemporary interiors that normally would be perfect for young homeowners. Akin to the midlife or later face-lift, tummy tuck or going back to the gym, contemporary interiors make its occupants feel young and relevant once again. All speculation and joking aside, new contemporary interiors are beneficial for older homeowners.
You may be asking yourself why, after many years of accumulation, so many decide to do an about-face from the warmth of traditional interiors to lighter contemporary interiors. Of course, there is the desire and quest for youthful outlook and appearance, but did it ever occur to you it may also be for ease of maintenance? Of course, there are mature homeowners who genuinely appreciate the lines of clean modern design. Others, especially those with second homes, nearly always request designs that are based in contemporary design because they want an easier, more carefree lifestyle.
Antiques and family heirlooms require special care. Older fine wood furniture requires periodic waxing and polish. Sterling silver accessories or serving pieces soaking and cream polish to keep them shining, but who in their right mind would rather do this than play a round of golf, go fishing or perhaps a play friendly round of rummy or mahjong? Nobody I know.
Additionally, as one ages, dexterity and fine motor skills — which are required for upkeep and maintenance of things that are carved and filled with ornate detail — diminish. This is why older folks start to prefer the clean and streamline design features of contemporary design. Plain and simple is a matter of independence and survival. Like my Aunt Lisette, who is 70, looks 50 and dresses like she's 30, don't chuckle when you enter your relatives' sleek pad. There are specific reasons for this trend, and it has little to do with keeping up appearances — but everything to do with being able to do it on their own.
Joseph Pubillones is the owner of Joseph Pubillones Interiors, an award-winning interior design firm based in Palm Beach, Florida. His website is www.josephpubillones.com. To find out more about Joseph Pubillones and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate website at www.creators.com.