Aging

Hi! I am Kathy Borth, an interior designer in Austin Texas. I have been working and loving this business for over 30 years which means at this point of my career: many of my clients are getting up there in age. I am new to blogs and have enjoyed reading a few of the blogs and so far no one has addressed what I am seeing so much of in my business: people who love their homes but need to adapt their homes to fit their changing life and health needs. I thought it might be fun and relevant to write about some of these people and their challenges and how we will meet those challenges.
Today, I met with an old and dear friend Maurine. I first met Maurine and her husband Larry in 1987, when she was 37 years old. They had recently purchased a house in spite of its run down condition because they loved the location and the yard. We proceeded over the next year to gut the house and redo a 50’s bungalow in to a clean soft contemporary space. The color palette was black, white and grey with accents of turquoise. The finished product was fresh and interesting and fit their lifestyle perfectly. The back yard with its lovely natural pool and heavily wooded setting was the focal point for the main living, dining and study on one end of the house and the Master bedroom looked out on the pool from the other end. Life was good, the house won awards and was published. I got great publicity and may referrals, exactly what a designer hopes will happen.
then, in 1997, life took one of the turns you hope it will not take and Larry got cancer. Throughout his illness we kept in touch and one of my favorite memories is of stopping by one Christmas with my 5 year old niece and singing Rudolph to Larry as he sat in the kitchen, smiling, his IV in one arm and he other gripping the table. He died a few weeks later, surrounded by those who loved him.
We made some changes a few years later: the bed needed to be different as it reminded her too much of Larry. We replaced the black toilet and sink in his bath with a white one. We added a few pieces of artwork.
Today, I met with Maurine to see the house 25 years later. The bones are still great: black granite counters and black and white tile in the kitchen are ageless and has served her well. But the grey wool carpet is 25 years old and has literally worn through at the back door but it with stood 7 dogs: boston terriers and the latest ones are now house broken and past the chewing stage. She had cleverly held it together with black duct tape. We discussed carpet, would love to do wood but too cost prohibitive and Maurine summed it up by saying: I will let the next people who live here decide what to do when that time comes.
The time has flown by and so many changes for both of us, yet as I say in my mission statement: my goal is to provide timeless interiors and this visit today confirmed that I am doing something right.

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