Freed from the ties of a young family, the trend is increasing for more mature couples to downsize from their practical family home to a smaller, more stylish abode. But despite the desire to celebrate their new-found independence with a cool contemporary pad, the average downsizer also wants to entertain their growing extended family of in-laws and grandchildren.
So what are the ‘must-haves’ that downsizers need to look for when searching for the perfect property?
Large entertaining areas are essential to host the family whereas less bedrooms and bathrooms are needed to ensure that they don’t overstay their welcome. For the braver downsizer, a spare room or two for the grandchildren to stay is a welcome addition.
Newly built developments are very sought after by ‘downsizers’ as not only do they already have the right configuration of rooms, but many are already occupied with their contemporaries, giving a fun communal feel to their new home.
The drawback to making a fresh start in a more compact home is that it’s very hard for people to part with much loved possessions. Mandy Chody, interior designer at M&Y Interiors says: “Storage is usually top of the list of priorities as well as shelving to display ornaments and photos. Likewise, wardrobe, bathroom and guest cloakroom storage is very important as the client is working with less space so needs clever solutions for their personal effects.”
Space-saving ideas are an essential feature for every downsizer, which M&Y have in abundance for their clients. For example, corner sofas and in-built widescreen TVs are exciting features to install and many new properties boast state-of-the-art ambient lighting as well as in-built wireless speakers to play music throughout the house. Mandy added: “For any clients scared of all the technology they can always ask their grandchildren how it all works!”
Cumbersome computers have been replaced by streamlined ipads and laptops which can eliminate the need for a designated study. A discreet corner in the kitchen with a hidden pull-down tambour door can store all household files.
Door options have changed enormously with sliding pocket doors and sleek bi-folding doors being just two of the space-saving door options on the market. Extendable dining tables for Friday night and Yom Tov are also great for space saving as well as discreet console tables that convert to an extra table to house the growing family.
The fashion in most properties now is for an open plan kitchen with casual living and dining. Formal living and dining rooms seem to be a thing of the past with large spaces big enough to accommodate friends and family being the most popular option. There is a worry about cooking smells invading the sitting area but ventilation now is so advanced that this rarely happens.
One of Mandy’s recent clients who downsized said “M&Y translated our vision into a stylish yet practical pied-a-terre which we love and which fits our needs perfectly – all this within a very short space of time and with minimum fuss”.
Mandy concluded” “Helping a downsizer couple to rediscover their new style is always very exciting for M&Y Interiors. It is a journey of discovery on both sides and always enjoyable to watch our clients tentatively try out new looks before embracing their inner interior designer!”
"M&Y interiors were so helpful in the planning and redecorating of my new apartment
All the workmen were fantastic - they’re workmanship was faultless and they were always punctual and polite.
Nothing was too much trouble and I wouldn’t hesitate in using them again. I highly recommend this company."
"I'd like to thank you, Nigel and Sam for your work in making our house a home. We love it. Given all the challenges with Covid we are really pleased with how everything has turned out. I often sit in my living room and sigh with deep satisfaction. Everyone who has visited always comments on the colours and how homey but sophisticated it feels. Once more, thank you!
"From a sad, derelict, unloved house - M&Y created a incredible luxurious, family home in keeping with the style of a Grade 2 Listed building fully embracing the traditional look we wanted, even down to the finest details."Mrs S
“I would highly recommend Mandy, Nigel and Team. Their patience and getting to know what we wanted was excellent. Mandy has a great eye for colour and sense of style,
Nigel for design and space and overall, the team has complementary skill sets.
We are delighted with the end product.”Totteridge
In the good times and the bad....
"Thank you again for the way you handled this issue and the resolution. I don’t believe many companies would have acted this way and I’m extremely grateful for your commitment to delivering a happy customer outcome."Mr C
“M&Y have handed over our fully refurbished office in Hertford today and I’m still buzzing with excitement because the transformation has been totally amazing . The brief was pretty basic ,I wanted to create the look and feel of the Ralph Lauren store in Bond Street ,but make it work for an office environment , on a sensible budget. Mandy and her team hit the target perfectly and we now have a really fantastic work space, and a very smart meeting room that will impress any visitor, plus the coolest looking office kitchen in the county! I can’t wait to get back to the office!”James, Wedge Homes Ltd
"LIFE IS NOT PICTURE PERFECT BUT THE M&Y FIT IS MORE THAN PERFECT"
We highly endorse M&Y Interiors. They offer a fantastic customer service and Mandy and Nigel with their loyal team always go the extra mile for their clients. The reward for a job well done is the opportunity to do it again.
Very much looking forward to working together on the next big project in due course. Nigel’s approach to resolving matters is a breath of fresh air and all I can add is that the world would be much a better place with more people around like Nigel and Mandy.’’
Thank you again, we are forever grateful.MR F
"What a stunning home you have created for us. We can’t thank you enough. From our first meeting I knew that if anyone was going to be responsible for refurbishing our home it had to be you. I had faith that you could make us a dream home. Mandy, I felt straight away a connection with you and I was comfortable that you understood what I would like. Your ideas on interior design including furnishings, fabrics and colours are amazing. I may not have always been the easiest client, but I am now a truly happy one. Nigel, the home would not be complete without your input in managing the project."Mrs R
This was the first experience working with an interior designer and I was very mindful that we still maintained our own style and preferences. Mandy did not impose her views or choices on us, but listened carefully to what we liked and got to know our style and was extremely respectful of our budget, which is quite unusual in this field.Mrs N
M&Y have done the most incredible work on our house. Since 2014 we have trusted them with transforming our whole living space, culminating in 2020 with our loft conversion. They are simply the best at what they do. Consummate professionals, trustworthy and always available! We would highly recommend them!