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Decor Details: Eclectic Downsizing

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Decor Details: Eclectic Downsizing

A treasure trove of art and furnishings finds a new home

By Paul Semkuley • Photography By Paul Chmielowiec

Downsizing from a five-bedroom house to a three-bedroom condo, to most, would seem like an ideal opportunity to purge, finally ridding your home of ”all the stuff” that no longer serves a function or holds meaning for you. But when you’ve amassed a fabulous, eclectic collection of furniture and art: Oh boy, what are you do supposed to do?

“THE NEW HOME BECAME a re:vived curation of all the things they loved and treasured SO MUCH OVER THE YEARS.”


In 2009, I created my company, re:source lifestyles, which combines the love of art, fashion and design, and offers a unique styling service to clients where they can “re:use, re:new, re:vive” what currently exists in their homes. It was this green-minded approach, paired with a referral from a previous client, that sealed the deal for the ongoing relationship I now have with my new client, Kate, who presented a charming challenge.


My first visit to Kate’s house was meant to give me an overview of the items that she and her husband liked and wanted to keep for the move. But there was a lot! Without making any decisions, we moved through the house that held a host of unique objects. And let me tell you, some of the pieces of furniture and art were fantastic! I now know why there was so much that needed to come with them to the new condo. It was incredible. Pen and paper in hand, I feverishly wrote down all the items that were coming, not forgetting that there were a few more unseen items in storage that would be coming, too.


One particular sofa, up on the third floor, was a grand Stickley sofa with loose seats and back cushions. It would be reupholstered and ready to make its debut in the new condo. Just one “tiny” problem—it was too big to go down the stairs! It had originally been lifted by crane into the house, but that wasn’t going to be an option with the move happening in a few days. I looked at my client and said: “We are reupholstering this sofa anyway, so what if we cut it in half and take it down the stairs this way?” My upholsterer is stellar and knew he could do the job. My client looked at me with a bit of perplexity, but smiled and said: “Great idea!”


With all the notes of furniture and art, we proceeded to the new condo so that I could take in the new space. It was a large, newly renovated condo by an architect that took over two units, making for some very comfortable living quarters. I took measurements and started to imagine where all of their great furniture and art needed to be placed. I came back to my client with a few proposed floorplans and finally came up with a winner. We re:upholstered furniture, we re:worked draperies into a duvet cover, we re:created art collections and we re:newed the space with new carpeting, decorative pillows and accessories. The new home became a re:vived curation of all the things they loved and treasured so much over the years.


Trust and a positive relationship with your decorator are necessary when it comes to successfully moving and downsizing your home. A solid professional client relationship expedites the downsizing and helps with moving the familiar, while still decorating with new items and ideas. Working together to create a harmonized space will pay off in the end. Our goal is to help modernize and update any existing collection. The homeowner has to be ready for anything, whether it be a sofa that needs to be cut in half or a 126-inch-long dining room table that needed to be lifted up and over the second floor balcony… but that’s a whole other story.

“Trust and a positive relationship with your decorator are necessary WHEN IT COMES TO SUCCESSFULLY MOVING AND DOWNSIZING YOUR HOME.”

Paul Semkuley, A Toronto-based interior stylist and principal of re:source lifestyles, successfully incorporates the client’s existing collection of furniture and family treasures in unique and unpredictable ways. resourcelifestyles.com


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