Monday, June 6, 2011

My Sister's Condo

My sister has Aspberger's Syndrome. The summer before my dad died I was trying to get my parents to buy a place for my sister. She was almost 30 and had only briefly lived on her own in an apartment. They were nervous about her bringing the wrong type of people home. My thought was that it would be a lot harder for her to have to adjust to living on her own at 60-something after my parents died far off in the future, rather than in her thirties. They thought I was morbid and creepy for bringing it up. Since we were on our way home from a family funeral in Seattle, I thought I was just being topical. Sadly and ironically my dad died unexpectedly less than 3 months later.
After he passed my mom tried out apartment life again for my sister. This time instead of a "risky" location in downtown, she was out in South Tabor, but with easy access to bus lines and in close proximity to our grandparents' house and my mom's work. Due to a whole lot of legal and financial details between SSI, the state, mom's insurance and a rent hike, they decided it was finally time to purchase a condo for her. I stayed mostly out of this process because I am busy with the boys and working on the Povey presentation. (I couldn't procrastinate anymore!)
At first I was a little disappointed with the final condo selection. Rather than some cute old building with loads of charm and maybe some clinker brick, or even a high rise with a view. They settled on an ugly infill apartment building turned condo in Irvington. Yuck! My sister is going to live in a product of The Great ReMuddling?! But it is close to Lloyd Center and the house where we grew up so she is familiar with the neighborhood and there is ample access to public transportation. (One of the high rise buildings is cat free. My sister is a cat fanatic and the permanence of a condo is what my mom has been waiting for to allow my sister to get a cat of her own.)
My sister has always wanted me to be her "interior decorator" since that was my former life and I am happy to do that for her. She and I don't have a lot in common and that applies to our aesthetic style as well so this will be a fun opportunity for me to do something modern and bold. I met htem at the condo to take measurements after their offer was accepted. In reality the building is much better in person. The street is very shady and residential, with plenty of great old Irvington houses on the same block. In fact former clients are across the street. I think this building can grow on me. If nothing else it will give give me a Mid century Mod starting point.
Our mom, being a mom is quite concerned with the baseboard heating being under all the windows, we can't have the fabric touching the heater! It will be a fire hazard! What will we do? My plan is to Mod it up with pleated drapes that hit just at the window casing. The previous homeowner's solution leaves a lot to be desired!
Another problem to be solved with draperies is the electrical panel's position in the bedroom which will become her office. My plan is to have curtain rods that extend to the corners of the room so the fabric stack back will always keep that covered up. That's important because otherwise the panel is the first thing you see when you walk into the room. And we won't compromise on accessibility.
The kitchen cabinetry is very mid-century, with some updated hardware and new ceramic counter top and floor tiles. It is awfully dark in there, but since my sister doesn't really cook it isn't too much of a problem. I'll want to lighten it up with a fun, bright paint color for her.
It does have some really great art deco inspired light fixtures in the kitchen and dining room. Mom hates them and wants them replaced, but my sister and I both like them. It is my sister's apartment so I think we can make them work for her.
The shade in the hallway light is not bad.The lights in the bathroom are bizarro. What on earth were they thinking? This is a tiny, windowless room. Why paint the walls dark brown and hang a pendent light that is best used for mood lighting? I can't see how this would have been a good space to get ready for work.The passage hardware, as well as all the light fixtures and other hardware has been updated to brushed nickel.
Another view of the future office with ill fitting curtains.
Lastly the master bedroom. Ever since she was a pre-teen and read The Babysitter's Club books my sister has been obsessed with the red, white, and black color scheme. I think this is finally the time for her to get her RW&B bedroom. I think I can acheive this with grey paint on the walls with RW&B bedding and accents. More specifically I'm thinking about doing a red accent wall behind her bed. I've never been a big fan of accent walls; they are seldom done correctly and frankly, I think they are played out. But in this case I think it is a perfect application. All red walls would be too much.
Now, here is the tricky part. My mom is going to France for 3 weeks at the end of the month. They're not sure when exactly it will close, but guess who will get to coordinate everything while my mom is gone? That's right me. This could be really great or really bad.

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