Capitalizing on Downsizing
Moving into a smaller home can be a challenge. But a can-do attitude paired with a little creativity will make the transition a smooth one.
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Meredith Graves knows all about the joys of doing more with less. In August, Graves, her son, Will, and their corgi, Sadie, moved from a six-bedroom, seven-bathroom home to a 1,500-square-foot two-bedroom, two-bathroom gatehouse off Rockland Road.
Leaving a beloved home is daunting, especially when it involves a life transition such as a divorce. “It’s very, very hard to even conceptualize yourself in another home,” Graves says. But as part of the settlement, she had elected to keep a second house on Cape Cod, where she has family, instead of remaining in the large home.
A floral and interior designer, Graves is co-owner of Found, a home accessories boutique and design company, so she is no stranger to what she calls “stuff.” The challenge: a good portion of her stuff would have to go.
Graves, however, was up for the task. Her secret? A positive attitude laced with creativity. By thinking outside the box, she’s repurposed furniture to both fit the space and preserve her most cherished pieces.
Graves had tackled her attachment to her old home long before she left. Divorced for two years, she was eager to move on. “Once you make the decision, then you’re ready,” she says. Plus, she wanted to get settled before her son started his senior year at Wilmington Friends School. She toured six houses for rent before learning about the Rockland Road property from a tennis pal. Famed area architect R. Brognard Okie (1875-1945), who worked on the restoration of Pennsbury Manor, William Penn’s home, helped convert the second floor of the barn into the gatehouse, one of three homes that share the 27-acre estate.
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