Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Making Room for Mom

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Making Room for Mom

Article excerpt

HERE'S A situation lots of boomers may be facing soon. It came to us as a design question from Peggy Allman of St. Louis. Allman's mother, who had lived in a small town in central Missouri, recently moved in with her.

"I am having my attic remodeled to give my mother a small bedroom and sitting area," Allman wrote. The attic is the only space she has available in her bungalow near St. Louis Hills, she said, and it has never been a finished space. She wants to give her mother a living area that includes seating, storage and a small table and chairs.

We sent her question to C.J. Knapp, a member of the local chapter of the American Society of Interior Designers (ASID); she forwarded it to designer Don Occhi of Occhi Inc., professional member of ASID. Occhi recently moved out of the city to New Melle, where he operates his design firm.

Occhi was especially interested, he said, as he was in the midst of a similar project.

"We're talking about it right now," he said. "Should we add on to the side of the house or make a separate building for a mother's apartment?"

Before he started on the project, Occhi talked with Allman.

"He shot me dozens of ideas over the phone" Allman said.

"He suggested using a little desk in a dormer window, and we're leaning toward doing that," Allman said. "My mother pulled a chair over there and said, `I really like being by this window!'

"We're having lots of fun with this."

Occhi offered these comments with the drawing he sent:

"To add interest to the room, I suggest arranging the sitting area on a diagonal to the entry. For your space requirements (a 48-inch settee) is the perfect size. To best utilize the space, add a triangular table behind the settee. A coffee table and a comfortable upholstered chair will complete the sitting area."

For a game or snack surface, Occhi chose a 42-inch diameter table and four chairs, scattering them around the room. The chairs, covered in a pastel stripe, provide guest seating for both dining and entertaining. He placed two at the table, one at the desk and one in the bedroom area.

"The drawer space you requested is reflected in the two four-drawer chests on either side of the bed," Occhi said. "An additional suggestion would be to use a portion of the closet space for prefabricated units that are available at hardware and closet-supply companies."

He suggested that Allman add an opening in the wall for the television and VCR, using the dead space between the two closets. This would be on a pullout swivel shelf so that the TV could be viewed from the sitting area, as well as from the bedroom area.

"I would suggest a soft swag treatment in a solid rose with the jabot lining out of the same fabric as the settee," Occhi said. "The same print may also be used for a fully upholstered headboard. …

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