What to do with an empty nest

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Published on January 25, 2011 with No Comments

by Carl Kurek

What do you do when you find yourself with an empty nest?

No, not the kind of empty nest that will guilt you in to bringing out the ladder so you can put it back in the tree. Rather, the empty nest that is left behind when the children, who are ìall grown up now,î head off to college or move into a house of their own, leaving their parents as the sole occupants of the house ñ or, ìempty nesters.î

While some parents might keep their childrenís old bedrooms the same ñ just in case they decide to come back home of course ñ others might turn the rooms into extra bedrooms for company, or maybe the spoiled pets now get their own room. Other times, the room, whether intentional or not, just becomes storage space.

However, one trend is starting to become prevalent for these new empty nesters: Parents pampering themselves a little.

Parents spend 20 or so years ñ in most cases ñ of time, money and resources to provide for their children. While it may be sad to see them go, the children going off on their own also presents the opportunity for a little ìme timeî for the parents.

Robert Northington of Robert Northington Interiors in Valparaiso, a full service interior design firm, has seen an increase in the number of empty nesters seeking their services.

He said this could mean transforming a former childrenís bedroom into a media room, equipped with comfy sofas and a flat screen TV, or creating an at home spa retreat complete with a therapeutic air bath.

ìMany empty nesters feel once the children have moved, they can splurge on something special for themselves,î Northington said.

ìUsually, empty nesters are excited to finally have the home they have always dreamed of. This means something different for everyone. A project can be as simple as new carpeting and paint or a gourmet kitchen designed for the home chef, or as extensive as a room or second floor addition for an art studio.î

Robert Northington Interiors is currently working on such a project for Judy Paul of Long Beach.

Penny Tanis, design director at Robert Northington Interiors, said this current project reminds her why she truly enjoys what she does.

ìYouíre really helping the client create the home theyíve always wanted,î said Tanis as she thought about the work they have been doing designing Paulís dream bathroom. ìItís really rewarding to help a client realize the home of their dreams. Itís just what I really enjoy doing.î

It is something Tanis said she has enjoyed since she was a little kid building homes out of LEGOs and rearranging the furniture in her home. Tanis has been doing interior design for the past seven years after making the decision to return to school and pursue the career she always felt she should have had.

Likewise, Northington has been in the design business on and off since 1998. He said he learned after a career change that design is one of those talents he was born with and looks at it as his way of giving to others.

The services offered by Robert Northington Interiors includes interior design, project management, space-planning, color and accessory consultations, window treatments and reupholstery and kitchen and bath design. They approach each client and project individually and feel a combination of their services is usually the best fit for their clients, according to Northington.

ìWe are a collaborative organization. We work as a team with the client, the installer or contractor,î he said.

ìWe have formed relationships with some of the area’s finest artisans, artists and contractors. These relationships allow us to create some truly unique environments that inspire our clients and enrich their lives.î

One thing that is certain is that together, Northington and Tanis can surely accomplish their mission of creating interiors that inspire.

Robert Northington Interiors, located at 3907 Calumet Ave., Suite 207 in Valparaiso, is open by appointment only, with initial one-hour consultations complimentary. They have clients as far away as Milwaukee, Wis. and Duxbury, Mass., but say they will travel anywhere to service a client. They had a bathroom they remodeled featured in M, Milwaukee’s lifestyle magazine in June of last year in a section titled ìDream Baths.î

For more information or to set up an appointment, contact Robert Northington Interiors at 219-465-1000, e-mail info@robertnorthington.com, or visit www.robertnorthington.com.

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