Moving! Where do I begin?

Nathan Cogan’s phone call to Emery & Associates was straightforward. “I need to hire you because I’m moving from a furnished condo to an unfurnished one in the same building, and need some help sorting out my stuff that’s in storage and also figuring out what new furniture I’ll need. I have a lot of books, and a lot of art.”  The  condo is in a modern building in the heart of downtown.  The views of the city are stunning, with floor to ceiling windows on two sides of the living/dining area. With all of those windows, the design challenge became “Where do we put the art?”  The obvious place to start . . . the floor!

I discovered the large, hand-knotted Tibetan rug at one of my favorite stores in Sellwood,  the Consignment Gallery.   I had gone there to check out a console table that Nathan wanted my opinion about, and when I spotted the rug, I almost swooned.  Once Nathan saw it, he was smitten as well, so the rug became the starting point for the palette in the living/dining room.  The beautiful rugs he already owned went into other rooms, but for the living room he needed a larger rug than he already owned, as well as new sofas, and bookcases for his large library.  We chose black for the bookcases, and ivory leather for the sofas–good neutrals  to play off the eye-popping colors in the rug, that also worked well with his paintings, sculptures, books, and objets d’art.  Here is a photo of the finished space:

When we met for the first time at the new condo, it was still occupied by the previous owner, who graciously allowed us to photograph and measure the spaces.  Here is the photo of the room shown above, the same view, but with the previous owner’s furnishings:  “BEFORE”

The contrast is quite striking.  I’m showing the “BEFORE” photo to illustrate the value of having a professional  guide one through the minefield of “moving house,” especially if one is down-sizing.  A good interior designer can help you edit your possessions so as to avoid the common error of trying to squeeze everything you own into a space that is too small to hold it, and can assist you with finding new pieces if your furnishings don’t fit the architectural style of your new home.

Nathan’s collections almost exceeded the space needed to display them, and he had many pieces of furniture that were too ornately traditional to work in this very contemporary space, so those items were given away.  Ultimately, through our collaboration, his favorite pieces found ideal homes.  The narrow bays between the windows were perfect for a long Asian scroll, and an Inuit sculpture on a pedestal topped with a Japanese water color.  His favorite “Dancing Bear” sculpture performs under the light of a contemporary, drum-shaded table lamp.

There are architectural flaws in every space, and it is the designer’s job to minimize those or make them disappear.  In this condo there is a pilaster-like structural object of grey cement that runs vertically from floor to ceiling on the long wall at right angles to the windows (you can see it in the “BEFORE” photos below and above).  It serves no apparent purpose, and bisects the wall in a very awkward way.


We were able to partially hide that cement pilaster with the bookcases, but the best way to make it disappear was to turn it into a feature by mounting one of Nathan’s masks on it.  The former flaw is not only concealed, but the mask now has a frame that gives it more weight and interest.

This “AFTER” view of the same wall shows the mask mounted above the bookcases, as well as another of Nathan’s favorites:  a painting by Lucinda Parker.  His comfy, green leather recliner adds a vintage mid-century modern touch to the space.

Moving can be stressful, whether it’s down the hall or across the country.  If you’re not sure where to begin with your next move, give Emery & Associates a call.  We’d love to help smooth the transition to your next home, and assist with putting a new face on your favorite possessions.

There are 8 Comments to "Moving! Where do I begin?"

  • Mary Bailey says:

    Once again, bravo! What a beautiful transformation. Hope to see you this summer.

    My best,

  • Love the rug! We’ve got a piece of artwork over at the Consignment Gallery, BTW, by a Hollywood set designer… Great JOB of bringing out those fab colors in the rug with the furnishings. Always so classy and colorful. Our favorites. Bravissima!

  • Jessica Benjamin says:

    The finished product is truly lovely. What a nice space.

  • Margaret Retz says:

    Wow! What a stunning transformation from how the living room looked before you went to work to bring the room to life. You have a gift for color, design and choosing things that go well together. I would feel right at home in this room.

  • Kathy Saitas says:


    You have such a gift. So glad that you shared the before pictures so that we could get a sense of the change you created. I love the choice of color, especially in the living room. The rug is perfecto!

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