{Interiors} Old memories, new home…

When you’re FOF, moving means taking a lifetime of memories and trying to work them into a completely new space–while simplifying of course. We spoke to one FOF who downsized when her children left the nest, but managed to make her new house a home….

FOF Kathy McPherson and her husband Tom moved from the D.C. suburbs to the historical village of Pinehurst, North Carolina, where they constructed their 6,000 sq. ft. empty-nest “cottage” just last year. They chose a lot on Pinehurst No. 2, a history-rich golf course, to build their new digs.

“I wanted to create a place where old and new collide and past and future generations meet,” says Kathy.

In each room of the house, old and new live seamlessly side by side. For instance, Kathy designed the kitchen with a brand-new GE range alongside an antique butter churn passed down from her grandmother.

A carefully-edited collection of relics, such as a Barbie doll from Kathy’s childhood, manage to impart nostalgia without clutter. “I couldn’t imagine parting with any family heirlooms,” says Kathy. Anything Kathy didn’t have room for, she found a way to keep in the family. Her son, Richmond, got antique bedroom furniture passed down from his grandmother, and Kathy put other meaningful pieces in storage for when her daughter, Katherine, has more room. “I did give away furniture, artwork, toys… things that didn’t have sentimental value,” says Kathy. “That was easy.”

A history fanatic, Kathy throws annual birthday parties for Winston Churchill, (“We do Churchill trivia, serve all his favorite foods and hand out chocolate cigars as favors.”) loves to visit historical towns and shop at antique stores. But she also scores big at Pottery Barn.

And while Kathy and her husband expect to spend their twilight years in this house, they’ve built it with future generations in mind; a “bunk room” for grandchildren is on the second floor, and their dining room was built to accommodate 50 guests. They hosted their daughter’s wedding rehearsal dinner there last March.

“Our hope is that, just like the Pinehurst cottages of the 1800s, this home will still be serving a family 100 years from now, and it will be admired for the way it integrates into the village,” says Kathy. “As future generations of golfers pass by, I hope they look at our home and say, ‘Gee, that looks like a neat place to be.”

Images by Katherine Miles Jones

{Interiors} Catherine Del Spina’s Westchester Home Tour

At FOF Catherine Del Spina’s Westchester, N.Y., “Apple Hill” residence, the basement is where the magic happens. Furniture, relics and other treasures arrive tattered and worn but leave in pristine condition.

“Here is my latest project,” Catherine says, pointing to an assortment of freshly-painted white chairs and tables.

“I found them at a fire department tag sale. The table looked like crap, the chairs were filthy and broken. One was marked 1909,” she says. “But they were asking $250 for six chairs, a Duncan Phyfe two-leaf dining room table, two wool hooked rugs, two cocktail tables with burl inlay and a large mirror. I said to them ‘It’s not enough, I have to pay you more… so I paid $350.’”

Catherine relishes most what other people have given up on. In her career, her home and her personal life she succeeds because of her ability to see things with different eyes than everyone else. “The Marketing Optometrist,” she calls herself, because during the week she consults with companies like Whole Foods and Walmart helping them obtain “better marketing through sharper vision.”

Then she spends her weekends using that same sharp eye to troll estate sales, world bazaars, markets and antique stores for new treasures to adorn her home.

“How do I find this stuff? I look at it and say ‘Okay, I can fix that!’” Last year, Catherine recovered two “junky, creepy” chairs from a tag sale. “I thought they had good bones,” she says. “I fixed them up and instead of $2,000 per chair I spent a total of $500.”

Even the house itself, built in 1850 and purchased in 1995, is one of Catherine’s rescue missions. “When we bought it, it was completely run-down. There was nothing to it,” she says. Fifteen years and multiple renovations later the house is 2,000 sq. ft. larger than when it was purchased (totaling over 5,000 sq. ft.) and on the market for $2.2 million.

“It’s too big for two people and so much to upkeep,” says Catherine. She’s not sure yet where her next home will be, but says she may start from scratch decorating her new digs.

“I love to do it. But it’s hard… it’s all a part of me,” she says.

Images by Katherine McPherson for FabOverFifty.com