Home: Empty Nest: Canvas for Creativity

The time when babies grow up and leave the nest is bittersweet for many parents. A lot of them feel that the emptiness in their heart is compounded even more by the empty rooms the children leave behind.

Several Edmond empty-nesters say you can fill that emptiness in part by turning the new space into an enjoyable and useful feature. Plus, remodeling can be a fun and exciting experience, yielding great results.

“Think about something you’ve always wanted and never had the luxury of having, whether it’s a reading room where you can just go in and close the door or a music room where you can listen to your favorite music,” said Shelley Goetz, owner of Shelley Goetz Interiors and an Edmond mom. When their son moved to college, Goetz and her husband decided to leave his bedroom almost intact. “Our son does come home and we didn’t want to make him feel like we were rushing him out of the house,” she said. Goetz just took down some of the posters and trophies to make it look a little more presentable.

The one thing they did change right away was the game room, a favorite hangout spot of her son and his friends. “It was a little sloppy because of the teenage guys,” Goetz said. So she cleaned it up, bought a new sectional, changed the pictures on the wall and added new fur pillows. The next time her son was home, he was far from unhappy with the change.“He walked in, turned to me and said, ‘Mom, you hurt my feelings. You wait till I leave to get all this neat stuff.’”

However, that was not the reaction of Kathy Loeber’s son when he saw his old room’s new look. Loeber often babysits, so she added a crib, a Winnie the Pooh-themed changing table, a high chair and a lot of toys. “He wasn’t totally thrilled, like ‘Um, what happened to my room?’ ”Loeber said. “But now he is 29 and realizes that we didn’t need to save his room forever.”

Loeber turned the room of her older son into a personal office and retreat. She picked a more rustic cabin-like theme with rough wood frames, shelves decorated with rocks and pinecones, a quilt instead of a bed spread and a muted color for the walls. “We lived in Calgary, Alberta in Canada for three years,” she explained. “All of that reminds me of being there. We used to camp when the kids were smaller.”

There are many options to consider when it comes to transforming an extra room: a home office where you can work undisturbed, a stylish game room or a home theater, a gym, a sewing room, a “snoring room” or just an additional bedroom. Before you start your project, a consultation with a designer is a good idea. “Often people go to (home improvement stores) but they are not coordinating it all together and end up with mishmash,” said Bobbie Morehouse of Bobbie Morehouse Interiors in Edmond. “They end up spending more time and more money than if they let a decorator do it.”

Once you know what you are trying to achieve, the result can be spectacular. When Pam Humphreys decided her son’s bedroom would be a study and prayer room, she started going to estate sales. Humphreys found a little tea cart, a few white linen towels she hung on the side, an exquisite set of white teapot and cups and a tea cookie biscuit jar. Humphreys also added candles and real English breakfast tea. “It’s all matching,” she said.

Humphreys picked a sofa cover and a throw in the pink-beige-green palette, and her husband painted the walls light green. “When people enter the room, they say ‘this room feels so peaceful,’” said Humphreys. After the renovation, they hosted several tea parties, but the person who uses it the most is Humphreys’ husband. “He comes in here every morning for his quiet time,” she said.

A nest doesn’t have to feel so empty when there is the excitement and anticipation of its potential. Children aren’t forgotten just because a room is transformed. Get creative and turn that space into something the whole family can be proud of.

For more ideas or remodeling advice, you can call Shelley Goetz Interiors at 341-9290 and Bobbie Morehouse Interiors at 623-3448.

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