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Life Beyond The Dorm

One of the things I love most about this time of year is witnessing young friends or family members transition from high school to college, or from college to life beyond. With graduation on my mind I was intrigued by a recent New York Times article about a new home owner’s desire to leave the dorm room aesthetic behind and create a more grown-up looking home.

On a limited budget and with design consultation donated by Manhattan design firm, Incorporated Architecture & Design, Colin Kelly gave his home a dramatic upgrade. The article states, “Incorporated began by questioning their new client about everything from the absence of a dining table to whether he wanted to entertain, gently ribbing Mr. Kelly about how empty the apartment was. ‘Of the seven things in here,’ he said, ‘are you attached to any of them?’”

BEFORE: very little furniture + no art = dorm room aesthetic Photo: Michelle V. Agins/The New York Times

Although Colin was “not attached to most of the things in his apartment, he was fond of the artwork he’d accumulated including several paintings his parents had owned and a concert poster for the musician Beck.”

Photo: Michelle V. Agins/The New York Times

During the process the designers showed Colin a rendering of what his living room could look like, showcasing his own artwork on the walls.

Rendering by Incorporated Architecture & Design

The NY Times goes on to say, “Over a three month period, the designers scouted furniture options, hunted for carpet sales and experimented with inexpensive ways to create a large piece of art to anchor the room…”  Here’s the final look:

AFTER: clearly defined space + art on the walls = grown-up home Photo: Fred R. Conrad/The New York Times

Photo: Fred R. Conrad/The New York Times

I am encouraged by the choices Colin made for his grown-up apartment. Among other things, Colin and his design team successfully moved beyond the dorm aesthetic and proved something I believe wholeheartedly: original works of art are some of the most personal items we collect for our homes over the years. Couches come and go, coffee tables fall in and out of favor, and posters end up in the dumpster, but original art is sentimental, moves with us from home to home, and stays with us for a lifetime.

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