Pretty In Pink

An unexpected twist on retirement center living gives new meaning to thinking outside the box.

By Jamie Siebrase
Photography by Anne Matheis


Forget everything you thought you knew about retirement center aesthetic and that dull, one-room ubiquity the phrase conjures up. Taking cues from the avant-garde tradition of experimental design, local interior designer Holly Blumeyer of Holly Blumeyer Interior Design Group pushed the boundaries when she converted two adjacent rooms at the Mari de Villa Retirement Center into an unexpected suite brimming with custom design and a whole lot of class.

“The place is darling,” says Blumeyer who, years ago, had custom designed a Clayton condo for her client. Assisted living was the next step, one Blumeyer happily assisted.

You see, even at 90, some things – style and comfort – can’t be compromised. Drawing on European culture and urban dwelling concepts, the designer concocted something “more like a pied-à-terre.”

The retirement center was supportive as their philosophy is to make their residents feel they are living in their own homes. “The key,” says Blumeyer, “was to create several distinct living areas to provide a change in scenery for my client throughout the day.”

The first living space was made into a sitting room suitable for taking meals or entertaining friends by adding a game table and comfortable chairs. Additionally, Blumeyer recovered a love seat with a classic Brunschwig & Fils leaf pattern, and the two chairs are in a Robert Allen fabric.

“I used lots of fabric so things would be cozy,” she says. “We carried the color scheme throughout the suite, which is something you have to do in small spaces. ” The basis for the color palette – raspberries, roses, grassy greens – was a discontinued Rose Cumming fabric Blumeyer had used in her client’s previous home. She got the last 10 yards of it and re-made window curtains, top treatments for the French doors and pillows with custom trim. To hide an additional door which opens to the outside hall, Blumeyer cleverly sheared silk across the wall behind the bed.

In the bedroom space, the client’s favorite chair and ottoman as well as her antique desk are positioned near French doors leading to a charming lanai, which includes custom cushions and pillows made to coordinate with the her indoor furnishings. Holly repurposed three rugs that had been custom-made for her client’s former residence. Geometric patterns add interest to the bedroom and sitting area; a floral rug in the dressing room, which connects the bedroom with the sitting area, brings everything together.

To maintain her client’s most cherished possessions, Blumeyer filled a console with pictures. A custom painted bookcase holds esteemed literature, heirlooms and objet d’art. Prized artwork invigorates the suite.

The designer explains, “My job is to make my client’s new place every bit as appealing, comfortable and warm as her previous home.”